Meet the Bloggers!

Students just like you have been hard at work this past year, writing student-centred blog posts that we hope you will find entertaining and informative.  Follow our CluedUp blog for their opinions and advice about everything from budgeting and dealing with exam stress to events/opportunities in Aberdeen and recipes.

So, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to some of our team:

Eleni Marinopoulou

“As a psychology student who is passionate about mental health and helping others, I love that CluedUp gave me a space for my voice to be heard and write about what I love. I blog because I want to share, create and inspire.”

Ivana Drdakova

“I am Ivana and I am studying English and Scottish Literature. My interests include helping the community, reading books and writing poetry. I like writing blogs for CluedUp as I can write about topics that interest me such as the environment and help other people to find some interest in it as well.”

Sandra Porenta

“My name is Sandra Porenta and I’m studying English with Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen. Writing this blog allows me to share my experiences as a student while improving my writing and being creative which I enjoy. Apart from reading books and writing, I also spend a lot of my time dancing which has been my passion for years.”

Sofia Wigren

“My name is Sofia Wigren and I am a 20-year-old Business Management and Real Estate student from Sweden who enjoys spending my time on triathlon training and cooking plenty of vegan food. As a student blogger, I feel like I got the opportunity to write about things I love and enjoy alongside likeminded people and to be creative as a part of my university experience outside of my studies.”

Tanya Bhayani

“My name is Tanya Bhayani and I am going into my final year of studying MA Psychology. I’m interested in giving students information and advice through my experiences of the University and its services. I also really enjoy learning about what’s important to other students, so I employ this interest through my role as a peer assisted learning (PAL) leader as well as writing blog posts. I hope that my posts will provide a genuine, relatable but ultimately resourceful platform for getting advice on what I feel is important to pass on to prospective and current students of Aberdeen! :)”

 

Would you like to be an official student blogger for the University of Aberdeen?

We are currently looking for creative students to share their experiences of being a student by blogging or vlogging about things that matter to students. These may be subjects of your choice or one of the many topics that students have told us they would like to hear about such as revision tips, managing your money or being out and about in Aberdeen.
If you are interested, please submit a short blog (100 – 150 words) on a topic of your choice to cluedup@abdn.ac.uk

 

 

What is CluedUp?

Get CluedUp and live happy!

The University of Aberdeen is dedicated to making sure that its students enjoy a university experience which is as safe, comfortable and happy as possible.

During your time at university, maintaining good health and wellbeing is important for your studies, safety and happiness.

CluedUp is a Student Health and Wellbeing Campaign which, as well as this website, includes activities and social media communication.  It aims to ensure that, as a student of the University of Aberdeen, you have access to all of the information that you need in order to make positive life choices and to be aware of the services which are available to you if you need support.

The CluedUp website acts as a signpost to other websites which provide health and wellbeing services and information. A non-judgemental website created solely for students and covering topics as diverse as mental health, fire safety, and societies, CluedUp supports students like you to find the information that you need fast.

Get involved!

The University of Aberdeen and The Aberdeen University Students’ Association have teamed up to bring you mid-week Health and Wellbeing activities and an annual Health and Wellbeing Day Fair which will be held in mid-October.  Keep an eye out on the Student Life Facebook page and the University of Aberdeen students event calendar for more information.

Would you like to write for our blog?  Got an idea about a topic that you think should be covered on this site or a suggestion for a Health and Wellbeing activity that you’d like to see organised?  Get in touch with us by emailing cluedup@abdn.ac.uk

Student Budgeting: Make the Most of Your Money this Summer

By Naomi Grieve,

Student Blogger for the University of Aberdeen

Budgeting is essential for everyone, especially students, and perhaps especially during the summer. Budgeting is such a good skill to learn and will set you up for life. Here are a few budgeting tips to get you started:

1. Know how much money is coming in… and going out

For budgeting, you must know what comes into your bank account and what leaves. An easy way to do this is to either keep a book or use notes on your phone. So money coming in could be, for example, from a part-time job or student loan payments, in which case you know roughly how much you get each month. You also know how much your rent and other bills will cost. You can then work out how much money you have left for the entire month until the next payday, etc.

2. What are you spending on?

This is a surprisingly good money saver once you get into the swing of everything. Now, money seems easy to spend through apple/android pay and contactless cards. First tip? Use your card by inputting your pin rather than tapping as it will make your brain click that you are spending money that you maybe shouldn’t be spending. Keeping track of what you spend makes it easier to realise which purchases aren’t so essential. For example, buying a coffee from the library each day (approx £10 for the week) could be saved by bringing in your own for home. Similarly, bottled water – just take your own bottle and fill it at a water fountain.

3. Increase the money that comes in

In the summer, most students have a lot of free time which could equate to earning more money. If you are lucky to have a part time job, ask for overtime where possible and watch your income increase. One summer, I managed to double my monthly pay by just doing lots of overtime (but do remember to give yourself a break too – you deserve it!).

Another income boosting tip is to sell things that you don’t use, such as old clothes and old textbooks.  You may not earn much but it is still a little boost!

4. Cook more

If you eat out a lot, there is a high possibility that this is where your money goes. Yes, it is nice to treat yourself from time to time with a nice dinner but try and make things at home! I have found cooking dinner at home is more rewarding and you can make extra for the next day. It also allows you to try out new things without breaking the bank on a fancy meal at a restaurant. If you must go out for dinner, try finding places which offer a student discount.

 

 

More information:

 

We Need to Make it Easier to Open Up About Depression

By Malcolm Harvey,

Teaching Fellow, Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen

 

Three years ago, in August, I went to see my GP, having felt that something wasn’t quite right. I had no pain, I wasn’t feeling ill, I hadn’t broken anything, but something wasn’t right. I’d been irritable, lethargic and eating more than I normally did. Oversleeping and taking naps in the afternoon, obsessing about minor things and how others might react to them. For someone who had oftentimes been the joker, trying to make people laugh, I was now actively avoiding company and hiding out at home. Something wasn’t right, but I’d done my very best at being a ‘man’: ignore it and it’ll go away.

A light came on in my head when some celebrity news broke. I’m not someone who follows this kind of thing, but the news that Robin Williams, one of Hollywood’s funniest actors, had taken his own life, resonated with me. Someone who made it his life work to make others laugh succumbed to depression. The realisation that someone as brilliantly funny and (seemingly) with a heart full of laughter could suffer from such a deep depression really hammered home to me that something wasn’t right in my own head. I, too, was diagnosed with depression.

Why? At the time, I had, in no particular order: become a dad, defended my thesis, started a new job, co-authored and published a book, published chapters in other books, taken research trips in some of Europe’s fine capital cities, moved house twice, bought a house, appeared on live TV and radio around the independence referendum, and run a marathon. Sure, not all of it was easy, but that’s a lot of successful stuff to be noting – a lot of milestones reached, a lot of bucket list things ticked off. So why so sad?

Depression doesn’t recognise success or failure, wealth or poverty, race or religion. It’s not really about the ‘why’. It just is. What is important is to recognise it – not to bury your head in the sand and ignore it – and tackle it head on. Society as a whole struggles with this: if you’re depressed, there must be a reason. But there doesn’t have to be. And the absolute worst thing about the lack of societal understanding is the stigma attached. You’re weak. You’re lazy. You’re just not trying hard enough. Chin up, old chap. Get out of bed and go to work, keep calm and carry on.

This has to change. You wouldn’t tell someone with a fractured tibia just to walk to work, suggest they try not having a broken leg or to ‘think it’ better. You expect that person to go to A&E, get some painkillers and some physiotherapy, and over time, the leg will heal. Mental health is just the same: medication dulls some of the pain (though, admittedly, not all of it), physio (or, in this case, counselling) helps retrain some of the muscles, and over time, the severity of depression lessens.

You don’t recover from a broken leg overnight, and you can’t fix depression quickly either. I’ve been on medication for the past three years, gradually reducing it over the past six months, and I’m only just now starting to think I’m doing better. But even then, I’ve had bumps in the road, expecting too much too soon.

Early on in this journey, I tried to keep my illness secret, thinking I could beat it on my own, scared about societal stigma and how people would look at me differently. After about eight weeks, I decided this wasn’t working – that keeping it a secret made me feel worse: guilt, shame and cowardice adding to the depression.

I took heart from stories of others: the MP John Woodcock, the former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, rugby referee Nigel Owens, tennis player Mardy Fish, the list goes on and on. And so I decided I’d be open about it. I thought it would help me by taking a huge weight off my shoulders – and it did. But it also made me feel like I was helping others too, because it’s a big thing admitting you have depression. I got so many messages from people saying ‘me too – but don’t tell anyone’, which was both heartening and saddening. Heartening to know I wasn’t alone; saddening that others felt that they couldn’t be open about the personal battles they are fighting.

We’ve come a great distance in recognising and discussing mental health issues in the past five years or so. Scottish charities like See Me Scotland and SAMH do terrific work here, and in the past week the Scottish Government has announced a new mental health strategy, with £300m in funding and an ambition for mental health to achieve ‘parity of esteem’ with physical health treatment. These are welcome developments, but they’ll do little until the stigma attached to mental health issues is removed.

I’ve gotten to a place now – and this is very recent – where I feel much better. I’m enjoying my job and the company of my colleagues and students. I’m enjoying doing things with my family. And I’m able to get out of bed in the morning without any real difficulty. I couldn’t have gotten here without the love and support of family and friends. For sure, not everyone understood what I was dealing with, but everyone was willing to listen as I told them about my experience, and those conversations helped all of us deal with it.

I can’t recommend enough that if you recognise any of these symptoms in yourself that you talk to someone – anyone – about it. It’s a long road, there are lots of bumps and setbacks, but you don’t have to do it all on your own. Recognition is the first step, but as with so many other things, that first step is often the most difficult. Collectively, we need to try and make that first step easier by being more open about it.

I’m Malcolm – and I have depression.

 

First published April 2017, Holyrood.

To follow Malcolm’s story, have a look at his second article, Learning to Fight Depression.

 

More information: 

 

Student Accommodation: Your Home Away from Home

By Sandra Porenta,

Student Blogger for the University of Aberdeen

For an anxious person like myself the prospect of moving away from everyone I know was quite daunting. As it turns out, living in student halls offered me the perfect opportunity to get used to living without family around, as well as for making new friends.

Getting to know your flatmates.

When arriving in September you are most likely plunged into a completely new environment and surrounded by new people. However, meeting your flatmates is a great starting point. Remember, they are in the same situation as you: they will be arriving within the same week as you, trying to sort out the same things and getting to know their new surroundings.

Why not figure things out together?

You can go with them to that first event that you are slightly nervous about; Tour around university? Bonfire at the beach or in the park? Doughnut night? Bring a flatmate with you to make the start easier.

Not to mention, if a flatmate of yours gets something done before you, they can help you out with information; Picking up your student ID and not sure where that building is? Not sure what you need to bring with you when registering with a GP? Ask a flatmate! Help each other out.

Not the most confident when meeting new friends? Not to worry!

Since you will all be making new friends, living with flatmates will also provide opportunities for meeting new people if this is something that you struggle with. They can introduce you to someone to dance with on your first ceilidh. You can meet new people that like the same shows as you when they come over for a movie night. You can make new friends when they come to celebrate your flatmate’s birthday. Not to mention, you might get a dog visitor if your flatmate happens to be Scottish and their parents come to visit!

Look forward to a year with this new kind of family.

The first few weeks can be the start of a year of having a great time with your flatmates. In my case, we organized a game of Secret Santa between ourselves, we had Christmas dinner together and we got rid of spiders together (of course we also later laughed about what a panic we made out of it). Having flatmates also means you have someone to bring you snacks or go to the pharmacy for you if you get sick and, if they happen to bake something, you might be the taster of some deliciously unhealthy pastries.

Oh no! Something went wrong? The maintenance team is your new best friend.

Has something stopped working properly and you have no parent to fix it? Let’s not forget that in student accommodation you can also get help from the maintenance team. Has the laundry machine locked in your clothes but is not washing? Is the plug for your sink stuck and you absolutely cannot get it out? Is there suddenly no warm water in your whole apartment? I must say that these all happened to me and I did start out by panicking (a lot) for absolutely no reason, so keep calm and contact the maintenance team.

With all the new, exciting and sometimes nerve-racking things going on around you as you start university, it is important to remember that you will always have a support system in student accommodation, your home for the year. Whether it is the residence team helping you get settled and making sure your new home is as it should be or your flatmates going with you through the stressful and the wonderful times.

More information:

 

 

Make the Most of Your Summer

By Agir Holmgren,

Student Blogger for the University of Aberdeen

As a student, towards the end of the academic year, you may begin to feel relief that you are going to be free from deadlines and assignments. However, growing up, you may also begin to realise that it is not possible to experience summer holidays in the same way as when you were a kid. As a child, having the entire summer off for activities was a blessing and it felt like it could never get boring. Growing up changes that notion. Now, having nothing to do is momentarily nice but eventually develops into restlessness and you begin to miss the structured everyday of university life. So, the question arises, what could one do with that summertime freedom so as not to become bored?

Get a summer job

Not all summer jobs might be offering the most inspiring workload but it may be worth acquiring that extra experience. It never hurts to gain more experiences – Even if it is not a job you would want to turn into a career, your employability would be boosted. Also, earning some extra money never hurts either.

Go volunteering

Doing volunteering over the summer, similarly to a summer job, could offer helpful transferrable experiences. Rather than doing something for the money, volunteering instead provides a chance to give back to society. Depending on where the volunteering takes place, it might also provide an opportunity to travel the world while also helping other people.

Prepare for the coming academic year

Some professors are great at offering the course guide ahead of time so, depending on how early you get access to course material, it could be easy to start preparing ahead of the start of term. Doing some, or all, of the readings beforehand can help to prevent university work from piling up.

But, also, remember to have fun! It is great to be productive over summer but allowing yourself to relax for a bit can be rather rewarding. The summer holiday may not be the same experience as when you were a child but it is incredibly important to cherish the time one gets to relax.

 

More information:

 

Run, Swim or Jump Your Way to Fitness in Aberdeen

By Naomi Grieve,

Student Blogger for the University of Aberdeen

At the start of the year, 2018 was probably “your” year for the fitness and health but it is already April (Where has the year gone??) and if you are like me, January, February and March were your trial months and you are ready to kick start that healthy lifestyle four months into the year. So this blog post is going to explore 4 ways you can keep fit in Aberdeen, I have tried to offer cheap ways but some are slightly more expensive.

1. The Beach

First off, it’s free to use so what are you waiting for! It is over 4km long from one end (Bridge of Don) to the other (Fittie – the village within the city). This would be the perfect place to have a walk with friends, a long run or even outdoor workouts. If you look on Instagram and Youtube, you will find lots of videos of workouts which require no equipment and can be done outside.

2. Jump-In

Jump-In is a trampoline park in Aberdeen. You will require transport as it is slightly out of the city.  However, it is worth it! You can burn calories while having fun. For an off-peak ticket, it costs £11.00 for an hour and a half. In my opinion, it would be good day out for you and your friends to get away from study/exam stress.

3. Outdoor Boot Camp Classes

If you would like to get outside in Aberdeen, there are many boot camp groups which you can join. One example is REBEL PT which offers a free trial so that you can try out the boot camp before signing up. They are located in Duthie Park which is just past the city centre and very accessible by bus. There are three available evenings: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The memberships cost £39 per month for unlimited sessions or £30 for one session a week. There are alternative boot camps but this is just an example.

4. Gym Memberships

Being a student comes with the added perk of discounted gym memberships. The closest gym to the university is Aberdeen Sports Village. There is no joining free and prices start from £16 per month. There are many benefits to ASV including over 150 exercise stations, lots of indoor exercise classes and an Olympic standard swimming pool and diving pool. Plus a sauna and steam room – which helps you relax after a long session at the library.  There are other nearby gyms including Pure Gym at Kittybrewster and DW Fitness in the Beach Leisure Centre.

These are just four ways in which you can keep fit while in Aberdeen. I would definitely recommend the classes at the gym as they are only a half hour long plus you can get a good sweat on. The benefits of exercise for students is huge as it can improve brain function which is ideal for studying. So, let 2018 still be your year!

 

More information:

 

10 Things I’ve Learnt From Living Alone

By Sofia Wigren

Student Blogger for the University of Aberdeen

Before uni I had never lived alone and whenever I was home alone (which was rarely), my dog was always there with me so I was never TRULY alone. Moving into a studio for uni was quite the change for me. That’s why I am sharing 10 things I learnt from it:

1. You cannot blame anyone for anything because it was all you.

Yes, even the overfilled rubbish bin and the half eaten pizza in the corner. It wasn’t an elf who magically came by for a surprise visit while you were at a lecture (even though that would be pretty cool, let’s be honest). You just can’t blame your sibling for this one.

2. Being alone can actually be really nice and relaxing.

You start to enjoy your own company and the peace and quiet. But remember even though you live alone you can always invite friends over – just because you live alone does not mean that you will be lonely!

3. It is a judgment free zone!

No one will (or can) judge you for ordering two large pizzas for yourself or for eating breakfast in your pyjamas looking like a MESS. In other words: it’s pants-optional o’clock.

4. Don’t be a stranger.

Sometimes you may get lonely, which is fine, but it is important to find your support system. It could be a parent, a sibling, a partner, a friend from uni and sometimes even a pet (I facetime my dog twice a week).

5. Often when you live alone the room isn’t spacious, which results in the fact that you have to clean A LOT.

When you know it’s your own mess there isn’t really much of a choice but to clean (both for better and for worse) or, as we did mention, there’s no judgment…just leave it.

6. You realize all the things you’ve taken for granted while living at home.

This is one of the biggest things I’ve learned.  Cleaning, cooking, fixing – it’s no longer a shared chore. You start to appreciate the small things when you return home.

7. Alone time makes you philosophical.

(And it’s the most meaningless thoughts): is the s or c silent in scent?

8. You call people A LOT.

Before you know it you end up calling your entire family, your neighbour, a distant relative, customer service, you name it. It’s just nice to talk to people when you live alone.

9. You learn to budget.

It’s just something that you have to do when you move away from home regardless of whether you live with roommates or alone and it’s a good skill to learn too! When you’re not splitting bills with someone else, you learn to manage your spending yourself.

10. Fairy lights makes EVERYTHING look better.

It just happens to be the perfect source of cosy light when it’s dark out and I would preferably have them everywhere.

 

Related CluedUp pages:

 

5 Overwhelmingly Brilliant Tips to Help You Unwind

By Eleni Marinopoulou,

Student blogger for the University of Aberdeen

Sometimes it gets hard to fall asleep, it gets hard to slow your breath down, and it gets hard to silence your brain and to make it stop overthinking. It’s difficult to make it stop running up that hill, a hill that has different names each time; university, work, interviews, money, you name it. And this hill seems never ending. It can be all too overwhelming sometimes and all you want is to take some of this load off of you, to empty some water from this tall glass. But all that seems to happen is that more drops are added, driving you closer and closer to the breaking point, to the glass overflowing. You know this feeling that takes over your whole body and mind, as if you were drowning, struggling for a moment of air, of silence. Everything seems so blue and grey, so unstable, out of control in a roller coaster you cannot get down from.

I know that it feels like you are trapped in your own head, but let me tell you, you cannot let this overcome you. Look at what you have achieved so far, you came a long way, take a moment and acknowledge that. No, this will not be the last time everything feels like its falling apart, stressful, scary, a little too much. But you cannot give up on that little fresher inside of you. Make them proud.

Here’s how to find some time of peace in a world that’s always busy.

GET FRESH AIR

  • Getting outside for a walk at the park, at the beach, or anywhere that will calm you down. I always find the beach the calmest place of them all because it makes me and my problems seem so tiny in front of such wide and vast ocean. Get a notebook out and write… anything really. Paint, draw. You will be surprised where your thoughts will take you. Going to the cinema is another way of switching off reality for a little while and flying to galaxies.

 

TAKE TIME OUT

  • Having mentioned going out, maybe the most suitable thing for you is staying inside and relaxing. It truly depends on each person. I know that a good bath (perhaps add a bath bomb), a cup of tea and some nice candles can do wonders.

LAUGH LOTS

  • Meet up with some good friends, have a good laugh, nice food. Taking a few hours off will not kill you or set your planning back. That’s how you can humour yourself in moments of stress. To have people around and have fun. It will boost your mood. Your friend might be going through the same thing. If not, they will simply listen. When your mind is going to places that you don’t like, a good friend is the best remedy to pull you back up.

MAKE A PLAN

  • Identify the source of all this. Once you find it and acknowledge it, separate it from everything else that’s going on. I like to write down the sources of my anxiety on a piece of paper. It helps me to make a plan on how I am going to deal with it (or ‘them’ if there are many concerns). That way it will seem a lot smaller than you think. Manage your time, don’t over commit yourself, plan and prioritise. Remember that time for yourself doesn’t just get added to the list of priorities – it should always be at the top.

ACCEPTANCE

  • Accepting the ups and downs is one of the most important things. It might not always be an exam that you will be stressing over. It might be a job, family, money, you name it. Stress will always find its way back into our lives and by knowing it’s coming, accepting the fact that it is normal, and being well equipped to fight it will make things a lot easier.

You are not defined by your mistakes and setbacks, but by how you stand back up and try again. Life is difficult, yes. It can be hectic, intimidating, uncertain and just too much sometimes. But you have to keep going, knocking these obstacles down, taking a breath at a time and, if it all gets too much to handle, too much to breathe, please let somebody know.

For more stress management tips, resources and professional contacts that can help if things get a bit too much, head to CluedUp’s mental health page.

Incredible Women: Give Yourselves Some Credit!

By Abigail Sked, Student Blogger for the University of Aberdeen

We read so many negative and worrying stories in the news that it can be easy for good-news stories to get lost.

With International Women’s Day having been celebrated around the world earlier this week, I’d love to highlight a few women who studied/are studying in Aberdeen and who have been doing amazing things lately.

  • Eilidh Earl-Mitchell graduated from RGU’s Gray’s School of Art in 2017 and has already been recognised as one YWCA Scotland’s 30 Inspirational Women Under 30 for her incredible work designing innovative (and stylish) 3D print prosthetic limbs.
  • In 2009 Timipre Wolo gained her LLM in Oil and Gas Law from the University of Aberdeen and in 2017 she was shortlisted in the Professional Achievement category of the 2017 British Council Alumni Awards. Since leaving the University of Aberdeen she has co-founded the Greener Nigeria NGO, worked for the government and has supported various youth empowerment initiatives.  On top of that, she was featured in Her Network’s special Q&A edition for International Women’s Day!
  • Meanwhile, Adaku Ufere, who also studied her LLM in Oil and Gas at Aberdeen University was named Attorney of the Year by The African Legal Awards 2017.
  • A graduate of Gray’s School of Art, Zee Allison who is our Senior Toolkit Developer here at the University was shortlisted for Computing’s Women in IT Excellence Rising Star Award 2017. The award both celebrates the success of women who are pioneering in technology, as well as aiming to inspire other women to do the same.
  • In December 2017 Aberdeen’s Zoey Clark and Kelsey Stewart were picked to represent Scotland in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
  • Elaine Wylie who graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1976 was Pride of Britain’s 2015 Teacher of the Year on the back of her Daily Mile initiative at her school which has since been taken up across the UK. The scheme built in time in the school day for children to run or walk a mile every day, getting them out into the fresh air and virtually ridding the school of the problem of child obesity.
  • Aberdeen Uni graduate, Amy Papiranski, recently competed in the final of BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year.
  • You can see Laura Main, former student of history here at the Uni and star of Call the Midwife, in Shrek the Musical which is touring the UK at the moment.

 

 

However, I really believe that some of the most talented and inspiring women in our lives often don’t make the news but that they deserve just as much credit!

Here are some quotes from young women just like us about their personal achievements since graduating from higher education here in Aberdeen and about what makes them happy:

  • “I’ve survived my first 6 months of teaching and my class are doing SO well. I’m proud of them and of me.  I’m loving it!!” – Amy, graduated in 2017, MA (Hons) Education
  • “I’ve travelled to Australia to experience new things and expand more of what I learnt at uni. I’m also more aware of the amazing women I met at uni that are close friends regardless of distance” – Gemma, graduated in 2017, Masters in Applied Marine Biology
  • “I’ve worked in public affairs for a couple of years after graduating and set up an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration with the charity I worked for. Worked very closely with Chuka Umunna MP while I was the secretary to the APPG, which was very cool. Proudest moment was getting the Australian Ambassador to attend our evidence session on a week’s notice. Also I applied to the Civil Service Fast Stream for the third (!) time in 2016 and third time being lucky got on it and started on the scheme with the 2017 cohort. My first posting was at the Department for Exiting the EU which was amazing. Very challenging and fast paced but I really enjoyed it and am proud of my achievements in the role.” – Anna, graduated in 2015
  • “I’ve had some of my stories published which is totally surreal and amazing and I never would have done without uni. Also I managed to get a charity sector job which really helps people and which I’m genuinely proud to do!!!!” – Beth, graduated in 2017, Masters in Creative Writing
  • “My proudest moment since graduating RGU as an undergraduate would be going on to achieve an MSc with distinction in Clinical Pharmacy whilst changing jobs (from a Specialist Clinical Pharmacist to Lead Pharmacist for Surgery and Anaesthetics at the hospital I work at), planning a wedding, and training for my first half marathon. Running kept me sane!” – Jane
  • “I graduated three years ago which already feels like a lifetime! I found myself recently qualified in a career which didn’t really have a typical prescribed formula for progression, and if I’m honest I’m just really proud of myself for navigating my way through it and managing to keep myself afloat in a creative climate which isn’t making things particularly easy for young people and recent graduates. I’m excited for whatever comes next!” – Amy, graduated in 2017, BA (Hons) Communication Design.

 

 

How You Can Reduce Plastic Waste in a few Easy Steps

By Ivana Drdakova, Student Blogger for the University of Aberdeen

The Aberdeen University Students’ Association joined in with the annual GoGreen week during the second week of February. As with many other projects, the aim is to share the message of how we can live better, more sustainable lifestyles. I would like to continue on this train of thought and share some tips on how you can reduce the amount of plastic you use.

1. Replace plastic bags

People in the UK are now buying and using less plastic bags (83% less) in comparison to 2014. However, the problem still prevails. Plastic bags can be easily replaced by their more sustainable and longer lasting versions – textile bags. They can be bought in shops, ordered from Amazon, or you may well find brand promoters handing them out during Fresher’s week.


2. Replace plastic bottles

Plastic bottles play a large role in the production of unnecessary waste. They can easily be replaced by buying stainless steel water bottles which can seem a bit expensive at first but, in the end, they last longer than plastic bottles and are easier to clean.

3. Bring your own cutlery

This might strike you as a bit weird at first, but it works. When you take a look at many take-away places or fast food chains, they usually give you plastic cutlery that you use once and then throw away. However, if you carry around your own set of cutlery in your bag, you can use it more than once and you will always have it on hand. There are many versions of small cutlery sets which are easy to carry around and which you can buy online.

4. Get rid of plastic straws

This is not as easy to do when you’re away from home but it still helps to reduce some waste if you try to do it within your household. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy having a nice smoothie or drink at home, drunk through a straw? Again, there are stainless steel straws that you can find online that you can buy and re-use instead of always buying new plastic straws.

5. Avoid plastic packaging

Many retailers pack everything into plastic packs. Some of them are recyclable. However, if you want to reduce your plastic consumption, you can always buy your fruits and veggies without the packaging. This is usually easiest in farmer markets which also often have the added benefit of being cheaper. Instead of using plastic bags when taking loose products from the bakery, you can again find textile bags that are specially made for occasions like this.

 

Hopefully, this blog post gave you some ideas on how you can live a more sustainable lifestyle.

You may think that it doesn’t matter what one person does when so many other people don’t try to help. However, if even one person uses less plastic, it will have an important impact on the planet’s future.