Monthly Archives: December 2012

Inez’s First Year Blog: Posters, Picturesque-ness and … Ugly Snowboots!

Hey everyone!

Hope you all had a lovely  Christmas!   Uni’s closed now and there’s still no sign of snow in Manchester…slightly disappointing, but it does mean that there’s no need for the hideous snow boots to come out just yet.  It seems impossible to find boots which are waterproof and presentable at the same time.  The two seem to be mutually exclusive!   My woes are burdensome indeed….

Moving onto a less woeful subject, during the last week of the semester we had a poster

My awesome tutorial group and our sunflower poster

My awesome tutorial group and our sunflower poster


The winning poster… wouldn’t want to bump into that at night!

competition which the entire faculty took part in. My tutorial group had chosen to do our poster on sunflowers, which I mentioned in the last blog.  Their mathematical efficiency and their fiery petals made them an attractive and prolific topic to cover ( unlike those  hideous snow boots!).  Turns out that the judges thought so too… My group were runners up! We were each very generously given a ten pound “ Love to Shop” voucher .  It was a great start to the holiday!  The winners did a fantastic poster on life in the deep.  The posters between them covered an enormous range of topics.  One display boasted a beautiful papier mache  of a bat.  Another covered the wonderfully wacky   “Alien Hand Syndrome.”  What in the world is that?  Well that’s exactly what I asked .  The answer was quite scary.   Basically, the hands of the patient carries out unintended movements.  For example, when they  go to sleep, their hands might sometimes reach out and strangle their own necks.  One of the students said that in certain cases patients have to be chained  up before they can sleep.  Very zombie-esque!  Hmm or should I say Lady Gaga-esque!

I visited the picturesque town of Ipswich last week, and I have to say this: despite the unceasing rain, and the empty grey skies,  England is second to none when it comes to beautiful country sides.  With the shaggy Shetland ponies , the neatly-trimmed hedgerows and the gently sloping hills, I felt like I was in an Enid Blyton novel.  ( I used to devour her books when I was younger!)

My adorable baby cousin and I... right after the diaper incident!

My adorable baby cousin and I… right after the diaper incident!

 Ipswich is very quiet and quaint compared to the bustling activity of Manchester, but I had a lovely time with my little cousins! I did undergo the traumatic experience of changing a dirty diaper… but there you go, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’m sure there must be a hidden metaphor in there somewhere, that I’m too lazy to work out.  Anyhow,  I’m back in Manchester now, and very excited for tomorrow… which is to be spent shopping ( yay!) and complaining about the weather with some familiar Zambian faces!

I have a ton of studying to do, but I haven’t started yet. Like the irresponsible teenager I am, I prefer to dwell on the flaws of ugly snow boots rather than open my books. I hope that you aren’t as bent on procrastination as I am!  On that note, enjoy the rest of 2012!! We made it out alive!

Happy New Years (:





Inez’s First Year Blog: Breaking Dawn, Demons and Deprivation

Hey everyone,

Another hectic week has drawn to a close… I can’t believe that there’s only one more week of this semester left! I know that I’ve finally settled down into life as a university student, because I can tell you with confidence where the best places for getting cheap junk food are; and can point you to the quietest corners of the library, as well as warn you of the unfortunate consequences of zoning out in a lecture.

I’ve been severely sleep-deprived for this last week as well.  There is a mysterious demon that just does not want me to catch any vestiges of sleep that may stray my way… As soon as  I turn off the lights,  the demon, also known as rock music, rears its head.  I’ve wandered the hallowed hallways of my dorm trying to find the source of the noise—including the floor above and below me, but to no avail.   I really hope that this demon is expelled from the vicinity soon, because I’ve been a walking zombie for the last 5 days!  Fingers crossed that there’ll be some silence to night…Okay scratch that. There is some heavy bass pounding again… Oh well, if you can’t beat them, join them right? =/

On a less supernatural note, I’ve had some very interesting group work projects going on this week. They’ve ranged from the history of dinosaurs, to the mathematical precision of sunflowers. Fascinating stuff… Did you know that sunflowers are natural mathematicians? If only I was that lucky!  Aside from their buttery yellow petals, they also have the ability to arrange their seeds in perfect spirals, for maximum efficiency. How about that! Beautiful AND smart! =) Never thought I’d see the day where I raved over a plant!

I just got back from the cinema… Breaking Dawn was amazing! Although I think I put on another 2

The beautiful, quaint Christmas markets in Manchester

The beautiful, quaint Christmas markets in Manchester

kg. I am too weak to resist the temptation of anything even vaguely sweet… Maybe that’s what the noise demons are trying to tell me! I glimpsed the wonderful Christmas markets on my way back.  The quaint wooden stalls and the sparkling fairy lights made me forget the nipping cold; I could smell the aroma of chocolate, wafting along the slight breeze.   Even after being so sleep-deprived, I feel vaguely human again.  It’s been a beautiful night! I really hope it snows soon too!

Until next time,







Harry’s Final Year Blog: Part-Time Job Search: Mission Accomplished!


Blenheim Palace… wow!

After applying to more or less every vacancy in the Arndale Centre, and except for a semi-successful trial shift at “West Coast” and subsequently being semi-palmed off, I finally got a part-time job at “Barrett’s Event Caterers” as a waiter! It’s agency work, which means I don’t have fixed hours or anything but it’s good because it means I can pick and choose when I work if someone’s birthday night out crops up or whatever. I got it by going to the part-time jobs fair at the Academy during freshers week and literally just put my name and phone number down on a sheet at the stall, they called me about a week later! One of my friends got a waiter job at Old Trafford (Manchester United’s football ground) the same way! As my job at home for the past four years has been an agency worker for factories (I worked at a vinegar factory and as a bin-man mainly) the step up to serving Peter Andre at a billionaire’s birthday party at Blenheim Palace in Oxford (pictured) was astonishing! The moral of the story is: make sure you go to as many events as possible in Welcome Week!

On a separate note, I finally got a new pair of glasses. After wearing the same £5 ones I bought when I was like 10 I got some “geek chic” ones from Boots Opticians, amazingly they were my favourite from their range, the cheapest, and I get half price discount because I wear contact lenses! So they were £25 including non-reflective & scratch-resistant lenses, bargain! Wear them all the time, good considering my lenses are becoming increasingly irritable -.-

Reppin'-up the new glasses at Chiquitos!

Reppin’-up the new glasses at Chiquitos!

Tip of the Week

Unless you do a humanities A-level such as history or politics, essay writing will probably come as a shock to you at university. I used to moan at a 5 line answer at the end of chemistry A-level papers then within a few weeks of university I have to write 1500 word essays (in reality only a couple of pages), and in second year essay-question exams are ubiquitous! I recently discovered this website “Guide to Writing a Basic Essay” and it’s made essay writing so much less daunting! I showed it to my first-year study session group and they also found it very useful. Wherever you end up studying, pop this in your browser favourites/bookmarks and it’ll def ease you through the shock-horror of your first essays!

Alice’s Second Year Blog: Alice’s Ambassadoring Adventures!

So its been another busy few weeks. Deadlines and work seem to have taken up most of my time but there have been a few highlights. Birthdays, Movember and starting work at Manchester United just to mention a few. But on a completely different note I thought I would talk about my time as an ambassador today…

I first got the email telling me about the role as an ambassador in the middle of my summer exams. It was the last thing I needed! But I knew I really wanted to have the opportunity to give something back to the university. So as a break from revision I applied and waited patiently for a response. I had an interview during my last week in Manchester, was pleased with how it went and then I got the job! Over the summer it kind of slipped my mind but come September I was ready to fulfill my role.

My first duty as an ambassador was to help interview a potential researcher and lecturer. The applicant gave a fascinating tutorial to us about parasites, and even though I had had no previous learning about parasites the tutorial was intellectually stimulating. The next time I did ambassadoring it was during day one of welcome week. I helped by showing around nervous (and in many cases very hung-over) freshers. For me, being only in second year, it felt like yesterday that I had been in their position. I was very jealous because it was all so new for them; meeting new people, trying new lectures and seeing new places. It was definitely my favourite time of the year.  My role on the day was to chat to them to make them feel more relaxed and give them a chance to ask any questions. Many didn’t as all they wanted to do was go back to bed!

However, despite those fun and one off days, my main role as an ambassador is to help out on UCAS interview days.  Some of you may have already attended on of these this year, some may be attending one soon or some of you reading this may hardly remember your interview it was that long ago! We had a fun training day half way through this semester that gave us a chance to meet the other ambassadors and try on our bright red hoodies. They really are bright red and you can’t blend in at all! On interview days our role is to be a friendly face to the applicants and allow them to ask any questions they so wish, get them to their interviews on time (and calm them down!) and give them a tour of our wonderful campus. For the guest of the applicants, they also get a detailed tour of the campus and a talk from Liz Sheffield to answer any of their queries. The day begins at Whitworth hall, which is one of the most beautiful buildings on campus and the same architects who designed the natural history museum in London designed it. I think it was a combination of this building, the talk form Liz, and the fact it was Christmassy and snowing that clinched the deal for me and made me want to come to Manchester, and I haven’t looked back since! But the best part of the day has to be the complimentary drink we get every week down the pub after our shift. Teem this with the left over crisps and sandwiches we get to eat whilst there and it is a perfect day. I really look forward to my shifts every week because as well as getting to give tours of our lovely campus I get to chat to the ambassadors and I meet new people every week!

That’s all for this week, hope your all enjoying your advent calendars and haven’t eaten all thechocolate already…

Over and Out


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Harry’s Final Year Blog: Post-Dissertation Decompression Chamber

RELIEF! After an intense week with three or four assessment deadlines and a couple of grad scheme application deadlines, as well as social commitments and the mother of all hangovers (see below) I’m finally unshackled from a world of intense stress.  Although I do have a couple more assignments in before the end of the semester (14th December) it feels like I’ve been pumped full of helium and am bobbling along the Arndale Centre ceiling 😀

The bad news however is that it’s official, the record has been smashed, on Sunday I experienced the worst hangover of my life! But please don’t give me your sympathy, I’m a victim of my own crime- a combination of ‘minesweeping’ relentlessly (even a kebab) and amplified by the non-stop 3 hour bus journey (Harrogate-Leeds-Manchester-Withington) are getting the finger pointed at, sorry guys! Great night out though, it’s always good to leave the Manchester-hometown friendship bubble every now and then.

In other news, although this won’t affect me, UoM are investing £1billion on renovating the campus! The current situation is the ‘Main Campus’ with the library, student’s union, all the main buildings etc on Oxford Road, and a ‘North Campus’ slightly further north but still south of the city, apparently mainly fashion students and engineers. The plan is to have one campus- I.e. everything on the Main Campus, and the North Campus buildings vacated by 2018. The project will include doing-up Main Campus to give it more of a grassy suburb feel, and maybe more pedestrianized zones.Sackville Street Building

The only question I have though is what’s happening to Sackville Street Building?! It’s one of the oldest UoM buildings and the former UMIST (the old name for part of UoM) main building and library. It’s still the biggest building on campus too, so considering everything it’s pretty impressive! It would be such a shame to see it go… I mean just look at it… SAVE IT!!!

See “Manchester 2020 Vision leads to £1 billion campus Master Plan” for more info (:

for more information 🙂

Harry x

Tip of the Week

I swear by this Facebook group 10 ways to have more money as a student, without working. Although their ’10 ways’ are useful I’m sure, it’s their regular wall photos which are the real treasure chest here. They post anything from free alcohol & cigarettes, to price glitches on fence panels (8 for free not including delivery, bizarre offer for a student), to free fish & chips when you buy a drink at Yates’s, etc. Literally random stuff a lot of the time but I guarantee you’ll find some bargain you’re into!