When Stress Strikes

May is the month where all the work that has been done in the university year is put into its final details and it is submitted. It is when students are taking over the university in high numbers and the library becomes as noisy as the refectory. In times like this one, it is almost impossible to remember how to avoid stress issues and how to be organised when your mind is pulling information from all the academic year in order to decide how the final paper will look like.

I have been going through a complicated moment due to personal concerns and university decisions. I am on my way to change my course from Criminal Psychology to Criminology and Sociology, this is my first year and the expectation of submitting successful work is not that high but still exists as its feedback will be essential for my personal growth in the course, and I have been attempting to build a proud cv since I first stood my feet in this university. Consequently, I am stressed.

When I added my personal concerns to these other ones that already existed, the thought I would not make until the place I planned to achieve tortured my self-confidence for a while. Life can be cruel more often that we would like to be reminded of. I did allow myself to suffer a little because we all need to express our pain one way or another, and after I have had enough I had to force myself to leave that spectrum of despair. I have some consequences of those moments following me now, but they will either pass, or I will soon learn to live with them.

However, I write this as a reminder to myself and as an advice to whoever reads it. Although it is obvious, there are moments that I question everything around me, from friends to career choice to what I will eat tonight. Sometimes I think these questions become more frequent as time goes by, and a friend has already told me that experiences will always make us have more questions to be asked than answers to decipher. Therefore, the best to do is to keep evolving, adapting to what you find best to and improving yourself as an individual.

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Hope you had a happy Easter

It’s spring already here, but I think someone above the clouds keeps forgetting so. Two weeks ago was extremely hot, and the sun could blind whoever look straight to it. Now, however, I hear my friends joking about ‘four seasons in a day’, as the sun is out but is not hot.

For Easter, the weather was good, refreshing. I spent a week in London to visit my uncle, seeking a familiar company. Many of my friends had their parents or friends visiting, especially considering the two weeks holiday we were given. For me, and for my classmates as well, these two weeks were a relief. It is the end of April now and we have three exams to be done in the exams week in May, plus another assignment in the same month. Although I have not touched a university book, it is good to have some time to organise my thoughts and avoid panicking.

To those who feel interested in seeing how Easter is for the English, there were some Easter celebrations happening around, either in Cheltenham or London. Mostly they were turned to children, but I have seen some for youngsters and adults as well. Easter, for instance, is a perfect excuse to organise a chocolate market. Also, there are local families around Cheltenham that invite students to join small celebrations, where there is food, like the typical hot cross bun, and conversations about related themes. I have joined a Hong Kong family in one of these meetings to celebrate the holiday, and it was a fantastic day!

barbara easter

Although is a little difficult to contain the homesickness, it is good to seek another perspective for the holiday. However, I know it is easier said than done, and that may be the reason why I have called my mum on FaceTime about three times in a week already. Fortunately, the university and my friends always make sure to occupy my mind, and now I also have beautiful, and hot as hell, sunny days to look forward to.

Barbara

Varsity

Sports teams here at the university are very different than back in North America, so when I kept hearing about a big tournament at the end of the year called “varsity” I was completely in the dark. Basically, each team picks their varsity squad who then goes up against our rival university in one final game for each sport. Whoever wins that game gains a point for their own university and whichever school at the end of the week has the most points wins varsity.

Confused? Me too, but as varsity got closer, it made sense to me that this was more like a final tournament to see which school could come out on top. The University of Gloucestershire’s rival school is Worcester, which is about a 40-minute drive from Cheltenham. After joining the volleyball team at the beginning of the year, and in turn getting chosen for the varsity team, I got to be right up in all the action that took place during varsity week. It was amazing to see how the whole university came together to support each other at every single game, and with each win, you could feel the school spirit building. Leading up to varsity I had the chance to chat with some athletes and get their take on what varsity meant to them, and what they were most excited about before the week began.

In the end, the University of Gloucestershire came out on top, beating Worcester University 14-10 and I was so happy I got to be part of such an amazing week! Joining a sports team at the university was one of the best decisions I’ve made since coming to England, and varsity was such a great end to our season. #Bleedblue #teamglos

Inspiration. Motivation. Love?

These are the things I struggled most to find during the year that I’ve been here. It’s been one hell of a ride and the journey and memories that we all faced will be ones that we can never forget.

Yet if there’s one thing I’ve learned this amazing, terrifying, and awe-some experience is that self-reflection and patience are some of the most important things to master. Meditation, forgiveness, and self-forgiveness are some of the key elements in surviving this critical time in our lives where we finally discover who we are, and why do what we do.

All of us will struggle in our own way, some will fail, and others will achieve the highest of honours, but as I’ve come to understand it’s not about the downfalls or the expectations that we fail to meet. It’s about the ability to learn, to grow, the never-ending journey that defines who we are.

I still learn every day, or try anyway. One of the most useful lessons is simply this; take one day at a time. Life will hit you like a bitch but finding happiness in the simplest things will change your entire perspective on the phenomenon we live each day. A smile from a passing stranger, the friends we can rely on, and the fleeting moment…. Of knowing there’s help when we need it.

I wish I could say that things would get easier once we graduate this semester but it’s the absolute opposite. Life is about to get much more complicated in every single factor but that’s why we came here isn’t it? To equip ourselves with the necessary tools to deal with those difficulties that will eventually find our ways.

In part self-discovery is one of the most difficult challenges that may come our way. It’s still the most important… and once we find it? The rest comes naturally.

Peace, love, and respect to you all.

Ty.

CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP WEEK!

Right…. This is the week where Cheltenham is turned upside down! For better or for worst. People from all over the UK travel all the way to our beloved Chelt to witness and participate in one of the biggest event of the year! I was working at one of the busiest pubs last year and it was one hell of an experience! I definitely encourage you to take up on a part time job if you want to earn some extra cash as this is the best time to do so!

I got to meet people from different parts of the UK like Ireland and Liverpool for example, and witness them getting absolutely off their face with the bevvies which honestly was the best part of the job, the people haha! The amount of tips I got on a daily basis was honestly incredible. And for all the single ladies out there, I highly recommend you take your girlfriends out and throw something fancy on as there is no better moment for you to meet your knight in shining… suit?! * wink *

The streets are filled with people dressed up exceptionally dapper so it is definitely a sight not to be missed if you know what I mean!

This festival involves betting with over 600 million pounds! The first day is many peoples favorite. With over three massive races for punters to sink their teeth into. The final day features the Gold Cup and this is usually the biggest out of them all! Everyone usually hits the night clubs/pubs at the end of the day and places are usually open until the crack of dawn so yeah, it does get pretty crazy!

So guys, my advice to you is get your mates out because I cannot comprehend how amazing the atmosphere gets so it is something you’ll need to experience firsthand! Its unlike your typical night out in Cheltenham for sure. And if you do end up going out…. Do stay safe!

Till then my lovelies

Cass xx.

 

Easter

With Easter approaching most courses will have a couple of assignments to hand in and quite a bit of coursework to do. After race week, mentioned in my previous post, things in Cheltenham go back to normal. You’ll start seeing Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs everywhere because these are part of the Easter tradition in the UK.

Before the Easter break, especially for those, who like me, are living abroad, I recommend having sorted out housing for the next academic year. The reason for this is because after the break there’s only a couple of months left and if anything does go wrong or needs sorting out it’s better to have time left over than rushing it. Another benefit of getting it sorted out is after Easter most courses will be preparing for exams, with accommodation sorted it’s one less thing to stress about.

In March at uni you’ll also have to choose your module choices for the following year, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your personal tutor, again sooner rather than later, to discuss your career path and what subjects to take in order to get there.

It’s also a good time to start organising and thinking about internships and/or placements if this is applicable to you. Some courses they are obligatory in others they are optional.

March is also the month where most students should re-apply for their tuition loan through the British Government.

With any of the above the best place to ask for help again is your student Helpzone, with one based at each campus they are easily approached and very helpful.

Carla.

March in Cheltenham

On the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th Cheltenham hosts the biggest horse racing event in the UK. During race week, there are about 50,000 people on average over the four-day period. For students, it’s a good time to look for part time work opportunities as many companies employ students for a variety of jobs. The main place students apply is at the racecourse itself but, it’s important to apply a couple of months in advance as you do need to go through training and a practice period. The racecourse is about a 20-minute walk from the town centre or a 7 to 10-minute bus journey, if organising bus journeys, it’s good to keep in mind that during these dates the timetable and bus stops change due to traffic overflow.

Most pubs and restaurants do offers on food and drinks to attract more customers, but the prices do go up during the evening in most places. Another good idea is if you know you’re going out ring to check if you can reserve or get there as soon as possible as many places will be heaving with people.

For the races, most people dress up smart, the boys normally wear suits and tuxedos while the girls tend to wear dresses and heals. Even though it’s good fun it’s very important to remember safety as there are so many people about.

Good nights out for students during the rest of the year are mainly Mondays and Wednesdays, Wednesdays tend to be when all the sports societies group up for socials. Fridays and Saturdays tend to be more expensive.

The main two clubs in Cheltenham for students are: Fever which is open most days except Tuesdays and is free entry, and Moo – Moos which have different companies run it on different nights such as Glamourpuss, Propaganda and Blue&Blue. It’s also a five-pound entry but it’s where most students go.

The Races

March 13-17th marks a special couple of days for our town of Cheltenham, because its race week! Before entering the madness yesterday, I really had no idea what to expect, but after placing bets, meeting new people, and cheering on horses with names like “What’s Happening”, which is exactly what I was thinking for the majority of the day, I am so glad I got to experience race week firsthand. I was told this week gets crazy, and I have to admit, walking through town this week I’ve seen a lot more people carrying their shoes than usual, but I had no idea how big of an event this really is!

Before you get through the doors, or even close to the venue, you can tell how race week is able to transform the town. Places that don’t serve breakfast- are serving breakfast, you get asked for directions at least once a day, men are in 4 piece suits, women are wearing bright coloured hats, and everyone is smiling (the percentage of smiles after losing bets is significantly lower though). I decided I was going to place a couple of bets too, just to make the races even more exciting to watch. For a newbie race-goer like myself, I decided to put my money down on the horses that were favourited that day, so even though I wouldn’t really be making a profit, I could at least come away with a win! Though I thought my plan was foolproof, I didn’t take into account horse racing is really all about luck, and I ended up losing each race that I bet on.

Although I didn’t bring home any winnings, I’m taking it home as a victory in my books because of the outfits, the people, and the overall atmosphere. If you get the chance to be in Cheltenham for this week of utter madness, I have nothing but good things to say. The Cheltenham races were an event I’m so glad I didn’t miss, and something I know I’ll never forget!

Emi

 

Something NEW I tried in Cheltenham

They say, ‘Time flies so fast’ and it is true…

I am currently doing my final year and I have only just noticed that 6 months have already passed and I am very close to finishing my degree. This means that in another 6 months’ time, I will be going home and it means less time to add new things to my bank of UK experience.

While I am trying to seek new things, a friend of mine has invited me to try a salsa dance class. I said, ‘No’ for two months, with excuses like ‘I know nothing about it’, ‘I won’t be able to do it well’, ‘People already know how to dance, so they will laugh at me’ and many others. However, after two months of constant pressure from my salsa-dancing peers, I decided to try it.  And you know what? I enjoyed it a lot. I am in love with salsa now! I still cannot do it well but that does not matter to me because I am enjoying it. I have done three classes now and I can’t wait to go to more classes.

They have Beginner classes every Friday at Copa, which is in Cheltenham and making it easy to access for Park/ FCH/ Hardwick students, Monday’s class is at Bishop’s Cleeve and Tuesday’s at Gloucester. Instructors and other learners are very friendly and supportive and they start teaching everything slowly like ABC, so it is very easy and enjoyable to learn. Attending these classes give, you the opportunity to make new friends and it allows you to escape the atmosphere of just study and work. I love it because I am learning a new thing and at the same time, I am enjoying it and making new friends, it’s like killing three birds with one stone, not even two birds. I would recommend it if you are looking for something new and cool!

Htet Htet

Racecourse Week – Such a busy week!

Many of you might know about the horse racing festival at the racecourse if you have browsed about Cheltenham before making the decision to choose the University of Gloucestershire. It is such a popular and prestigious event where everyone visits Cheltenham and enjoys the races, and the festive vibe. You will see the High Street packed with well dressed ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gentlemen’ from all over the United Kingdom excited for the races, which is quite an experience for someone who has seen the ordinary days of Cheltenham for a long time.

For international students who want to take part, there are many chances to be in the racecourse. Since it is a huge festival, the Cheltenham Racecourse need many people to work for them in many aspects of the business such as the catering, security, and entertainment and so on. Many recruitment agencies will both come to the university and recruit students at fairs, or they will announce vacancies online.

I worked at the racecourse last year as a waitress with my friends and had lots of fun. The great thing is that you not only earn money but also get to see the races, watch the people enjoying the races, and make many new friends as many university students from nearby cities such as Bristol, Coventry, Birmingham, and Oxford come to work. It might be a bit tiring to work for four consecutive days (you can work 2 or 3 days as well, optional) but it is totally worth it. It was such a great experience to add to my bank of UK experiences since I cannot have this anywhere else.

Htet Htet