University Open Days

Over the past month, I have visited three universities as a prospective student for September 2019! I visited the University of Sussex, located in Falmer, Brighton, St Mary’s University Twickenham, located in Strawberry Hill/Twickenham, near Richmond London and University of East London, in Stratford, East London (in the same postcode Eastenders is meant to be based, not where Shakespeare was born (Stratford-Upon-Avon)). I’d thought I’d share with you my experiences of the open days and what I thought of the universities!

I should let you know that I already knew what university I wanted to apply for prior to these open days, but I still went to the others so that I could say I made the right choice!

University Open Days

University Of Sussex

Situated only 9 minutes by train to Brighton City and only 30 minutes away from home, I couldn’t not consider this university! It’s known for being one of the top 20 universities in the UK and claims to have ‘the most beautiful campus in the UK’, being conveniently located on the South Downs. I visited the University of Sussex with interest in their Biomedical Science, Medical Neuroscience, Psychology and foundation year courses.

On the day, my mum and I travelled by train to get an idea of the commute. We had to change twice, once at Three Bridges and once at Brighton, but these were easy and no connections were missed. Falmer is only 3 stops (London Road Brighton, Moulsecoomb, Falmer) from Brighton, each stop being roughly two to three minutes apart. I found that it would be super easy to get right into the town! At Falmer station, all there’s to do is come out the front of the station and walk under the short underpass (under the dual carriageway) and you’re there! It took roughly 1.5 hours to get there on the train from home, and as I mentioned before, it’s even quicker to drive!

It’s instantly obvious that the campus is prettttttty big which I personally think is great because it means everything is there! There’s the classrooms, lecture theatres, accommodation, library, a Co-Op, various coffee places, bars and more. I was told that some students don’t need to leave campus for weeks!

The first thing I did on the open day was look at some of the accommodation. I think that there is soooo much choice at Sussex. I was interested in the en-suite accommodation, mainly because of some of the medical issues that I have. They’re currently in the process of replacing some of their oldest accommodation with brand new flats too! The accommodation was really nice and well kept!

I went to a Biomedical Science talk and it gave me a comprehensive breakdown of the modules and structure of the course, which increased my interest much more. I also spoke to several of the teachers from other subjects too, and although I received some conflicting information (surrounding the fact I haven’t got the standard three A Levels), it certainly didn’t put me off.

Overall, I was able to get a great feel of the place, and it felt really good! I was able to try out one of the coffee shops and I got lunch from the Co-Op, among doing everything else!

St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Travelling in and around London is super easy, providing the trains are running the way they’re supposed to (ahem Thameslink). Thankfully, they were the day I travelled to St Mary’s University! St Mary’s University ‘specialises’ in Primary Education, but I went with interest in their Sports Rehabilitation and Psychology courses.

As I already said, the trains ran super smoothly the day I travelled to St Mary’s! Again, it took roughly 1.5 hours but I only had to change once, at Clapham Junction to get to Strawberry Hill – the nearest train station. The great thing about London is Oyster Cards! They make travelling (between London zones 1-6, of course) really easy, you need’t worry about buying train or bus tickets any more, just make sure you’ve got your card topped up (there’s now an app you can check your balance)! That’s an advantage I believe London Universities have over those outside!

Once we arrived at Strawberry Hill, there was a short 5-10 minute walk to the university itself. The first thing that I noticed was that the campus itself is a lot smaller than Sussex, which is good if you felt that somewhere like Sussex was too big! There’s still a lot there though, the accommodation is on campus, the classrooms and lecture theatres, the canteen and coffee shop!

When I arrived, I went to the main sports hall where there were the stalls for all the subjects with leaflet. My mum and I grabbed a free drink and popcorn which they were offering! We then went on an accommodation tour. It was completely different from Sussex in that most of the accommodation was shared bathroom and it was also catered. This means that each day you got about 10 ‘points’ and everything in the canteen costs a certain amount of ‘points’ and you could use them throughout the day. If you ran out of point then you have to pay with money. I think this is quite a good system because it means that everyone can afford at least two meals a day! Although they were shared bathroom accommodation, I still thought it was nice and I could see myself living there.

Overall, I thought that this was a great little university and it has some fantastic facilities! Obviously, being in a London borough, it’s a bit more expensive, but you also get a slightly higher maintenance loan if you live in London!

University Of East London

The University of East London, or UEL, is split across two campuses situated in Stratford (and just outside!) in East London. The two campuses, in Stratford and Docklands are about 30 minutes apart on the bus (there’s a free shuttle bus that runs between the two) and the underground train! I went to the open day with interest in their Psychology, Physiotherapy and Bioscience courses.

I travelled to UEL by train and found it fairly easy. I went to the Docklands campus first as it furthest away, and the accommodation was located there. I changed at London Bridge to the Jubilee Line and then changed at Canning Town to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). It took slightly longer to get here than the other universities from home, but that didn’t put me off. As soon as you come out of Cyprus DLR station the university is immediately obvious! Despite being in the city, it’s a really nice location. I saw people rowing on the River Thames, and you’re super close to London City Airport which is great for when you want to go on a short break!

After registering, I immediately went on accommodation tour (good timing that!) to see a older, smaller room and a newer, slightly larger room. All the rooms were en-suite and I feel that there were in a good location! The tour didn’t last very long as there were quite close to each other and so my mum and I jumped on the free bus that runs between the two campuses as the subjects I wanted to look at were based at the Stratford campus. I feel that the only disadvantage of this university is that I’d be living on a separate campus, but on the other hand the commute was no different than that I do to college every day currently! As well as the free bus, there is also the train and Stratford tube station is only 10 minutes away from the campus (and right next to Westfield Shopping Centre!)

At the Stratford campus, I went into the main hall to pick up a couple of leaflets about the subjects I was looking at and I got a free donut! My mum and I went for a little walk around the campus too!

Overall, I thought that this university was really nice too, even though the accommodation was in a different place to where I’d actually be learning! I thought that the facilities were good as well!

I hope you enjoyed my post about the university open days and it gives you an insight into them! I’m going to do a separate post soon about what I’m applying for and about the application process itself!

Thanks for reading – which one do you like the sound of?

June Favourites

Happy July everyone! June went so quickly! As you can probably tell, I’m yet to catch up with all my blog posts so I decided to do one today, being the 1st of July and all! Today I present to you *drumroll* my June Favourites! As per usual, there’s a very random collection of things – don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

June Favourites

1. HP Sprocket

You may remember that I mentioned this a couple of posts ago – I did a whole review! Yes, it has also got itself a feature on my monthly favourites. I honestly think it’s great, the post is HERE if you’d like to find out more!

2. Starbucks

Sounds like a bit of an odd thing to put in my June Favourites – I know! I haven’t ever not liked Starbucks but it really seemed to stand out to me this month. I’ve been putting money on and using my Starbucks Rewards card more than I normally would this month and I’m racking in those points to get myself a free drink! When it comes to a cold drink (from a coffee shop, may I add) Starbucks really takes the game! On that note, I discovered the bottled Frappuccinos in my local Co-Op and they’re really great as I don’t have a Starbucks in my town! Did you know, me and my mum always get a Starbucks when we go to my hospital appointments in London!

3. Ted Baker Body Spray

My friend, Ellen, bought me this for Christmas (and I bought her one too!) and it’s still going strong! It’s lasted such a long time and I use it so often. Even more so in the last month as it’s been getting so hot! I like the scent, it’s kind of subtle but it’s so nice! When you next go into Boots, I’d definitely recommend picking one of these up!

4. White Converse

I can’t remember how long I’ve had these exactly, but I do know they took a long time to ‘break in’. Now they’ve finally decided not to stab my feet anymore, I find them so comfortable and they go with a whole bunch of outfits! I’d definitely recommend these! (P.S, they go well with white trainer socks!

I’ve got lots of exciting things happening in July: I finish school, I’m going to my Grandma’s & Grandad’s, I’m going on holiday to Devon, it’s my friend’s birthday and of course the most exciting thing is (note the sarcasm!) Parent’s Evening! It’s going to be busy busy busy!

I hope to post a bit more soon!

Thanks for reading – What did you enjoy in June?

My Transfer Exam Results 2018

As you may or may not know, I received my results for the first year of college yesterday and I thought I’d share them with you. I also got my report yesterday. For those who don’t know, or have forgotten, I currently do two A Level subjects; Photography and Psychology. My Photography result I’m about to share with you is the overall mark from the project that I have been working on for the whole of my first year. I’d say that it was quite a representative grade! My Psychology result is from the end of year (Transfer) exam that I sat on the 14th May which covered (near enough) everything I’ve learnt in the first year… So, here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my results:

My Transfer Exam Results

Photography

GRADE: B

I received a B in Photography, which is my target grade. Ideally, I was hoping to achieve a slightly better grade, if I’m being honest, as some of my key assessments have been marked A. I guess it means that I need to work extra extra hard in my project next year (which I’ve just started!)!

In my report, my teacher explained that I needed to use class time more effectively, and talk about the meaning of photographs not just what I see. She said that my sketchbook was nice too! It was mentioned that I would be good if I were to carry on with a creative subject at University.

Psychology

GRADE: C

I received a C in Psychology, which again is actually my target grade. I also hoped to get a better grade than I did, especially as I got a high B (88%) in the mock exam and A’s in in-class tests. However, I’d say this grade isn’t completely representative of my abilities as I was ill in the two weeks leading up to the exam and so I didn’t actually revise. Luckily, I’ve been revising over the course of the year!

In my report, my teacher said that she was impressed with my attitude to learning, my consistency, my motivation and results (I have literally no idea where she got that from haha!!). She said absolutely nothing against me; I’m kinda in shock. Additionally, she said that if I kept at this standard I could continue to degree level!

So, what’s next?

On Monday, I have to go to an interview with my tutor to enrol into the second year. As well as continuing Photography; where I’ll be focusing on product photography, and Psychology; where I’ll be learning the A2 spec, I will also be taking on an additional AS Level in Biology, an EPQ focusing on ADHD and independent (not examined or taught) study of AS Chemistry. (as it will be useful for University!)

I’m going to explain all of this in a separate post properly, but for University I’m aiming to get ABB(B) at least, with an A or B in Photography, B at the very least in Psychology, B in Biology and A or B in the Extended Project (EPQ).

I hope you enjoyed my Transfer Exam Results post! I was hoping to do a little better but it’s not like it’s the real thing!

Thanks for reading

HP Sprocket Review

This isn’t the post I’d planned to do today, but this is the post I’ve now decided to do! You may have seen on my Instagram (@jessblogs) story that I went into town (specifically Argos), and I said that you’d see a review of what I’d bought… but I didn’t tell you what it was! Surprise! This is what I went into town for… The HP Sprocket!

For those of you who don’t know, the HP Sprocket is a small, handheld photo printer that you can connect to your smartphone. I’ve been saving up for a while, and today I finally went and bought one! I was so excited to try it out when I got home, and I was even more excited to write this review! So, may I present to you… My HP Sprocket Review:

HP Sprocket Review

The Printer

Aforementioned earlier, the HP Sprocket is a small photo printer capable of connecting to your smartphone (via Bluetooth) using the HP Sprocket app, which is available on both iOS (9 or later) and Android (KitKat (4.4) or later). There are three colours to choose from: White, Black and Red. As you can probably tell I chose the white one; I felt that it was pretty and aesthetically pleasing. It is very compact, which is handy, as it’s not much bigger than my iPhone SE. It comes with a USB charging lead and 10 sheets of the paper it takes. The HP Sprocket takes Zink paper, which means that the printer doesn’t actually require ink! The size of the paper is 2 by 3 inches. The device prints very quickly and connects to my phone with no problems!

It retails at approximately £100-£120, and Argos currently have a deal where you can get a free bag/holder/pouch (I can’t think of what it’s really called!) which would normally be £7.99!

The Photos

I printed three photos from my phone’s camera roll for the purpose of the review (don’t worry, they were photos I was going to print anyway). As I said, they printed nice and quickly and instantly dried! I think that they’re a perfect size for pinning up on a notice board! What you may not know is that you can peel the backing off of the photos to create a sticker! Who wants to start scrapbooking now?!

I’ll admit, the photos aren’t the most a m a z i n g quality ever, but you have to weigh it up. It’s not meant to be a means of printing photos professionally, if you want that, go to Jessops! It’s a way of sharing and keeping memories, I think! I’m definitely taking this when I go to University next year (September 2019) because I think it’ll be really good for capturing and printing memories, both old and new!

The App

Last but not least, let’s talk about the app! The app is completely free and allow you to connect your phone to the printer! But, that’s not it! You can also add filters, stickers and borders to your photos to make them really stand out against anything else! Fun Fact: if your photo is a Live Photo (iOS), you can scan your printed photo to see it come alive (using AR effects). The app is pretty straightforward to use and I experienced no crashes or lagging.

Conclusion

Overall, I think that this is a really nifty little device and I’d definitely recommend it – especially if you’re one for taking lots of photos with your friends! Yes, the paper can appear expensive, but I find that it’s better value for money if you buy more packs at a time!

I hope you enjoyed my HP Sprocket review! There’s going to be another (you lucky souls!) new post tomorrow where I am going to be sharing with you my exam results (which I get at 5PM today!).

Thanks for reading – what’s your favourite photo product?

Happy 1st Birthday Blog!

It’s My One Year Blogiversary!

Over the course of the last year, I have had: 3300 page views, managed to accumulate 704 combined social media following and I have published 114 posts! I think we have an awful lot to celebrate today! A year ago today, I started blogging…

Actually that’s a lie. I’ve been blogging since the dark ol’ year of 2014, I believe! But today we’re celebrating the highs and the lows of the past year, when I started on this blog and I really started to take blogging seriously. In the past I’ve had a couple of blogs with a few posts thrown together here and there, but this day last year is when it really started. Everything I’d learned, albeit very gradually, came together and ‘Jess Louise’ as we know it today was born!

I remember the day quite vividly. It was the day after I’d finished my last GCSE exam (Business & Communication Systems, Unit 8) and I was reading over my (now non-existent) blog and decided I was ready for a change. It’d been the same for years and I was going to be starting a new College with new, and older, people and I thought that my blog needed to grow up too. So, I created a WordPress.com account and, voila, the early evolutionary stage of my new ‘Jess Louise’ arose! It took me no longer than two months after that to take the ‘Self Hosted Plunge’ so to speak. I had, and still have, big ambitions for this little space of the internet so I knew that it was going to be worth it. I still stand by that today as one of the best decisions I probably ever made! (as for my A level choices this time last year, ehhhh nope).

Here’s to the next year of ‘Jess Louise’! I hope that you’ll continue to follow me on my journey. I’m hoping to share even more about my experiences as a college student, the university application process and things that I love within the next year! I’m actually so excited to see what’s going to to come out of this when I’m writing this post this time next year! Literally anything could happen!

Tell me, what has been your favourite post? What has been your least favourite? Is there anything I could change about my little corner of the internet? Your opinion matters to me and it is in my best interests to keep you engaged as readers. Which leads me on to, do you have any post suggestions or anything else you’d like to hear more about? Perhaps I’d mentioned something once which gripped your interest, or perhaps there’s a particular style of post you really like? Whatever it is, tell me! Let’s keep ‘Jess Louise’ going for another year!

My goals for the next year include keeping up with my posting schedule. There, unfortunately, has been several occasions where I have come off track a bit in publishing my post. This is mainly due to lack of organisation, but some were due to unforeseen circumstances. Whereas I can’t minimise things that can happen that prevent me from posting, I can strive to be more organised, and my Dot Creates Ultimate Blog Planner will certainly be assisting me with that.

Anyway, thanks for sticking by me for the past year – or longer! I’m excited to see where we will go next and who else will come and join our ride!

Thanks for reading – as always…