Loughborough Student Life

First year? Completed it mate

I’ve finished first year! I’m feeling quite smug because my flatmates all have exams and all I’m doing currently is laying about and hassling them to play frisbee with me: “You need revision breaks guys!”

I have got things to be doing though, and it can be hard to keep yourself motivated for the whole summer (I have 4 months off this year), so I thought I’d make some summer goals and share them with you. Hopefully my list will give you some inspiration for your own set of goals, and will keep you productive and help you make the most of your long summer.

1. Do work experience at one design company (at least)

This is something you could also do in the summer before starting university; go to a company that does something related to the course you are going to study and they’ll give you a bit of insider info that others will not necessarily have. I’ve emailed a few places around my hometown but none of them really do exactly what I’m looking for (product design). BUT all experience is good experience, so I’m open to interior design, landscape garden design, etc as well. I want to do some work experience at this point because I want to work out what kind of designer I want to be – so I can specialise a little more in my second year.

2. Make a portfolio

This is something I have to do for my course, as when I’m applying for placements next academic year all potential employers will want to see a portfolio of my design work so far. It involves looking over all my first year projects, choosing the best, and improving them further – so it’ll be a nice chance to reminisce over the past year and see how far I’ve come from school. Be proud of your achievements!

3. Get a haircut

Ok this may not be that big a deal, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I got a haircut and I actually really hate going. It’s probably something to do with the “inch off” that turns your once waist length hair into a bob, or the terrible small talk you have to make with your hairdresser, or the staring at your own face in the mirror for so long your reflection starts to turn into the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen. But I have so many split ends now that I’ve got to do it – look after your hair everyone!

P.S. Don’t believe anyone that says lemon juice in your hair then sunbathing it makes you go blonder; all it did was make my hair feel like a straw-filled bird’s nest.

4. Find a summer job

Before university I hadn’t worked at all, but this year I found a part-time job in Loughborough to do alongside my studies. It’s been OK but if possible I’d recommend working over summer and saving up a bit of money for when you start back at uni rather than working term-time as well as doing your degree.

In first year the workload for most courses means that you should be able to have a part-time job and keep up to date with work, but a lot of courses get more intensive as you move into second and third year. Some people will be able to work and complete a degree for the whole three or four years, but don’t overwork yourself; your main reason for being at university is to get a good degree so that should always be your priority.

5. Pick Spanish up again

I studied Spanish for GCSE, and although I didn’t continue it for A-Level, I always tried to keep my ability up. This year has been pretty busy however, and Spanish hasn’t been my main concern so I kind of forgot about it. My aim for this summer is to practice a little bit every day – Duolingo is a really good free language app and is what I use. I think a lot of you will have let hobbies fall by the wayside in the run up to exams, and summer is a great time for you to pick these up again.

6. Catch up with pals

I haven’t seen a lot of my friends from home for 6 weeks + now, and summer is definitely the time to meet up again. Your social life has probably been largely sacrificed to make room for revision/stress/crying, and now that’s all over it’s the time to relax with your friends in the (hopefully) sunny sun. Try not to spend your whole time together talking about exams and how they went – it’ll just make you panic about results day; it’s over and there’s nothing you can do about it now so just focus on chilling out until then.

And that’s all my goals. None of them are overly ambitious so it shouldn’t be too daunting – I’ll let you know how I did when I’m back at uni in October. Now it’s your turn to make your own list of goals!

Have a great summer everyone!

Tara x

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Second-year Industrial Design and Technology student from Whitstable. Describe Loughborough University in one word? Nurturing.