Aston aspires and what it brought

Just thought to do a quick post following a very eye opening week that is now coming to an end! This week has been Aston aspires week where people have the chance to take time out the scheduled lectures. For many it was a time to catch up on work, for many it was a time to go home, but here’s my personal experience of the whole week.

1) A time of reflection
As an MPharm student I attended some lectures related to my course, one of which was about opportunities post registration, it was insightful as it made me think about the future and actually whether there is a life after my degree. For many pharmacists especially in my year we are thinking of where we want to do pre reg, both in terms of sector, and employers, and area etc. Which I will talk about more in another blog, however it was really exciting to appreciate that opportunities can sometimes not be blindingly obvious and researching into what the degree has for you when you have a few moments is actually quite worth it. So thank you Aston Aspires week

2) A time for completion
Even with the best of intentions it can actually be really hard to always stay on top of work, aspires week has been a time for me to attend lectures and guest talks and workshops at my leisure, however it has been a time where i can get home at the end of the day, and actually feel really motivated to go to the library and catch up on work. This helps me feel like i am actually on track and do some past paper questions and read some articles to supplement my learning and track my progress! Very much needed.

3) A time to be taken outside of the “comfort zone”
Today, as a student ambassador I worked with some young primary school children. The reason i mention this is because actually they asked some questions that made me stop and think. we all know i’m now in my third year of university but actually having been at Aston for so long I often lost sight and never thought about some of the questions I’ve been asked today!

-How many stairs does Aston actually have? they moaned a lot about how we took the second floor, such that they had innovative ideas such as creating hover-chairs, which personally I wouldn’t mind given my lectures are all on the 6th floor!

-How many windows does Aston University have?
-How many bricks did it take to build Aston?
-How many gadgets does Aston have in total? (where do I even begin?)

even simple things as what do i enjoy most about Aston, my favourite subject, how i felt on the first day being a student amidst 12,000 ish others.

intelligence knowledge question quotes

Maybe I should round off, but I just thought it would be nice to write a short piece on how useful this week has been, exploring career opportunities, thinking about summer placements, working with young people, catching up with work!

Reflections : A second year of uni finished…well sort of

Hey everyone!

As you can tell I have just finished exams, and had time to recuperate and I am officially back to the bright eyed and bushy tailed self I started the year as. admittedly this may be lengthy but this blog will aim to just fill you in on what life has been like overall during my second year at Aston, this will not be representative for all, however I hope you enjoy the read.

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Initially

the year was exciting and the prospect of the year was daunting, and despite being given a book called Undaunted, in preparation for the year ahead my subconscious couldn’t help but occasionally wonder:
” how am i going to manage a society, extra meetings, create time to study, create time to go home and see family, to maintain working for the Student Ambassador scheme, continue writing *which I do enjoy*, and yet here I am! I lived to tell the tale, thankfully it was possible, and for me what made me pull through was the continued faith, and a little motivation from Bear Grylls who said something about “Dogged determination”! the dogged determination thing came particularly useful during exams.”

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Then came exams,

both January and June exams, as would any other student, despite the repeated mantra I set myself of “Keep calm stay focussed and do your best”, staying calm wasnt always possible. Yet again I lived to tell the tale, second year can get a bit overwhelming but often I learnt its how we deal with those things in the moment that makes us or breaks us, that programs our mind for success which leads to hard work and perseverance, or programs our mind into panic mode, which isn’t so helpful!

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Next came the social life,

as I have mentioned many a time, I had the honour of working alongside a team of 8 students and we were in charge of the Aston University Christian Union society! It was a year of many meetings but more importantly a year of fun, building strong relationships with each and every member, learning incredible and transferable skills whilst doing so! I would not change a thing and have no regrets in working with those guys, putting on a week of events, arranging a weekend away, a promise auction, a christmas carol evening, helping the MLK at pancake day.

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This second year of being a pharmacy student at aston has been incredible for me! I faced the challenge of an increased workload, the personal challenge of working and studying to a higher standard so that I can hopefully become the best I can be, so that when I step out having graduated at Aston university, I can be a world class and not just a mediocre pharmacist! To be honest this has encouraged me to work harder for the third year, to continue onwards and upwards. To aim high.
I took part in the HEAR scheme done by the university which is a program valued by employers as it shows that I took part in professional development independent of my course, that was eye opening, attending seminars and talks, and events that broadened my knowledge base! I definitely recommend for anyone who can take part!

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Now as we all know a healthy work life balance is good! In addition to being a student, for the second year running I have worked for the student ambassador scheme which has been incredible, meeting school students as part of AimHigher, giving campus tours to prospective students, doing open days, envelope stuffing, i have met more wonderful people this year, and had a blast doing something outside of my course. I find it exciting especially during open days and talking to prospective students thinking about how that was once me! I didnt know what to expect, I wasnt sure what exactly I would be doing, my parents asking questions and doing their best to prepare me for what was ahead! How time flies!

 

This year I have ventured out and about in Birmingham,

I am a self confessed Food-a-holic, and have found myself trying out so many new restaurants and cuisine, visiting new places, exploring and walking around Birmingham and growing more and more in love with my city, the parks *yes they are there*! My ultimate favorite has been watching the geese ever since spring as they had their little babies, and watching the little family walk around Aston and at times just hanging out by the lake! They complete Aston and make it that little more special, given we are right in the centre!

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Conclusions:
Second year as with any other yea is what you make it, one phrase that got me through was “Love what you do and do what you love”. Itf funny because if you think about it everything you will do, you will love, and when you do something you love, you are bound to enjoy, to persevere, to grow and learn more in doing it. I faced challenges, and triumphs, I had great times and fun times. Aston is currently buzzing as my friends are leaving for placement, some abroad some within the UK, who knows what will happen within the next year…and that’s the exciting for me! Living in the moment.Loving the degree, enjoying the city, spending time with friends, stepping out of the comfort zone and living in the moment for the moment and the future!
my snap of the Aston Geese2015-03-27 17.09.52

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De-stressing during exams!

Exam season is upon us and I’m sure a few of us will be frantically counting down the days until the next one. However one thing I have realised as a student is the importance of getting the work life balance to be just right. Creating time to revise as well as time to unwind. I found that for me, taking time to unwind allows me to assimilate the information I have just read, have time to ensure I am well fed and regain my strength.
Why not try some of the things below? Or whatever else you may want to do!

1) Go to a nice cafe/ bar for an hour or so! Across the road from Aston is a wonderful little place for all my fellow waffle lovers, called Dolce!

#dolce #waffle #relax

2) Go for a walk. Having lived on campus last year I realised I am in the heart of a vibrant thriving city! Explore it, walk along its canals, see it at night when its empty and looks marvelous with the lights.

#birmingham #is #beautiful
#birmingham #is #beautiful

3) Watch a movie … popcorn, chocolate, blueberries whatever tickles your fancy

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#MJ #Studybreak

4) Cook

5) Clean. This can be surprisingly therapeutic

6) Phone home and just chat!

Whatever happens, whatever you fancy doing, make sure you have the time to do it. Different things work for different people but maybe a few of the above might help you unwind during this stressful time.

Wise time management.

Work hard.

Take time off and don’t burn out!

 

 

 

Why Aston is for Me <3

Hey guys, recently I have been thinking and realising truly that Aston is beautiful! Everyone will say that about their uni, which is why often we do open days and trial out different places before finding where we belong, and I know that I am studying at Aston and I’m glad and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

1) The atmosphere: being at Aston has helped me to grow as a person over the past two years as I have learnt and been in an environment with such a vibrant atmosphere, brimming with a community feel.

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2) The environment: I don’t think its a secret anymore but the Aston Geese are totally awesome, its crazy to think that right in the heart of Birmingham can be such a wonderful and beautiful campus. I remember in our society’s events week, we held a concert in the open space which is really awesome with the incredible lighting and the colours around Aston uni which make for a great environment.

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3) City centre: Granted as a student there will be times of procrastination but I have found being so close to the city centre helps as it offer the chance to go for a walk, to explore beautiful surroundings and gems within Birmingham including the new library which is simply an amazing place to go! I remember recently I went there just to spend the afternoon watching the skyline of Birmingham and it was beautiful.

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4) Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe: This is a little shop not so far away from Aston and for a self confessed food junkie I would say its the most perfect place. On opening the door you are met by all the songs from your childhood, and they have all sweets e.g. sour sweets, fruity sweets!

 

 

 

5) Cafes: Now I really enjoy trying new things and I recently found a little cafe which holds Jazz nights and serves incredible cakes! This was not something I did very often but being at Aston and being close to the town, I found that trying new things when walking around if great and healthy and will add up to a great student experience.

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These are only a few reasons for me which I thoroughly enjoyed my student experience thus far! I encourage you go out and see if you can find stuff you like, make the aston experience your own Aston experience

A week in the life of a 2nd Year Pharmacy Student @AstonUniversity

So this is by far going to be the biggest blog challenge that I have done! I have written blogs about time management, society etc but this will really test IF I can practice what I preach! I hope you have fun reading it and enjoy exclusive access into what the next 5 days are like lets just say there will be lot happening! Its spring, and aston is buzzing at this time of year with us having had Fairtrade fortnight,Student Union elections, now AUCU events week!

Spring @Aston, Footie Pitch, Beautiful Flowers
Spring @Aston, Footie Pitch, Beautiful Flowers

Aim: Give an insight of what being a 2nd year Pharmacy Student at Uni looks like

Potential Challenges: Time, dedication, effort, procrastination

Potential lessons: Organisation,dedication, time management, working hard and playing hard, how to live life outside the “COMFORT ZONE” , how to work as part of a team to reach out onto Aston campus.

 

Day 1:

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Deserted campus, breakfast in the MLK, Lab coat and resource, flyer for society evening event

8am: Wake up for Prayer and breakfast with the guys from AUCU( Aston Uni Christian Union)

10am: Microbiology practical session total 3 hours long.

1pm: 45 minute lunch…what to eat.. settled for sandwiches at the lunch bar arranged by the team @AUCU

2pm : Another 3 hour practical #dispensing #pharmacist #BNF #getsetgo!

5pm : day over, time to refuel before another event.

7pm: back on campus for society event called dial a donut: where the aim is to encourage people to text in a question about faith or religion and we take a free donut to them with an answer.

11pm: Back home get prepared for tomorrow!

 

 

 

Green campus! Aston lake in spring, society purple hoodies
Green campus! Aston lake in spring, society purple hoodies

Day 2:

8am: On campus

9am: 2 hour lecture: Pharmacology on the endocrine system. One of my favourite as its really interesting to work out and think logically about how it works within the body, what can go wrong etc.

12pm: Lunch, sort out stuff for the hospital placement thursday e.g. directions, clothing, print of certificates.

5:30- Preparation for the QUIZ NIGHT again arranged by the AUCU exec, with incredible prizes e.g. 2 course meals at Ask Italia, Coffee and Cake at BTP all free!

7:30- Off to celebrate a friends birthday #heels #dressingup. So we went to an authentic Indian restaurant, let our hair down to celebrate my friends 20th.

 

Aston campus view is just wow, lunch bar, outdoor open air concert, bus pass #livingoffcampus
Aston campus view is just wow, lunch bar, outdoor open air concert, bus pass #livingoffcampus

Day 3

8am : on campus and having breakfast with friends.

10: 3 hour lecture set starts and head over to lecture

1pm: Lunch bar number two, helping with set up and directing people to the venue.

3pm: Go to collect speaker near Fiveways, which is near Broad street ready for the outdoor concert in the open space at Aston by the lake!  Cute fact: Aston has a lake in the shape of a heart which symbolises that we are in the heart of Birmingham city!

6pm; Outdoor open air concert start, its incredible to see my friends and members I met through society events performing and singing and playing. It really shows uni is the place that can bring us all out of our shells, that offers the opportunity to have fun doing what you love, and STUDY!!

9pm: Heading home, we have packed up and had an incredible evening. Reading some directed study online as Aston’s library has the e-book system ready for tomorrow!

 

2015-03-14_08.27.45Day 4: 

Sadly no lie in for me #pharmacystudentlife

7:30 Leave home and get going to Birmingham city hospital ready for my first hospital placement

8:30 Arrived and now to kill time as this starts at 9:30

1pm: placement finished, grabbing a subway then heading back to Leicester for the night to see the family.

2pm: Back in Leicester, catching up on some deadlines for the professional development optional module and doing the assessed care plan related to my hospital visit today.

I made an interesting observation on my way to placement today! Birmingham is beautiful, the hussle and bussle of people rushing to work, the wonderful tall buildings, the rich smell of costa coffee around the business district today was really refreshing. #Birminghamlove #wow

 

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Aerial view of an overcast aston, Student union set up, Concert!!

Day 5:

So its friday and the last day of the week but potentially the busiest. usually I have a workshop but not this week. I have one hour in lecture for kinetics, which is actually a pretty cool part of the formulations module.

12pm: arrive back in Birmingham

1pm: Head over to the last lunch bar event that my society has arranged as part of this outreach week to spread some love on campus.

3-4pm: Lecture on Kinetics

4-5pm: Flyer for an incredible concert we arranged with a band coming in especially and guest speakers and performers from other societies including GIFT.

5pm: Go to the students union an help set up

5:30pm : Decided to get some subway as I was a little peckish. Yes Aston does have an on campus subway! I changed my order from the usual steak and cheese too Chicken and Bacon #Feelingadventurous

7pm: Concert time, Free Dominos pizza for our society! Wonderful end to a wonderful week seeing acts such as Johnny Lucas, Divine Impact performing live check out the link below!

12:00am: Finally back home. The week is over, finishing off this blog, not really tired so I decided to iron lol…which is strange!

 

I guess in summary, this week has involved lectures, practicals, hospital placements, and society events as I am the Vice President 2014/15 for Aston Christian union as well as being an Aston second year MPharm student as well as being an Aston student Ambassador. I have had a genuinely incredible week, it has been busy however I would not change a thing. I have learnt so much, and tried out so many new things, for example Akbars Indian restaurant which I totally recommend, and treated myself to Subway more that TWICE in a week. Each student is different and thats what makes life exciting. This has been on week of many weeks I have spent at uni, and I guess the reason I shared it with you was to try and show that the possibilities are endless, uni is what you make it, as is time! I am always told these will be the best years of my life so again I plan on working hard and also investing in many other things that I possibly would not do on a day to day basis.

 

Society Society Society !

Now that’s the phrase on everyone’s mind. Now I’m no politician but believe me this post is just going to really reinforce the great things about belonging and getting involved with Uni life.
Now I was one to believe that Uni is all work and no play but boy was I wrong. Now as I type this right now in my free time between lectures, I am excited to be talking about getting stuck in an the things you learn.

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I am a member of the Christian union and was last year and this year I have the role on the committee as Vice president. I have been a member of Basketball society, which I never went to, I joined MUN which I never went to, and yet that’s one of my biggest regrets…signing up to stuff and not going
Reasons to get involved are
1) Broadening the people you talk to, diversity is good right?
2) Networking and making friends that could potentially help in future and just simply be your friend.
3) Developing skills and confidence and knowledge. Knowledge is power right?

 

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Benefits – from personal experience

1) CV looks good and it gives you something to talk about at an interview and not just awkward silence, I mean showing an employer that you are passionate about what you do is good right?

2) You get to travel. As part of the Christian union we had an amazing weekend 2 weeks ago, getting on a minibus and escaping the city life we have everyday in Birmingham. We travelled to Harby village in the middle of the most scenic place I have been to, saw the sun rise, watched the sheep graze…now this may not be your ideal but I’m sure other societies do offer this for example Aston Go a society developed to travel to places.

3) You can be on the exec, now believe me many people worry about time, but time is what you make it! As with anything in life, your passion and drive to keep going should spur you on. Manage your time well! Study hard, work hard, party hard!

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But no!

Society Society Society!

Get involved, live laugh and love! Who knows what doors it could open and what opportunities you can gain, what places you can see.

Who knows you might even gain that time management skills that will help you be able to wake up for a 9am lecture.

#AUCU #Societies

 

New year New you ?

Maybe this is a bit late, or maybe its bang on the the right time! Why do I say so?

Okay so 1st January everyone makes these new years resolutions, that by this time of January are half broken, or where people just give up and you know what thats totally fine…even as a student despite our unquestionable perfectness many of us have broken some new years resolutions at some point or another.

So listening to the radio I got a few tips on setting new year targets that begin at the end of January so if they go a little bit slower we dont beat ourselves up. Alas there is hope! #Happydance

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Why not try some of the following!!

1) Exercise / Sports- benefit being you get fit, you feel good, after the first few times it gets less painful LOL!

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2) Join a society at refreshers fair! Singing, sports, academic …and try going!

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3) Go out more and enjoy birmingham…its not big bad nor scary! …sometimes

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4) Attend lectures!!

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5) Cook

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6) Do something different

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7)above all… have fun!

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5) Attend and enjoy lectures

Life at Aston can be pretty exciting …you just have to know how to do it right!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday

Its genuinely been a while, and its crazy because I really miss writing and blogging and typing words to hopefully generate an article that someone somewhere out there will read! lol

So this thursday, as the title suggests we are thinking out loud, and my thoughts right now are FOOD. Food is like a social currency ! The ideal opportunity to meet with friends, go on a date, catch up with family, meet totally random strangers and smile over the mutual enjoyment as you grab the chilli sauces in Nandos!
I am not crazy! Simple ways to do this include

1) Cooking at home and inviting friends, or whoever!

2) Going out; local places in Birmingham include

  • Nandos’ : The ultimate chicken place
  • Brindley Place: So many elegant restaurants, spoilt for choice!
  • Jimmy Spices: World buffer with lots of food
  • Ming Moon: wonderful Chinese buffet
  • Five guys : Recently opened 😉
  • Dolce : AMAZING waffle place just across from uni
  • BTP: They do a sensational hot chocolate and not too far from campus
  • Cafe Nero: They have wonderful looking cakes and an interesting christmas drink variety!
  • Home is where: This a wonderful quirky cafe which serve an amazing Falafel and oreo milkshake
  • Tinseltown star city: As you can tell I like rich foods
  • Wagamama
  • Jamies Italian!

These are just a handful of the places to eat that I would recommend you try in Birmingham, there are so many more, why I chose these, virtually every Aston student can get to them, can afford them, and honestly…

they were the first to pop to mind. Will fill you in with more ideas as my repertoire of food places increases! Happy new year Blog readers! See you soon!

 

Time…

So its crazy because right now right this minute I feel I have so much to do, and guess what life can get like that sometimes, CRAZY, MANIC and maybe borderline overwhelming or so it seems.

Saw this on the Uni days website #RyanGosling #WOW #dontentirelyagree
Saw this on the Uni days website #RyanGosling #WOW #dontentirelyagree

During my first year at uni I was always so stressed trying to manage time and stressing more about that than doing what was needed, attending lecture making time to go to society meetings, going home, and church and food shopping and yet this year i have more stuff to do and I have felt I have coped much better than last. So the aim of this blog is just to REASSURE YOU that it can be done, and the less time we spend worrying on what needs to be done the more time we have to do those things as well as have times for ourselves to just kick back!

 

1) STOP AND BREATH…

2) Prioritise what needs doing and when 

3) JUST DO IT (as nike says) 

4) Attend those society meetings and thrive getting to know other people than those you met on your course and sit next to every day and message when you need help with that assignment etc

5) Make time for YOU! its really important to cook/ order in, to eat and just give your body some much needed love. this can be through going to the gym, reading a book, watching a funny movie, give yourself a dose of some loving! It really will help perfect all other elements of life.

and also 

6)REVISE maybe this should be higher up on the list of priorities but then again you cant really focus on work if your mind is too busy worried about other stuff and you are unhappy and unfed! 

 

But hope you all have a great week, and maybe this all seems obvious but hey make sure you do it!

 

Three good things about my week

1) Firstly I’m grateful for actually being able to stay awake in all my monday lectures 😛 …#JustKidding

I had my first Monday when I didn't feel like this :)
I had my first Monday when I didn’t feel like this 🙂

  2)  I had a blast in labs where I was working with hydrolysis of Aspirin at various temperatures #TeamPharmacy 

Aspirin..Pestle ...Mortar
Aspirin..Pestle …Mortar

 

3)  Spent the weekend eating junk food in Stoke-on-Trent #Muchdeservedrest

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