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.

Easter break – Gloucester Quays

Hello everyone! I’ve been very busy with my studies, but I finally have something to write about: the Easter break!

I went on a trip to London on Friday(14th) to meet some of my Brazilians friends that were there, I came back on the same day so I got really tired, but it was very fun! I spent the rest of the weekend in my bed trying to recover from the long-walks and tiredness from London. But on Sunday I found out about an ‘Easter Market’ in Gloucester Quays and I decided to go.

It’s very easy to get to Gloucester Quays by bus if you live in Cheltenham, and the Easter Market is definitely worth it (there are some really cool events there throughout the year as well).

In the Easter Market you can find a great variety of food, e.g. homemade cheese, jam, pies, chips, sweets, cakes, etc. There are also people selling plants, crafts, jewellery, and much more.

I’ve tried some delicious food in there, and they were very cheap! I started with some churros but sadly no photos were taken so I’m going to show you some of the foods that I tried there:

0 tais pulled pork

This is pulled pork with chips, and some onion salad on the top. It was one of the most delicious food that I’ve tried here in England, it was 5 pounds for that.

Tais 🙂

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

Walkin’ on the Wild Side

University is one of those times that can be the unhealthiest years a young person can experience. Stress, hurt, and, disappointment. Yet these things are what develop us as people. This being said it’s also one of the wildest times of our young adult life. For example; I have four different projects due, a weekly radio show to do, and the stress of being in a different country to name just a few.

But I’ve also been able to do some incredible things. With the university I’ve been able to meet amazing people on the sports teams, create my own club night at one of the student bars, and travel with some of my favourite people.

Plus there are some absolutely amazing events coming up this week. First and formally the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be featured this week with thousands upon thousands of people flooding our fair town with the promise of sports. The whole town will be painted red and we get to be a part of this world-renowned fiesta. It’s simply one not to be missed.

Also on the way for yours truly is a trip called Tour, in which each of the sports teams select an exotic destination to travel out to and play the sport they love! I’ll be joining the boarders club as we head to the French Alps for a massive outdoor ski & snowboard festival. It’s cheap as dirt and sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime.

While exhaustion, illness, or stress may be in store while you have your stay at university you can also expect excitement, opportunity, and just plain fun to be waiting for you as well. Should be one hell of a ride and I just can’t wait.

Till next time,

Ty Javos

Live Country Music

Back in Canada my friends and I all listen to country music, but here in England not many people appreciate Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton as much as they should. I was super surprised when I saw one of my favourite Canadian country bands was going to be playing in Birmingham and I knew I had to get at least one of my friends on the country music bandwagon. After our lectures were finished during the day (since I am here for school after all) my friend and I set off to Birmingham to see High Valley at the O2 institute. The band was doing a European tour with stops in London, Amsterdam, and Glasgow as well. At first when I checked the ticket prices I was a bit confused because they were only 11 pounds, but my inner student kicked in and realized that was more money I could save for next weeks grocery shop, since there was no way I was missing this show!

We ended up getting to take pictures with the band in a before show meet and greet, which was basically us standing in a room with 5 other people from North America. It was definitely a different vibe than I was expecting, but after getting photos, autographs, and snapchats I wasn’t complaining. It was cool to see how far everyone had traveled from just to see this show, and it made me realize there are lots of other students out there in the exact same boat as I am. We shared stories about what we were doing in England, how long we were staying for, and how we all managed to see High Valley for less than 20 bucks.

This week marks 6 months that I’ve been living in England and before seeing the concert I was definitely feeling a little bit disconnected from home. Standing in the concert hall belting out the words to the songs I knew all too well though, was the exact reminder that I needed. Yes I am about 4000 miles away from home, but I run into things everyday that bring me right back. So I can tell you that after that weekend I was able to successfully convert my friend Louise into a country fan so now when we both think of home, maybe our idea of it wont feel so different!

The UK, your window to the world

Given the merit of UK’s unbeatable location, studying here not only offers you opportunities to explore a single nation-state but also provides you singular experience to travel around the European countries on a budget.

During the New Year break, I visited Iceland, the so-called “Land of Fire and Ice.” Even though I’ve learned about this country from geography textbooks, the astonishing opening scene (shot in Iceland) of Prometheus, a 2012 science-fiction film directed by English director & producer Ridley Scott, is the reason for my visit.

 

 

The country is of two extremes, with glaciers in proximity to volcanic craters. The crystal clear glacier lagoon, dreamy diamond beach, fascinating geyser eruption, mesmerising northern lights, all in all, a must experience for everyone. The natural landscapes are scenic and surreal, while the human-made landscape of Harpa elaborates the beauty and power of geometry.

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If you would like to visit a place like Iceland, travelling from Asia could be a painstaking and an extremely expensive experience that takes you an enormous amount of time and money. But if you start the journey from Cheltenham, you can benefit from the borough’s proximity to Bristol Airport and enjoy direct flights offered by EasyJet, a low-cost British airline which operates direct services to most European countries at affordable prices.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to save you both time and money, and opening your eyes through travelling when you are still young at heart?

Iceland is a place I’ve been craving to go, and studying in the UK has offered me this precious opportunity to turn my idea into reality. Do you have any dream destination in mind? Do you have any aspiration for the future like studying abroad or starting a new chapter in life? Let’s stay positive, work hard, and make it happen.

January – New Year, New Start

So, Christmas came and so did a new year. I was able to come home for that period of time but I do recommend for new students international or not, to return in January as it’s normally future conference week, I missed it this year and I won’t be missing it next year.

Some have exams after Christmas but I had them before so now I’m looking forward to starting two new subjects and finishing my first year at uni.

Coming home has been amazing and I don’t want to leave. Struggling with homesickness is common but not as common after three months. I don’t have the answer to how to deal with it as each person is different, but me? I write down each night 3 things I want to achieve the next day and stick to them. This gives me a short-term goal each day and helps me focus on where I am and where I want to be.

Weather in the UK this time of year is cold and if you’re lucky snowy. I’ve never seen snow so I’m also looking forward to going back.

So I’ll be packing my bags and flying back to uni soon but I’ve booked my April flights so at least I know when I’ll be coming back. I’ll write again after landing.