Farewell InQuire and thank you!

1505621_10206611307870372_5659322256488470657_nDear InQuirers,

This is it guys. Prepare yourselves from some sentimental InQuire loving; I’ve got a lot of emotions to force upon you.

For the last three years, InQuire has been a huge, nay, gigantic, part of my life and today, it all comes to an end. Today, I hand over my role as Website Editor and try so hard not to (not that hard) weep uncontrollably as I hand over my baby, InQuire Live.

Student journalism has been the best part of my university experience and I implore anyone to get involved. You don’t have to be the world’s best writer (are you reading this mushiness?), or the most confident person in the world, you just have to be a team player. From the weekly committee meetings to the writers’ meetings and from laying the newspaper to the mammoth proofreading sessions, it’s hard work, but we do it as a team and we are insanely proud of what we produce. We’re just a team of students who volunteer and work, because we enjoy it.

You may have noticed, or heard me banging on about, a few slight changes to the website this year and I’mIMG_4953 immensely proud of the website you are looking at right now. It was my main aim when I started the year, to see the website get redesigned and we did it! It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn amazing, so here’s a personal thank you to you, Sophia Ppali for your website designing wizardry.

To the InQuire editors: I know I probably get on your nerves nit picking about everything, but it’s only because I want the best! I couldn’t appreciate everything you do more. I can’t say I relish proofreading absolutely every word that gets published online or in print, but without you, there would be no website or newspaper. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking by myself, Emma and Nat. Speaking of, you are the two best execs I could have asked to work with and you’ve become amazing friends. My oh my, this is soppy. Apologies.

1610905_10206611307190355_8507581700506066865_n (1)And to you, the writers and readers: If you didn’t write for us or read what we published, what would be the point? There has been some amazing writing this year; whether it entertained us, informed us or shocked us, we have been proud to publish what you wrote.  Thank you for your hard work and please keep writing and reading.

Good luck to next year’s team and look after InQuire for us. I hope you have as much fun as we’ve all had this year.

We’re an odd bunch, but I think we’re pretty awesome. Farewell guys, it’s been great.

 

Lots of love from,

(For the last time) Your Website Editor

P.S If anyone needs me, I’ll be sobbing in the corner of the Student Media Centre for the next few weeks.

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The Student Gym: Make the most of your membership

We’re already half way through the academic year and I’m betting there’s a lot of gym memberships feeling quite neglected and betrayed. The promises of a “New Year, New Me” are long gone and the whole “summer bodies are made in winter” just sounds like too much effort. So here’s how I keep myself motivated: gym classes. They’re led by professionals telling you exactly what to do, so you’re not left looking perplexed at what all those mystical machines do in the fitness suite. You’re surrounded by other wannabe beach babes just trying to get a little bit fitter so you’re not intimidated by the likes of the ‘weight room’ and best of all, they’re a lot of fun.

Here at Kent, our gym has a lot more to offer than just the fitness suite. And this year, there are 50 classes for the 50th anniversary, and whilst trying them out, I’ve found a few that I really enjoy. Me? Enjoy? The gym? Yeah, I know, it’s laughable, so you know they must be good.

Photo by healthylifect.com

Release your inner drummer! Photo by healthylifect.com

Drums Alive

This is a new one for our sports centre, and it’s certainly unique. Imagine a room filled with aerobics balls and 20 people hitting them and jumping around them with drumsticks; well that’s it. Maybe not the most strenuous class but it was created to test your mental ability and coordination as well as your fitness, so it’s great to keep those cogs turning when essays are scrambling your brain. Every time I finish the class, I come out feeling so stupidly happy. I love it and would definitely recommend it (but if you steal my place in next week’s class, I swear to God, I’ll find you).

Photo by gym24seven.co.uk

Photo by gym24seven.co.uk

Body Pump

The day after every class, my body feels like it’s been put through a mincer and then crushed by a truck. So at least I know it’s had an effect on my body! It’s lifting weights, targeted at different muscles, to music. It’s tough but I do enjoy it, because I actually see results with it. Plus, each of the instructors are incredibly well informed and great motivators, which is exactly what I need to stop me picturing the biscuit tin when I finish the class…

Ab Attack

It’s only half an hour and it simply focuses on strengthening and toning your core. Be aware, it hurts like hell to begin with it, but if you want that elusive summer body, a little pain here and there might be needed.

Legs, Bums and Tums

I mean, just look at that name, you know it’s going to be fun. It’s a bit like Zumba, but with more focus on those three typical ‘problem’ areas. It’s high energy and guaranteed to make you lovely and sweaty. If you fancy a bit of dancing (you don’t have to look good doing it), and you want to tone up those tums, I recommend this energetic workout.

See, no one looks attractive working out... Photo by spellmagazine.co.uk

See, no one looks attractive working out…
Photo by spellmagazine.co.uk

And then there’s Circuits

It’s the stuff of nightmares. I went once, long, long ago and walked (nay, crawled) out 15 minutes before the end. Enter at your own peril. You have been warned.

Surviving Work Experience

You HAVE to do work experience whilst you’re at uni. If you haven’t already, hurry up and get applying. Think about it, if you don’t try out your supposed ‘dream job’ before you leave uni, you could spend years trying to get it. Then, behold! You’re offered the job and… oh. It’s not quite what you had built up in your head all these years. If only you’d tried it out when you were young and free and still had the chance…

I have always wanted to be a journalist and I love to write, but it’s always good to check it out in the real world. That’s why I spent the week at The Salisbury Journal, a local newspaper and website near my home town. Here are my top tips on how to survive the experience of work.

IMG_4244

Trying to be sophisticated and all that

Look the part

Don’t turn up looking like a student, you’ll only get treated like one. Ditch the jeans and converse and put on a shirt and tie or a skirt and blouse. You’ll instantly feel like you fit in and people will start to take you seriously.

I probably enjoyed the sophisticated, London, work look a bit too much, but I looked the part whenever I turned up to an event to interview someone. Nobody assumed I was the work experience girl when I had the pen and paper in my hand so I was able to really get into the role without feeling insignificant and inexperienced. People thought I was the professional (until they realised I couldn’t write shorthand and interviews were painfully slow. Alas, one day I might actually be the professional).

Be the tea maker

Who doesn’t love someone that’ll bring them a hot beverage throughout the day. It’s a sure fire way to get to know everyone (well, get to know how they take their tea) and get them on your side. Make them their perfect cuppa and who knows, they might just give you something fun to do.

More tea equals more responsibility, right?

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Office life and the office cat

Muck in and do whatever anyone asks (within reason)

If they want you to type letters, write up press releases, proofread or just sit and read newspapers, do it. It’s all experience and it’s all worthwhile. Someone has to do it, so be helpful and take a load off of everyone else.

You’ve got to start at the bottom and earn their trust and approval. Do not march in their acting like you’re better than everyone, because, no offense, but you’re not. The people you’ll be working with (hopefully) know how to do their job, so don’t tell them how to do it better. That will get you nowhere fast.

Watch and Learn

And when you’ve got 10 mins left until you finish your work experience, and you get a call that the President of the United States is on his way to Stonehenge… Don’t think! Just go!

Hello Mr President

Hello Mr President

Basically, if you have the opportunity to do something, even if it’s scary and way out of your comfort zone, just do it. That’s what I did, and it will probably be the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me for quite some time. But after a week of writing about gardening clubs and old people’s homes, all surprisingly rather enjoyable, I got the chance to go and see the President of the United States, Mr Obama himself, turn up at Stonehenge. Maybe I didn’t get to put my new interviewing skills to the test but it was an amazing experience to watch the professionals do what they do best. From the moment they knew about his arrival, right up until the article was published online, the speed and professionalism at which the reporters and photographer worked was remarkable. It was an honour to see it all come together and a great end to the week!

So…

Just give it a go. Work experience looks great on your CV, it helps you decide what you do, or do not, want to do and it gives you a taste of the real world of work. If you get the chance to do it, go for it, and if you don’t, make it happen yourself.

Thanks to mine, I know 100000% that I want to be a journalist. On to the next step!

(Thank you to The Salisbury Journal for being so welcoming and letting me do so much during my work experience, you’re a lovely group of people and it was an honour to see you all at work)

I need a dollar, dollar… How to make money at uni

Photo by ebony.com

Being a student is tough. No seriously, it is.

If you’ve had the trauma of accidentally putting your new favourite black jeans in the wash with your whites, or forgetting that 3000 word essay that’s actually due in tomorrow, then you’ll know what a treacherous and onerous life we students lead. Without mother dearest to guide me along the way, my life is a series of trial and error experiments.

But I know, for me, (aside from the washing debacle) dealing with and most importantly, not spending, my money, is the hardest task. There are always places I want to go, food I want to try and clothes I want to buy but even with a job (no, working in Essentials, Venners and Woodys isn’t enough for me), it’s still a struggle. So how about some creative ideas to earn a bit of dollar in Canterbury alongside your studies?

1. Sell your stuff. ALL OF ITdebt-2

Okay, not all of it, but if you haven’t used it, worn it or played with it in the last six months, or if you’re really brutal, the last month, then sell it on eBay. People will literally buy anything. Though saying that, I now just have an ever increasing  ‘eBay pile’ in the corner of my room, looking quite neglected and lost, wishing I would just send it to a new, loving home already.

I like to think I looked as cool as Colin Farrell when I had my brain test (I know for a fact I didn't)

I like to think I looked as cool as Colin Farrell when I had my brain test (I didn’t)

2. Be a lab rat

I’m not suggesting you sell your body parts, although I hear that pays very handsomely, but it turns out that there are a lot of psychology students on campus conducting experiments, who need guinea pigs to take part. And the best bit is, they pay you for it. JobShop at Kent often advertises these experiments and whilst I’ve given up my money making secret just for you, it really is the best and easiest way to earn on campus. £7 for 20 mins, yeah I’ll take that. And to be honest, every experiment I’ve done has been very interesting, from eye tracking to brain tests, they’re worth getting involved in.

3. Procrastination pays

You know those emails the university keeps sending you that you don’t even read and just automatically discard? Well, every now and again, those emails are handing you money on a plate. All they’re asking you to do is fill in a survey or questionnaire, give them some basic info about yourself and press a few buttons and… hello £10 Amazon voucher. NUS do it all the time too. No more than 20 minutes of procrastination, and you’ve earned yourself a tenner. Time to trawl through that trash folder.

flyering4. Humiliate yourself

Remember that guy you saw in town, dressed like a baguette or a slice of pizza and handed you a flier that you immediately threw into the nearest bin? Well haven’t you always wished you were him? Okay, maybe not, but flyering isn’t a bad money earner. Show your sense of humour and risk your reputation for the dollar. It’s a bit more creative and it might even be fun (for your friends when they show up and take photos and post them all over facebook).

5. Oh sugar sugar

Or if you’re really stuck for ideas, you may remember InQuire reported on the craze of ‘Sugar Daddies’ a while back. Sign up and find your own part mentor, part sponsor, part ‘friend’. I know what you’re thinking but hey, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it I guess. If it works for some people… Our very own University of Kent has the highest number of ‘sugar babies’ in the country, so you’re in good company if you want a more drastic way to earn some extra money.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck!

Coffee Shop Cosiness

Photo by Alaric King

Photo by Alaric King

I felt inspired to write today, for the first time in ages and it got me thinking. Uni life, especially third year, and especially two weeks before the end of term can be beyond stressful. I don’t think I’ve slept properly in weeks, my head is all over the place and I feel like I’m ambling aimlessly through one day to the next. I feel on edge all the time and I hate it. So that’s why everyone needs to find that one place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. It’s important to get away from the stress and just give yourself a break. And no, I don’t mean the silent area of the library. I mean somewhere so detached from uni that you can escape the campus bubble and remember what it felt like to live without deadlines. Here’s what happened when I found mine:

Today, I found my own little slice of heaven. And it was glorious.

Having bravely ventured into the center of Canterbury on the first Saturday of December, I felt overwhelmed, suffocated and incredibly claustrophobic. I needed to get out of there. So I walked, and I kept walking until I found my new home.

A quaint, hidden away, cosy coffee shop. It was peaceful and secluded and cut off from the Christmas crazed shoppers outside. With a coffee and my writing journal, I sat back and just wrote.

For the first time in months, I didn’t feel stressed. I actually felt happy.

It’s one small room laid out like someone’s living room (with a till and a coffee machine in the middle), with snug sofas and dining tables where we all huddled round and wondered if we were sat next to the next great author. Who knows. But it felt like an exclusive little club of people, all content that they had found this small haven in among Canterbury’s mishmash of shops and cobbled streets.

I love this small, homely city, but now I really truly love it. Now I have found somewhere that I can relax and look forward to visiting.

Today, I sat among writers and workers, busily scribbling thoughts and ideas into their journals. It made me smile and there seemed to be some kind of unspoken pleasantness and understanding between us all. A brief warm smile or a small nod of the head as if to say, “I understand. This is my heaven too.” As bizarre and cliched as it sounds, I felt like I’d finally found people like me, who shared the same thoughts and understood why I was there but without needing to question me. They left me to it and let me write away to my heart’s content.

Now there’s no way I’m giving you the name or location of this haven because it’s all mine and I feel I can be selfish about it and not share it. But I suggest you go and find your slice of heaven, hold on to it and never let it go.

Now back to reality, and that dreaded library. Deadlines await!