Monday, 24 September 2012

Edinburgh trip and my tips for Fresher's!

I think I'll start with my Edinburgh photos, consdering that I did go to Scotland 3 weeks ago, and I still haven't really sorted my photos out nicely. However, I've chosen the best of them, (I would like to point out that it was very dark some of the time when we were there, hence some of the pictures appearing so gloomy...I'd like to think that it just adds a moody atmosphere!) and here they are, showing some of the most famous and striking scenes of the Scottish capital;

Yet, due to a random turn of events, we also ended up being in Edinburgh during the hottest week in Septemeber ever recorded there - what are the chances?
Anway, some of the landmarks in the above photos are (from top); St.Mary's cathedral, Prince's Street gardens, the back of the Royal Mile (as seen from Prince's Street) and some of the oldest buildings of the University of Edinburgh. Scotland has a much more varied and interesting history than I've ever really thought about before, especially with John Know and Mary Stuart. The city was also in some parts just as beautiful as London, Oxford or Cambridge, and was a much quieter capital city than I've ever been to, but that turned out to be a very nice thing for tourists like us (the Primark in Prince's street was less crowded than my local Primark, in a pretty insignificant town!).
I've now been to the capitals of England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland all within 6 months! I think I've been to about 7 capital cities in my entire life; London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Paphos, Tunis and Palma (Majorca) that's not loads, but a lot of the places I've been to (Murcia, Barcelona, Crete, other Greek islands, Venice, somewhere in Mexico, Ibiza) are just big or famous cities that are not actually the capital of that country, although I think Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia.
So that's pretty much ended my travelling for the year, unless I win the lottery, because my student loan approval has arrived, and believe me, the lottery is the only way that I'm going anywhere in a hurry! That brings me onto my next subject, my tips for Fresher's (or should I say, Fresher's-in-waiting) which are by no means comprehensive, especially as I don't have much experience, but just a few things that I would advise any other people currently waiting to university to do;
  • Get a student back account. Several of my friends have left this very late, and may miss out on a free overdraft, which can come in very useful when waiting for your next loan installment!
  • Look in advance at which clubs and societies your university offers, and which you might like to join. Fresher's fair is going to be insane, you don't want to sign up for things in the heat of the moment, which could cost you a lot more than a whole load of annoying mail on your university email account! It could also decide what you're going to pack, like sports clothes or a swimming costume as the need may be.
  • Get ahead. If your course has a reading list, with millions of books on it, don't be intimidated. Order a couple of the cheap books from Amazon or Abbebooks or similar and look through them in the days before you arrive, it'll make you feel better about doing nothing (educational)all summer and get rid of the "I don't know anything!" panic.
  • Write a buying list and a packing list. The buying list is of things you need to get (think about the type of accomodation you're in, if you have an ensuite or a kitchen, this will be different to if you have neither, like me), and the packing list is for when you're making sure you haven't forgotten anything. Here's a great list:
  • Make friends before you go? The Student Room is great for this, you can speak to people on your course, or at your uni, weeks in advance, so that at least in some small way, you don't feel like you're going it alone. The website is free to sign up to, and you can go on it as little or often as you want, or you can just lurk on threads, if you're really scared of talking to never know, you might find your future flat-mate! This is also extremely useful, as I've been able to ask people doing my course which books are really needed, and which I can manage without, although I've still had to spend a lot of money on books, it's saved me about £20!
  • Read this article as a great point of reference:
  • And lastly - enjoy yourself! Whether Fresher's (the drinking, partying side of it people always seem to focus on) is your thing or not, the main thing to remember is that it only ever lasts for about a week, and soon you'll be back into the oh-so-familiar routine of trying to juggle studying and your social life, except you'll be living somewhere entirely new, with new friends and all of your new societies and clubs to welcome you into university life!

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