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Summarising my first month at uni

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” (Randy Pausch)

I’m impatient to share with you some freshman (not really)wisdom, and why ‘The First Year’ is apparently a make-or-break experience, since it is probably the most valuable thing a university has to offer, here are some things that happened during my first month at Coventry University and what I have learned so far.

  1. Mental breakdown ?

Most of us arrive with a great variety of academic and social skills, and from different backgrounds and cultures, which means making big life adjustments: for instance, by living away from home for the first time. And even-though I have previously experienced living away from my homeland – first few days especially were very odd and a little bit depressing. I mean – homesickness, we all experience it and it’s totally okay. Now, I can say I have completely adapted to the new situation and feel great about living and studying here. My advice is – keep busy for the first couple of days or weeks, exercise, eat and sleep well, face time your family – and it will be all good !

   2. I made new friends

I may not live in a students’ accommodation, what makes it a little more difficult to socialise – it is freshners’ week that involves making new friends, going out, socialising, getting to know the city, the University and your Faculty better. However, I have met the best people at my first work place. For this reason I advice everyone to get out of their comfort zone and spend time searching for a part time job, not only does it give you a valuable work experience but helps socialise and meet new people.

  3. Got lost looking for a lecture’s building

Happens… every… single… day, basically “How to spot a freshner around the campus”. We get lost all the time or search for a class for half an hour just to realise we have already passed it 10 times. To be honest im 99% sure I’ll never learn where is what, as the campus is almost as big as another city, but I guess google maps was made for purpose right ?

   4. Wrote my first assignments

Since it’s November, it’s also mid-terms. Everybody loves mid-terms. This is the time, people realise they have essays due the following day that haven’t even been started. But that does not apply to most freshners tho. Freshners care and to my knowledge most of us, me included have started doing ‘something’ a while before November. Still, the month is a little stressful.

The first assessment I had to submit was due November 5th, and it was a poster, which aim was to show the cultural dimensions between my country and another country of choice and how a person can adapt to their work environment and culture in order to be a successful professional. To be frank – I hated doing it. We had to do the poster itself in PowerPoint but the charts and comparison tables had to be done in Excel – we don’t get on well with this one. Then, was the essay-ish part, done in Microsoft Word, cut and pasted into PowerPoint poster.

Second one, in fact due next Monday is already finished as, conversely to the previous one – I frankly enjoyed doing all the research and putting it together. The task was to examine how a mix of Brexit and e-commerce trend affects high street retailers. My cas study was Lush and I have to admit, Google bombarded me with the information about the firm and surprisingly it had me completely focused and engaged. Reading about my choice’s morals was moreover thought provoking.Never in my life have I thought I would say such a thing butI didn’t feel forced to do any work and writing this one was a pleasure.

  5. Got my first job – quit it and found another place.

My first job here was a disaster. I worked for an Italian restaurant called XYZ and this place is a complete mess and joke. I don’t really fancy  going into the details. I didn’t feel safe as a woman, a worker and the environment was nowhere near friendly – and so I quit, what led me to a great accident. One day I have sent a job application to Pizza Hut for a Shift Manager. I’m still astonished I got the job, because I have had no previous experience as a manager but I think Luck has decided to follow my steps with this one !

Just for your information, the minimum wage here for under 21 is £5,90 – not very satisfying right ?

  6.Learned not to care too much about outfit

Another way to distinguish first year students from the rest. Here, dress code is basically wearing pyjamas 24/7 after you have had enough of trying to look pretty. Remembering how it looks in Poland, for the first couple of weeks I would take extra time in the morning to put on nice clothes and makeup. Now, I usually wake up half an hour before my lecture, switch from one pyjama to another and get out of the house.

I truly enjoyed my first month here in Coventry city, this has already given me great life experience and it’s only been those couple of weeks ! I look forward to what the future holds and encourage every single person reading this to get out of your comfort zone and take up risky opportunities !

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Moving houses, moving countries. Part II

Today I’m coming to you with a continuation to one of my previous posts.  Moving houses wasn’t easy In the last one my main focus was packing the luggage, shopping for household appliences and just settling in the new place. Now it’s high time I told you something about what we all love – paperwork.

Moving houses, especially moving countries means LOADS and LOADS of papers to fill in that will drive you crazy. From telephone number, via banking, to voting ?! I was more than surprised when a lady knocked at my door telling I had to fill in a paper letting me to vote during elections. However as it has turned out I obviously cannot vote but the papers still needed to get filled in.

Bank Account

Lets start with the basics. After about two days of being here I finally plucked up the courage to begin with all the formalities starting with getting a bank account. There was a large number of banks trying to catch students’ attention but looking at various statistics I went for Barclays. So far I have only been using the account for two weeks so I cannot tell you much but they must have been a good choice since almost every student I know has their account at Barclays.

However the process of opening the account may be tiring especially during freshners week when the wave of multinational students wants to get all the paperwork done at the same time. Firstly when you come to the branch of the bank they will as you for your student’s confirmation letter, because it also plays the role of the proof of your address. Then they set up an appointment where you will be able to apply for the bank account. Depending on the number of people in the queue you may have to wait up to a month to get the interview.

For the engagement you ought to bring the student’s confirmation letter again, as well as a valid ID, it takes about 30-60 minutes to sort ou the paperwork. Afterwards you can expect to get your card delivered in up to 4 days, but in my case it was actually a day. Anyways, what I find very odd is the fact that the PINs to mobile, online and telephone banking do not come at once but separately, at different times and dates.

 

New Number

Although getting a new mobile number might seem the most important thing ever since nowadays we cannot imagine life without using mobile data – in order to get better deals for smaller prices you need a student’s bank account here. Why ? Cause students are treated better haha.

In the beginning I bought a pay as you go sim, just so I could use some data obviously and make UK calls for free. Once I had my bank account sorted I did some research to find out which broad band to choose, and for now I’m at VOXI which is cheaper version of vodafone. Nonetheless I have to admit, even the “cheap” plans here are much more expensive in comparison to what we understand by “cheap” plan in Poland, but it is the UK after all and I can’t complain.

National Insurance Number

Now something about my most dreadful, annoying and time-consuming experience. This is the most important commodity to remember about when moving here. NIN provides state assistance for people who are sick, unemployed or retired.

The application ? Takes ages and will drive you mad. First step is to call some central branch and before you even hear the signal you are asked a million questions by an authomatic speaker what already gives you a million reasons to let it go. Then you are kindly asked to wait and told “our speaker will be in contact with you ass soon as possible” – foreget it. Later on very posh, classy music is played and this is the step that lasts HOURS until you finally get to speak with someone. That adds another million reasons to wish to stop the torture. Once someone answers the phone at lasts, which in my case was a very angry, and impolite lady, you will need to provide your PESEL, address, date of birth and all the important data about yourself.

Moving on they tell you what’s the next date available for an appointment and you could pray for it to be less than a month, but I guarantee you that will lead you nowhere.

Luckily the appointment itself is quiet friendly in comparison to the previous experiences. But when you think that would be all you are a fool cause, they will just fill all your data in again and tell you to wait for the actual number another 6 weeks. Good luck. My nerves didn’t pass this test.one-does-not-siply-NIn

Voting ?

I have no clue what should I mention here. All I know and remember is the lady that knocked to our door and asked us for our data, afterwards we got an e mail that contained another formular to fill in with our data so we could vote apparently. I didn’t do any research I must admit but I’m pretty sure they were also just doing a list of new residents.

Those are 3 most important things to remember when moving here or another country. 
I hope for someone who does it in the future to have better experiences to mine. But life is brutal.

 

First week at the Uni

This is my first post that actually opens my journey at Coventry University, where I have just survived first week of classes. I assume ( I’m quiet sure tbh) the system here is significantly different to the polish one, but you are here to find out yourself.

Starting  with the basics, the first thing to astonish me was that we got our books for free without the need to queue more than a minute or having to fill in milions of papers etc. I don’t wanna know how much I would have cost me if I was to buy them all by myself..

Not mentioning my lecturers here would be a sin, as they are probably funnier than us students and talking to them feels both like “wow what a well-read person” and as if they were my age and about to go to a party.

My fav thing about this Uni is probably my schedule. Can you believe my earliest lecture starts at 10 ? Moreover that’s only on Monday, Tuesdays I begin at 2 and finish at 4 ! Wait for it… Wednesdays I can sleep all day long and Thursdays and Fridays I have 2 lectures only starting at 1. I couldn’t have asked for a better schedule.

Now, moving on to the week and what it looked like….

Monday 

First was the lecture at 10 with one of our main lecturers. He introduced us to the International Business Environment module, but to be frank what I remember is I have an assignment due and an exam to come :). Next at 11 we met another lecturer with whom we had two-hour workshop about international trade and the importance of the import-export bond between countries. We worked in groups and I got to know some more people which was favourable as there’s like 498502 of us and I feel like i’m never gonna meet all of them.

Then I had an hour break so I certainly had a coffee

After that at 3pm we had another workshop called LEGO A-GO-GO. This was well.. interesting. Never in my life have I thought I would play lego at university. And there I was doing the thing.. Moreover our lecturer went to Tesco’s to buy us biscuits. Sounds ridiculous I know. 1st task was to build something to express ourself, so when the lady asked me what is my model showing my answer was – I had no idea what I was doing. 2nd task was to build a successful IBM student and I believe this model was actually kind of task-connected, but you can judge yourself.

 

At the end we were supposed to draw a map that would show our way to being successful. I’m not good at drawing but the discussion afterwards was valuable. What I have learned from the workshop is to take up every opportunity in life possible even in the risky ones; never give up and take the lesson from every mistake and most importantly STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Our last lecture of the day took place at 5pm and by the time everybody was exhausted. For this reason I cannot tell you exactly what was it about but I’ve remembered to write down “2 assignments due Nov and Dec”

Tuesday

An easy one. I only had 1 seminar at 2pm and one lecture at 6pm. The first one was with my favourite lecturer so far – T. She is the kind of a teacher you both fear and love. On that seminar we were supposed to find out about a recent story/fact etc about brexit that affected some local business and then share our results with others. I’m really keen on the fact that T’s teaching system is based on practice rather than theory.

Afterwards I had a 3-hour break and sadly I didn’t do anything worth mentioning..

At 6pm quiet a big and lecture took place. I believe we had people from 2 different courses there. The module is called CPD – Continuous Professional Development. What is it ? Well.. our first task was to write down our definition of the term.

Here’s mine: CDP is a record of what one has experienced, learned and then applied; a combination of approaches on undertakes in order to gain experience, a skill, formally and informally as they work

Other than that we were ‘lucky’ to be informed about 2 more assignments and then we called it a day !

Wednesday  

On that glorious day I had no lectures nor seminars or workshops. But I’m not the person to stay in bed all day and watch movies so I used the time to finish a few of my modules’ homeworks and for the first time in my life I went to a spin class at a local gym and it defo killed me.

Thursday  

Well that was a looong productive day. To get the day started I went to the gym, afterwards I sadly had to spend some money AGAIN cause we ate all the food. Later on at 2pm I had a two hour lecture on managing multicultural organisational environments. We played “international” bingo to find out what other people’s cultures are about. Then at 3pm we had a one very big lecture which was all about introducing the freshners to the topic. To be honest I didn’t find any of that day’s lectures very crucial and interesting since we didn’t do anything besides introducing ourselves or listening “induction presentations”.

Friday  

That day I missed almost half of my scheduled lectures as it was the flu that woke me up that day, so I ended up calling different doctors trying to set up an appointment asap. Having taken different drugs at around 1pm I started feeling better so I decided on giving my add vantage module a go. Add vantage is a module everyone can choose on their own and my choice was Italian. I’ve really wanted to learn one more language, for it’s very usefull in the business industry. I must admit we started pretty intense and I can actually see myself being intermediate by the end of this semester ! 

IMG_2617

Afterwards, despite the flu I had to go to work where I spent next couple of hours. 

 

Thinking about my first week, I have to admit I’m not used to having a completely different timetable every day and I am definitely gonna have to change my routine which means stepping out of my comfort zone.. But that’s a good thing as we learned on monday right ?

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Moving houses wasn’t easy

In this post I want to tell you a little about ‘the moving out process’, how did it go, what I did beforewards in order to be prepared for possible troubles etc..

First and foremost was the paperwork. I had to get all my school leaving exam results translated by a sworn translator so I could enroll at the University. I had to take both – the original and the translation with me. I additionally needed an ID copy and a European Health Insurance Card which they refused to give me… Luckily it turned out it’s not necessary for me to have it as I’m health-insured as a student here. I don’t think I have to mention booking a plane to London.

Then was the fooood. I naturally stocked up at foods like pasta, rice, etc because…. you never know. To be honest I just knew these would be a little more expensive here so I wanted to save a little. 

Here the real fun begins. Once I had it all sorted, all clothes washed it was time to pack. I chose the option to fly with 2×32 kg and a hand luggage. I was sure all the things would have fit in my suitcases, but you probably won’t be surprised if I tell you I ended up ordering the biggest suitcase possible and sending two parcels. And that was just a tiny tiny bit of a further trouble. Packing everything costed me a week and a million reasons to cry and get angry. Moreover, at the airport, it turned out, one of my suitcases was 1.6 kg too heavy and I had to re-pack and try to squeeze the extra luggage into the other suitcase which was a challenge. 

And the trouble continued as we arrived. How welcoming. Firstly – our bus was late with no information about its delay, then we missed our cab home and once we finally got there we were quick to find out the heating, gas and wi fi were not on what caused some more issues later on. Furthermore we certainly went to primark but it was no fun shopping, not this time, new bedding and more homeware was needed, cooking pans, cutlery etc. Finally, after some time we managed to make our house lively and gave it that home vibes.

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You don’t wanna know how much money have I spent in the first 2 weeks. I’m afraid of looking at my bank account. Fortunately we have now settled and my only spendings are on food and drinks.

This post may continue with concentration on emotional side of moving houses. However, it’s up to you ! Comment !
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Freshner’s week ?

Freshner – a new student who asks everybody for the way to different uni buildings, with ability to drink unlimited amounts of alcohol and have no sleep for a few nights straight to end the week with a freshner’s flu

Today’s post summs up my last week which was the first one at Coventry Uni. 

To begin with, let’s just say, welcoming freshners here differs A LOT to what you would experience in Poland and this week was totally not what I have expected. But it was surprising in a good way. 

Honestly, when we recieved our ‘freshner’s week timetables’ I was surprised by how busy they seemed and instantly prayed for my real schedule to be different. Luckily my prayers were answered. I attented the inducting lectures for the first two days and then, to be frank I thought that since the attendance wasn’t checked that week I would stay in bed a little longer. Here you can see this week’s timetable

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More interesting stuff was happening outside university building’s walls – society’s fair where we could talk to society’s representatives and choose the one for us. There were plenty of them, even Chocolate lovers’ society ! I obviously joined Pole Fitness Society.

Being a part of society is not for free and prices vary depending on activities and whether they need to rent some building/ sports hall etc. But it’s well worth joining at least one of them that you can excell in and it may have a huge impact on your future and you may as well recieve a scholarship.

Besides the fair many more entertaining things took place, such as chat with Nick Grimshaw – a Radio 1 presenter; Domino’s pizza for free all week (xd!). I could continue naming more and more events.

During the week probably every club in town possible has thrown as many wicked parties as possible and too many “free shots” leaflets have been handed. Moreover shops, cafes, restaurants went crazy on students’ discounts and we ain’t complaining. Thanks to all the events I have already made some international friends and tried some Korean thing called Soju and I think I’ve found my one and only alcohol.

Moving on from partying, shopping and drinking. Another thing that is very different to what I’m used to and to an ordinary UK student is probably completely normal is checking the attendance and logging into the system using just my student ID card. Technology went crazy right ? I find the idea so cool. Our Uni also has something like students’ club called The Hub, which is opened 24/7, you can come anytime to use a PC, drink coffee at Costa, get a haircut or go to the cinema. Again, SO COOL.

To make you even more wowed let me just say our uni has crazy variety of trips to countries like Kuala Lumpur ?!?! There’s trips to New York, Seul, Arizona, Hong Kong and we don’t even have to pay too much as they’re subsidies. MAD

So that completes first week of impressions and WOW moments and as I have many more weeks to spend here – there will be more.

 

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