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Month: February 2017

10 Tips For First Year Uni Students

10 Tips For First Year Uni Students

So it’s time to go back to uni (and I’m a bit late putting this post up, but anyway). I thought I might share some tips with you I learned throughout my degree that might be useful for those heading to uni for the first time. Uni is the next big step in your life, responsibilities, deadlines, and a whole lot of fun. Student life has been some of the best years of my life, and I had so much fun and made awesome friends along the way. It might be daunting at the beginning, but it won’t be long until you find your feet and uni will feel like your second home, so to get you started here are some tips to set out on the right foot.

Complete any forms any paperwork

Your uni might require you to complete some paperwork or online forms before you start. Make sure you do this before ahead of time before you go to enrol. There’s nothing worse than stressing about enrolling for the first time only to find out you have half an hour of forms to fill out before you can even start.

Plan your time table

A lot of unis allow you to plan you time table ahead of enrolment date. Look up your courses and plan a time table that suits your needs. Do you study better at uni? Maximise your time there so you have time to spend in the library. Or do you prefer to have uni all done in one day? Try to condense all your classes. Make sure you always have some back up options when planning, just in case the class you want fills up before you enrol!

Get a good backpack

It’s exciting to leave the days of ugly high school back packs behind. Let me tell you though, carrying around a laptop, water, books, lunch, and other miscellaneous items in a handbag all day takes it’s toll. You’ll end up with sore shoulders before you know it. Find a nice backpack, it doesn’t have to be ugly, but it does have to be practical. You’ll thank me later.

Go to O-Week

This is your first taste of uni life. While O-Week might be a bit of a party, it’s also time to meet up with you friends and start to get a feel of what uni life might be like.

Get comfortable with the campus

Get to know the locations of different, especially if your faculty has specific buildings that are used regularly. You don’t want to be that person that rocks up 15 minutes late because they couldn’t find where the class is. But if it makes you feel any better, I still didn’t know that some of the buildings at my uni existed until I had to find them in my final year.

Don’t buy textbooks before you start

Let’s not talk about the amount of money I wasted on textbooks that I opened once in first year. Many courses simply ‘recommend’ a textbook, but it’s not required for the course. Settle into the course for a few weeks, then evaluate if you really need the book. If you’re getting enough information from the notes from your lecturer and tutor it might not be worth the $150. On the other hand, if you have an open book exam, you’d definitely want to be getting one. Don’t forget you can always use the library’s copy, or find a cheap second hand copy from past students.

Make new friends

While starting a course with a whole lot of strangers might be daunting, everyone is doing the same thing. Don’t be afraid to say hi and start up a conversation with the person next to you. It could be the start of an awesome friendship.

Start a study group

While studying might not be super fun, it’s definitely more fun with friends. Make the most of the friends you’ve made in your course and learn from each other. Put aside some time every week to go over notes or smash out an assignment. I only started doing this in my final year and I regret not doing it sooner!

Keep up to date

Skipping class to go to the uni bar might be tempting (and we’ve all done it) but is not worth it when it comes to exam time. Make an effort to go to your classes, especially tutorials where you can participate in group discussions and ask your tutor for help. As for lectures, if you don’t go in person make sure to set aside watch any you missed online every week. Believe me and take my advice so you don’t have 7 weeks of lectures to catch up on the week before exams.

Start assignments early

When you get your assignment you should plan to start it. This way you can put more time and effort into making it good, and have bragging rights over your class mates who are stressing the night before when you finished it a week ago. Uni doesn’t have to be too stressful if you make sure you stay on top of your work load.


Hopefully these things help you get you on your way. Let me know in the comments, what are you looking forward to most about uni?


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15 Things To Do In Summer

15 Things To Do In Summer

The warm weather is still hanging around for a little while so make the most of it while it lasts! The sun’s out, people are happy, days are long, and it’s holiday time. What’s not to love. So, sere are some ideas to make the most of your summer and get you outside to enjoy the surroundings!

  1. Go to the park and read
  2. Go for a walk
  3. Play outdoor games like Finska / Möllky
  4. Have a picnic
  5. Go out and buy ice cream
  6. Hike
  7. Pick fruit
  8. See a movie at the outdoor cinema
  9. Swim at the beach
  10. Play backyard or beach cricket
  11. Water fight
  12. Bike ride with your friends
  13. Stay up to see the stars
  14. Road trip
  15. See an outdoor gig or festival
15 Things To Do In Summer
5 Things To Do In Tekapo, New Zealand

5 Things To Do In Tekapo, New Zealand

Tekapo might be a small town on the south island of New Zealand, but it has a lot to offer. Its picturesque surrounds and chilled vibes make for a relaxing getaway from the usual hustle of travel. Here are my 5 things I recommend you do while in Tekapo!

See the lake

Lake Tekapo is obviously a highlight of this small town. It’s rich blue colour and mountainous backdrop is perfect for an insta pic, or to marvel at for hours on end. In winter you can see the snow capped mountains not so far away, while in spring and summer you’ll find gorgeous purple lupine flowers.


Mount John hike

If you’re in Tekapo for a day or two and you’re into hiking (or long walks) this is one for you. It starts near Tekapo Springs and takes you up Mount John to the Observatory, which is a nice pit stop along the way. Offering beautiful views of the lake as you walk along, the upwards climb is definitely worth it. Take some water, snacks and your camera with you so you can stop off at the sight seeing spots because there are definitely plenty of photo opportunities along the way.


See the stars

Spending the night in Tekapo is 100% worth it. The town is in a dark sky reserve, meaning there is minimal light pollution at night. Head outside in the dark and you’ll see more stars than you’ve ever seen in your life before, it’s honestly breath taking. If you want to understand more about the constellations hit up the locals where you’re staying, they’re happy to share their knowledge, otherwise there are organised tours at the observatory. If you are heading out by yourself don’t forget to take a torch or phone with you so you can see where you’re going, we don’t want any injuries in the night!


Tekapo Springs

Tekapo Springs is like a little relaxation zone is an already pretty relaxed place. There’s different hot pools with different temperatures which you can chill out in and enjoy the atmosphere. Unfortunately they’re not natural pools, but they’re about the next best thing. In winter there’s also a snow tubing area, which is what we went for and was incredibly fun. You can also buy value passes that allow you to go snow tubing, in the pools, and ice skating all in the same day.


Church of the Good Shepherd

This is the prime tourist destination in Tekapo. It’s a small church situated just in front of the lake; it’s the perfect photo opportunity. You’ll find busloads of tourists coming in all day so I recommend visiting early morning to beat the rush.


Have you been to Tekapo? Tell me about your favourite things there! If not, tell me what you’d like to see!


What to do in Tekapo
How To Make The Most Of Your Commute

How To Make The Most Of Your Commute

Commuting is just a part of life for most of us, and I envy those whose commute is ten minutes. For the rest of us who have a commute of 45 minutes, an hour, or even more that’s a big chunk of time! My commute is 45 minutes, twice a day, sometimes up to 6 times a week. That’s 9 hours, a whole nights sleep, or time to do something productive.


So, instead of staring out the window or scrolling through your phone, what can you do with that time? It’s time to start making the most out of your commute.

Prepare your day

Big day ahead? Plan ahead. Plan out what you’ve got ahead of you, your to do list for the day, your goals, and a plan of action. Putting it just in your head isn’t enough (and if you’re like me you’ll probably forget half of it). Jotting down your to do list and goals or making note of them in your phone makes you more accountable for them.



It’s a great time to zen out and read a good book, and 45 minutes is plenty of time to get stuck into a good story line. If you’re not into novels there’s also short stories, and this is something lots of public transport providers have been on boarding. I recently read an article about short story vending machines in the Paris Metro, what a brilliant idea. Alternatively you can try audiobooks, a good way to pass the time while someone does the reading for you. Audible has heaps of books to choose from on their website that you can pop straight on your phone for your commute!



Podcasts are great, and there’s a podcast for just about anything. Take the time to brush up on some knowledge you can whip out on pub trivia night, or catch up on the news, learn about a murder mystery, master a new language. There’s something for everyone. Think about it this way, if you learned something new every day from a podcast, you’ll be a walking encyclopaedia in no time!



And I’m not talking about Candy Crush or Clash of Clans. I’m talking apps that get you thinking. It’s the perfect time to brush up on your French on Duolingo, oui oui. Or maybe you have a test coming up and want to practice using flash cards on your phone. And there’s always Khan Academy so you can learn about just about anything you want, through your phone. There are so many apps that boost productivity on the app store, you might never need Candy Crush to kill time again.


What do you do on your commute to make it productive? Let me know in the comments below! 

Must Read Books About North Korea

Must Read Books About North Korea

North Korea fascinates me, maybe because it’s a place that gets so much attention, yet we know so little about. I’m so intrigued by the stories of what goes on beyond the border and the people who live there and escape. Here are some of the books I have read about North Korea and the defectors who have escaped that have fascinated me.

In Order To Live – Yeonmi Park

Written by Yeonmi Park who is now a famous activist for North Korean human rights, this book was the first I read about North Korea. It’s a real eye opener and a bit of an emotional roller coaster as she retells her story leaving North Korea, through China, and Mongolia until her arrival in South Korea. I read this book in about two days, I couldn’t put it down because it was so intense.

Dear Leader – Jan Jin-Sung

This one is one that I found very interesting. It is written by a North Korean who was in the party’s inner circle, offering a different perspective to any of the other books I’ve read. This books details much more about the political side of the party and how some of the propaganda works, which is super fascinating. The reason for his defection is probably mind blowing for anyone who lives outside of North Korea, and highlights what can go wrong, even at the top.

Nothing to Envy – Barbara Demick

Following the stories of different people and their lives in North Korea, the reason for their escape, and life on the Outside. This is a good book to get a perspective of life from different people from different walks of life. Retelling the history of lives including love stories, family struggles, job struggles, it paints a picture of ordinary life for North Koreans.

The Girl With Seven Names – Hyeonseo Lee

I found this one very similar to In Order  To Live. While not as intense and emotional it’s a fascinating story about how one can adapt in a new country and use their survival instincts under pressure. It is the story of a unique way of escaping both North Korea and China.

On the reading list:

  • Escape From Camp 14
  • Without You, There Is No Us
  • The Aquariums Of Pyongyang
Must read books about North Korea

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