UCAS Week

Hey everyone! So I thought I would give a little update on what’s going on at the moment in La Vida de Imogen… or in English; my life!

I am really happy with the week that has just gone, I feel like I got a significant amount of work completed for things that aren’t even due in yet! Trust me, that’s not something I do very often but I’m working on it 🙂 I worked both days at the weekend which exhausted me, and I am glad to be back to my normal shifts this week.

On Netflix, I continued with Skins and also season 1 of The Fresh Prince of Belair, which was nice after a day at college, just to relax. Talking of college, I helped at an Open Evening tonight, which was part of my Continuous Professional Development (CPD), and it was nice to spend some time with people outside of college hours, even if we were still at college!

I have been worried about my UCAS application, which is due in this Friday, so last week I tried to finish off the key element (the dreaded personal statement) and now this week will hopefully go smoothly without any last minute rushes. On the subject of UCAS, last week I also filmed a video which I will be uploading to my YouTube at some point, which summarises the application process and gives useful tips and information. (I hope!)

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I’ve started the week prepared and I am going to try to keep it that way! Sorry, it’s been a short post, but this week a lot is happening, or it at least feels like that with UCAS, so I thought, perhaps you would like an update. I shall keep my social media posted with more information about my YouTube channel when I upload the video. Keep an eye out!

Thank you for reading and have a lovely week!

Imogen S.

Uni Open Days

UCAS has just opened applications for September 2018 undergraduate entry for universities. Part of the fun of uni is getting to explore new places and make new friends, and it all starts with researching what you want to do and where you want to go. Part of this research is visiting universities on an Open Day. I have been to a few as part of my research, and there have been some I have really liked, and others that just haven’t quite hit the spot.

Some important things to remember when you’re looking around are:

  • You don’t have to like it! Your friend might say it’s the best university in the world, but your friend isn’t spending 3+ years there for you to complete your degree. The league tables might say that it is top in the country for the subject you want to study, but if you don’t like it then it’s going to make studying more difficult and less enjoyable for you! Make sure you like it because you’re the one that will be living there.
  • Everyone (mostly) is as confused and unsure as you are. The majority of the prospective students around you, are probably similar to your age and haven’t got a definite plan for what they want to study, let alone do for the rest of their lives. It’s great if you have a plan because you know what courses and qualifications you need to get into that career! But, it also isn’t the be all and end all of the choices. Most students change their minds during their course as they learn new areas of their subject, so don’t feel too pressured to make a decision and have to stick to it.
  • Look out for the helpers and students from the university (they’ll probably be wearing a coloured top that matches the university, or be holding a big flag etc). There are often multiple registrations and help point tents scattered around the university, so just pop over and ask for help if you need it. It’s what they’re there for!
  • Take the time to go to talks or presentations. Some of these you might need to book in advance and get tickets, or others you can just turn up and see if there is any extra room. Or, if a talk doesn’t appeal to you, head to an informal Q&A that most departments will hold all day in their respective buildings. I would recommend going to the department section anyway because you can look at the facilities and lecture halls and see what kind of environment you will be studying in.
  • Pick up as many leaflets as possible. Don’t go too crazy, but do take the opportunity to get more information about specific things that are important to you.
  • Got a passion? Sport? Music? Reading? Go take a look around the facilities, because they might offer something that will be the winning factor! You could also take a look at the library, even if you rarely touch a book, as they are often the place for computer suites and study areas.
  • Tour the accommodation and be realistic. I know the thought of sharing a bathroom with 8 other people doesn’t sound overly appealing, but universities tend to bump up the price of a standard room to ensuite by roughly £40/week if you’re lucky! Keep an open mind and remember you won’t be spending the whole time at university in halls. More often than not, students move out in their second year to external student accommodation. Then again, if you know you have the money to pay for a private student flat for £200/week, then go ahead and splash the cash!
  • Lastly, ask yourself the harsh and realistic question of; Am I going to get the grades to come here? It is brilliant to aim high because it makes you strive for success and people always get better grades if they truly believe they can. But, on the other hand, if you have got a C at AS, are you going to get an A* at A2? I am not suggesting that you completely close off the option if the requirements are slightly higher than your predicted grades, but make sure you have a backup plan. If you do love a university and their grades are high, then great! It could motivate you to work really hard all year and get those grades but it could also demotivate you and stress you out, chasing grades that are not realistic.

These are some of the things I have done when visiting universities and I have found that it tends to help to go into the day with a rough plan, so have a think before you dive straight into a place you don’t know!

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Have fun looking around new places and meeting some friendly faces that are always happy to help!

Thank you for reading and I’ll be writing more soon about the UCAS application process as I go through it myself, so keep your eyes peeled!

Imogen ❤

Results Days

The 17th and 24th of August are important days for a lot of people this year… the dreaded days of results. I got my AS results today and I know friends who got A2 results, as well as next Thursday, friends who are getting GCSE results.

Before today, the most popular question I got was; ‘Are you nervous or worried?’ I think I mainly answered ‘No.’ This was usually met with a strange look or more questions about why I wasn’t having sleepless nights about ‘the day that’s the beginning of the end’.

My views on results days ( A-Level or GCSE) are nice and simple; once you have sat the exam (or handed in the coursework etc.) there is nothing that can be changed. Although that might be daunting if you think you’ve done badly, it also raises the question of why would you worry about something you can’t change?

If you got your results today; I hope you’ve done well and you are pleased with your grades. Congratulations if you have been given your place at the universities of choice, and if you haven’t, remember that A-Levels are not the be-all and end-all. If you don’t do as well as you hoped, don’t spend the next few weeks drinking the rest of your holidays away. You should research what your next options are. Are there other courses, at possibly different levels, that you can apply for? Can you go through clearing and get a place somewhere else? If you are truly passionate about the subject you want to study, I am sure there is a place available somewhere. There is no point hiding that you got lower grades than you wanted because otherwise, you wouldn’t be in clearing, so try and describe to universities how much you want to study your chosen subject and how much it would mean to be given another opportunity.

For GCSE students, it’s a similar story but instead of a university place, its college and sixth form offering you your next steps in education. I remember my GCSE results last year, and whilst I was happy with my grades as I had done quite well, I think I was expecting higher. I now look back and realize that the grades I got were a true reflection on how hard I worked. You honestly do only get out however much work you put in. I was fortunate to have teachers who really cared about their pupils and subjects, so I was at an advantage of good quality teaching. But, as I was at an independent school, the pressure it puts you under to achieve higher than average grades is huge, especially with many people around you with academic scholarships.

I am now at college studying A-Levels, and I am really enjoying myself. The thing that really hits hard in your first few months of college is; GCSE’s are just a ‘stepping stone’ (excuse the cliché) to your next choice. So, if you don’t get the grades, don’t worry about it! Because a D in geography at GCSE is NOT going to stop you getting anywhere in life, trust me on this. It is now one year since my GCSE results, and I can’t even remember what I got. That’s not just my terrible memory either. Multiple people, I have asked can’t even remember the subjects they studied.

I wish everyone the best of luck with their GCSE results next week, try not to panic too much and remember it will all be okay, whatever your grades are. If you’re off to university next month, good luck! I hope everyone has an amazing time. And if you are now looking at a different route to what you originally planned, don’t worry about it, because it will work itself out and if it’s meant to be, it will happen.

Thank you for reading this, especially today with everything else on your mind, and I hope I’ve reassured some people on next week. Once again, good luck!

Imogen ❤

Engineer Work Experience @CoolConcernsLtd.

What have I been up to this week?

During this week, I’ve been doing a City and Guilds RAC Service and Maintenance course including an F-Gas assessment at Cool Concerns Ltd. Basically, what that means is; I am learning to work with refrigerants, i.e. the stuff that goes in our fridges and air conditioning systems to keep them cool, and learning other bits alongside, like how to test pressures, test for leaks of refrigerants and charging and evacuating a system. Everything on the course is designed to prepare you to go out into the field and work on a system to complete repairs, check for faults etc.

I haven’t got any plans as to what I would like to do as a career, so I am trying out a variety of things over the next few years and keeping my options open. This means I can broaden my knowledge in a wide range of areas and gain experience in things I might never have thought of, like the F-Gas qualification I am completing now.

I decided to complete the qualification because it gives me an insight into what a ‘hands on’ job is like, whether I would be any good in an engineering role, and on my CV it shows I am keeping my options open, as I mentioned before.

I have really enjoyed my week so far, and have to complete an assessment on Friday to pass the course and gain the Level 2 F-Gas qualification. It consists of an online theory test and a practical assessment where I have to show a certain level of competence with the system I have in front of me, which in my case, is a small air conditioning rig composed of a compressor, condenser, evaporator, receiver, and expansion valve, among other components, or, a ‘simple’ AC system.

This obviously doesn’t qualify me to come and fix your fridges when they stop working, but it has been really interesting. This is a more practical learning style but also links to classroom lessons, like in ‘traditional’ education, as there is a fair amount of theory to accompany it too.

I would really recommend getting a variety of work experience whilst you have a little free time, and don’t have to worry about university, working, kids running around etc.! If you are heading towards, or are currently completing, your A-Levels, try and find an opportunity to do something different to the subjects you are studying. Or, if you know which direction you want to go, get some experience in those areas too! I know friends who are doing work experience in areas such as; caring for the elderly, teacher training and accountancy, as well as what I am doing in engineering. There really are such a wide range of things to choose from so have an investigate, and don’t worry if you don’t get paid for it! The experience is worth it, and who knows, you might discover something you really enjoy doing!

This post has been a bit different to my regular ones, but I hope it has given a little insight into what I’m up to and some ideas for the future!

Thank you to Cool Concerns Ltd. who is the company I am completing the course with.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’ll keep you posted as to other bits and bobs I will be doing!

Imogen ❤