Billie

Billie Robinson
3rd Year, English Language and Linguistics
Hi! My name's Billie and I'm going into my third year studying English Language and Linguistics at QMUL. At uni I'm a course representative for my year and my interests include reading, lifestyle blogging and visiting museums and galleries. Outside of university, I've been lucky enough to intern for Little, Brown Book Group (a member of Hachette UK), where I have worked in both the publicity and editorial department. I also interned for 3 months at a small magazine publishing company. This experience has confirmed to me that after I graduate, I hope to pursue a career in publishing, preferably also in London. :)

The best places to do your uni work in London.

London’s a pretty big place, and sometimes working in your little uni room or the campus library can get a little dull – so why not make the most of living in such a quirky and vibrant city. There’s plenty of places other than uni where you can just sit, chill, drink coffee and do your work and sometimes it’s far more inspiring and motivating to work alongside people that aren’t necessarily doing coursework. So here are my 3 favourite places to work in London:

 

1. Other Libraries. One of the best things about being a University of London student is that you aren’t just restricted to your own uni library, upon registration you are also able to use other libraries within the University of London.
– Such as Kings College Library (which you might recognise from Harry Potter!)

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Kings College Library aka Dumbledores office – as seen in Harry Potter

– Another UoL library you may have heard of is Senate House Library – a library specifically for UoL students, standing at 19 floors in the heart of Bloomsbury, right next to the British Museum.

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Senate House Library

2. Coffee Shops. Because sometimes we like to be in a place where we can simultaneously eat, drink and work. London is home to thousands of coffee shops, from your secret edgy Shoreditch finds to a Costa on every street corner; here are my top 5:
– Joe and the Juice.  Sites include the Kings Road, Regent St, Clapham Junction, New Oxford St and Holborn. If you like fresh juices, avocado sandwiches (and beautiful boys), this chilled out cafe may definitely be your cup of tea.
– We Are The Big Chill, Brick Lane. Club by night, the Big Chill offers a calm, quirky place to work with plenty of sofa space, and hot chocolate served in mugs during the day.

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We Are The Big Chill, Brick Lane

– Brick Lane Coffee. Similarly, a pretty edgy find, but nevertheless a nice chill place to work. (They even have Almond milk – in fact, you should just take a look at the menu – so edgy).

Brick Lane Coffee, Brick Lane.

Brick Lane Coffee, Brick Lane.

– Foxcroft & Ginger, Whitechapel Road. A stone-throw away from QMUL, how convenient. This quirky caf (are you starting to see a pattern?!) serves fresh bread and pastries, brunch, pizza, and all the usuals – all in a super cool venue – what more could you want?

Foxcroft & Ginger, Whitechapel Road.

Foxcroft & Ginger, Whitechapel Road.

Look Mum No Hands, Old St. If you’re a fan of bikes, and coffee, you might just love this place. A bit bonkers, very edgy, but very cool and inspiring.

Look Mum No Hands, Old Street.

Look Mum No Hands, Old Street.

3. And finally, how about a mix of both? Foyles Bookshop Cafe, Charing Cross may just be that. Because a combination of books and coffee is always a winner.

Foyes Bookshop Cafe, Charing Cross Road.

Foyes Bookshop Cafe, Charing Cross Road.

If you were looking for somewhere different to work in London – I hope this helped! If you have anywhere else you’d like to add please write it in the comments!

 

Billie 🙂

 

 

 

 

What I learnt in my first year

Everybody tells you that university is where you really grow up, where you find out what you like, who you like and what you want to do for the rest of your life. My first year at uni was a very eye-opening experience, as I think it is for most people and I thought I’d share with you a few things that first year taught me.

– First and foremost, how to keep myself alive. If you’re not used to cooking/cleaning/washing at home, having to do it all for yourself at uni is perhaps one of the biggest learning curves students come by. I personally never realised how much thought had to go into meal-planning, how often you need to clean the bathroom or how inconvenient washing really is! However, truth be known, these are definitely skills we ALL need in later life, so learning them before you hit your twenties is no bad thing!

remember that take-out every night is not the best way to live...

remember that take-out every night is not the best way to live…

How to budget. I think every student realises in their first year – that living is expensive! You all of a sudden have to pay for things like food, transport and cleaning supplies – all things you just found in the cupboard at home! As your student loan only comes in at the start of every term, its very important to budget for the rest of the semester – nobody enjoys that “Mum, Dad, I’ve run out of money” call.

How to manage my time. Although A-levels gives you a taste of this, you by no means have the kind of attention paid to you at university than you might’ve had from your teachers at school. University professors expect you to have your own initiative when it comes to doing your work, no ones going to tell you to do your reading or start your assignments, so it’s up to you to make sure you leave enough time to do it and stay on top of everything (something students often learn this the hard way).

– My limits. I mean this in many respects, not just my limit of alcohol consumption (which as I learnt, is very small). But more how hard I can push myself with work, with extra curricular and with my social life. It’s important to have a balance of everything, but to also make sure you aren’t spreading yourself too thin. Sometimes balancing uni work, societies, part-time work, seeing uni friends, seeing home friends, seeing family and whatever else – can just be too much. You shouldn’t overwhelm yourself, and simply keep a happy balance of everything.

– How important it is to get out. I found especially in my first year that I could get really down when I thought I had too much work to do, or I didn’t have enough money to go out and have fun. As important as doing your coursework and revision is, I think it’s just as important to keep your social life at a level you’re happy with – that’s why a lot of us came to uni, after all.

The friends you make in freshers will probably be your friends throughout the whole of uni

The friends you make in freshers will probably be your friends throughout the whole of uni – mine were!

– How much I appreciate home. This was a big one for me. Growing up in the middle of nowhere in the Yorkshire Dales, I’d always been absolutely dying to get out and move away from what I thought was probably the most boring place in the entire world. But living in a city as big as London has made me realise how much I love and miss my little village in the countryside. I miss everyone knowing my name, taking the dog for a walk, my mum’s home cooked meals, my bed, a warm fire, sofas, having a TV. You don’t realise how great home is until you leave!

Sunday roast's was probably what I missed the most

Sunday roast’s was probably what I missed the most

and this view!

and this view!

I think my first year taught me some pretty important life lessons, while undoubtably having one of the best years of my life. If you’re going into your first year this September or even just finishing it – I hope it was a good one!

Billie 🙂

How to occupy your summer holidays whilst at uni

What shall I do this summer?

This is a question I asked myself towards the end of my first year, and again now, halfway through my second year. At university, summer breaks are long (around 3 months!) which is obviously a lot of time to fill. Some choose to work, others go on holiday and some students just go home and don’t do anything at all. I thought I’d talk you through a few options, in case you, like me, want to occupy your summer doing something productive!

1) Get an Internship – this is the primary thing on my mind at the moment. As a second year student, I’m aware that time is quickly running out at uni and I’m beginning to worry slightly about what I’m going to do in the future. I don’t think that it’s generally enough anymore to just get a degree when you’re looking to qualify yourself for your future prospective career. You need experience in that field! You need to know if you’re going to like it, and you need something under your belt to show a future employer that you’re keen, you’re experienced and they should hire you. Universities themselves can offer may opportunities for summer work experience, but theres also plenty online at your fingertips too. I’ve even started doing an internship during term-time as well, just as an extra boost to my CV.

2) Work – Students are renowned for not being the MOST financially stable, so working over summer and actually earning some money for yourself (so you aren’t so dependent on your overdraft or mum and dad) is never a bad idea. I actually spent the summer after finishing my first year doing a summer working season in the French Alps. Although working a season doesn’t mean you earn the most money, it does offer the opportunity to meet a tonne of new people, work abroad (!!!) and it keeps you busy. I thoroughly enjoyed last summer and I would always always recommend to anyone to do the same/or a similar thing, I think it taught me so much about myself (cliche, I know, but true), and it did allow me to start my second year of uni with a bit of extra cash and a bunch of new friends from all over the country. But alternatively, you could just work at home (which admittedly, would make you earn more money) and make paying your own bills the next year a whole lot easier!

3) Find a New Hobby – Summer is the perfect time to find something new to get yourself stuck into. It’s three months, without the stress of uni and the freedom to do whatever you like. So get stuck in and enjoy yourself! Theres nothing worse than coming back and not having any stories to tell your new friends!

4) Go on Holiday – as important as I think it is to be productive in your summer break, it is also important to relax too! You’ve spent the last however-many months in the library or in your little uni room working your socks off, so do take a well deserved break to detox, relax and have fun.

5) Use it as an Opportunity to Read Ahead – Through summer it’s very easy to forget uni exists and to be honest, forget everything you learnt the year prior, so maybe spend an hour or so a week just reading through old notes, reading ahead for next years modules, or just reminding yourself of a few key concepts to help yourself for the next term.

But more importantly – have fun!

I hope if you’re looking for something to do this summer these have been helpful, if anyone has any more suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Or alternatively, if you have any questions for me about anything I’ve mentioned here, please go ahead and ask in the comments too!

Billie 🙂

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