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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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 🙂

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

 

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

Aime Toi Toi-Même

I figured I’d save this piece for the day after the international celebrated day of love, Valentine’s Day. Everyday should be a day to show love.

Sometime last year, a music artiste dropped an album that was a hit. One of the most played songs from that album was titled ‘love yourself’.

It basically bordered around a guy reminiscing, soliloquizing or leaving a message for a certain girl after the end of a relationship…

It ends up with the singer telling the girl that he has moved on and he has no regrets because she was a really hard person to love (or she just made it horribly difficult).

I read somewhere (and I’m not just saying that! I really did) that you cannot accept the love that you think you don’t deserve…and that is the truth (speaking from experience here people!)

Simply put: Love starts from within.  To accept love, you have to believe you deserve it (or make an attempt at least) and to believe you deserve it, you have to practice on yourself. SO!

Aime Toi Toi-Même. That means, “Love yourself” in Spanish. HOWEVER, there is a dental floss-thin line between self-love and self-obsession. Self-love comes from loving yourself (if the name didn’t give that away). It is about loving who you are, seeing and accepting your flaws and working towards growth. Self-love doesn’t mean flawless. It doesn’t mean ‘perfect’ or ‘all figured out’. Self-love means: “I’ll commit to being the best version of myself, and even when I don’t feel like there is progress, I will still be consistent in trying”.

Self-obsession, on the other hand, is a bit more but ironically involves fewer people.

It is more ”until I am perfect in my own eyes and I make everyone believe I am perfect, no one matters” (see how many ‘I’s’ one sentence carries?) “or maybe they do, but I just need to be perfect so, at the moment I cannot help you, or show up to your event to support you, or even check in on you at the end of your day, or ask you about work or how you fared on your test, but if you give me some time to continually brood over my imperfect life, then I could one day focus on you (hopefully, before you’re dead!)”.

The only one who is all round perfect created you perfectly. So yeah, maybe there is a possibility of attaining perfection (you are allowed to contend with that) but, alas: It does not happen overnight. Perfection is a process, almost infinite. It needs commitment and consistency, and the perfect creator is ever willing to help you on that journey, but you need to be willing to accept it. Even He cannot force that on you. To accept it, you have to understand that He thinks you ARE worth dying for (literally, He actually died for you).

Summarily, above this sentence are a couple hundred words, and if words are easier said than done, you need more than a couple hundred attempts at an action. It really is not a piece of cake or a smooth journey. It’ll have some bumps in it and may even spill over. However, keep the two C’s in mind: Consistency and Commitment and it’ll all be worth it in the end. Love yourself, because you really are beautiful (scars and all) and pleasssssse accept love because you really are worth it.

Happy Love Day,

M.

Not TOO MUCH!!

Being away from home means no one to tell you what time you should be home by or how you should be studying instead of partying. So, studying abroad gives you a lot of freedom and it is all about being independently making decisions and growing to be an independent person. However, as a student, you might face so many temptations around you, your friends’ undeniable invitations for parties and drinking, or procrastinating to study until deadlines because your mom is not there to push you. As much as it is very free, you also have the duty to take responsibility for the consequences of your choices. Surely you don’t want to fail at the end of the academic year, and pay one more thousand pounds and study one more year.

It is normal that students are to not only study, but also have fun with friends and enjoy life. At this age, we all want to try new things and take risks for everything we do. However, we should always be aware of taking control and stop ourselves not to have TOO MUCH in everything. Too much study can limit you to have a good social life and at the same time, too many social events cannot be good for your results and goals. So, why not having a good balance between study and fun so that we can enjoy our student life and still achieve our goals?

Work Hard and Play Hard because you are being a responsible person and at the same time, enjoying the life to the maximum!!!

 

1-htet

Photo: Google