Wednesday, 23 August 2017

What's in my bag for college ?

Hi everyone,

First of all I want to say a big congratulations to everyone who got there leveling cert results last week. Sixth year for me was the most stressful year of my life as it is for most people so take comfort in knowing that it is behind you and everything from here on in should be easier. For those of you who did get offers on Monday woohoo go you !!! This post can help you to make  list of what you really need for college day to day life. 

It's that time of year again back to school haul's are everywhere. I don't know about you but they are my favourite posts to read or videos to watch on Youtube. I love buying stationary I am a little bit obsessed but this year I really tried not to over buy. Pretty much everything I did buy I will be bringing with me everyday so I decided to do a 'what's in my bag' post. After three years of college I finally know exactly what I need and hopefully this will help some people starting first year college to cut out what you don't need to buy.

The first thing your going to need is a folder to hold all the hand outs and notes you are going to get in class. I didn't bring a folder last year and ended up with missing notes or damaged notes. This is particularly annoying if I've dragged my lazy ass out of bed for class and still don't have the notes because I lost them. I recommend to bring a thin folder like the one above from TKMax which was 6.99 for a pack of six. When I get home I will put the notes in there proper folders depending on the class.

These are the assignment folders I will be using this semester. Last semester I actually used the one's from the first picture but basically my lecturer's kept the folders and that worked out kind of expensive so this year I found these ones for only 42 cent each in Sostrene Greene so even if some get taken or lost I won't mind as much. These are a great way of making sure the condition of your assignments are good when your handing them up and also that pages won't be lost.

I am in love with these notebooks from TKMax they look like Ted Baker copies. They were 5.99 each. I will be using these as lab notebooks so all my records are together. What's really cool about these is the calendar on the front page a space at the top of each page for you to put the date.

Now for the one piece of stationary you really need above all else. A simple refill pad. This is what I use to take all of my notes. Then I simply rip out the pages and put them in there class folder at home, I use one poly pocket per lecture so everything stays together. It saves you carrying loads of notebooks everyday and also I find it easier for studying to know where each lecture ended. Any refill pad will do just fine but I really like these ones from TKMax for 8.99. It saves the notebook from being damaged and you can remove and replace the refill pad when it runs out, plus the design is pretty. I just stuck some post it tabs on the inside as well.

A good diary can change your life and make college so much easier especially if it is your first semester in college because there is so much to remember. I have talked about diary's in previous posts so I won't now. This is a agenda which I got from TKMax for 8.99.

Let's get down to basics, pencil cases, pens they are all very standard. For most students you will probably only need a blue or black pen, a stapler for assignments and a highlighter. You will definitely need a lock for your locker, bring it on the first day to make sure you get a good locker. The unnecessary bits that always come in handy are a pencil parer, paper clips and some colored pens to make your notes more appealing. 

For STEM student's you will need a ruler, pencils, rubber, goggles depending on your labs, tables book and most definitely a scientific calculator.

I also showed my bag which I will be using this semester in my last post. It was 50 euro in Parfois, It has separate pockets for my laptop and books so I can easily find them and keep them safe.

Good luck to everyone starting college soon.


Saturday, 12 August 2017

5 Items To Invest In For College

When it comes to back to school shopping it is easy to loose sight of what you think you need vs what you actually need. After three years I have finally worked out exactly what I need for going back to college. I now only invest in products that will last me until I finish college. Listed below are five products that I could not live without for college. That doesn't mean they have to cost a fortune. The cheapest item is only 6.99 euro and the most expensive is about 70 euro.

1. Diary

A good diary can make your life so much easier. I have always relied on a diary to keep track of assignment due dates, homework and when exams start. It did take me a while to find a diary that fit all my needs. I wanted a large size diary with a monthly calendar and individual days as well. Last year I used the 365 happy days planner but felt 60 euro was a bit too much to pay for a diary. This year I found a agenda in TK Max for 6.99 euro. Only down side was that I bought it in July so six months were already gone, but I still think it was very cheap for six months. It's also very pretty and matches my stationary very well, and it comes with stickers and funky art work inside all drawn by female artists. #girlpower

2. Bag/ Bag pack

This is probably the single most important thing you need for college. Having the right bag makes life so much easier, something I only learned this year. I used to use bag packs because the fit my laptop and notebooks but found I had to take everything out to get to my purse or phone. This year I got this laptop bag from Parfois. It has separate pockets for notebooks and my laptop, as well as space for my purse chargers etc. The bag cost 50 euro and also comes in black and grey.

3. One Good Textbook

Don't get caught up in buying all the text books on the recommended reading list. Typically there will be one book that will cover most topics. Last year I bought one chemistry book that covers beginners to intermediate chemistry. It covered me for most of my classes this year and last year. I bought it because it was recommended by my lecturers and although there were many copies in the library I just used it so much I wanted my own copy. The book cost between 70 and 80 euro in shops but I got it on amazon for 50 euro.

4. Student Leap Card

Having a student leap card is the best way to save money in college. You could easily save 30 euro a week by having a student card and they only cost 10 euro to get.

5. Printer

This is where the invest comes in. Your college should have printers available to use. My college charges 5 cent per page which is pretty decent especially if you can't afford a printer at the time. I found it more convenient to have one at home, often times the printers in college wouldn't work. My printer cost 70 euro because it has a scanner and copier built in. You can buy second hand ones very cheap on done deal and other sites as well as deals on amazon.

Hopefully this helps some people with savings, don't forget to enjoy the rest of the summer while it lasts.


Monday, 17 July 2017

4 common Linkedin mistakes

Hi guys,

I decided to do something a little different today. Summer is officially in full swing and no one including myself wants to worry about school lunches, studying or anything of that sort. Instead I will be focusing the next month or so on things you can do over the summer to help you for starting college.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the site it is the worlds largest professional network. Helping to connect companies and professionals from all over the world. I myself hadn't heard of the site till my first year in college. Basically it is a way to connect with businesses and employers, and highlight yourself in a professional way. While your in college it can help connect you to businesses and let you research more about companies or can even help you when applying for jobs. I always link my Linkedin on my CV it shows you are professional and prepared as well as giving an employer a short list of your skills.

It can take a while to get used to, and starting a profile seems a lot more work than it actually is. Below are a list of the top four common mistakes people make at the start.

1. Adding irrelevant people

Quality is always better than quantity ! Grow your friends by adding people you work with, are in college with or if you know people in companies you would be interested in working for. Linkedin will then start sending you people you may know based on what information you have given on your profile, your friends and the companies you follow. It is also important that you follow potential employers on Linkedin especially if you link your profile on your CV because then employers will see you have previously shown an interest in the company.

2. Unprofessional photo

Your photo is the first thing people will see when they view your profile so it needs to be professional. If you link your profile to your CV its more than likely the first time an employer will be able to put a face to the name so make it count. Try stay away from group photos, dark lighting, and graduation pictures, stick to a clean white background and from the shoulders up.

3. Leaving blanks

I know it may seem like a huge time consuming task when your first start. There are so many boxes to fill in, find connections and follow groups but there is a reason to fill in each one. The more information you give the easier it is for Linkedin to match you with jobs, organizations and people you may know. It really does make your profile more appealing and professional as well.

Employers look at your Linkedin to get the most information about you in the quickest way possible. The headings on Linkedin are specifically chosen for this reason, your education, skills, and work experience. Make sure to also include the skills which make you applicable for the job somewhere on your profile. You can do this by adding a summary about yourself eg. a people person/ good communicator or in work experience/ education eg. trained in mass spectrometry.

                                                               4. Reviews

Having reviews from people help support what you've just said you can do above. They could be colleagues, lecturers or other professionals. You don't need a million reviews from your friends saying how nice of a person you are stick strictly to the skills and attributes.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Gap year

Hi guys ... feel like I've taken a bit of a gap year when it came to the blog lately.

It's leaving cert time for thousands of students in Ireland and with that comes a lot of pressure to know what you want to do with your life. The thing is most students have next to no clue what they want to do when they leave college and that's fine.

Sometimes taking a year off can be the best thing for you. When I say take a year off I don't me sitting around doing nothing for a year that won't prepare you for anything. I mean asking yourself what could I do this year that would prepare for college. What is stopping you right now ?

Maybe your not sure what you want to study at all, maybe your stuck between two choices and can't decide which one to take, are you under eighteen and worried your not ready for such a big change. Many students are under eighteen when they start college and for most of them it makes no difference but for some people it's just too soon. So many of my friends started college young and wish they had taken the extra year out. As well as not being emotionally ready in some cases, you also won't get to experience a lot of the night life and extra curricular activities that your over eighteen friends will.

When I finished school I got my place in college but I knew I wasn't ready to jump straight into a four year degree that I really wasn't even sure I wanted. I made the conscientious decision to take the year out. I didn't sit at home for a year I enrolled in a general science course for a year it helped me get a better understanding in science. If the reason your not ready for college is because your unsure of your course choice than I strongly suggest looking into 1 year courses.

Maybe you feel college isn't for you at all or you need time to mature and experience life. Take the year out and work or travel it could be just what you need to clear your head and find out what you truly love. At the end of the day there is nothing worse than being two or three years into a degree and thousands of euro wasted when you realise your not happy. Do what it is you love and don't be sorry for doing it.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Why you should choose science

Hey guys,

Today's post is about SCIENCE so get excited !!

As a student ambassador and science student I get asked a lot about why I chose science. So why exactly should you chose science as your future career choice. Well there is more than one reason. I mean the only one that should really matter is that you like science and could honestly see yourself studying this for a long time. As I continue in my degree, my ideal job is constantly changing. Medicinal chemistry, environmental health, inks and dyes and it's because the possibilities are endless. If you ever wanted a degree with endless opportunities science is just that.

Interesting side story I didn't ever consider being a scientist until my last year in school. Since I was little I wanted to study law. I never once questioned doing anything else. When I was in Sixth year I went to the higher options show in the RDS. I went into a law talk and fell asleep within the first 20 minutes. I quickly realised that studying law for four plus years was not realistic for me. So I left the talk and went to find a friend who was in a science talk. Well the women speaking showed in no uncertain terms how many jobs the were in science that year and the starting salary for scientists in Ireland. I thought about it, I always loved science, money in science was good and I wanted a job that would keep me interested. Science ticked all these boxes for me so I shifted all my attention into finding an area of science that I would love. For me that  choice was chemistry. I guess that was less of a side story and more like half a blog post !

There is something very satisfying about learning how things work. This is a core principle that almost every scientist has. Science really is everywhere whether it's learning how a microwave works or how chocolate is made, yes chocolate making is a science in itself ( Its a branch of chemistry). When most people think of science they see this

@ can stock photo credit

I'd like to point out we are not all nutty professor stereo types. For the most part we do indeed work in a lab but a recent campaign by the royal society of chemistry is pushing the boundaries of what society expects of a scientist. Such as this marine chemist.

Science being everywhere and being involved in all natural occurrences means that scientists get to do some pretty amazing work in every corner of the world. Ill put the link of RSC down below.

Not only are there many exciting jobs for scientist but there are many jobs period. Ever heard the saying there is no such thing as an unemployed mathematician, that's because a mathematician can work in finance, science, technology the possibilities are endless. Science and finance are two of the only sectors that continue to higher more people even in a recession. Ireland is the largest exporter of pharmaceuticals in Europe. The pay for a scientist is pretty good as well.

The real reason you should choose science is because you love it. All scientist share one of two common goals. One to help people or two, to leave your mark on history. Bottom line is would you mind getting up everyday and going to class to listen to a lecturer talk about science for four years. Don't get me wrong there are days I would rather stay in bed for an extra hour or some classes that I don't relish going to everyday but overall I don't mind going to college everyday because I truly enjoy learning about science and that's all that really matters when choosing a degree.

For those of you interested in learning more about the royal society of chemistry this is the link.

Credit for the second photo above also goes to the royal society of chemistry.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

How to study effectively

Hi guys,

I know it's been a while since I last posted but second year med chem exams can be stressful. For most of us a new year means a new semester. This brings with it new classes and an opportunity to study the right way. 

When I say 'The right way' I mean taken what you wish from my list of tips and making them work for you. I done a previous study smarter not harder post a few months ago but I've picked up some other tips since then that I thought I would share with you guys. 

So let's get started.....

Numero uno, Letting go. 

Don't spend time dwelling on what you could have done last semester. If your like me you won't get your exam result's for a while. There is absolutely no benefit to stressing about your results now, it won't change them. Instead take note of what didn't work last time and build on that. 

Revise material sooner

One thing that didn't work for me was scheduling all my study for two specific days. It is proven that revising material straight after you've had a class is better for you. Although you may have the notes in front of you the point of going to class is for the extra nuggets of wisdom your lecturer will slip into the lecture. For instance highlighting what info in the notes is not going to be on the exam. I have started studying each lecture notes the same day as the lecture. Of course this means some days will have more studying than others.

Plan ahead

Plan for the free time you have. On a monday I have labs, no classes therefore no lecture notes to study. Instead I start my lab reports that day. Again the information is still fresh in  your mind. Last semester I would start reports whenever I had free time that could be days after by which point I would need to look at my manual to try and remember what the point of the experiment was. Plan one day maybe at the weekend that you have completely free, this day can be used for any missed revision and finishing up reports.

Do the self work

Unlike school everything you need to know will not be handed to you. 50% of what you need to learn is self teaching. You can get this extra info from books, websites or my favorite YOUTUBE !! So obviously don't use Youtube as a source in a report but to help you really grasp the hard topics it is a very goof source of information. For chemistry student's I recommend 'Ben's chem videos'. He thought me a whole module in one night. 

Most lecturers provide a recommended reading list on the first day. This is something I did not use last semester and really regretted. This semester I made sure to get the name of at least one recommended book for each module.

I hope these tips help to make semester too a little bit easier.