I reckon most of us have probably heard of the Myers-Briggs Indicator Type test. Well if you haven’t, you can check your ‘personality’ at https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test. According to this test, I am an ENFJ-T. However, I won’t elaborate too much about this – there’s something else interesting about your personality.
Do you know that every individual also has a risk personality? Psychological Consultancy Ltd created an assessment to evaluate one’s risk personality. These personalities are shown in the Risk Type Compass® below.
Unfortunately, we would be unable to take the assessment as these are mainly created for businesses. This assessment has particular relevance to the banking and finance, insurance, energy, manufacturing and consulting sectors. Why do I have to say all these? Because as maths students, many of us are attracted to those industries.
Especially in the sectors mentioned above, an effective management of risk within the industry is vital to its growth. A study done by researchers over a 19-year period on over 1000 senior bankers from more than 150 were carried out. The study measures the riskiness of strategies of these bankers. It found that personalities were the integral factor in risk-taking.
Most organisational failures are typically caused by taking too much risk or taking insufficient risk, e.g. a group of predominantly risk-takers tend to amplify risk-taking, and a group with a great number of risk-averse members are less likely to take them. Hence, we need a more diverse range of personalities to balance this out to achieve an effective risk management! Of course, there are other factors that would make this work, such as establishing working relationships and concise communication with your colleagues in the firm. Other than winter, a number of us are in the season of applying for internships. Perhaps, if you are confident of your risk type or personality, could this probably be a point to mention to employers? (ehem, maybe.)
It is good for us to know ourselves deeper. Not just our risk personalities, but who we really are. More fully understanding yourself is a catalyst to personal growth – in studies, applying for jobs, decision-making and many more. Most significantly, always be genuine to yourself – no one is better than you at being you!
I often find myself lacking focus when working from home. I constantly get distracted by food (lots of snacks!), things on my desk and messages on my phone. The worst part of it is, I get bored of my room, which (I think) instigates this lack of focus, and consequently demotivates me. Working in an environment in which you sleep in, just does not help. Instead, I force myself to go out for some fresh air and find a cosy little café, so I can get settled into the ‘working groove’. There are so many cool, calm and quirky work cafés/places in London and I am going to share my favourites with you…
As a university student from East London, I am forever on the look out for the trendiest coffee shops to suit a chilled, afternoon work session. You’d be amazed at how many there are in East London.
This little food bar space was formerly a Victorian toilet (can you believe it!) The Attendant is one my absolute favourite places to work and to go for brunch with friends. It has been transformed into a unique and comfortable space, and is the perfect setting to get started on that dreaded essay you’ve been assigned. The cosy seating area, which features gigantic armchairs and wooden tables, along with the green Victorian floor tiles, really makes it extra special. It is the ideal place to retreat to on a Wednesday afternoon. You must try the banana bread and the mocha! (Thank me later!)
(Awarded Runner Up Best Coffee Shop in London 2013 and 2015)
If you don’t mind a communal workspace, then the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch is just right for you. It is situated in the lobby of one of London’s chicest hotels. Not only that, but this workspace is available to you for 24 hours with free Wi-Fi! So instead of pulling an all-nighter in your university library, upgrade yourself and head down to this swanky hotel. The different zones are separated with furniture, glass and steel screens, which are used as partitions. If you have a group presentation or a work meeting that needs to be organised, this is the best workspace location for you. It features a long 16-seat table and even has a bar so you and your workmates can treat yourselves to a pint or two after a hard-core work sesh! There are also sofas at the back of the room, where you can put your feet up and relax. This workspace has the best of both worlds; a chilled, yet brilliant working environment.
The Book Club:
Now I know this may seem like an odd suggestion, since The Book Club is a great place to go to for a fun night out, but in fact, it is also a funky café. If you yearn for a more enthusiastic and energetic working environment, then this is your place. It is spacious, bright and airy; the ideal location to get creative thoughts flowing. You and your friends canlinger in a soft modern, minimalist space packed with eccentric antique. If work gets too much, you can play a game of ping pong with a group of friends and grab some lunch or even a yummy milkshake. (I recommend the ‘Mixed Mushroom Gnocchi’ – it’s to die for. The best kind of fuel for productivity is ‘food fuel’ right? – well, I think so anyway!)
Located in my favourite place in London, (Carnaby Street), this cute little coffee shop is one of my greatest finds. I always come here after a long day of shopping or to escape from my uni/home area. There’s something about this place that is really special. It’s cosy, vintage feel and acoustic music, is just absolute bliss. They play all sorts of acoustic music along the likes of Jack Johnson, Lianne La Havas and from time to time, they whip out some old school, smooth classics. I love coming here with friends for a catch up, or on my own to have a light-hearted study session. Their home-baked cakes are delicious and their coffees are made with a smooth caramel dark roast, accompanied with a medium body and sweet finish. What more could you want?
Joe and the Juice
Not only does Joe and the Juice sell the most insane shakes and scrumptious flatbreads, but the working vibe is perfect for young adults, seeking to complete that deadline by the end of the day. If you’re looking for a more contemporary feel, then this is ideal for you. The store is filled with simple, brown leather interior and captures an element of Nordic design. Whilst working, you can tuck into an Avocado Flatbread (a favourite among all of my friends) and the ‘Hell of a Nerve’ shake; a beautiful blend of strawberries, bananas and elderflower.
If you’re looking to be inspired, feel energised, share good ideas and hatch plans, then Flatplanet is here to help! Their purpose is to provide vitality and inspiration, which are essential qualities that are needed if you want to be productive and successful with your work. They serve nutritious, yet delicious food all day to assist you in getting through your work load. Downstairs, there is a lounge/dining area which even features a guy on a piano! So, maybe after you’ve completed your work, you could head downstairs and get into good spirits! Flatplanet really captures that earthy, airy and motivating feel, which as a student, I would take full advantage of! Why not try one of their healthy topped flatbreads, whilst you’re at it?
The Lido Café
This is a picturesque and charming little café to work. It has a charismatic Parisian feel, which creates the perfect working vibe. The good thing about this place is that is overlooks Brockwell park which is ideal, if you fancy escaping out into the fresh air to get away from revision/work. If you happen to be here during the summer, you can take a dip into the Lido pool after a long, hard day of studying. The Lido has free Wi-Fi and is not too busy, so you should be able to get down to work without any distractions. Spoil yourself with a mimosa or two to keep you going throughout the day!
Equipped with retro furnishings and jovial images, this coffee bar emits a vibrant ambience thanks to its joyful colour scheme. It has everything you need to unwind and relax. Whilst working, you can indulge into their yummy banana bread, tuck into their hearty sandwiches or enjoy a smooth espresso. You can do all of these things, whilst working in a laid-back, easy going environment. So next time you’re in South London one afternoon, take a trip to the Birdhouse, open that laptop and work away!
Situated in the stylish streets of South Kensington, Zack’s Deli provides a delightful ambience for those looking for organic homemade food and a fine, little place to retreat to for an afternoon work session. In the deli, there is a communal table where you and your friends can work from and enjoy the benefit of the free WIFI. They also serve delicious food ranging from pancakes to stews, so don’t worry about bringing a packed lunch! If you’re working hard, you need to make sure you reward yourself with an exquisite juice, along with a cake or two – right?
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!
Over Christmas I had a really nice break, did a bit of reading, went on holiday and also had a couple assignments too. However, when I came back from Christmas, just like any time when you’re away from work for a while, things got a little bit crazy.
For my course, I had a module pack to pick up, which I needed to complete the first week of reading. I had already done a bit of pre-reading for the first week back – I had read two novels over Christmas, one for my Writing Modern London module and a brand new module for this semester, British Culture in the 1950s. In my blog about self study, I spoke a bit about how it’s wise to read ahead, especially if you know you’re going to have a lot of work to do or you have a lot of reading for that week.
Film Society’s 2 Co-Presidents. Myself (left) and Gemma (right)
I mentioned in another previous blog that I’m co-president of Film Society with my housemate and fellow film loving friend, Gemma. We also had a lot of work to do for film society, as we had the second round of welcome week for all the new students joining Queen Mary coming up. That was pretty hectic too, as we had leaflets to print out, and the fair ran from 2-6, on the day of our first screening. This involved a lot of dashing about and last minute changes, but we pulled it off okay in the end!
The somewhat chaotic Welcome Back Fair
I also had to begin writing my dissertation, a scary prospect for most. In case you don’t know, a dissertation is a large piece of writing (mine has to be 10,000 words) on pretty much any topic (as long as it’s to do with English!) of my choice. My supervisor, who is someone who helps me through the process, is trying to get me to write it as soon as possible, so I have plenty of time to edit it and look it over. I had to write a first draft of my introduction over the Christmas break too, to hand in when I got back. Although it took me a week longer than I said, I also got that done and now have the next chapter to begin. I’m feeling more confident about the project as a whole now, and am not freaking out too much about the fact it’s due in May!
On top of all of this, there was also the next issue of The Print due, and trying to settle back into a life where my mum doesn’t cook all of my meals and wash all my clothes.
Overall, although there was a lot to do, the work is manageable. I like to make lists of all the things I have to do so I have things to tick off. I feel more productive and this helps me complete all of my other tasks. Other things I’ve found that work are breaking up larger tasks with smaller ones or doing something fun in between, like organising my notes whilst watching a TV show I enjoy. Sometimes things can feel overwhelming but everyone else is in the same boat, and all my housemates have as much work to do as I do. Luckily we own a VHS player and about thirty classic Disney movies so we can all unwind together.
I’m getting back into the swing of university now, so I’m getting back into a regular work schedule again. Plus, even though sometimes work can be hard, I’m really going to miss it. I’m seriously considering the masters degree I wrote about in my previous post. I’ve been doing a bit more research, which shows you that work is never too overwhelming. My best advice is to stay motivated, and if this all sounds a little scary, trust me – these are all skills you develop during school and university. Time management and balancing your work becomes the norm, they’re talents that you can never stop getting better at.
As I mentioned last week, university classes started up again after all the fun of Welcome Week. I remember in my first year that this came as a relief, as preparing for classes was something I had become used to at school, and I particularly enjoyed preparation for English class as that meant a lot of reading – something I enjoy. What took the most adjusting to however was exactly how much university relies on this form of ‘self study’. I have a lot less help than I got in school and instead of having my days full of lessons, I now spend most of my time doing my own work.
Of course, English is a subject that relies a lot more on me doing my own reading than a lot of other subjects, as that’s what our teaching mainly relies on. So if you were to do a science-based subject you would be likely to do less reading, but a lot more practical work or research instead. For English this reading is not only essential for our own understanding, but also our participation. We will either have a lecture, which is where a lecturer (like a teacher) will stand at the front of a large class and talk to us, teaching us key concepts about the reading. If we don’t do the reading then these key concepts won’t mean anything to us and are likely to be very confusing. Alternatively if we don’t do the reading and we have a seminar (this is a group learning session where we discuss what we learnt from the lecture or what we learnt from the reading ourselves) then we won’t be able to participate, wasting this learning opportunity.
Seeing as this is my third year (final year), the reading has been a lot heavier than in previous years and this has taken a lot of adjusting to. This isn’t something to be worried about though! First year tends to ease you into this new form of learning so it’s not too much to take in at once and the following years tend to build up the work as you go on. Over the three years (or more, depending on your degree) you learn and build on new skills that help you deal with the increasing workload.
To give you all an example of the amount and kind of reading I have to do, I’ve taken some pictures of my reading from the first three weeks:
Module Pack and Plato’s Republic – my reading for Week 1
In the first week I had a lot of Module Pack reading, and one novel. Module Packs are given to us by the university with a collection of shorter extracts or articles inside and generally we are given a few of these a week instead of novels. We are also sometimes given some online reading to do, and this is also a similar length to the shorter Module Pack extracts or essays.
More Module Pack reading, finishing The Republic and another novel
My second week of reading had some more Module Pack reading and a new novel. However, seeing as the novel from last week – The Republic by Plato, was quite dense, we were given two weeks to complete this reading. As you can see, the reading isn’t that unmanageable, it’s just a question of dedicating sufficient time to complete all of it. It also relies on a lot of pre-planning – looking up the reading lists in advance, making sure I have access to the texts and maybe starting some of the reading early so I don’t leave myself with too much to do. A good example of this is in my third week reading, pictured below:
3 Novels – a very heavy reading week
This was over double the reading of the previous week, so I had to make sure I managed my time well enough to finish the previous week’s reading early so I could start this week’s reading early.
This is the key skill I think university teaches you, no matter what subject you end up studying – self study; two of the main parts of this being time management and organisation. For me, this revolves almost entirely around my reading. I have to make sure I’ve completed it in time, but also give myself time to do other things like assignments and also to have some time off, maybe participating in one of the society activities I talked about last week. But like I said before, this isn’t anything to worry about too much. You start to pick up skills like organisation and time management at school, and university simply provides the perfect environment for improving these skills. It’s made me a more independent person and I know that after university these skills will prove to be invaluable.
Long nights at the twenty four hour library, ramming so much knowledge into one ear you think it’s about to come out of the other, enough energy drinks to actually give you wings and the daily countdown to each exam.
These times are tough, but they’re made possible with enough drive, ambition and friendship. I honestly don’t think I would’ve got through my exams last year without my friends helping me out along the way, with those group study sessions and huge Facebook group chats.
Ever since I got my offer to study at Miami, it really feels like I’ve got something huge to work towards, sadly, it will mean I leave a lot of people behind, friends and loved ones. But opportunities like this only come around once in a life time, and I’ll be back in London to do my masters next year!
Yes, exams are hard, and there are plenty of them in physics. Yes, these exams are stressful, and some don’t understand why we carry on studying if we complain about it so much. But there’s a much bigger picture behind all of this.
Obviously I don’t enjoy trading out my lie ins for more time in the library. But I know that I’d enjoy receiving an email saying I got a first this year, as opposed to the 69.5% mark I got last year (0.5% away from a first).
The little inches you need to be great are all around you, so go get them.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email which let me know that I’d been selected for Queen Mary’s International Exchange programme, which means that, assuming I can get a 2:1 again, I’ll be in Miami in about six months studying for my third year of physics!
As well as this, it simultaneously means that if I go to Miami, I’ll be studying at Queen Mary in my fourth year for my Master’s Degree in Physics! This is an incredibly exciting prospect!
And whilst Miami might sound just like a yearlong holiday, I’ll still be doing a third year in physics, the only difference is I’ll be doing my revision in my boardies on a beach!
The theme of this month is definitely ‘Preparation’. On top of loads of paper work to get myself into Miami, I’ve got a lab report to write and midterms to revise for!
Last time I had midterms, I was in the midst of trying to get my business off the ground, now that everything has settled a bit more, the revision should be much easier to get done. And as for the lab report, I actually enjoy writing long pieces of coursework, there’s an immense amount of satisfaction getting a good mark for a paper you’ve worked on for hours on end.
It’s just a matter of putting asides enough time to get all of the work done!
So now that the dream is real, all I’ve got to do is prepare, and show Miami why I deserve to be there!
I can’t believe I have finished half of my degree now!
I have to express it straight away ’cause it has been in my head for several days now!
It’s not like I’m feeling old or something but I guess my time at Queen Mary will be running out soon. I still haven’t explore/exprience everything there is to offer me here!
Recalling January 2014, on the 23rd was my first volunteering opportunity with QMSU Volunteer. It was the Barnardo’s toy trolley in Olympia London. Back then, I have only been with QM for like almost 4 months and started to gain interest in other activities rather than study and get to know my course mates.
Team QM Voluteer at the London Olympia
The experience working with other like-minded peer from QM made me feel so warm and happy; and that was the scoring point in encouraging my commitment with other activities with the University.
On 13th April 2014, after joining several other volunteering opportunities, I got my chance to help out with the London Marathon 2014, which was like the biggest event I know of ever! The crew from the Uni was so big. There were more than 80 of us, all happy and excited!
QMSU Volunteer team for London Marathon 2014
It was one of the most memorable moments in my entire student life! (I’m so gonna do it again this year! Wait for that post!!!) And it made me realise I do, very much enjoy what I’m doing 🙂 and that I like to be more involved than just being a student, being a volunteer member of the Volunteering society.
It was not a difficult decision to put my name down for being a One-day Volunteer Team Leader. At the time, I was not very certain that I’m good enough to take on the role, I was not confident at all. Nevertheless, in the end, I got myself a position in the Leader team (woohoo) and I was beyond happiness! I felt like I can do so much more for the community as well as learn so many things while I’m volunteering. But on top of all, I really enjoy it and and want to do it!
September 6th 2014 was my first day back in Uni. Not simply a student keen on coming back, but also a QMSU Crew member to welcome the freshers for 2014!
QMSU Fresher Crew 2014
Gradually, I was getting more and more involved with the University and everything around study and student life. I even picked up blogging (sometime in October 2014), which was an unusual thing for me to do, but it’s still great!
Come to think about my little time left, I really want to do more than what I’m already doing now! What sort of milestones will I have in 2015? There’s “Get Active” from QMSU that I have been wanting to try but I never seem to have enough time. There’s “International week” (I’m gonna do this!). There’s “QMSU Ball” or the “Boat Party” that I never have the motivation to go… And I know another one that can make it in to my list though… (Just that I’m not quite sure if I can do it :()
… Since we are in the nomination period for new QMSU officers… should I give it a try? :3
I’ll give myself a little more time to think about this! Maybe it would be one of the best thing I have done while being at QMUL! <3
If you’re someone that has a real love for geography and an urge to enthuse other students, then the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Ambassador Scheme could be just the thing for you to get involved with!
Geography Ambassadors at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) headquarters in Kensington, London
Undergraduates, postgraduates and graduates can all apply to become an ambassador and once you have attended a training session you are free to go and spread the love for geography in classrooms and beyond. Throughout all of your visits there is amazing support provided to you and any resources that you need are sent to you though the post, including your I LOVE GEOGRAPHY pencils… that yes, it is true, both students and teachers go crazy for!
I Love Geography Pencils to give out t0 the students
You can get in touch with teachers yourself or check on the Facebook page where potential visits are added daily. Schools may ask for a wide range of visit topics for example:
I love geography sessions
Careers in geography
What is geography like at university?
…or maybe they would like you to come up with a fun entertaining geographical activity that will enthuse their students. Lets face it, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘isn’t geography just colouring in?’…as an RGS-IBG Ambassador it is your chance to erase that stereotype!
I got involved as an RGS-IBG Ambassador during my first year at Queen Mary University of London. I saw it as great opportunity as I hope to become a Secondary School Geography Teacher. However, even if you are not interested in becoming a teacher it doesn’t matter as along with the social aspect, this scheme provides you with lots more invaluable skills that would look great on any C.V. My first session was a children’s lecture at the Royal Geographical Society at its headquarters in Kensington – just down the District Line from Queen Mary – it was a great way to kick start being an Ambassador. I got to meet fellow geographers from both QMUL and other universities and I received my Ambassador t-shirt!
Following on from this I attended three events at schools in London that I arranged myself. First up was a lunchtime session for a group of sixth formers who wanted to know what geography was like at university. Secondly I attended an Open Evening at Addey and Stanhope School to encourage students and their parents that taking geography as a GCSE option is a really great way to widen future horizons. The RGS-IBG Ambassador scheme provided me with loads of great resources to give to the school, the students and the parents. I later returned to Addey and Stanhope School and had the chance to do an after school session based entirely on my own ideas. So despite others opinions, I decided to take a laboratory into the classroom and do soil analysis, even though my flat mates joked ‘so… your just going to talk to them about dirt?!’ it went down really well, the students loved it and I got amazing feedback. Soil analysis was something that I had been studying in my first year, I provided the equipment and soil samples with the help of the geography laboratory staff at QMUL, and in groups the students tested soil texture, soil pH and soil colour.
Testing the pH of the soil
Concentrating on getting that pH value just right
Analysing the soil texture
Not wanting to get their fingers dirty didn’t last long!
Using the Munsell colour charts
The students made some university style notes from the short talk that I gave
Becoming an RGS-IBG Ambassador is really simple, you can download the application form from the Geography Ambassador Scheme website and a training session is happening at QMUL on the 13th February 2015. The scheme is really flexible and allows you to do something different around all of your university studies. For me this scheme has provided me with so much confidence, I really enjoy every moment of it and I cannot wait to do another session and eventually become a geography teacher! Whether in London or your home city, there are lots of students out there waiting for you to come to their school and spread the love for geography… so what are you waiting for?