It’s only been two years since I started university in Scotland, and now I am preparing for my year abroad in Europe. Before my travels, I go back to the bonnie land of the brave on a flixbus to visit friends from my familiar town. Anticipating those I will be meeting in the coming year, I dwell on the significance of these connections to enjoying time away from home.
We’re constantly reminded about all the crazy things going on in the world – some of these things are good (new world records, Olympic athletes, world class musicians, scientists and creatives showcasing their skills and artistry) others are far from this reality (natural disasters, wars, horrific crimes and so on). Oftentimes it can feel difficult to navigate a world filled with so much darkness – sometimes you may even wonder if there’s any good left out there. I’m here to tell you that there is and that you can be a part of this. In previous posts I’ve touched on how acts of kindness can improve your wellbeing and outlook on life – today we’re going to look at this in more depth in the hopes that you’ll be able to make some positive change this summer.
My exams are over now, and the freedom of summer is slowly sinking in. It’s time to watch movies of flowery frocked teens munching strawberries in fields on the outskirts of civilisation, wild water dipping and tossing shades to the wild grass. These images of summer trickle in and begin to replace the world of word counts and wooden lecture theatres. But what is this concept framed by a vignette of endlessly sunny days, and what’s it doing to how we live our summer?
For the past few summers, there have been restrictions on what we do and where we go. This year, however, we find ourselves in an almost limitless expanse of cocktails and suntans. But it's been many months since we’ve had this much freedom in the sun. Think of last year’s summer, three years ago and how much you’ve changed since 2019. Different goals, perhaps. Changed habits. Shifting priorities. How do you fill this summer of 2022 with memories?
Travelling alone without your parents is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. It’s exciting to think about the freedom of making your own choices and exploring new places on your own. However, that freedom is accompanied by responsibility for every decision on your trip. Why Travel on Your Own?
You didn’t think getting a degree would be all fun and games, did you? I guess it was hard to anticipate that opening your laptop would result in a burst of unfinished essays, deadlines, coursework, lectures and seminars all screaming at you.
So, if you’re reading this, you’ve survived freshers week. That serves a massive congratulations. It may have seemed like seven days of non stop raving, served with a small flu on the side, or an eternal echo chamber of people's names and what courses they're studying. Either way, it's no easy feat transitioning into university and fresher's week is quite a step up.
Results are in. Places have been accepted. And now you’re lost in the chaos of what comes next (*insert ominous film music*). Here’s a rundown of things to tick off your list if you're preparing to move away from home into the great unknown.
Sun shining on the sand. A sea breeze floating through the air. Seems like a dream, but we’ve made it… welcome to the summer of 2021. Although it probably doesn’t look like the idyllic holiday we pictured it to be (with Blackpool pleasure beach replacing Spain's beaches) there’s still plenty of stuff to be getting on with. All this sudden time and freedom might come as a slight shock to the system for some, but lucky for you, I’ve come prepared with some tips on how to keep boredom (and excessively binge- watching TV boxsets) at bay during these next few months.
I’m sure many of us had great ideas for the notoriously exciting post-exam summer before covid hit, but with restrictions easing and the vaccines rolling out, it’s time to replan! First things first, let it sink in that you’ve finished exams… you deserve to treat yourself! With the weather getting better there’s plenty of opportunity to go and enjoy what you’ve missed not only with these months of revision, but also due to the lockdown rules. Whether that be socialising with friends or going out for a bite to eat, it’s important to mark the end of your exams and acknowledge what you’ve done!
Happy New Year! 2021, maybe a time to finish that UCAS if you haven’t already and hopefully start receiving some offers. If you haven’t received any, don’t worry, there’s some tips for that later on in the blog. I’ll also talk a bit about the very recent situation, which has caused quite a bit of confusion, the cancellation of GCSEs and A-Levels.
The likelihood is that your uni application is done and dusted. In which case… well done! The UCAS process is hard work, let alone doing it during a global pandemic. Put on top of that all the frustrations caused by multiple lockdowns and you’ve definitely got something to be proud of.
I’m sure you get told time and time again, but it has been a mentally and emotionally challenging time so being proud of what you have achieved so far, however small, is the least you can do for yourself. Yes, Shakespeare wrote an entire play during his lockdown in the plague, but, unfortunately, we can’t all be a world famous playwright… so writing a personal statement and sending it off to universities is a perfectly good achievement.
It’s been an exhaustingly long term as we trudge towards the Christmas holidays. If the sun doesn’t wake you up and disappears before you arrive home, at least the blindingly bright red nose of Rudolph on your window will bring some light. Especially if you’ve had to isolate lately, the days may seem to blur tediously together like a tangle of Christmas lights: checking emails for ucas offers, coursework, finding yourself on tiktok, work, having a nap that lasted too long…
To put it simply, things are getting a bit dull.
In this blog, I’ll be talking about how we can productively lift our spirits by discovering some new interests. ‘Tis the season of sharing and goodwill! Time seems to be as short as the fading sunlight, but luckily, there’s still 24 hours in a day. We can still make the most of it and break this cycle of yawns and staring at the ceiling. Whilst school teaches us that our aim should be to productively get school work done, this is far from the truth.
Yes, it is about being efficient at completing tasks, but productivity is not always about academic work.
We know that making real-life decisions and the whole UCAS commotion is basically a year away, but before you know it these choices will be getting all up in your face and demanding attention. Then there's all the exams, revision, coursework, birthdays/bar mitzvahs/weddings and cat gifs... it's never too soon to get focused.
Besides, what's sixth form all about anyway? If you can work out where it's heading, it gives the next two years more purpose, more focus — perhaps even more fun and success.
What we're saying is that, however early it seems, now's a great time to be thinking about two of the big questions: what do you want to study and where do you want to study it
Finally, it’s time to relax. Have a couple of weeks off from the hard work you’ve been doing this year in unexpected circumstances. You've all done brilliantly everything considered!
But you don’t want to sit and let your summer pass you by without being productive..
So what can you really do now to maximise your summer? Be that if you're thinking about university, an apprenticeship or a job.
Due to the COVID - 19 pandemic the year 2020 has come to a sudden pause. Due to the lockdown, both normal lives and the world economy faced a massive blow. Unemployment has shot up due to the pandemic effect. Unfortunately, among them, some students also lost their part-time jobs. A recent NUS report also stated that 80% of UK students are still struggling with their finances due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This summer we all have a little more time to fill.
Covid-19 has meant that a lot of the usual events we enjoy doing aren't able to go ahead. Mass gathering? Not happening I'm afraid.
So you've got a whole lot of time that's opened up. So how are you going to fill it?
This summer is looking to be quite different to what we’re used to. Some lockdown restrictions are beginning to be lifted as we head back towards a bit of normality but things aren’t, and likely won’t be, the same as they were before.
Nonetheless there’s ways you can be using the summer to improve your skillset.
Here at Push, we’re always the advocate for earning while learning - the idea of, if it’s right for you and your circumstances, you get ahead of the game with a part-time job.
This can be anything from office work to bartending to shelf stacking to running your own side hustle online empire.
Even if you’re not particularly tight for cash (though it’s quite the student stereotype, and who would turn down a rainy day fund?) it’s a great personal investment, in terms of gaining experience and having that X Factor to put on your CV or personal statement.
Not sure what we mean?
According to erasmusprogramme.com, ‘Erasmus students are those that take advantage of the Erasmus exchange program, a well supported and organised scheme that has been in operation since the late 1980's. It allows students to study at universities in the EU member states for set periods of time.
Erasmus students study a wide variety of subjects but most use the program for advancing their language skills with a view to working in the international sphere.’
Throughout its active years, the Erasmus scheme has supported internationally-minded, travel savvy students on their trans-national studies and lives.
Being a member of the scheme entitles you to Erasmus’ support (both financial and educational) if you’re looking to spend some study time at an institution in neighbouring European countries.
And with over sixteen thousand Brits having taken up the scheme’s offerings in 2017 alone, you’ve no doubt heard weird and wonderful stories of friends and family studying abroad.
You might have heard over the last month the stat that more than 50% of all young people are now heading off to uni, proving it’s as popular a future pathway choice as ever. No real surprise there.
And in lots of ways, that’s a great thing. It finally meets the government target set nearly 20 years ago. More young people are coming out of education with higher level qualifications like HNC/Ds and foundation, undergrad and postgrad degrees.
And like we’ve said before, stats show that graduates earn on average £10k a year more than their non-graduate counterparts. Also they’re less likely to face unemployment, too. So it’s looking pretty good. But it doesn’t mean there’s no downside to this steady increase in HE sign ups.
Spending a semester abroad to study is an incredible opportunity that can change your life. It’s important to be aware of certain mistakes people make so that you can avoid them and make sure that your time abroad is as rewarding and exciting as it can be.
Uni, uni, uni. Might seem like that’s all we (or anyone around you for that matter) are talking about right now is going to uni. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right answer.
There’s no one post-18 path to rule them all. Think apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships, work and jetsetting, for starters.
We’re not saying you can blow the next three months on Netflix binges and house parties though. Put your hands in the air and step away from the aux.
Easter’s way behind us, which means only one thing – Summer’s on the horizon. The pressure’s not off yet, but end of exams, coursework, revision, studying is nigh.
If you fancy a break from all the work, work, work, have a think about what you’re going to do with all that sweet free time once you’re finished. Whether you’re planning on taking a year out or just having one hell of a Summer, travelling on a budget is high up the student priority list.
But it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, trust us. Making a few hundred quid stretch you for three months in the Bahama’s is easier said than done. But not impossible, with a bit of planning.
Maybe you have the next thirty to forty years of your life mapped out perfectly, with a clear career goal in mind. You go, Glen Coco. We’re impressed.
Or maybe you don’t. That’s just as exciting — no one’s expecting you to have your life dreamt away by this point anyway.
Either way, a great way to cash in some of your free time is to look into volunteering. The big ‘V’ is bounced around a lot when it comes to unis talking about what they want from students, advice from careers advisors and glamorous-looking ads for gap years in exotic destinations.
But what can it mean for you? Well, it can mean just about whatever you want it to.
If you’re in year 12 or 13 right now, chances are you’ve got a lot of exciting things heading your way. Uni, work, apprenticeship, college, travelling, your opportunities open to you once you’ve finished your A-Levels or Highers are pretty endless.
With all that great stuff ahead of you, now’s the perfect time to put a little investment into your future.
We don’t mean you need to clue yourself up on the stock market, or spend all your loose change on the latest cryptocurrency. Unless that’s your thing. Nope, we mean you should think about learning to drive.
The prospect of having to network as an intern can be terror-inducing. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. With the following tips in mind, you’ll be a top-rate networker in no time!
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