Posted in Written by Stefana

5 places to visit in Romania

Hello everyone! If you are planning to go on a trip in Europe, you should consider visiting Romania too.

Here are some interesting destinations!

1. The Bucegi Mountains

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The Bucegi Mountains are part of the Carphatian Mountains and they are the tallest in Romania. The Omu Peak has 2,505 meters. The Bucegi is believed to be mountain Kogainon, a holy Dacian mountain where the God Zalmoxis lived in a cave.

The Romanian Sphinx is one of the attractions you can see in The Bucegi Natural Park. It is a natural rock formation that resembles the Egyptian Sphinx. When looked at from a certain angle, the profile of a person can be seen.

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Babele (translated to “old women”) are rock formations that were shaped in time by wind and rain. They can also be found in the Bucegi National Park only a few meters away from The Sphinx.

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2. The Peles Castle

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The Peles Castle is a very popular tourist destination. It is located in Sinaia and it was constructed by King Carol I in a Neo-Renaissance style. Tourists can visit the first and second floor of the Castle that include some of the most impressive rooms: The Regal Library, The Hall of Honour and the Music Room.

The Hall of Honour

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The Regal Library

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The Music Room

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3.  The Bran Castle

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The Bran Castle is located in the Transylvania Region of Romania and it was constructed in the 1300s. It is known as the castle of Dracula from the famous Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker. The real-life Dracula that lived inside the castle is Vlad The Impaler. He was known for his cruelty, killing approximately 100,000 people during his life time. The name of ‘Impaler’ comes from his favourite killing method: impaling the victims using big vertical stakes attached to the ground.

 

4. The Transfagarasan Highway

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The Transfagarasan is a 90 km (60 miles) long mountain road in the Carpathian Mountains. Its sharp turns can be a challenge for drivers and the maximum speed limit is 40km/h (25miles/h). The highest point of the road (2,034 m altitude) passes by the Bâlea Lake where the first European ice hotel was built. The road is open from June until October.

The Bâlea Lake

 

5. Bucharest

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Bucharest is the capital and the cultural centre of Romania. The architecture of the city is a mix of neo-classical, interbellum and modern styles. Its beautiful buildings and elegant architecture earned it the name of Little Paris. 

The Palace of Parliament, located in central Bucharest, is the second largest administrative building in the world and it has over 1,100 rooms. The construction started in 1983 and it was finalised in 1997. The building cost is estimated at 3 billion Euro.

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I hope this post made you a bit more curious about Romania! It is never too early to start planning your next trip!

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Posted in All things 301, Intern advice, Written by Katie

Exam Revision

IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!! My favourite and least favourite part of the year all in one. Whilst the decorations are fantastic and you get to spend time with family, it has also been a time for  important exams for the past 7 years of my life. So what are my top tips for balancing Christmas celebrations and revision?

Take a break

It is called the Christmas holidays for a reason. Take some time to chill with friends and family. Admittedly, I have never done this before this year. Exam stress gets in the way of taking a break. This year however I am taking off two weeks off in the hope I get back to my studies refreshed.

 Do all your reading before you leave uni for Christmas

I have friends who stay until Christmas eve which is actually a great idea. You can use the books you need in the library and catch up on any reading you have outstanding. This means you don’t need to lug heavy textbooks on the train home. It also means you won’t need to study too hard over the break (see point 1).

 Get colourful

I write all my notes in colours, it makes them easier to read as the black on the white is quite harsh on your eyes. You can also make colourful revision cards.

Make things memorable

Add drawings to your notes and revision cards. You don’t need to be Picasso, they can be simple drawings that relate to what you are trying to remember. For example there is a contract law case that every law student in the country knows called Donohugh v Stevenson. It’s about a woman who got sick drinking ginger beer as it had a decapitated snail in it. Guess what I drew on that revision card? Ginger beer and a snail.

Mind maps

Okay trust me with this one, you may think you need too much detail for mind maps but if a law student can fit enough detail on a mind map so can you. I do one per topic (sometimes two if it is really detailed) and add the case names from my revision cards. Then I keep re-drawing them adding the things I missed in red. After 5 or 6 goes I’ve remembered it. I also say everything relevant from the revision card out loud and check over it if I can’t remember. You can even buy whiteboard paper that sticks to your wall via static leaving no marks behind so your not wasting paper- it’s on amazon.

Posted in Written by Sophie

Managing your anxiety during deadline season

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Everyone gets anxiety at some point in their lives, and it can go up or down for students depending on the time of year and how many assignments you have to complete. I have found some ways of coping that work for me when it comes to deadline season, and hopefully they might be useful to some of you who get anxiety or stress around this time!

  1. Focus on one thing at a time

One of the main things that I do when it comes to deadlines is trying to focus on too many things at the same time. The brain can only cope with so many tasks at once, and sometimes you can be doing an assignment or revision and your mind wanders off to another worry. Keep focused on the task that you are trying to complete, and worry about the other thing later. Let ‘future you’ deal with that when it comes to it!

  1. Google calendars and check lists!

To make sure that you don’t worry about lots of things at once, organise your life with Google Calendars so you know where you have to be, and use check lists (either written down or online – Checkli is a great website!) so you know what piece of work you will be doing and when. It is so satisfying when you can finally tick off a task, and it is quite rewarding when you know you have completed it. Don’t feel pressure to stick strictly to a check list if you have decided you don’t have time on a particular day, or if you’re feeling too exhausted to complete something.

  1. Take regular breaks

This is probably drilled into your head all of the time but it is so important to take regular breaks. Whether that be watching your favourite Netflix programme, or going out with some friends, make sure to wind down now and then so that your brain has a rest from the work.

  1. Try not to focus on the future, focus on the ‘now’

Part of Mindfulness (which I really recommend, head on over to the University Counselling Service to find out more!) is making sure you focus on the present, rather than the future. This is often the cause of lots of stress, and sometimes you cannot control what will happen in the future. All you can do is try your best in the current moment, and the future will sort itself out. Perhaps organise the weeks ahead at first, but don’t think about them until the time comes to complete the task.

  1. Talk through it

If you’re struggling, I couldn’t recommend more to speak to someone. I have been doing this more and more and you begin to realise things about yourself as other people can bring another perspective to a situation. If the stress and anxiety from university work is getting you down, speak to a friend, a family member, a colleague, a lecturer, anyone! And be sure to go to your GP or the counselling service if it all gets too much. People are here to support you and there is always someone you can talk to at university who will listen.

Posted in Intern advice, student life, Uncategorized, Written by Britt

Having a Productive Winter Vacation

By the time the Christmas holidays arrive, I often feel burnt-out from the Autumn Semester and can find it tempting to do nothing but binge-watch Netflix. You can do this for a few days over the break (especially if you’re feeling particularly fragile after all the festivities), but it’s also important to make sure you’re being productive. Here are some of my top tips for doing just that!

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Get the important stuff done first

If you’ve got deadlines in January then these should be your priority. I have a 4,000 word essay to write and a difficult exam to revise for but I’m going to try and get a lot of this work done before Christmas so that I can fully enjoy myself. You don’t want to be worrying too much about all the work you have to do when you should be relaxing and having fun!

Look ahead

If you’ve got lots of reading to do for the Spring Semester then it might be worth trying to tackle some of this early. Or, if you’re in your final year, you might be looking to apply for grad jobs but just haven’t had the time at uni – so now is your opportunity!  For other years, it might be good to think about your Summer plans – do you want to do an internship, go travelling, or work part-time? Start applying before everyone else!

Catch up with family and friends

Don’t waste your break being in your room on your own (though, as discussed above, this is often tempting!). The Winter Vacation is a great time to properly meet up with family and friends that you probably won’t have spent quality time with in a while.

Get into a good exercise routine

Nothing helps to spur your productivity like exercise. If I go to the gym, I often feel more energised and able to tackle the various other things I need to do that day. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym to do this – you could work out at home, or go for a run in your spare time.

Relax!

It’s so important to enjoy yourself and give your mind and body some well-deserved relaxation time. If you need to sleep a little longer than usual, go ahead! It’s Christmas!!!

Posted in Extracurricular, Uncategorized, Written by Katie

Try Something New

Now that essay deadlines are passing, you may have a bit of spare time on your hands so this is the perfect opportunity to try something new. Below are some of the things I want to try out before the year is up.

Cooking

If you read my blogs regularly you will know I am a frozen pizza and instant noodle enthusiast. That is because I can’t cook and I feel like cooking requires too many ingredients, herbs and spices. I’m sure cooking can be made simple and I want to learn. Maybe I can even learn to make home-made pizza!cooking

Some kind of sport

Back in the good old school days I was really sporty but once exams started taking over my life in the form of GCSE’s, A-Levels and uni I ran out of time to do sports. Tennis is a sport I have always wanted to have a go at but never got round to. I have a tennis racket that I bring to uni every year in the hope that I will find my passion for tennis. It has still never been taken out the packet.

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Give it a Go

I always wanted to try give it a go and do something I’ve never done before like stunt cheerleading or how to run a cinema.

Start a society

I want to come up with a new and innovative idea for a society. Something nobody has ever thought of. I’m running out of time for this one so you guys may have to do this one on my behalf.

A protest

Okay, I’m cheating a little as I actually did my first ever protest over the weekend which inspired this blog. I took part in Reclaim the Night which was a march against sexual violence and assault. I learnt that political activism really isn’t my kind of thing but at least I can tick it off the bucket list.

Protest

Arts and Crafts

I’m not very creative but I want to learn a craft related skill such as sewing, cross stich or knitting.

Posted in Written by Stefana

Exam Revision

The Holiday Season is only a few weeks away but this also means that we are getting closer to the January Exams. It is never too early to start planning your revision so here are a few tips to help you study.

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Filter your notes

  • Since it is quite difficult to study everything written in the lecture notes, go over them and select the relevant information for your exam. To make studying easier, you could put all the relevant parts in a separate document so you can have everything you need from the lectures in only one place.

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Make a study schedule

  • Decide on a certain time-slot you want to study everyday and divide the workload on days. Make sure you recap the notes you have already studied just to keep the information fresh in your memory.

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Reward yourself

  • If you find it difficult to stay focused on your work, set a reward for when you finish studying what you planned for that day. Having something to look forward to can boost your productivity.

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If you want to learn more about how you can revise efficiently for the upcoming exams, you can attend the Exam Revision Workshop at 301 on 5th and 6th December.

You can sign up and find out more about this workshop by clicking here.

Posted in student life, Uncategorized, Written by Britt

5 Ways To Make Your Student House a Home

You may not think it but your surroundings play a huge part in your happiness and ability to study. With that said, here are my top 5 tips for making your student house feel more like a home!

  • Pick up some decent fairy lights.

I must admit, I do have an unhealthy obsession with fairy lights! But they make so much difference in a space that is otherwise dominated by unusually harsh lighting, e.g. in the kitchens of halls. You can grab them for relatively cheap, in a range of colours and styles and can even get outdoor ones for those evening summer BBQ’s (or just the one BBQ, when the weather is somewhat nice on that one day in the middle of exam season).

  • Bring things from home that make the space your own (especially in your bedroom).

This may sound rather obvious but you’d be surprised how many people turn up to a shell of a room and leave it that way for the whole year. Little things like photos, soft furnishings or souvenirs from a favourite trip can all make your room feel a little bit more ‘you’.

  • Dress up your house for the holidays!

If you love Halloween, carve pumpkins to your heart’s content! If people in your house celebrate Christmas, then give the house a Christmas makeover! Or, ask your housemates about any holidays they may celebrate that you don’t – you never know, you might even learn something!

  • Bring the outdoors in.

Purchasing some easy-to-care-for plants such as small cacti can really help to brighten up a room. Or, if you want to be extra lazy, you can get some very real-looking artificial plants for very cheap. This year, my house got some artificial flowers to add a splash of colour to our bathroom and they only cost about £1.50 from Wilko’s!

  • Add those homely scents.

No one likes walking in to a house that feels fusty and, unfortunately, lots of student houses and flats seem to have that smell, particularly when you first move in after the long vacation period. Candles may not be allowed due to health and safety but that doesn’t mean your house can’t smell nice! Pick up some cheap reed diffusers, plug ins or air fresheners instead.

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Sophie

My Essay Timeline

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Hi everyone! I thought I would share with you a short blog post about how I go about planning my essay assignments. I have been at Sheffield uni for three years now (scary, where has the time gone?) and I have discovered a planning timeline that works for me and helps me balance my workload.

I give myself at least four weeks to complete an essay, and that means that I don’t end up stressing near to the deadline:

Week 1: This is when I gather all of my readings and make preliminary notes on each one, with references to why it is relevant to my essay/argument. It is also a good idea to think of your essay question at this point (if you have to make up your own), so that your reading and argument is focused from the start.

Week 2: I then create a plan and structure for my essay. This picks out the main themes throughout the essay, and how I will go about laying out these themes. It is always best to do this before starting to write, as you can end up having bits of writing here and there which isn’t coherent.

Week 3: The write-up stage. I start writing my ideas and thoughts down under each theme, and try to reference other relevant sources as much as I can. I try not to restrict myself too much at this stage, because it can end up taking longer if I am bothered about sentence structure and typos.

Week 4: Finally, I make sure to proofread and edit my work appropriately to ensure that my writing is concise and that everything makes sense. Try to leave a couple of days to step away from your work in the middle of this week, so that you have a fresh pair of eyes to edit it again. You could even get your friends/flatmates/family to help you spot mistakes/understand your argument!

This is by no means the most perfect way to plan your essay but it has worked for me so far! Be sure to go to some 301 workshops to help with your essay, such as: Essay Planning and Structure, Developing Your Argument, Critical Thinking, Academic Writing and Time Management! You can see the calendar here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/services/workshops

Posted in Intern advice, student life, Written by Katie

Up Your Procrastination Game

What to do when you’re done with studying!

Do nothing

Just do nothing for a while, lie in bed and stay there until you feel like getting up and doing something.

Sleep

The truth is many students are always tired. How many times have you missed a class because you’re tired? Prevent this by napping like a boss. Try different napping times and techniques to see what suits you best. Some people like 7 minute naps, others like 90 minute naps. Personally, I’m a 20 minute power napper.

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Learn a language

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Duolingo, you can learn so many different languages. Impress recruiters with your High Valyrian skills or stick to the more traditional languages like French. It’s also something you can impress your family with over the table at Christmas.

Tidy

Tidy house, tidy mind. Put on your favourite music, get the Marigolds on (or Sainsbury’s basics- we don’t discriminate) and dance the dirt away. Your housemates will love you for it too.

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Do some food prep

Research the foods that freeze well and batch cook them. You can freeze them for a quick and healthy meal. You can also bake some cookies or other snacks if you still don’t want to leave the kitchen.  Again, this is best done with your favourite music.

Write a blog

You can get creative and write your own blog. WordPress allows you to do it for free. You can do anything from fashion to chess strategies. Pro tip: include memes- everyone loves memes!

Netflix

Watch back-to-back episodes of your favourite show or get ready for Christmas with incredible movies. Pro Tip number 2: The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear- if you don’t get that quote you have not lived and must watch Elf for procrastination!

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Go to the IC

This may be the last thing you thought would come up but the IC is a treasure trove of books. One thing I have always wanted to do but never got round to is to go to the IC and learn something other than my subject. You can read about policing strategies, feminism, archaeology, business or whatever interests you. Have a look on starplus and find something interesting. Who knows, you may even end up doing a masters in it.

 

Posted in Written by Sophie

Considering Postgraduate study?

If you’re in your final year you might be thinking about your options for when you graduate. One thing a lot of people think of is studying a postgraduate degree – but it’s not for everyone. The pressure of looming Grad Scheme deadlines can sometimes throw you off and make you want to stay another year at university, and it’s not always a good idea. It’s best to weigh up the pros and cons of studying a Masters or PhD before heading straight into the application! Here are some tips and points to think about before you start writing applications:

  • Will it just be another year of study?

Of course, it’s excellent when you love your degree so much and want to carry it on. Or you might have found a really niche topic that you want to study which is slightly different to your undergraduate degree. Sometimes you can get into the career of your dreams by going straight into work, and you don’t always need a Masters or PhD to do it. Make sure you fully research potential career sectors that you might want to go into after study, and ensure that the Masters or PhD year will be a fulfilling one that may help with your career development. It’s absolutely fine to continue a subject you enjoy, but really think about the reasons why you want to study it. This will help in the application process too!

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  • Check all of the funding options available to you.

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate study, but these are not always as obvious or as widely advertised. There are the Postgraduate Loans, which in recent years have allowed students to lend up to £10,000 to help with tuition fees and living costs. Remember: the loan works similarly to the undergraduate loan – you only start paying it back once you start earning over £21,000. However, the repayments occur alongside the undergraduate loan, which is something to think about. Also, sometimes this isn’t enough, and you may need extra funds to help with living costs. There are often scholarships and bursaries available from most universities, as well as from charities and trusts. Two really good websites are Find A Masters https://www.findamasters.com/funding/postgraduate-masters-scholarships/scholarships.aspx to help you search for places as well as scholarships, and the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding https://www.postgraduate-funding.com/gateway which shows you a range of charities and trusts that are available to fund postgraduate students.

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  • How else will you be able to make the most of your Postgraduate study?

Studying at Postgraduate level also means that you can take on extra-curricular activities that you may not have had the chance to do if you were in a full-time job. It could also be a great time to join that society you didn’t manage to join, or work alongside your degree to gain extra experience. Think about the opportunities available to you while studying, and make sure to mention these opportunities on your application. Show that your Postgraduate study will be worthwhile and will benefit you in the long run!

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  • Don’t panic.

This is easier said than done, but this time of year can be very stressful for final year students. Make sure your current degree is prioritised over making applications, and take regular breaks (even if that means taking a full day off!) to recharge. It can get very overwhelming, but you do make it through the other side. It is not the end of the world if you don’t know what to do next year! Support is available all across uni.

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Good luck everyone!