Friday, 4 August 2017

University fees - a students perspective

Hello! For those of you who don't know me I am Laura and I have currently just completed my first year of university in the UK and I am reading Sociology.

So, in the UK it currently costs about £9250 (beginning in September 2017) per year in tuition fees to attend the majority of universities regardless of what course you are taking. If the average course is 3 years long that's a total of £27,750 of debt which most students have hanging over themselves by the age of 21.

In order for us students to pay these high fees which exclude any rent and living costs, we have to rely on the government to basically pay for all our tuition until we are earning enough to pay them back.

Okay introduction and basic explanation complete, in this post I am going to attempt to explain my discomfort with these incredibly high fees...

Firstly, my biggest issue is that as a university student (who can obviously only speak from personal experience), the money which we are paying seems to barely cover our courses, forget about having a good university experience.
I have had  lecturers turning up late and unprepared, maintenance problems in many of the buildings, a lack of computers and space to study and a number of technical issues in regards to the university intranet system, particularly on days where there is large amounts of traffic to the website -> which you would expect for a university with approximately 24,000 students (!).

All these kind of issues you would assume would be solved using the £9000 minimum that they are receiving per student per year.
Of course I can't comment on where the money is spent, as lecturers need a wage, overhead costs must be paid etc etc...

However by setting the fees so incredibly high, students are then expecting to receive a £9000+ service. When all these issues arise I just wonder where the money is going and how universities coped when fees were as little as £1000 a year?
When students are faced with almost £30,000 worth of debt by the time they are 21, we expect to get our moneys worth because it is such a commitment and even career prospects for graduates are not the greatest anymore.
I'm sure not all universities are like this and lots of people have probably had wonderful experiences, but regardless in my opinion I think the fees are just far too high.
I know my small opinion is not going to make any grand difference but I'd love to know how other people feel about this.

Considering that fees have risen again in 2017 there is no point even hoping for a decrease anytime soon, especially not as the government themselves and universities can capitalise through the struggles of students.
If we want more doctors and nurses, more teachers, more scientists etc we must stop making it harder for people to achieve these important roles in society which contribute to everybodys wellbeing. 

Anyway, on a less depressing note, thank you very much for reading. Please let me know what you think about the whole situation in the comments! Thank you again, adios for now x

Thursday, 7 April 2016

How to survive your driving test!

Hello everyone, here's another post to go along with the 'how to survive series'; please check out the other posts in this series if you enjoyed this one. (there are links to the right of this post!) :)

So I recently passed my driving test, on Monday 29th February 2016, yaaaay!
That was after two previous attempts of course..!

I had my first driving lesson in July and I was fortunate enough to have lessons with my (almost) uncle who is a qualified driving instructor. This made me feel very comfortable throughout all of my lessons as of course I've known him for a pretty long time.

1. So the first tip would be to find a driving instructor that you're comfortable with. As a already pretty nervous person, I think I would've really struggled having a stranger teach me purely because I'm not very good at making small talk haha! It's perfectly OK to meet with the instructor and chat and maybe have a lesson or two to find out if you get along. This might sound silly but it can prevent alot of stress as you won't have to worry about spending extended (and I mean extended) amounts of time with a driving instructor that you don't like.

2. The next tip would be to get the theory part of the test out of the way. (Just a quick explanation in case you're outside of the UK - here we have to complete a theory test which has a number of multiple choice questions and then a hazard perception test which basically judges your reaction times. You have to pass this part before taking the practical exam.) Alot of people forget about the theory part when thinking about beginning to learn to drive however that knowledge is really helpful for your practical lessons too! The theory includes things such as; health and safety, road signs, knowledge about the car etc and some of it is common sense (supposedly). I found that the best way to practise for the theory test was to download the official DVLA app, it does come with a small cost but is totally worth it if it saves you a £25 theory retake!!  I found that once I had completed the theory section I felt really motivated to pass the practical exam as I was already halfway there.

3. Once you've made it past the theory exam, you need to book a practical test when you and your driving instructor feel that you are ready. From my experience the waiting list can be up to 3 months long so try to book in advance! Once this is booked, you just need to get lots of practise hours, some on lessons and if possible it can really help if you go with a relative (must be over 21 and held a license for 3 years) who drives in their car. This enables you to practise much more often without the cost of paying for driving lessons. Also, many people recommend booking your test at between 10am-2pm as this is when there is the least amount of traffic on the road!

4. Ahh so its the morning of the practical test!! I found this one of the worst times If I'm truly honest. Purely because I would think about all the possibilities if I did pass and the feelings I would feel if I failed aha. Don't do this if you can avoid it, it will just make you more nervous which is not helpful. The test lasts between 38-40 minutes and will begin with the examiner asking you to read a licence plate from a distance. You'll then get asked one 'show me' and one 'tell me' questions, these are relatively easy and hopefully your driving instructor will practise these with you beforehand:) If not, its all online - I'll include a link here. 
As long as you believe in yourself that you can do it and that you've put enough hours and hard work into it, then you should have nothing to worry about.

My personal experience: I failed my first driving test on the 28th January with 2 minors and 1 major fault where I poorly changed lanes on a roundabout- ooops! I had a lovely examiner who was very friendly but of course I was very disappointed when I heard that I'd failed. However with such few mistakes I was determined to do well the next opportunity I got!
The second test  was very different... it was originally booked for the 12th March 2016 but I kept checking the website and managed to move it forward to the 13th February due to other people cancelling their tests. (This was a Saturday and you have to pay an extra £13 on top of the normal £60 to do a weekend test - capitalism, I know :( ) I had a very nice instructor again however things were going terribly from the very beginning. I stalled on my emergency stop and did an awful manoeuvre. I ended up with 4 minors and 1 major. This major was very dramatic as I pulled out onto a roundabout (those damned roundabouts!) in front of a car who wasn't indicating so I wrongly assumed she was going a different direction... The examiner slammed on the breaks of the car, and I basically had a panic attack. I still had 15 mins to go on my test and continued on even though I knew I had failed. I cried and really struggled to breathe the whole time- honestly it was one of the worst driving experiences I've had so far and it really put me off driving for a bit.
After that second failure I really felt like driving wasn't for me and I just didn't want to carry on trying to pass because I was pretty embarrassed about what had happened. But nevertheless I booked another test.
This test was in the afternoon and I was a mixture of very calm and very nervous, at this point I had decided that i was just going to give it my best shot. I had the same examiner as my first test which I really liked as he was a very lovely man. This test went 10x better and I passed with only 1 minor:D I can't even begin to explain the relief after that test was over and I found out the good news! My driving instructor and I drove home beaming and chatting about how he could finally 'get rid of me':L

In the end, I'm really pleased that it's done now. I have so much more mobility than ever before and I'm very lucky to have had such a good driving instructor and friends and family who supported me through it all, even all the tears!

Anyway, good luck to anyone out there who is on their way to passing - believe that you can do it, it will really help! Hope you're all having a lovely week, goodnight xx

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Help! I'm addicted to my smart phone...

Hello everybody!
Before I start I just want to apologise for the inactivity..just the same as everybody else's my life has been going at 200mph and I have felt a lack of inspiration of what to write about recently. Anyway here we go..

So, I don't know about anybody else but as much as I love my Iphone, I bloody hate it as the same time and I'm addicted.
It's amazing for staying in contact with people who may be far away, or staying in contact for safety reasons. It has GPS so you can almost never get lost, there's all sorts of social media apps so that you can stay updated as to what all your friends and/or celebrities are doing at all hours. etc, etc

However, sometimes at weekends or holidays I find that I can't get off my mobile without a pretty decent distraction. Even if I'm just cleaning my bedroom, every ten minutes I stop and see if anybody has updated their Snapchat story! Personally, I don't reaaaaally know why I do this because in reality I'm not overly interested in what you're having for dinner or how cute your pet kitten is. (Don't get me wrong, I adore kittens.) Therefore I shouldn't really feel this urge to refresh Instagram or Twitter...

I don't know if it's just me who feels this way or other people have these habits too?
Also like when you go out for dinner with a friend or partner etc, why do we sit and stare at our smart phones when we have a real life living human to talk to directly in front of us?!?! I'm definitely not a saint at this one, I just don't understand why we do this.

It's pretty depressing to think about how consumed we are in social media and how instead of living in the moment we are more fussed about taking an 'artsy' photograph for Instagram to show the world how great things are.. or not..
The Internet has this crazy ability which allows people to create their own identity. You can change your name, age, nationality, wealth, diet, lifestyle to be perceived in a totally different way.

I'm sure not all generations are as obsessed as my generation are or seem to be, I don't know. It just seems sad to think that all these years are going by and all we care about is when the new Iphone 7 is going to be released.

Rant over! I hope you enjoyed this little post, um sorry if it was a bit angry.. Please feel free to tweet me (oh the irony) @LauraHayley129 or in the comments section below! I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thank You so much for reading and please check out some of my other material if you enjoyed this one :) Have a lovely weekend!

This inspiration behind this post ---->

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The incredible pressure of results day

So here I am, sat in my bedroom having another sleepless night leading up to results day.
Now I might be crazy but this day is heavily looming and with each second I find my stomach turning at the thought of opening that dreaded envelope.

This year seems so incredibly terrifying. Maybe I'm just a bit crazy and an extreme over thinker but all I can imagine is seeing those grades and being a complete disappointment to the world. My parents, friendship groups, boyfriend..

Now I know that grades aren't everything but the pressure I'm personally feeling at this very moment in time is paramount. I'm currently as stressed as I have ever been in my entire life - apart from actually sitting the exams which tore me up and left me sobbing into my pillow on numerous occasions. The strange part is that in reality I should not be at all stressed! I mean, come on, I'm on an awesome 6 week holiday where I'm spending most of my days relaxing watching films or seeing friends but its becoming unbearable.

A bit of background is necessary here I think;
I sat my GCSE's and worked my butt off to get decent grades. I mean studying for hours every night, doing excessive homework etc and in the end I achieved one A*,6 A's and 6 B's. This made me, my parents, my whole family very proud because as a youngster I really struggled with academic stuff.

Of course many would argue that 'hey, you did amazingly last year! You have nothing to worry about this time round!' But really, really?!? Are you serious?

Getting decent grades did not come naturally and saying that does not help AT ALL.
'You'll be fine Laura, stop worrying for goodness sakes.'

I'm sorry, but I don't think you can fully understand the pressure that you have created by assuming that all is going to be well and good again this year.
In a way, having good grades at GCSE, personally I've found that it suddenly increases the pressure to do good again this year. This, in turn, increases the potential amount of disappointment and shock from everyone else.

So when I say that I want to open the envelope on my own, please don't get offended. I'm purely trying to save myself from a mental breakdown if all goes to shit.

I don't know how you feel, but I care about what people think. Everyone says not too, but sometimes that is just impossible.

 Sometimes, we need to be alone, sometimes we need to be with people.

Can someone PLEASE reassure me that I'm not the only person who is feeling this right now/has felt it?

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The problem with the minimum wage - Why does wage depend on age?

So, as I have mentioned 1000 times over, I work in a retail store blah blah blah..

But anyway as a teenager working in this store, as expected I get minimum wage probably due to the lack of real qualifications required to obtain the job etc. As it is only a weekend job just to get a bit of extra cash here and there, I'm not too fussed about the pay as long as I do get paid.
 (Note that I would probably be alot more fussy about my pay if I had to pay bills and rent etc but fortunately at the moment I don't, the money I'm receiving from this job is being saved up to buy a car and go on holiday etc).

However, there is one thing that seriously annoys me about receiving the minimum wage..

That is how someone can receive more money per hour simply because they are older than me.
I find this incredibly annoying as I don't see why my time is worth any less than the other people working there in the same position.
Personally, I think that I work pretty damn hard. And it gets so frustrating when other colleagues walk around avoiding doing work yet they get paid more. It just seems incredibly unfair.
Is it just another form of ageism?

I can totally understand that someone would receive more money if they have a harder job for example being a supervisor or a manger but surely people who are working in the same position should receive the same?

Okay, so I guess you could argue that people who are older have more experience and are therefore better at their job and should get more, which is fair enough, but what if that person is only a year or two older than you, maybe even 3? Are they really going to have thaaaaat much more experience than you?

I'm sure that there must be a reason for this other than companies wanting to pay their employees as little as possible, so if anyone can help open my eyes that would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading, don't forget to check out some of my other posts if you enjoyed this one:) As always, any opinions are welcomed! Thanks again, ciao x

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Powdered Sunshine - Lush review

 Hello everybody, here is the second of my Lush review series! I have already written one for 'Vanishing Cream' if you'd like to check that one out please click here and I've also got a bit of a story explaining why I have got so many Lush products haha xD So please click here to read that post.

Anyway, on with the review!
This product was actually bought for me as a present at Christmas time, therefore I'm not 100% sure of the price. 
Actually, I just check the website and it costs £6.95 per 70g (-70g being how much you get in one of the bottle pictured here ---->)

So to be fair, that price is pretty reasonable considering how a little of this product goes a long way! The price also matches other big brand sun creams on the market.
Some of the key ingredients include: Calamine powder, organic Sesame oil, Lemon oil, Lime oil and fair trade Cocoa Butter.

A very good point about this product is that I found it worked very well with make-up. I must admit that I did not use this product in the daytime when I was on holiday as I was worried that I wouldn't apply it properly and therefore get burnt or that it would get washed off in the sand and sea.

However for the evening this product is amazing! I would use a large make-up powder brush and brush it over my face and it would act as a translucent powder, helping to stabilise my makeup and provide sun protection! It was long lasting and made my skin shimmer a little bit which was kinda cute:3
Another great thing about this sunscreen was that it was non-greasy and you wouldn't have to wait a long time for it to soak in with many other sun creams.

One problem with this product would be that I found application hard. At first I tried rubbing the powder into my skin using my hands but that didn't work very well, and I would sometimes accidentally get it on my clothing which was a particular pain when I was wearing dark colours...
 (It was kinda like when you use to much talcum powder when getting out of the shower -.-)
 I think this problem would've been avoided if there was a more specific application method on the bottle maybe. 
In addition to this, the powder felt quite heavy and almost sticky. That may sound weird and maybe I just applied too much product but yeah. I don't know, maybe its because it sits on the skin rather than being absorbed but it wasn't the nicest feeling haha.

Okay so that was a pretty long review! Overall, I really do like this product but definitely in moderation. Would I buy it again? Well I probably won't need too considering how long this one bottle has lasted me so far!

I hope that you enjoyed this review and found it useful:) Feel free to leave any comments below and don't forget that you can enter your email address to the right hand side of the screen to receive an email update every time a new post is released:D
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

'Education is the passport to your future' - really?!

Okay so as a Sixth Form student, exam season has just passed. Therefore my Sixth Form has stuck posters up around, supposedly encouraging students to work hard, revise and get good grades.

Now I might've simply read a bit too deeply into the meaning of that statement plastered on the bottom of the poster but I don't really think that it's portraying the most positive message to students who are already on the brink of a mental breakdown from the levels of stress and pressure which they're having to cope with. To me it just looks like a form propaganda to boost the statistics, but that might be a little far fetched...
By using this slogan, it is suggesting that without an education, you will not 'gain access' to your future as such.
If you don't pass these exams then you're a failure, basically. You've technically lost your 'passport to your future'.
I know for a fact, that education is not the only way to having a successful life. Okay so that's a bit of a vague statement as everybody considers success as something different. For example, for me success is when I'm very happy. Of course this can be achieved by getting good grades, or earning lots of money from my job but in all honesty, being surrounded by people who love you can also bring happiness personally. Maybe even loosing weight would make you feel very happy.
Therefore education is not necessarily needed for your future!
I don't know, I guess it just depends what you're striving for in the future but I think that posters like this are simply trying to force you into being something you may not really want to be and adding more unnecessary pressure to your life, which definitely isn't going to make you any happier.
What's the point in living if you're not happy?!
Of course everyone goes through periods of anxiety and anger in their lives but not getting an A* in that exam shouldn't limit your whole future.

Since writing this post, I've found an article on the BBC news website all about banning erasers in schools. Click here to view the original article. It talks about how there have been suggestions that rubbers should be banned in schools because they allow children to remove their mistakes from their work. I quote 'Claxton's argument is that by making children deny they make mistakes, we fail to prepare them for the real world, where mistakes can be made, and consequences ensue.'

So this makes sense, by allowing children to remove mistakes they're not being prepared for the real world, yeah fair enough.

However isn't this extremely contradicting to the whole system of exams and the idea that 'education is the passport to your future'?!? I say this because the original statement implies that if you fail and do not get an education then you've lost your future. So when you're in an exam, you're not allowed to make mistakes because if you do and you fail, BOOM game over.

Okay so I'm not sure if that made too much sense, but hey ho. Rant over.
Thank you for reading, what do you think? Have I read far too deeply into this poster?
Opinions are appreciated:)