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.

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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!

Chris Ramsey pops our stand-up comedy cherries

He’s the guy who got kicked off and banned from Soccer AM for talking about something a little bit naughty. He’s “The most dangerous man on Saturday morning TV”.

If only I was photogenic...

My friend Cheyenne, Mr Chris Ramsey and a very un-photogenic me.

But when Chris Ramsey bounces onto the Gulbenkian’s intimate stage, grinning from ear to ear, he looks like the least dangerous man I’ve ever seen.

He’s a Geordie joker, who, as he puts it, just wants to ‘pop our stand-up comedy cherries’. Bless him.

Without giving too much away, if you want to see some controversial, borderline offensive comedy, that’s not what you’re going to get. He’s no ‘opinion ninja’; his stand up is about real life everyday experiences. He wants you to remember he’s just like you… just a little bit famous.

There’s something so calming about that cheeky chappie Geordie accent and someone who’s so at ease with his ‘gorgeous, gorgeous audience’ (I don’t know who he was looking at) .You can just chuckle away, sure that he’s not going to fluff it up. And even though he did, he made it into the funniest joke of the night.

Other highlights included learning a little bit more about that Soccer AM incident, (YouTube it. Go on, I dare you), a few tips in the best ways to fist bump someone (I recommend googling ‘fist bump jellyfish’ right away) and a radical breakfast invention that went slightly wrong.

Yes, we are indeed pink.

Meet my good friend Carl (and yes, we are indeed pink)

Though Canterbury didn’t offer much in the way of audience participation, Ramsey somehow turned silence into raucous laughter again and again. He handled a heckler with ease (no it wasn’t me) and wrestled a man who got up to leave at the punch line. He’s not afraid to get involved and mix things up a little.

And let’s not forget his support act, Mr Carl Hutchinson. Oh Carl, what a joy to watch a comedian tell cheese jokes. I’ve been waiting a long time for that to happen. He’s definitely one to look out for in the future.

After the gig, Chris and Carl kindly came and chatted to us and although I was a little busy fan girling all the way to the ticket signing table, I did manage to ask a few questions. InQuire exclusive alert: Chris Ramsey thinks Canterbury is “a lovely city with terrible phone signal”. Tell us something we don’t know.

They’re genuinely lovely guys who seemed so humbled that anyone would want to see them perform. And why wouldn’t we? They’re blooming hilarious!

The Uni Summer Ball Take Two

photo (2)Summer ball 2014. The one night of the year when students dust off their suits, probably the same one from prom night, and discover that there is an iron lurking in the, what’s it called? Cleaning cupboard?

There’s always that fear that the months of anticipation will result in a massive anti climax, but this year, for me at least, it was a resounding success. I’ll be brutally honest: I wasn’t that fussed about who was on stage or what music was playing and perhaps I was a bit too intoxicated to even realise what tent I was in but, for me the night was more about saying goodbye to those who had finished uni, those I10462930_10154222863405263_6155561794303247763_n wasn’t sure when I’d next see. #Emotional.

The night was more about the pre-drinking in front of the library and those unorganised group pictures of everyone laughing and joking and reminiscing about last year.

The event itself, as always, was very well organised. The hours that must have gone into preparing and setting it up are unimaginable. A thanks to the organisers and staff is definitely needed.

10352928_10203175770849269_8873376278044448277_nThe dodgems were a highlight but my now bruised and battered body suggests I may have a bit of road rage to sort out. The Pimms stand was a nice summery addition, but only because it had the shortest queue. I admit, I didn’t even attempt buying a drink inside the tents; I learnt from last years mistakes.

The atmosphere inside the tent really was insane. Plenty of bumping into friends and “Oh my god, how are you”s to be had. Zane Lowe was a particular favourite, as immersed in the music as every student and clearly having a good time.

As Kent Union predicted, I did lose most of my friends, I did have to take my heels off and I did take a gazillion (mostly blurry) photos but I did definitely have a great time. As always, a great end to the year.