A Day (Off) in the Life of a Brookes Student

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At the time of writing this, it’s a Monday, and I have Mondays, Wednesdays and the weekend off. I work Tuesdays and have lectures on Thursdays and Fridays. Having not done that much over the weekend in terms of work, I'm trying to crack on a little bit by being at the library to work on a 3,000 word essay due in a couple of weeks. I’m also here writing about how my days off tend to go; this one so far is going well apart from the constant sneezing and the inability to get From Paris to Berlin by Infernal out of my head. Anyway, I’m photographing as I go, and making sure to note down how I actually spend my time off because frankly, I have no idea. Let’s begin…

How to stay sane
I set a bunch of alarms every morning, and eventually wake up. I was up a bit later than normal last night so it took a few attempts to get out of bed. I ended up waking up at 10am, and after scrolling through Facebook and Instagram for about twenty minutes, I made a cup of tea and a bowl of Weetos (so gourmet). I tried to fight the temptation, but ended up watching an episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix with breakfast, and managed to actually get dressed and pack a bag for uni at about 11am. By quarter to 12 I was ready to actually leave.
Cold but pretty in Marston
The literal uphill struggle that is my walk from Marston Road to uni was painful but pretty. I got to uni at 12 but going to the shop, and actually trying to find a seat in the library in week 10 - my bad for coming so late - meant I didn’t sit down until about half past. I managed to grab a seat at the back of level 3 in the quiet zone.
Kitted out with tea, squash and Finding Dory tissues

I had my giant bag of crisps, some doughnuts, and a cup of tea (you’d be correct in thinking I won’t be writing about staying healthy at uni anytime soon) and it was time to start actual work. I had yet again forgotten headphones so this work session was going to be a killer. After writing half of this piece, I reluctantly started reading through some online journals around my essay topic.

I managed to do some genuinely uninterrupted work for almost two hours, but my pen decided to give in and I couldn’t make any more notes. I put out a weird facebook status on the off-chance someone I knew had a spare pen and would bring it to be on level 3, but I eventually went to the Colonnade and bought a new one (why are there no free pens?), as well as another cup of tea.
New tea, new pen, new me
I got back on to note-making and managed to work through all the journals I had opened the night before. At 4pm I had a loo break – thought you’d like to know – followed by one last journal reading and note-making. Then instead of doing anything with my notes, I spent around half an hour doing some online window shopping for Christmas presents, and perusing Facebook. At this point, I wrote more of this article, because I’d eaten about 80% of a bag of Sensations crisps, four jam doughnuts (I’d call them small though), and two cups of tea. On the plus side, I had managed to find 27 references, and 2 tables to use in my essay. I was originally going to meet a friend in the library but I felt my brain come to a standstill so I decided to check the buses in preparation for going home and eating proper (sort of) food.
Our half Christmas/half birthday sort of living room
Shortly after getting home I was on the phone to my sister for an hour and a half (and was also passed around a few family members during). We had a long chat about plans for Christmas and an open day I went to last week. After that I went downstairs and cooked a frozen pizza for dinner (Michelin star for me). After that my housemates played various movie themes and I scrolled through a few Buzzfeed articles with funny animal pictures. I don’t remember how I spent the few hours between dinner and going to bed because I probably didn’t do anything interesting. Usually we’d watch a film but I’m pretty sure I tried to go to bed fairly early because of work the next day. I do know that I watched an episode of Gilmore Girls before bed so at least I’m consistent.

So there you have it, a pretty uninteresting but average day off for me as a student at Brookes. Other days can be really different; for example I’ll be going to London to see my brother at the weekend, but equally some can be thoroughly boring and can involve sitting on the sofa doing very little amounts of work in between a sort-of-film-marathon.

How do you spend your days off at uni? Let me know!


GUEST BLOG: Brookes Union Women's Officer: What's the point?

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I'm pretty newly elected, so for any of you who don't know me, I'm Becca and I'm the Union Women's Officer 2016/17. I decided to run for women's officer because although I believe we've come a long way in the last few decades in regards to inequality issues, I think we still have some way to go.
The embarrassingly enthusiastic photo taken of me on my first day.
My main focus this year is improving support structures in place for sexual assault and harassment victims and working on the university policy towards this. The report of the Universities UK Taskforce examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students was published a couple of weeks ago. The demographic profile of universities is important given that government analysis shows that females aged between 16 and 19 are most likely to be the target of a sexual offence (8.2%) compared to the prevalence rate across all females of 3% and the prevalence rate across both males and females of 1.6%. The same data also shows that female, full-time students have a high prevalence rate of 6.8%. I’m sure most will agree with me in saying these figures are unacceptable so I’m very involved at the moment in talks about a possible more specific sexual assault framework so we can assure that we have the right structures in place for victims and the appropriate measures ongoing in the form of prevention schemes.
The newly elected part-time officer with the full-time officers!
Similarly, I'm hoping to run a campaign centred on healthy relationships and preventing domestic abuse within the university. As prevention is the best cure, organising speakers and publicising safeguarding mechanisms for victims of domestic abuse, be that emotional, physical or sexual, would be a positive thing. Talks! Campaigns! Events! All part of the goal for me. Ultimately, I am keen to promote, support, celebrate and protect female and non-binary students at Oxford Brookes.
Something I really wish to stress is that I'm always just a short message away, on any platform that's convenient for you. I was elected by the students, for the students and along with my fellow part-time officers, we're all very approachable and determined to help in any way we can. If you’re aware of organisations, charities, individuals etc. you’d like me to include in my campaigns or be aware of – I’m open to those too!
Contact me:
Email: su.womens@brookes.ac.uk
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/jcsa6gw
Twitter: www.twitter.com/obsu_wo
Brookes Union page: http://tinyurl.com/ztlcd9l


Societies @ Brookes: Dance

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"I have two left feet"
"I've never danced before in my life"
"I can only dad-dance"
"I can't dance"

These are the following things I told myself before joining Dance Soc. in Second Year.

You see, I was rather convinced that you had to be a natural born dancer who had been training for several years to join the Dance Society. However, in the Fresher's Week of my Second Year, I thought, "why the hoot not?"

The society are a group of lovely, warm and welcoming people who know how to get jiggy and bust some juicy moves and they cater to all dancing abilities. They have the following classes: fitness, modern, hip hop, street, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, tap and pointe, all taught by lovely Brookes students (shout-out to ma gal Luce).

I'm currently part of Hip Hop and go to a weekly fitness training which is essentially where my body dies by doing squats and such because I'm incredibly unfit #bodygoals #instafit #swag.

Yes, I have no previous experience in dancing (except for cheeky nights at Purple Turtle and Atik) and yes I have the hand-eye coordination of a baboon, but Dance Soc. has in fact taught me how to get over that fear and allowed me to realise that, indeed, I can *try to* wack out some dank grooves. Plus, it makes me sound cool and impressive when I tell people I'm part of Dance Soc.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is you never know until you've tried - so be like Sainsbury's and try something new, whether it's Dance, Computer soc. or even Mario Smash Bros Soc (yes that is a thing at Brookes), because you might actually really enjoy it and learn how to (in the words of Yonce) feel yourself.

Until next time,



Wellbeing: Coping with Homesickness

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When you talk to any university student in the run-up to university, you'll be bombarded with stories about how you'll go out clubbing most night, make a million friends and live off of pot noodles and baked beans. While for many students, parts of this description may be very familiar, what they never tell us Freshers about is homesickness. 

Pretty much everyone I've spoken to have gotten homesick at some point this semester- after all, we're just hitting the two-month mark of being here-, and the answers have an interesting pattern. Usually, my friends and I get the most homesick when we have had little sleep, a cold (which may also be coined as the 'never-ending fresher's flu') or a heavy workload of assignments. In these moments, we start to feel pretty emotional, eliciting the usual reaction of just wanting to go home, or see a family member. 

When that isn't immediately possible, it can be deflating and it's difficult to find the motivation to keep going until you go home. From a seasoned homesickness pro, I've come up with a list of how to cope when you're missing home. 

1) Call a family member. Sometimes, just being able to call your mum is all you need to feel better and brighter. Hearing the sound of a comforting voice may make you emotional, but you'll feel better for updating whoever's on the other line about your university antics. Even better- set up a FaceTime or Skype call with someone you're missing. 

2) Set goals. Speak to your family, and see if it's possible to do a weekend visit mid-semester. If not, think about the next time you'll be able to go home- a family birthday, or Christmas? Keep these dates in mind as 'goals' for yourself, something that you can look forward to. Cross of the days, or maybe take the same approach as I do- 'Only two more assignments to get through until I can go home!'. 

3) Get social. There's no point in wallowing in homesickness- organise a night out with friends in Oxford or even stay in and just watch a movie together. Hanging around with some of your favourite 
people might help to get your mind off of things. 

4) Get involved. If friends aren't around at the time you're feeling quite homesick, go online to the Brookes student union website (http://www.brookesunion.org.uk/). Here, you can find information about events around the three campuses (including puppy cuddling!) and look at what societies and sports teams Brookes has to offer. If any interest you, it might be worth popping along to one. Getting out and being social might make you feel a lot happier. 

5) Let it pass. It's likely that you'll probably only be very homesick for a few days at the most. Keep pushing on, even if lectures feel very hard and you feel like you're not enjoying your time at uni- within a few days, you'll feel new again and ready to keep going for a while until you next see some family or get to go home. 

Ellena x


Things You Should To Take To Uni (But Don't Really Need To)

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There’s thousands of lists online about what you need to take to university, and if you’ve had siblings go ahead of you, you’ve probably got it covered. If not, generally saucepans, underwear and pens are all quite useful things to have. I was one of those people with siblings at university already so they basically just gave me a list, and we headed out to IKEA, Wilko, and Primark and set off to Oxford. I’m also one of those people with a lot of stuff. I have books and knick-knacks coming out of my ears, and I like having them with me here too. So I thought I’d write a little list on things I think people should have at uni, but don’t really need – plus the occasional thing you really do, but is easy to forget.

1. Coat hangers
The one thing, aside from my strapless bra and favourite jeans, which I forgot in first year and suffered for. How could I forget coat hangers? Most people don’t transport hangers that much, so you’d be forgiven for making the same mistake, but most halls rooms come with more hanging/rail space than folding/drawer space so I really recommend remembering this one. Especially next year, and the year after when practically nothing will be included with your student houses.

2. Entertainment
In second and third year (and any after), I guarantee there will be a brief period of time where you will be waiting for internet to be installed in your new student abode. No Netflix, no Amazon Prime, no anything online. This is where a good stash of DVDs comes in handy. Having DVDs was really useful in first year too as I spent many nights watching them with my new housemates in the shared kitchen. It’s good as well to have favourites to hand for when you’re feeling down, and need a quick pick-me-up. If you’re not a film person, that’s fine but they are definitely lighter than the books I cart up and down the motorway every year.

3. Some kind of first aid
I have always been a little bit clumsy, but I honestly must have created a record for burns gained by a student in their first year. Whether the oven (usually the oven), or a tray left on the side, or boiling water, getting burns is easily done. They’re also incredibly painful, and two have left very minor scars on my arm so aside from the arm-length oven glove my mum got me for Christmas, a burn kit was a really good investment. You can get one like this for £3 at a supermarket, or your parents can help you put your own together. You can also get regular first aid kits that would fit in your drawer quite easily. If freshers lives up to its name for being a bit drunk and messy, it seems reasonable for injuries to happen. Cuts and scrapes can be fixed with a bit of Savlon and a plaster or bandage – all things that could be found in a kit like this. Even if you’re not as clumsy as me, you might befriend someone who is, and needs a plaster. Trust me, my housemates went through a whole box of plasters in first year…

4. Extension cord
You may be alright in your first year halls but the minute you move out, you will need one of these. In my second year house I had two plug sockets in the middle of my room, and miles away from my desk or bedside table. Thank goodness my brother gave me this. Now in third year, the socket I have here charges my little old iPod, my kindle, and my laptop and is conveniently by my desk. Thankfully I have four plug sockets this year, but these are pretty useful for our generation and their gadgets.

5. Home comforts
I know boys and girls alike with teddy bears on their bed, and cushions and blankets, and cosy things. I probably have too many soft toys but it’s hard to leave cute things behind. I have three in my bed, as well as cushions, a blanket my Dad brought me in first year, and a crochet blanket my mum made me last year. It feels comfier, and more like home. I really recommend anything that makes your new home a little more familiar. Soft toys, pillows, photos, slippers, maybe music boxes, or just simple decorations like fairy lights or posters. When you first move in, you’ll be grateful to have something like home with you; I know I was.

I think that’s pretty much everything you don’t need but ought to have… My room is probably an extreme version, but whatever you consider to be homely and happy is good enough! Hopefully these suggestions can help to make your new home-away-from-home a lovely place to be.

Let me know what you think is useful to have at uni, but not essential!


GUEST VLOG: Student Ambassador Zoe takes you on a guided tour of a Brookes Open Day

09:41 Unknown 1 Comments

Hi I'm Zoe, I'm a 3rd year student in Law here at Oxford Brookes. I'm also a Student Ambassador which means I regularly get to tell visitors, prospective students and new arrivals all about the amazing things that Brookes offers.

I've made this vlog to give you an idea of what Brookes is like on an Open Day. Enjoy!


How to cope with crushing criticism that makes you question all of your life choices at once

20:51 Unknown 2 Comments

Thursday 4 November will go down in my own personal history as a very, very bad day. Work, which at the best of times is trying, was truly terrible and by the end of the day I was having a breakdown in my office and claiming I was going to quit (spoiler: I didn’t). My only gleaming ray of hope for this day was that Thursday is my uni day, so I at least had something to look forward to.

Instead of driving over to Oxford as usual, our class that week was replaced by tutorials and I’d set up a skype session with one of my tutors. We handed in our first submission the week before, I'd submitted the opening of my novel which I've been working on for just about a year, so I'm pretty attached to it. To be honest,  in my state of work-related-stress I had completely forgotten that this work was about to be graded - the first time any of my writing has been 'graded', so I was not prepared. Instead, I sat at home, relieved that the day was finally drawing to a close, and expected to have a nice chat with my tutor.

That is not how things ended up.

Now, I’m not an egomaniac and I’m used to feedback. I work in a press office where what I write is routinely crossed out, scribbled on, deleted and rewrote – I’m not precious. I’ve been part of lots of different writing groups where my creative work has been critiqued with things like ‘seriously, I know your character’s supposed to be posh but no one speaks like that they sound like a nineteenth century dame’ and ‘are you sure this characters a man because she definitely sounds female, it doesn’t work’ so I thought I had pretty thick skin.

But I was not prepared for Thursday.

There was no pre-amble, no how are you finding the course etcetc, we went straight into the feedback. The criticism ranged from the general ‘I don’t get it’ ‘ it lacks establishment’ ‘I don’t believe it’ to the downright cutting ‘I don’t like your main character, she seems stupid and immature’. Ouch. It was short and sharp, 20 minutes of everything she didn’t like about it and then it ended. I was left sat on my sofa feeling like the biggest idiot in the world – what had I done? Why had I spent nearly £6,000 doing an MA in something I clearly couldn’t do? I’m the worst writer in the world, I’m stupid, I’m immature (anyone else take criticism of their characters as if it were aimed at themselves..?!) I’ve made a terrible decision.

Now, I’m sure many people have felt this way when they started an MA or BA. I remember my first A-Level assignment, after getting all As in the subject for my GCSE, I got my first essay back with an E. An E! I was horrified, my tutor simply said ‘you’re just not used to writing at this level yet’. She was right and soon enough I was back up to As and Bs. I did try to remember this on Thursday but I was too busy being terrified that I’d made a bad decision, that I would not even pass my MA, that I wasn't really a writer and that I was wasting my time and money.

So, what’s my worldly advice for dealing with it?

First, talk to people. I spoke to the rest of my MA writing group as soon as I got off the phone to my tutor. They were brilliant, none of them told me to ignore the criticism or that it was wrong (because it wasn’t) but they supported me and made me feel like it wasn’t the end of the world and I could do this.

Second, put it in perspective. I know that if I’d had that feedback another day then I would have handled it better, but we can’t always have perfect days. Things like this will happen when you’re tired, upset, hungry! So you have to learn to deal with them. Criticism doesn’t mean you can’t do what you set out to, criticism is what makes you end up better than you started.

Third and finally, don’t let it make you question your whole life. Honestly, the questions that ran through my head after this feedback ranged from: ‘What have I done, I can’t quit my MA but I can’t pass it obviously, I’m going to spend 2 years and six grand on failing’ to ‘now you’re stuck at your job forever because you have no other career prospects, you’re a terrible person, and an idiot’ to ‘if you hadn’t bought a house then you wouldn’t have a mortgage and you could quit your job and concentrate properly on your writing’.  As you can see, things go a little out of hand and it took a lot of conversations with a lot of different people to make me see things rationally.

Now, over a week later I am sat in my study having completely rewritten the work I submitted. I don’t know if it’s better, I don’t know if it even makes sense but the point is I read the feedback with a clear mind this time and realised, though still harsh, it was fair and necessary.

This is part of doing an MA, or any type of study. No good writer, or anyone good at anything, ever became good by being praised, they did it through hard work. And this is hard work, it’s hard work to even think about writing anything right now, to re-read her feedback is hard, to write this is hard. But what is the point of all this if it isn’t hard? So if you’re struggling, just keep going. You aren’t wasting your time. The time will pass anyway. And if all that that doesn't help, read these quotes which made me smile and kept me writing last week.

How to deal with criticism, a cartoon


Mia The Brookes Blogger - Foundation year story

03:57 Unknown 5 Comments

Dear All,
Thank you for such warm response to my first post where I introduced myself! Today I would like to start sharing my Brookes stories with you.
So… my Brookes story has started in 2013, when I arrived in Oxford to undertake my International Foundation Business and Technology course. The course that prepared me for my undergraduate degree studies. I felt very excited and ready to accept the challenge. Below I am going to answer 3 questions about that year:
  1. How did you feel when you got accepted?
  2. What was your main goal for that year?
  3. What have you actually learnt ?
1. The song below perfectly describes how I felt :). After learning English for many years and passing the IELTS academic English test I felt like there was aint no mountain high enough to keep me from getting to Brookes :)
My main goal for the year was to dive in to the British culture, which is why that year I bought everything that had the Union Jack on (and by everything I mean EVERYTHING) :)
Here I am at The Clive Booth Student Hall in 2013.
Another goal was to meet the people coming from all over the world and try to find common language with them. So when I finally arrived to my first lecture I was unstoppable :). I talked to everyone I met on the way and found out about their life stories. The wonderful people, coming from all the continents on this planet I met that year, widened my horizons and changed my way of thinking.
The song below perfectly showcases how we sometimes felt when talking to each other, however we embraced our differences  and worked as a great international team the whole year.
3. To answer the question SO WHAT HAVE YOU ACTUALLY LEARNT? I will let my 17 year old self speak for herself (please see the video below)
So as you can see it was a year when I have learnt how to read write and talk in an academic manner and how to make connections with people from around the world. It was a year that made me realise that if you come out of your comfort zone, in my case leave your homeland to study abroad, the magic will happen. As a proof of such magic being real here at Brookes please see below.
In the second semester of my foundation year (2014)I was asked to give an interview about my course, which I thought was an honour in itself, however in September 2014 I found out that I was chosen to be on the front cover of the Pathways brochure, the brochure that I used to read as a Moscow high school student dreaming of being a Brookes student one day.
So this is it for this time, however next time I will be happy to share the continuation of my Brookes Story - International Hospitality Management year 1.
Best wishes,
Mia The Brookes Blogger


The value of procrastinating

11:45 Unknown 2 Comments

Lately I’ve been wondering what on earth I’ve gotten myself into… I’m in the second year of my part-time MA in Human Resource Management, which basically means things just got WAY real! Alongside my study I work full-time as a HR professional for a London based multinational, a job which comes with a horrible commute. I am also a Mum and a step-Mum to five children. I’m married to a dream of a husband1, and of course have an extended family. This means I have all the commitments that come with keeping high-maintenance people happy.

Current course requirements include two assignments, dissertation reading, preparation of a project proposal, and the ongoing development of a business skills portfolio. Naturally deadlines for these pieces of work overlap and ensure that I, and my friends, are stretched ever so slightly (on a good day) outside of our comfort zones. This will be similar for most of you I'm sure (if you're studying).

It is true taking on an MA has made my already full life a little more challenging. Those people without children or extracurricular commitments ask me how I’m coping all the time. They must expect me to be on my knees behind closed doors. However, thanks to great friends, said dreamy husband¹, a slightly delusional degree of optimism and an ability to entirely disregard the small stuff, I’m bearing up.

This does not make me Superwoman. I am honestly no more productive than you, or any other person. In fact I consider myself to be less so since I am a consistent procrastinator and have strong, sometimes uncontrollable, tendencies toward laziness. I’ve been battling with this lately. Right now in fact, it’s mid-afternoon and I’m sitting on my bed whittling away my valuable time blogging. My five year old son is playing on my iPhone next to me (hey, I never said I was a ‘good’ Mum!). Thanks to Daniel Kahneman2 though I realise these behaviours, sometimes at least, are the result of natural brain function... great news, I’m normal! I also realise I’m not alone. My friends have also been procrastinating. Here are some of the things we’ve been doing instead of the course work we should have been getting on with:

  1. Investing more time and effort in cleaning. Case in point: cleaned the oven.
  2. Decorated the dining room which included the very time consuming job of glossing skirting boards.
  3. Went IKEA shopping and brought feather pillows.
  4. Cooked up a storm in spite of loathing cookery as a pass time.
  5. Binge watched new box sets and TV programmes that have never before appealed… Sam Faires Baby Diaries anyone?
  6. Got sucked into a social media spiral of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snap Chat, Instagram… and repeat… and repeat… and… you get the idea!

I think we all feel much better for sharing our divisive behaviours. I do for sure. Clearly we don’t need science to tell us that our brains are taking the easy road. We are after all grown ass women, and despite being very aware of an array of productivity tools and good habits, we continue to make questionable choices about where to focus our time. But maybe these behaviours are healthy and necessary to our success. While we are busying ourselves, not doing what we should be doing, we are at least talking about it, thinking about it, reading about it (without dedication you understand), perhaps we’ve even got a few bullet points written down.

At some point in this process the fear of failure will tip the balance and we will get stuck in and deliver on time. Perhaps our approach will mean that our final submissions will be more creative than the work of pre-crastinators3 as suggest by Adam Grant4. But at the very least, as Daniel Kahneman2 suggests, we will have increased our happiness. Because throughout this journey we will have stolen time to do the things we find enjoyable. This is the real value of procrastinating.

When this is all over and we look back on our time as students we’ll remember it as fun. We will recall how we succeeded in achieving our Masters alongside holding down full-time jobs, raising our children, keeping our homes (cleaner than ever), sustaining our marriages, and keeping our families happy. All while sharing a group experience of 'not-doing' with Snap Chat photographs, motivational Instagram posts, pictures of the alcohol we are drinking5 and many, many laughs.

Time well spent!

So if you’re reading this now instead of getting-on, don’t feel bad. If you are hard on yourself you will seek out procrastinating activities that you can justify .  Just this week I had to convince one of my dear friends that putting up Christmas decs in early November is NOT okay... not even on the basis that they need to be put up eventually anyway! If you are going to procrastinate make sure you get the very most out of it and make it fun.


1 Marital rules of blogging dictate that all references to one’s marriage and husband must depict a situation of enviable status with a man no less than a Legend and an Adonis.
2 Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. UK: Penguin Books.
3 Pre-crastination, n. Carrying out tasks immediately in order to get things completed early.
4 Grant, A. (2016). Why I taught myself to procrastinate. New York Times. Available at: www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/opinion/sunday/why-i-taught-myself-to-procrastinate.html?_r=0 (Accessed 11 November 2016).
5 Always drink responsibly!


Staying Healthy at Oxford Brookes Part 1

20:47 Unknown 0 Comments

Staying healthy while at university is absolutely essential to finishing your degree. The saying, “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon” is certainly true in this context. It’s important to pace yourself, and not burn out halfway through semester one. I’m personally returning from two years of medical leave. For me my health has now become my top priority and I wish I had considered the impact it had on my studies when I first started at Brookes. There’s a lot Oxford Brookes does, some directly and some indirectly, to encourage its students to stay healthy.

On Tuesdays Brookes Union holds a Fresh Fruit and Veg stall. I can highly recommend it both for the competitive pricing and good quality of fruit and vegetables. A stop at the market has now become routine and I tend to cook my healthiest meals on a Tuesday because of this (I’d like to eventually say the same for the rest of the week!).

Oxford Brookes is known as being the first ‘Fairtrade University’, and offers a big selection of Fairtrade products. Unfortunately, this can make food on campus quite pricey, so unless you fancy treating yourself (which I do suggest once in a while!) I would recommend packing a lunch box.


I’m not heavily involved in sport at Brookes, so I won’t pretend to know what I’m talking about in that department. However, I do love swimming, and although Brookes has a pool at the Harcourt Hill campus, it’s too far for me to travel. Instead I go to the Barton Leisure Centre and take part in the ‘Ladies Only – Water workout’ on Tuesdays (after the healthy dinner). It’s very easy to get to from Gypsy Lane Campus, just a 20-minute ride on the No. 8 or U1. The pool is lovely and clean, the staff friendly, and each session is very reasonably priced.

Staying mentally healthy is, in my opinion, just as (perhaps more) important to you and your studies than being physically healthy.

All enrolled students are able to access counselling at Oxford Brookes, however, the wellbeing service goes much further than one-to-one counselling. The department offer workshops on stress and anxiety, talks on mood management, self-help resources, and online counselling.

Remember, everyone will at some point experience feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. To a certain extent, it is normal; however if you find you are struggling with these feelings, contact the wellbeing department who will be able to guide you towards finding the right solution for you.


There are a lot of opportunities to stay healthy in Oxford. I’ve perhaps only covered the bare essentials in this blog post, but I hope to be able to keep you informed of ways I’m personally trying to staying healthy while studying at Brookes. I'm also an undergraduate Architecture student (taking some of second year, some of third year) and I hope to keep a documentation of my architectural life on this blog as well. I'm also a big Parks and Rec fan, if you couldn't tell. 


#BestBites: Cowley

18:47 Unknown 0 Comments

Hello, there! My name is Sahra - but call me $K (the dollar sign is vital). I'm a Second Year studying Business and Marketing Management from London.
I'm a world famous Brookes Radio DJ reeling in on average 2 listeners per week (Monday's 4-5pm, put that in your diaries) and also a member of Dance Society, despite the fact that I have the dancing ability of a slug. I am, indeed, a BNOC (Big Name On Campus) and loads of people approach me for a #seflie in the fabulous JHB (or as I like to call it, JHBae).
My blogs will feature a range of topics from food to nights out to music reviews, but will always include a healthy amount of banter as recommended by your GP. I shall begin with the Best Bites on Cowley. Enjoy reading!


Occupational Therapy Week

17:00 Unknown 0 Comments

It's Occupational Therapy week 2016!!


This is the week where all occupational therapists take a deep breath a rehearse what they are going to say when someone inevitably asks "but what is occupational therapy?" Luckily this year the theme is promoting occupational therapy as a career, so here I am, doing my bit.

I could talk forever about what OT's do because there's quite a lot. Be it in a mental health setting, the community or in A&E there is sure to be someone in green trousers rushing around: but I'll try and keep it simple.

Occupational therapists look at a persons mental and physical health then works with them to help the individual reach their full potential.

Some of that involves building up confidence as well as adapting the environment to suit people needs. Like I said, there's a lot of different aspects to OT but all in all we help people reach they're goals as well as try and incorporate meaningful activities to help with this.

If that hasn't helped (and I wouldn't blame you) there's a poster exhibition in the JHB that's been set up by the OT society. The posters have been made by OT students trying to explain what Occupational therapy means (yes one of them is mine). They're up all week so be sure to check them out.

 (These are a few of the posters that are up in the JHB)

As always you can ask me any questions you have about occupational therapy and I will do my best to answer.


An introduction to my blog

19:28 Unknown 2 Comments

Hey there!

My name is Elizabeth, or Beth for short and I'm a second year here at Oxford Brookes. A little bit about me is that; I study English Language and Communication with Education studies, I've lived in Oxfordshire my entire life and Brookes was my number one university choice. As well as being a full time student, I am part of a ballet school in the local town of Witney (which is about an hour away from Oxford so anybody looking to keep up dance should check in with the Brookes Dance Society), I also enjoy ice skating, reading and am a bit of a history buff. My home is a small village outside of Oxford and every weekend I work at Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO world heritage site, twenty-five minutes away from the city. My aim for this blog is to help to make Oxford feel as homely as possible for as many students as possible.
Picture taken by myself of Blenheim Palace courtyard

As a first year, I really struggled with making friends and paired with all the pressures of university work, it sometimes felt hard to feel at home in my own city. I cannot image how it feels for people who are miles away from their own homes, friends and family. Hopefully that's where I come in, during my time as a blogger I'd like to take you all through what life in Oxford really has to offer... From days trips, to where to eat, to where is the best place to do your weekly shop. I hope to say I offer it all - I certainly wish somebody could have told me. I want to use my experience to give advice on surviving all three years of being a student.

This has just been a short post to tell you a little bit about me and what to look out for in the future!