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Uncategorized – UMASS http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk The University of Manchester Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:51:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 My top five things to do on campus! http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/my-top-five-things-to-do-on-campus/ http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/my-top-five-things-to-do-on-campus/#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:52:37 +0000 http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/?p=16335 Continue reading ]]> In today’s blog I’m going to be giving you a run-down of the top five things to do on campus!


  1. The Students Union

The University of Manchester is home to the largest Student’s Union (SU) in the UK. Twice per year it welcomes thousands of students during the BIGGEST student festival (Pangea) in the UK! BUT don’t fret if raving isn’t your cup of tea, I don’t drink and I don’t go clubbing and this has never limited how much I can get from the SU. The Manchester Academy, based at the SU, hosts all types of concerts and events for everyone to be a part of. The SU also has a café, a bar with pool tables and is the centre for over 400 societies that cover a wide range of interests. A society people never believe exists is the Quidditch society – yes, adult students run around a field with broomsticks and a ball!  Harry would be proud.


  1. Sport centres: Aquatics, Sugden and The Armitage

Unquestionably, sports play a huge part of the University’s ethos. We have so many facilities accessible to students, made for students and that offer student discounts. The Athletics Union (AU) has 42 sports that represent The University of Manchester and compete against other universities. We also have campus (intramural) league teams that cater for different sporting abilities and aren’t as competitive. Doing sport at university is not only about your body, but also about having a good mindset and meeting new people outside your course and your halls of residence. Sport societies are great because you don’t have to stick to one team. The AU and SU also run short programmes to give you a taster of different activities without having to commit a lot of time. Last year I did a free six week, women-only, programme which focused on improving my self-defence. I would totally recommend finding a healthy passion where you can burn off some of that stress from work or just daily life during your free time.


  1. Contact theatre

The Contact Theatre is a great place to experience something new or pick-up a hidden passion for the performing arts! You can book tickets for shows and there are many opportunities to get involved with, such as being part of the creative process or helping with logistics. If you’re interested in drama and the arts, this is a great place to start and pursue your passions.


  1. John Ryland’s library

This library is a famous landmark in Manchester – many tourists flock each year to see the inside of this beautiful, historic site. The first time I went to this library I thought it looked like Hogwarts.  This library is accessible by members of the public as well as students from the University. It also has a variety of special collections, including historical artefacts and maps, accessible to alumni from the University of Manchester.


  1. Whitworth Art Gallery

The Whitworth Art Gallery has recently been renovated and provides students and members of the public with free access to a variety of artworks. It also has a café indoors facing The Whitworth Park giving you a great space to relax or work. This gallery received the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year in 2015 for excellence in the arts and introduces a fusion of modern and vintage architectural designs into one building! So whether you like art, architecture, finding new picturesque areas or you’re just a complete café-addict (like myself), come visit the gallery and experience something new!

From art, sports, theatre, good food or all of the above, I can say without hesitation that The University of Manchester and the city of Manchester has something to offer you. My tip would be to get involved and find things you are interested in; you’ll meet new people, find or continue a hobby, pursue your passion and have fun at the same time.

Good luck,


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Manchester – The Capital of the North http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/manchester-the-capital-of-the-north/ http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/manchester-the-capital-of-the-north/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:16:41 +0000 http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/?p=16325 Continue reading ]]>

‘This is Manchester, we do things differently here’ – Anthony H. Wilson

Coming to Manchester to attend an Open Day soon?  Well, not only is this a good opportunity to check out our wonderful University, but it’s also a super chance to explore the greatest, boldest, and most fabulous city in the North!

Mancunians are famously proud of their city, culture, and football clubs, and having lived here for a few years it’s easy to see why.  Not only is Manchester one of the UK’s most culturally diverse, exciting and famous cities (narrowly beaten by London), but it has sights and activities to suit all tastes.  With a wide range of world cuisines, a culturally rich scene and much more, Manchester has something for everyone.

If you have time on your Open Day, there are loads of things you can see and do within walking distance of the University to have a taste of what Manchester has on offer.


If food’s your thing

Foodies flock from all over to sample a plethora of different cuisines available in Manchester – so be sure to treat your taste buds when you visit!

The heart of Manchester’s South East Asian community is found in Chinatown, a few minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre.  For top-notch Vietnamese food, I recommend I Am Pho for their delicious noodle soup.  Or if you have a sweet tooth and fancy a twist, get a green tea or lychee dessert from Wasabi.

Closer to campus you can find the famous Curry Mile where you can find flavours from all over the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and the Indian Sub-Continent.  As well as offering food for all tastes there are also options for all budgets, from mouth-watering £2.50 shawarma from Atlas to elaborate Indian banquets at Mughli.


Super Shoppers

If you’re keen for a shopping experience that takes you beyond the usual chain shops, the Northern Quarter has an eclectic selection of boutiques, independent cafes and record stores.  As Manchester’s beating bohemian heart, it’s also home to some of the most avant-garde bars, underground music spaces and galleries.

NQ market

If you only have an hour or so, I whole-heartedly recommend a quick tour of Affleck’s Palace.  In this multi-cultural, multi-storey bazaar, you can browse a marvellous mix of alternative fashions and knick-knacks, and experience the indie-vibes that make Manchester so Manchester.

Feed your brain in Manchester’s museums

Another reason why Manchester is a great city is the vast number of free museums and art galleries found across town.  The Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see if you’d like to find out why Manchester is such a hub of scientific excellence and innovation, with fascinating exhibits on how Manchester became the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Alan Turing’s computers, and graphene.


Avid football fans should consider a visit to the National Football Museum near Victoria Train Station – not only can you learn some fun facts about the city’s renowned teams, but you can also gain a fascinating insight into the history and global impact of the beautiful game.

The University’s own Manchester Museum is an award-winning institution situated in a beautiful Neo-Gothic building in the heart of campus.  If you only have a short break in the day, this is the perfect place to ogle at the museum’s beautiful collection of natural history and anthropological artefacts.  Get involved with their hands-on activities and expert talks, and check out my favourite exhibit – the frogs!  (They’re so cute and colourful.)

MCR art gallery

If you’re more of a da Vinci than a Darwin, then the Manchester Art Gallery has a number of world-class collections showcasing the work of some of the world’s most renowned artists.  Here you can view classical masterpieces as well as modern art, and also admire the work of Manchester’s own L. S. Lowry.

Closer to campus you can find the University’s own Whitworth Art Gallery for an eclectic variety of artwork and avant-garde exhibitions.  Its café is also a beautiful spot for lunch with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lush greenery of Whitworth Park.  Their salads and cakes are absolutely delicious too!

john rylands

If the main UoM campus doesn’t sate your appetite for stunning Neo-Gothic architecture, then the John Rylands Library on Deansgate Road is a must see.  A veritable cathedral of books with its lofty ceilings, exquisite stained-glass and dark wood bookshelves, it’s not surprising that this is one of Manchester’s top visitor attractions.  As a student at UoM you’ll have full access to the Wi-Fi and resources available here – I like to study in the main reading room and pretend I go to Hogwarts!

See you soon!

An Open Day here can be so much more than just looking around campus.  Take the time to explore Manchester, discover its eccentricities, and get excited for a jam-packed few years studying in this wonderful city!

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What’s done is done! http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/whats-done-is-done/ http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/whats-done-is-done/#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 11:02:39 +0000 http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/?p=15390 Continue reading ]]> That is what I tell myself as soon as I leave the exam hall. Whether I think the exam went well, went okay, or went badly, I leave the building reminding myself to move on and do the next thing. I go home, take a shower, a nap, and have a hearty meal to replenish myself for all the hours of intense study. If I have more exams, I let my impressions of the exam motivate me to work harder at understanding and not merely memorising material for the next exam. If it’s the last of my exams, I think about my next steps or whatever else I look forward to, which brings me to my next post-exam wind-down technique.

Incentives. It’s important to incentivise yourself at every step of the way in your time at university. Deferring gratification when trying to develop self-discipline and consistent study habits, reminding yourself of how worth it all the effort will be when you throw your graduation cap in the air. Forcing yourself to study for X number of hours before you read that chapter of that book you just can’t put down, or watch that next episode on Netflix. These short-term and long-term incentives are helpful, but it’s good to have mid-term incentives too. After exams, this year, I hope to be enjoying some exotic food and culture, as well as getting a vitamin D boost, somewhere in the Mediterranean. I also look forward to chipping madly away at my nearly 2000 book-long to-read list, although I already sneak a chapter of fiction in on my study breaks. Most of all, I can’t wait to catch up with family and friends back at home in London. As I did lots during my year out from university, I didn’t apply for any internships this time around as I want to focus on catching up on my studies and preparing myself for Final Year, but I will continue working as an enquiry management assistant at the university to earn some money over the summer. I will also have to spend some time thinking about what I want to write about in my dissertation, as well as what I want to do immediately after I graduate, so I already have plenty on my hands for the summer.
As important as it is to enjoy the extensive time off while you still have it as a student, it is important also to not waste it. So, watch some Netflix, but not too much of it. I have friends who will be doing industrial placements and internships, while others will be volunteering or studying abroad. Some people choose to work the whole of summer, others travel, and some – like me – do both. Whatever you do, think through it and plan well, so that you ensure that you are using your time wisely. You don’t want to develop habits that will hinder you in your next phase of life, whether it be full-time work or the next stage in your education. Hence, for me, I want to be as prepared as possible to put my best foot forward in 3rd Year. So, I hope to fill in as many gaps in my knowledge as possible. In saying that, however, it is also not wise to burn myself out before September.

As with all things, it’s about moderation and balance. Work proportionately to your commitments, and rest proportionately to your work. Above all, enjoy the journey! Learn from every experience and savour every moment. After all, you’re only ever going to be an undergraduate student (for the first time) once!

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Preparing for exams http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/preparing-for-exams/ http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/preparing-for-exams/#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 11:02:18 +0000 http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/?p=15387 Continue reading ]]> Preparing for exams takes many different forms; depending on what subject you are sitting an exam on and on how you work as an individual. As a Politics student, my exams take a very similar form to most humanities subjects. I usually have two hours to answer two extended essay questions, chosen from a range of questions that are linked to specific topics in the course. It is crucial to have a clear idea of the format your exams are going to take as this not only helps you to best prepare for them, but also means that you won’t have any surprises when you walk into the real exam.

For me, preparation takes the form of identifying four topics that I am going to revise thoroughly, which gives me some flexibility when I get into the exam and see the questions. For instance, if I only revised two topics and the questions for those were much more difficult that I was expecting, I wouldn’t be able to do much about it. However, having two extra questions as a safety net allows me to feel much more confident as I walk in to the exam. Once I have identified the topics I am going to revise, I then work through the relevant material assigned for those topics. This includes going over lecture notes, the required readings and the further readings. Once I have got more familiar with the topic, I’ll move on to creating mind maps for past paper questions. Instead of memorising answers to past papers and then attempting to regurgitate them in the actual exam, I find I perform much better if I try to develop a real understanding of the issues at hand in the topic during my revision. Having a good grasp of the topic better prepares you for any question that might turn up in the exam.

The University of Manchester puts a lot of extra support in place for students during exam time to not only cater for the increase in numbers wanting to study, but also to help make sure students are staying healthy and mindful during this more stressful period. Exam Extra allows students to track where available PCs are across the University’s multiple study spaces, as well as the libraries operating longer opening times. Exam support workshops are put in place to help students practice mindfulness techniques so they can approach a full day of revision in a much more clam and productive manner. During the two exam periods of January and May/June, a two week timetable of sport classes are made available for free to ensure that students can keep healthy and de-stressed. Classes on offer include yoga, swimming, as well as various fitness classes such as interval training and body conditioning.

Indeed, exam periods are more high pressure than elsewhere in the semester, however the support is there for you to make sure you can do your best when that exam dates come. It is also vital that you practice some self-care too during this period. Making sure your sleeping and eating well, as well as taking regular breaks really do help to avoid you burning out.

Good luck!

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Top tips for your finances http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/top-tips-for-your-finances/ http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/top-tips-for-your-finances/#respond Mon, 06 Mar 2017 14:24:55 +0000 http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/?p=14769 Continue reading ]]>

Starting university may be the first time you have been financially independent. The thought of having to juggle rent, bills and food costs can be a daunting prospect. But have no fear, there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself a float whilst studying, ensuring there is still enough to spend on enjoying yourself too! Choosing to live at home whilst at university is an attractive option to many, often meaning you get to avoid paying the market rent and buying your own food shopping. The compromise may come however from having to endure a lengthy commute to campus, so it’s worth working out what suits you best. For those that choose to move further afield and go it alone, it’s worth researching rent prices in the area where your preferred universities are. Rents can vary vastly across the UK, with the more expensive rates being located in the South East of England and often cheaper rates in the North. University halls tend to be more expensive than the local market rents, however keep in mind that the price often includes utility and internet bills.

Once you have settled on where you are going to live for university it’s a great idea to get thinking about budgeting. First it is important to make a note of your income during your studies; this can include student loans, grants and part-time jobs. Although getting a part-time job to help fund your living costs may be necessary, it is important to make sure paid work does not compromise your studies. I have worked a part-time job in a café throughout my degree but have always been clear with my manager that I could only take on 12 hours of work a week. Don’t be afraid to say which days or times are best for you when agreeing on your terms of employment. For instance, if your course has a lot of contact hours in the week, you may prefer to only work weekends. Manchester offers a huge variety of available part-time jobs, catering for the student population. If it suits, during the holidays you can always take on more hours to save for the next semester or to help fund your travel plans.

Now you have an idea of where your income will be coming from, make those funds go further by budgeting your living costs.  So, make a note of your monthly outgoings, this may include rent payments, utility bills, mobile and internet bills, travel costs, and food shopping. This will help you to identify where you may be able to make cut backs. For instance, perhaps the cost of buying a bus ticket every day is really stacking up? Buying a season ticket for transport can drastically cut down travel costs, in Manchester students qualify for a Stagecoach UniRider, meaning you can make big savings on your bus travel. Cycling to campus is another great way to cut down on your expenditure as well as being a great way to keep fit! In terms of food shopping, try to avoid small ‘metro’ versions of the supermarket chains as the choice is often limited to their more luxury brands. Most supermarkets have a basics range ideal for those trying to stick to a budget. For me, the best way to keep food costs down is to cook big meals in the evenings, making sure there is enough to take for lunch the next day. You can even freeze your leftovers, saving them for times when money is tight or for when you’re feeling lazy!

Keep all these tips in mind and you should manage just fine. If times do get tough though, The University of Manchester offers student money advice, bursaries and a hardship fund for struggling students. Plus the support available from the Students’ Union: so remember, there is support there if you need it!

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Choosing a course: The three C’s http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/choosing-a-course-the-three-cs/ http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/choosing-a-course-the-three-cs/#respond Wed, 01 Feb 2017 11:29:40 +0000 http://www.umass.manchester.ac.uk/?p=11126 Continue reading ]]> When I received the confirmation that I would be going to study my desired course at my first-choice university, I was thrilled! Now two years into my studies, I strongly believe that should be the attitude of every prospective university student – an enthusiasm rooted in satisfaction. The decision to go to university is not one to be taken lightly. So, it is important that you thoroughly consider your reasons for pursuing higher education, as well as what you want to study. Giving it all serious thought ahead of time is the best way to ensure you are making the right decision for yourself. When you know that you have made the right decision, then it’s easier to enjoy your course and embrace your university experience. So, here are some tips and insights to help you choose the right course for you: the three Cs – career, curiosity, and competence.


If you have a concrete idea of what you want to do after university, all you need to do is find out what the requirements are for your desired career path. The legal, medical, and teaching professions, for example, have structured paths to qualification with specific requirements. However, some are more flexible than others which allow for people from different educational backgrounds to qualify through postgraduate courses. So, if you already know what you wish to go into, you can just research what it takes to qualify in that profession. Asking people you know who work in the fields you are interested, and getting work experience in them, will help you decide whether that career is suitable for you. If you are interested in a career that requires no specific degree, consider doing research on or contacting people who work or have worked in those roles, and ask them what they studied and how it benefited their role. That’s not to say that you must stick to the career you had in mind at the start of your studies.


If you have been following my posts, you will already know I am in my second year of a Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) degree. You will also know that I came across it quite accidentally during a conversation with a girl who was also applying to study it elsewhere. I had known it was possible to study any two out of the three, but it was not until after this conversation that I was made aware that I could study all three together. This was perfect for me because I did not know exactly what I wanted to do for a career, but I did know that I was curious about the world and the way it worked. PPE provided just that – a way of understanding society and the things we take for granted in everyday life, but from the lens of social sciences rather than hard sciences. I also knew that studying PPE would not limit my career choices. So, I chose my degree because I had an academic goal that would be nonetheless valuable whatever my eventual career choice. I also attended subject talks at open days to gain some insight into the content and structure of the course, which helped me gauge which modules I might enjoy. It is important to note that no two courses are the same, and their exact structure will usually vary by institution. So, PPE at Manchester will look different to PPE elsewhere, which is why you sure ensure you properly look at the course descriptions and the modules available to you, so you can identify your areas of interest. Speak to lecturers and other academic staff at university open days, and do not hesitate to share any concerns you have. There is no such thing as a stupid question, but even if there was, it is far better to ask it before you have made a decision.


Another way of choosing a course if you are not sure what you want to do for a career, or are not sure what it is you are interested in, is to choose based on what you are good at. This can be the riskiest of ways to choose a course because sometimes what we are good at and what we enjoy do not overlap. However, if you do find yourself good at something and you enjoy it, then it can be a good way to approach course choices. You can either choose a course based on what you do well in already or you can choose a course in an area that you would like to strengthen your skills in. The latter option can be tricky at times because it may require extra effort. For example, I chose PPE because I was curious about politics, philosophy was a pastime of mine, and I wanted to become more numerate and understand economics. My A Levels (English Literature, Religious Studies, Psychology and AS Sociology) were only marginally related to my degree. So, I was mostly taking on a new way of looking at things. Thankfully, all first year Economics courses at Manchester have compulsory maths and statistics modules to bring you up to scratch. The point is that if you are considering throwing yourself into something new, do as much research and preparation as you can to ease yourself into it all. Whatever you do, it is vital to ensure you are qualified to study what you want to study at the particular institutions that you are interested in. If you want to try something new, check the course requirements in the university prospectus or on the website to see if your post-16 qualifications are appropriate preparation for your university ambitions.
In summary, do your research and consider what’s important to you; career, curiosity or competence.

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