GUEST BLOG: Surviving Deadline Season

15:25 Unknown 1 Comments

Hello! So, this is my last guest blog here at Brookes Blogs so I thought I would write five tips I have for surviving the horror that is deadline season.

1. Avoid the Library

Unless you’re an early bird the likelihood is that like me you’ll stroll into university around 11/12 o’clock ready to start cracking on with your essays, or procrastinate from the comfort of the library. The problem is however that you’ll find that there isn’t a single seat, sofa, computer or corner to work in. Instead, I probably spend a good twenty minutes walking around all 5 floors of the library, and the forum, in the hope that “maybe this time” I’ll be lucky. Alas, the result is always the same.

Personally, I can’t work from home. The lure of the fridge and Netflix will always be stronger than my willpower. Instead, I’ve found that working in coffee shops with my flatmates can be a good place to study if you can work from your laptop. Alternately, trying to find some empty classrooms on Headington campus is essentially the same as working from the library. Gibbs if often pretty empty with many courses finishing teaching, so the opportunity to work in the computer rooms and still be able to quickly walk to the library is what I find most effective.

2. Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine.

Cut me, and I will bleed tea.  For all of you night owls out there, or like me you’ve enjoyed your Easter break a little too much and had to make up for it with a long stint in the library, here is a tip for you.  CafĂ© Central closes at 8pm, at which point, you have an extra 3 hours to get your caffeine boost from the Union Bar who also sell hot drinks.

Bring your own tea bags, or a little jar of instant coffee. A large hot water on campus will cost you 50p, compared with over £2 for a tea. I need a hot drink to keep me going throughout my essays, especially if I need to be up late doing them, so you’re covered until late on campus.

3. Plan out your time

There’s nothing worse than sitting down knowing you have two essays to write, one research design, one portfolio to produce, three posts to write, and two reports. Oh, and your friend had basically finished everything in week nine. Instead, concentrate on one thing at a time. If I tried to juggle all of those things at once, I’d be a mess. After living in the JHB for the entirety of my first semester and getting very little sleep, I’ve decided this semester I’m going to write one thing at a time. I’m still a giant ball of stress, but I feel much more focused this time around.

It’s time to bring out the colouring pens and make yourself a fancy to-do list, complete in deadline order, so you can actually prioritise properly instead of just leaving the hardest tasks until the end!

4. "Treat Yoself" – Tom Haverford, Parks and Rec.

Go out for a meal, buy a new top, take a day off, buy yourself a nice desert for a change. When every day is ‘Read, Write, Sleep, Repeat’ I tend to go a little stir crazy. Mix things up a little bit and break the cycle, especially if your revising or living in the library.

5. Bring a friend

Sure, they can be distracting at times. But I find it a lot easier to study with someone else rather than just being left to my own devices, when I will just pack up and go home when I get bored. Seeing other people working encourages me to get my head down, and then they make your breaks a lot more fun.

This is a really stressful time of year for everyone so drag someone along who’s going to make you laugh, because after nine hours in the library, you’re going to need it!

That’s all from me here at Brookes Blogs, feel free to comment below and remember – “The end is near, Summer’s nearly here!”


Mia The Brookes Blogger - Placement Story International Hospitality Management

13:11 Unknown 14 Comments

Dear All,

Couple of posts ago I promised to tell you all about my placement year. Sorry for the delay, but you have to understand that Spring in Oxford is so beautiful that I have completely lost my mind and am head over heels in love with it (take a look at my previous video blogs if you haven't seen them yet).

So... let me tell you about my placement year. As you all now by now I am studying International Hospitality Management, the subject I am very passionate about :). After the incredible first year of my studies I had to find a place to work, as it is compulsory for our course to have one year of work experience right after the first year of the degree. For some it might sound too soon at first, but believe me it was one of the greatest things that has happened to me so far.

Why was it so incredible you ask?

Well ... in 6 words : It Changed The Way I Think

How you ask?

Well ... in 5 words : It Made Me More Responsible

How exactly you ask ?

Let me begin my story by telling you that before I left Brookes at one of our last lectures we were asked to write on the paper what our goals were for the year ahead. I knew I had to challenge myself so one of the goals I wrote was : 
⭐To Become An Associate Of The Month⭐
However, during my first day at the Marriott Park Lane Hotel I realised that my goal was too ambitious. How was I going to get this award if I was terrified of the phone conversations and my job title was At Your Service Agent (AYS)  (briefly: switchboard operator - main connecting link responsible for faultless communication within the five departments of the hotel, telephone problem solver of the internal and external guests)? 

Here's how it all started:
June 1st 2015 – First day
  • Realising that the only previous experience I have is in Food and Beverage.
  • Not knowing how any of the hotel systems work properly.
  • Having a slight fear of phone conversations.
  • Not knowing how exactly I am going to gain trust and respect from all of my colleagues who have so much experience.
  • Then I asked myself again?

Then I wrote my goals again: 
  • Become proficient in the job role  (switchboard operator).
  • Learn as much as possible about OPERA, MARSHA and Guestware.
  • Earn respect from as many of my colleagues as possible / build a good reputation.
  • Stay always positive and learn how to manage stressful situations without panic.
  • Exceed customer expectations.
  • Try to learn as much as possible about other hotel departments and cross-train.
  • Strive to become an associate of the month (yes, I did not give up on this goal).

The mistakes I have made along the way:

  • 1 Missed wake up call.
  •  Several missed room service orders.
  •  Different examples of miscommunication between guests and associates. 

All of these mistakes mentioned above made me question whether it was at all possible to finish that year on a successful note. 

But then I realised ... 

After I realised that, and have focused on absorbing all the knowledge and wisdom that the amazing Park Lane Team was sharing with me ...

I became much better at my job and have achieved:
June 1st 2016 – Last Day
  • I now have clear understanding of how hotel operations work.
  • I have  gained a lot of experience and have become more knowledgeable in such hotel systems as  OPERA, Guestware, Micros.
  • I have significantly improved my multitasking and organisational skills. I have overcome my fear of telephone conversations and became fluent and natural when talking to people over the phone.
  • I have used every opportunity to cross-train and joined Front Desk, Guest Relations and Housekeeping departments for training.
  • I have exceeded many customers expectations and as a result received emails, calls and Marriott verified guest reviews.
  • I have gained respect from the Marriott Park Lane Team members and as a result  became an associate of the month.
And Yes, this happened too (just right after when I thought it would never happen, couple of months after the first half of the year)

To sum it up, 

Why was it so incredible you ask?

Well ... in 6 words : It Changed The Way I Think

How you ask?

Well ... in 5 words : It Made Me More Responsible

P.S. Another important event that has inspired me to keep going that year was this:

As somebody who had never run before (let alone half marathon) I, together with my Front of House Manager from the Marriott Park Lane, ran that half marathon shown on the picture above. I could not believe it. It proved me that anything is possible in the beginning of the great year long journey called 'Placement Year at the Marriott Hotel Park Lane'.


GUEST BLOG: A Day in the Life

15:53 Unknown 0 Comments

Hi guys! I’m Poppy, doing my second guest blog here. As a history student here at Brookes no one day is the same. This semester I have six hours of contact time (made up of three lectures and two seminars), opposed to the more typical eight hours because I’m taking a placement module. On top of this I have irregular working weeks and the amount of time I end up huddled in the library depends on the closeness to my deadlines.

With that in mind, here’s my ‘a day in the life’.

Normally I’d have to be up two hours before my lecture to make sure I’m up, ready, and give myself enough time to walk up the hill to university. However, last night I stayed at my partner’s flat on campus, which was a lifesaver as it meant I gloriously got a whole extra hour in bed and didn’t have to leave the flat until 9:45. It really is the dream.

I started the day with my 10am lecture, and a much needed cup of tea. This lecture was on the Spanish Civil War as part of my module on the inter-war period of 1914-1917. On my programme, we tend to have huge topics as our modules, such as ‘Crisis of the West’. This is then broken down every week to study a single event, person, or idea.

My two hour lecture finishes at 12, by then I’m starving hungry and longing to be in the sunshine which has been hiding from England for what feels like 50 years. Of course its first outing is while I’m stuck inside for two hours.

I took the short walk from my lecture theatre to the sports bar and enjoyed a milkshake and a bacon sarnie (weird combination, I know, but it was good I promise). A few hours of bliss before I need to get back to the grind.

My excursion in the sunshine is cut short by the reminder that I needed to start researching for my next essay, do the reading my lecture uploaded for the next lecture, oh…and write this blog! Inevitably I’m writing this instead, as it’s by far the most enjoyable activity out of my three options. After searching the library for a seat and assembling a small tower of books I’m finally settled down to begin my work for the day.

The majority of my course is spent doing ‘independent study’, which is university speak for hiding in the library. What tends to happen on my course is that lecturers upload the reading they’d like us to do as prep to our website ‘moodle’. After I do that, there might be some small tasks or larger assignments we need to do.

Home time. After spending an unusually long time at university for me I walk for about half an hour until I reach my little flat off Cowley Road, which is considered the students’ city centre here in Oxford. It’s a long busy street crammed full of pubs, independent cafes, shops and murals on the walls. I’m going to quickly make myself some dinner and get ready to head into the city.

Tonight I attended the history societies social. Societies are a great opportunity to mix with people outside of your lectures and meet new people. Naturally, as I addressed in my previous blog post, I’m a 90 year old woman living in a 20 year old’s body. Because of this, I elect out of following the society to the club after a few quiet drinks in a cocktail bar and head home for an early-ish night.

Thank you all for reading, feel free to leave any questions or comments below and I’ll see you next month!


Mia The Brookes Blogger - Afternoon Tea in Oxford

20:56 Unknown 3 Comments

Dear All,

Inspired by the Oxford Spring I recorded this video for you. My very first video blog :)
Enjoy ... 


Mia The Brookes Blogger - Your Daily Dose of Inspiration - I love Oxford

14:34 Unknown 0 Comments

Dear All,

I have been recently chasing the sun, heart-shaped clouds and flowers. I know it might sound crazy, but take a look yourself .... this is your daily dose of inspiration straight from the Oxford city ...