10 things you should know before going to University

If you are heading to University soon, this post is for you!

Starting university is both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. You might be looking forward to all the crazy new adventures you will face but at the same time, that fear of the unknown is inevitably growing. Despite whatever is coming your way, this change will be good and will shape you into becoming an even better version of yourself.

One thing to note, everyone will have a different experience at Uni and just because your friend had an amazing or even horrible time, that don’t mean you will too. Keep an open mind about what people tell you but take in all the advice you can get. However, at the end of the day, only you can get yourself prepared and ready for the journey that, no doubt, will change you forever.

To all you new students heading to Uni after Summer, I wish you all the very best in what I’d describe as a roller coaster ride to obtaining your (hons) degree. See you at the finish line! xo

Let’s breakdown 10 things you should know before going to University.

#1 Do your research before choosing a course and University

This may seem obvious, but make sure you choose the right course for you and gather up all the facts and information you can get on both the course and Universities of your choosing. Even make pro and con lists (Rory Gilmore style) of each option to see what works best for you. After all, these choices are among the biggest decisions you will make in your life so choose wisely.

Despite some Universities being more elite than others that don’t mean that they should necessarily be your first choice. Yes, it’s great to go to the best University you can possible get into but make sure you actually choose the best Uni for your course. For example, University A might be more prestigious than University B but University B might be the number one Uni for your particular course. You catch my drift?

#2 Make sure your chosen course is one you’ll enjoy – despite the career prospects

Again, I will re-instate making sure you choose the right course for you. It doesn’t matter what your parents/friends/society etc. think about the course of your choosing because at the end of the day YOU are the one doing the degree – not them!

Close friends of mine and I have talked openly about times when the course we were currently doing might not be for us. This not only makes it very difficult along the road to obtaining the degree but it also puts even more unwanted pressure on yourself. However, things could change and you might find it was only a part of your course that you hated (this could most definitely happen) or you might just straight up think you made a bad choice early on and it was nothing like you expected. Even if that becomes you in years to come, there is always another option: don’t worry. If it does happen it could just make things a lot harder for you. So, that’s why I highly stress that you think long and hard about what is right for you. Once you make that commitment, the end goal of obtaining that degree is still a while away.

#3 You’ll make new friends, don’t fret

One of your biggest fears about beginning Uni could be: OMG, will I even make any friends? Yes, yes, you will. I promise. Just remember, that everyone is in the same position as you so you aren’t on your own. Also, these people chose this course just like you did so straight away you will have something in common that you can bond over. Quite quickly, you will see a group of friends forming and your worries over this will vanish.

I can even personally say that some of my closest friends to date are ones that I met in Uni. These people were my saving grace and got me through some hard times where I thought I wasn’t going to make it through the academic year. They brought joy and laughter, despite the high intensity of studying for a science degree, and made the whole experience even better.

Also, having fab pals while studying means you can share notes and help each other out when you struggle. If you find someone who isn’t too keen on helping you out when you need it, they aren’t truly a real friend. In my opinion, I would never let a friend or anyone in my course struggle with course-related stuff when they needed help (and couldn’t get it from a lecturer). So, you can tell them boy/girl, BYE! You truly don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

#4 Yes, it is going to be harder than school/college/other previous education or job

I’m going to keep it very real here. You want to know if it’s going to be more difficult from what you have previously done? You’re damn right it will be! Get ready to work super hard and study your life away for the next few years.

My advice to you, is keep on top of everything from day ONE! Yes, 1st year of your course might seem really easy to you but that doesn’t mean you should slack off. Get into good habits now because once you make it through each academic year, it’s only going to get harder. You don’t want yourself just sailing through 1st year, not really bothering, and then BOOM – the workload of 2nd year hits you when you least expect it. Despite all this, YOU CAN DO IT. No matter what, you got accepted into this course for a reason so don’t doubt that you cannot do it. Work hard, and you’ll see the results you deserve.

#5 Wave goodbye to your social life

Here I am keeping it real – again! Once you move up the years, the workload increases and the modules get harder. Be ready to wave goodbye to your social life. It might suck for a while but at least once all the hard work of doing coursework and studying for exams are over, you have all the time in the world to have fun.

I’m not saying you will never see any of your friends, I’m just saying don’t expect to be able to continue to do the fun things you want to do, especially at exam time. Wouldn’t it be better in the long run to take time out your social life in order to study and pass than go out all the time and then fail? I know (from experience) what I’d rather do.

#6 Grades don’t define who you are

Okay, let’s talk grades. This is one thing many students don’t always want to talk about (me included) but I just thought it was important to say a few things on this matter. Yes, getting the best grade is always what you should aim for. However, if you end up getting a bad grade, this is not an accurate representation of who you are. Don’t let one bad grade put you off and make you feel like a failure. Simply use this as a tool to work harder next time and learn where you went wrong with it.

If you find yourself continuously doing bad in coursework and exams – go get help! Whether that’s reaching out to one of your friends, lecturers, or any other person from the Uni, they will be able to give you good advice. My Uni even has a learning development center where you can go learn new study techniques and more, which can be highly beneficial if you find yourself not doing as well as you expected.

#7 There is a chance you might fail exams

This may be a hard thing to take in but you might end up failing an exam(s) once you start attending Uni. You may also find yourself never failing, which is amazing, but I really wanted to make sure you were aware that failing is a possibility. By having the right mindset and good work ethic, you can give yourself the best chance of exceeding well and obtaining great grades.

If you do end of facing a horrible situation where you end up failing an exam or exams, don’t just give up (check back to #6). Despite doing bad in one exam, you are not a terrible student. Learn from your mistakes and work hard to ensure you improve for next time. Get help from those around you and learn new techniques and hopefully you can avoid failing again.

From a personal experience of failing exams, I’ve hated myself for it. I felt embarrassed and even doubted if this was the right course for me. I then changed my attitude and worked even harder to ensure that I passed next time. I promise you: you will get through it. With the right frame of mind and support from family/friends/lecturers – you will get there in the end. Saying that, if you end up being one of those people who just want to change course, there are always options – seek help from a member of staff from your University.

#8 If you find yourself struggling, there is lots of help available on/off campus

PLEASE go get help if you find the stress of Uni taking over you. No matter what, someone will be there to help you. I understand that you might not want to talk to your parents or friends but there will be people specifically trained on and off campus to get you through it. Your University will probably have councillors that you can make appointments with to speak one-on-one to. They will give you the best advice and it might actually help ease some of your issues simply with talking it out with someone. If you can’t stand the thought of physically speaking to someone, look online as there are lots of resources which can help you there. However, I personally do think you shouldn’t suffer alone. By reaching out to at least one person, that can be a great help.

I really think that more should be done for the mental wellbeing of students. I don’t think some people truly understand the pressures we face while studying and that weight can became too heavy to carry at times. It’s time to beat the stigma and re-enforce that mental health is a real issue and no one should suffer alone. Again, I state, please go get help if you find yourself struggling to cope while at University (even if the problems arised from a non-course related issue).

#9 Try to get as much work experience as you can alongside your academic studies

You may be lucky and get to do placements that are integrated into your course. However, if you don’t, that shouldn’t stop you from going out there and trying to get work experience off your own back. Heck, if I was an employer and I saw you took initiative to go organised such things yourself, I’d be more inclined to hire you.

Not only will work experience help you make good connections in the real life world, you’ll also hands on get to see exactly what you’ll be doing in the job. This is very important as you could end up not actually liking what you’ll be doing and it might prompt you to switch careers. All in all, I think it is very important to get yourself out there and gain all the experience as you can. After all, it’s going to look amazing on your CV.

#10 Not everyone will know what they fully want to do once their education is finished

Here comes the big scary question people get asked when they are nearing the end of their degrees: What are you going to do once you graduate? Some might jump at joy at this and happy share all their hopes and dreams for the future. Others might simply have zero clue. I want you to know you could be either and none of them is wrong.

Don’t worry if you have no idea what career path to go down once you finish up Uni, you have plenty of time to figure that out. The main thing is just making it through to graduation and finally having your degree. The world is your oyster and no matter what you choose, I’m sure you’ll eventually figure it out and be in a career you truly are happy in.

Love always,

Zina (purefandom guest writer)

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram OhMyZinaa

Top 10 Asian Restaurants in Glasgow

Like me, Zina is a self-confessed foodie and loves exploring Glasgow’s hidden treasures. Glasgow is famous for its curries and Zina’s put together a list of her favourite pan-Asian restaurants that you must try out. I’ll definitely be trying some of these in the New Year whenever I’m in Glasgow. I personally love Hanoi Bike Shop and I’d also recommend Chaakoo Bombay Cafe on St Vincent St. Enjoy Zina’s guest blog and let me know what you think on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – April


Do you love Asian food or fancy venturing out of your comfort zone and trying it? If you live in Glasgow, I’ve got you covered. I’ve created a list of my fave Asian restaurants in Glasgow. From Indian to Thai to Chinese, I highly recommend you start ticking these off your “places to eat” list.

I classify myself as a part-time foodie. Basically, I spend the majority of my time dining out at restaurants which is probably why I’m skint a lot. It’s a great way to catch up with friends or to go on a date with someone, so no regrets, right? May as well spend your money on the things you enjoy a.k.a good company and tasty food!

Top 10 Asian Restaurants in Glasgow:

Please note: these restaurants are in no particular order – let’s be real, it would just be cruel to make me choose one top Asian restaurant to dine out at in Glasgow when they are so many.

Rishis Indian Aroma

Address: 61 Bath St, Glasgow G2 2DG

Rishis Indian Aroma is an authentic South Indian restaurant that is a must-visit! I was first introduced to this by my bestie who is South Indian herself so I knew that if she went there, then it must be great – and it did not disappoint! From dosas to spicy curries, you can find a great mixture of different types of South Indian cuisine there. Not only can meat-eaters visit the restaurant (the meat is halal) but vegetarians can also be at ease visiting as there are lots of non-meat options on the menu such as Dal or Channa Masala. Rishis won’t break the budget either which is a plus.

Thairiffic

Address: 303 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3HQ

If you are a lover of Thai food, then Thairiffic is the place for you! Thairiffic (as the name suggests) is a terrific restaurant that offers high-quality, authentic Thai food. From Pad Thai to a Massaman curry, Thairiffic has got you covered with all things Thai. Most dishes offers you to add in a range of different meats and also vegetables or tofu – making it great for vegetarians as well. It also offers a great lunch deal where you can get a main and a starter for only £9.90. What a bargain, right?

The Hanoi Bike Shop

Address: 8 Ruthven Ln, Glasgow G12 9BG

The Hanoi Bike Shop is an authentic Vietamenese restaurant found in the heart of the West End in Glasgow. What makes Hanoi even more special is that every dish is made from scratch daily and all ingredients are sourced locally meaning the menu may doffer slightly depending on what goods they have that day. It has a great range of street food as well as Pho, which is a Vientamense national dish similar to Ramen. Like most others, Hanoi’s prices are decent so won’t blow the majority of people’s budgets. Very highly recommend this unique little restaurant.

Mother India

Address: 2, Industrial Estate, Lexden Lodge, Crowborough TN6 2EG

I haven’t actually been to Mother India yet but it’s on my list so I thought I would throw it in. I’ve heard amazing stuff about it so I’m dying to go give it a try. Mother India is another great Indiarestaurantnt in Glasgow that offers a range of typical Indian foods. You can have either fixed set meals or you can order from the à la carte menu. What’s even better is that you can also order a takeaway which a lot of quality restaurants don’t offer so you can enjoy Mother India’s food even from the comfort of your home! It is slightly pricier than the others places I’ve mentioned so far but from what I’ve heard, it would be worth the money.

Lychee Oriental Chinese Restaurant

Address: 59 Mitchell St, Glasgow G1 3LN

Lychee Oriental Chinese Restaurant was the winner of the “Best Asian Restaurant in Scotland 2013″ award alongside various other awards. Lychee has a great menu offering seafood, vegetarian options, specialties and more! It also has a gluten-free menu. The pricing is reasonable but some dishes are more expensive than others. It just depends what you fancy getting and how much you are willing to spend. Overall, Lychee offers high-standard food and service, which should entice you to visit!

Wagamamas

Address: 97-103 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1PB

Okay, yes, most cities have a Wagamamas so it’s not exactly unique to Glasgow but I couldn’t not mention this fab pan-Asian restaurant. I legit go to Wagas all the time so it’s defo always on my list of restaurants to visit. If you haven’t had one yet then go right now! You can get loads of classic Japenese foods like Ramen, Gyozas. Katsu curry is a popular choice if you don’t like to venture out. The food gets made and sent out as it’s cooked so all your dishes won’t typically be sent out at the same time. You can eat with chopsticks or request cutlery if you can’t use them (like me – LOL). My aim is to eventually be able to use chopsticks and eat the food like you typically should. It’s ridic that I still can’t use them after all the time I’ve visited – props to whoever can eventually teach me.

Nippon Kitchen

Address: 91 W George St, Glasgow G2 1PB

Another Japanese restaurant in Glasgow that should be on your list is defo Nippon Kitchen. Nippon is very similar to Wagamamas but the bonus is that it also offers Sushi (Wagas doesn’t). So if you are a sushi lover like me but also want other Japanese food then rush over to Nippon as soon as you can. Nippon’s pricing isn’t too expensive and it also has a great lunch offer: 1 COURSE £8, 2 COURSES £12, or 3 COURSES £15. How amazing is that? My fave thing to order is a bento box and also sushi, of course, such as Avacado Makis, Spicy Sake and the Soft Shell Crab Maki’s. Again, I really hope to master chopsticks for my next visit. I’m getting better and better each time I go – LOL!

Koolba

Address: 109 Candleriggs Merchant City, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom G1 1NP

Need another Indian restaurant to visit? Koolba is the place to go! Koolba has won various awards, including being crowned a winner in the annual “Curry Capital of Britain awards” four times. Amazing, right? Koolba make their dishes using traditional Indian cooking techniques and source their produce from local suppliers ensuring your food will be fresh and of high quality. It has a small lunch menu for 2 courses costing £9.95 and the main menu is, of course, more expensive but definitely worth it. I tried Chicken Biryani when I ate there and it was really good – doesn’t beat homemade biryani though, soz! Anyways, if you love Indian food as much as I do, I recommend you go visit Koolba.

China Sea Restaurant

Address: 12 Renfield St, Glasgow G2 5AL

Fancy a really good Chinese meal? Then China Sea Restaurant is the place to go. You can find all the classic dishes you would order at your local take out but this way you can enjoy it in a proper restaurant. The decor inside is my favourite as it’s done so traditionally, which makes it more appealing to go in. Also, I have to mention, the staff are so nice and pretty funny too. Last time I was in, the waiter kept making fun of mine and my friends’ “strange order” LOL. Like most restaurants, they offers a cheaper lunch deal: Two Course Special Lunch for £7.20. So I’d recommend getting the lunch deal so you can enjoy fab Chinese food at a cheaper price.

Dim Sum Restaurant

Address: 69 West Nile Street, Glasgow G1 2QB

Last, but not least, is Dim Sum Restaurant! This relatively new restaurant should be on your hitlist in the New Year. It offers a varied menu including dumplings, soups, and other traditional dishes. It is decently priced and the staff are friendly, which makes it a good choice for you if you want to try out some Asian foods. It isn’t my favourite place on this list but I definitely want to go back and try out some different foods I didn’t get the last time. Definitely give it a try yourself and see how you like it.


Know any other Asian restaurants in Glasgow that I didn’t mention? Hit me up in the comments and let me know your fave place to go. P.S. if you suggest taking me out to any one of these places, I’ll love you long time. Anyways, happy dining out #AsianStyle!

Love always,

Zina (Pure Fandom Guest Writer)

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @OhMyZinaa

If you like pan-Asian cuisine, why not try some of my recipes like vegetarian Pad Thai or this easy-peasy Chickpea Curry.

How to be a Badass and Win at Life

I’m really excited to welcome another guest blogger to The Fourth Month. Karishma has written an insightful how-to guide to boosting your self-confidence with inspiration from scholars to Queen Bey. Follow these top tips if you’re needing a boost during the dark wintery nights and the assessment period at University.

There is a TONNE of material out there that highlights the importance of self-confidence in helping you achieve your dreams and I have read, watched and listened to most of them…Yep, I was once plagued with a lack of self-love, fear of failure, inability to speak to more than one person at a time and general anxiety where my brain repelled every positive thought like it was poison.

OMG, he stared at me for a whole two seconds. Is something wrong with me? This will haunt me for three years!

I think I want to change my style up a bit and try out some new clothes. But wait, I don’t want people to think I’m trying to be cool… 

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Sound familiar? Even if these aren’t your particular fears, you can probably relate to the feeling of being so unsure of yourself that you’re terrified to even try. Take a minute and think about how CONFIDENT you are in yourself? Now rate yourself between one (lowest) and ten (highest). Before you do this, you might ask:  what is confidence anyway? Why is it so important? Does being confident result in success? If so, can I become more confident and how?

Time for a little psychology lesson. There are a wealth of different theories out there but we’re going to use Albert Bandura’s (1977) definition of the term “self-efficacy” which despite the distinction he made can be interchangeable with the term “self-confidence” and describes “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” Let me put it this way, if you had an opportunity to perform with your favourite artist on stage, would you take it because you believe that you can handle it? Or would you refuse because you’re too scared that you might end up making a fool of yourself? If your confidence rating is under five, then it’s safe to say you would probably pass up this awesome opportunity. But fret not if you have a low rating because you can improve all the way up to a ten!

One of the mistakes I made during my journey to a more confident individual was confusing self-esteem with self-confidence. A lot of sources tend to use these terms interchangeably but self-esteem reflects your personal worth – it is a judgment and attitude toward oneself. How inherently valuable do you think you are? Do you think you deserve happiness? Do you think you deserve forgiveness? Do you like yourself? Self-confidence, on the other hand, is based on ACTION and related to external accomplishments. You can have a low sense of self-esteem but be highly confident or vice-versa.

For example, if you’ve always been a popular individual – straight A student, smokin’ hot and told by everyone that you could definitely be the next Taylor Swift – then this could result in self-belief fueled by approval which you tragically become addicted to. Now, you may have achieved self-confidence but because you seek external validation you have low self-esteem.

On the other hand, you can read all the fluffy Tumblr quotes about loving yourself as you are and make Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” your anthem song but it won’t help much with self-confidence unless you strive to actually achieve something concrete. Ideally, you need both self-confidence and self-esteem to be high so you can live the best quality of life possible. But, self-esteem is a deep and complex topic that I shall leave for another day.

So why should you bother with the effort to become more confident? Because confident people are attractive, interesting, more likely to be successful and generally more fulfilled individuals! Self-confidence is POWERFUL and leads to EXTRAORDINARY living.

It doesn’t have to be a temporary feeling provided by alcohol or other substances. It can be grounded in reality. It is a skill for you to achieve.

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Below, are the eight practical steps you can try (short and long term) that work for me in building and boosting self-confidence.

  1. LIVE FOR YOUR EULOGY, NOT YOUR RESUME

    Figure out who you are and then set goals that align with your strengths, personality, and interests. WRITE them down and stick it in a place where it is the first thing you see every morning and work on it every day or as often as possible.

  1. LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD

    This is a bit of outside-inside thinking. I feel better about myself when I eat well and workout. People who put effort into their physical appearance seem like they’re well prepared and ready to conquer the day! Looking confident on the outside makes you feel more confident on the inside.

  1. THE WONDER WO(MAN) PLUS THE MIRROR TECHNIQUE

    I encourage you all to go and watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on “Fake it Till You Make it” – it will change your life. She is a social psychologist who talks about how “power posing” – standing in certain postures regardless of how you feel before it can increase testosterone levels, making you more confident and even affecting your chances of success. Every morning, adopt the wonder wo(man) power pose: stand with feet apart, hands on your hips, and chin tilted upward, look deeply into your own beautiful eyes and say positive things to yourself for few minutes. Be it empowering lyrics, feminist slogans, or just plain old self-affirmation that “I can do this”.

  1. TO FAKE IT OR NOT TO FAKE IT?

    It depends on the situation. As a nurse or a doctor working in an emergency setting, faking confidence in your job will probably result in a patient’s death. It’s obviously better in certain situations to realise your limitations and ask for help. But, say you’re a teacher who needs to give a presentation on a subject you’re knowledgeable about but lack confidence in public speaking, then go ahead and pretend you’re Martin Luther King Jr. all you want.

  1. ADOPT A GROWTH MINDSET

    Your mindset determines your belief about your own abilities. Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, identifies that people can have either a “fixed mindset” – belief that one’s ability is stagnant and cannot improve, or a “growth mindset”- belief that ability of any kind is not fixed but rather subject to change and growth. You can become your ideal self: smarter, faster, or even to be able to play the recorder with your nose. What type of mindset do you have?

  1. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

    Confidence, I’ve learned, is a muscle that gets stronger with exercise. You need to cross that bridge of discomfort because the only way out is through. Repeat as often as you can whatever it is that you’re scared of attempting – be it dating, swimming, or talking to strangers – until you’re comfortable with it. In the famous words of Beyonce:

I dream it, I work hard, I grind ‘til I own it.

  1. COMFORT ZONE CHALLENGES

    Your psychological response to a situation also affects your confidence. Despite mastering the necessary skill – say now you can play the recorder with your nose and want to do a little street performance- you find that you become increasingly nervous or are constantly worrying about what other people think. Comfort zone challenges are one way to minimise fear and maximise courage. It is a contemporary form of exposure therapy and is also where the popular “Lay down on the street for 30 seconds” challenge originates from.

  1. CUT OFF NEGATIVE PEOPLE

    According to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, you are the average of the five people you most spend time with. Do you respect the friends you surround yourself with? Do they inspire you? Even if they don’t necessarily bring you down, if they don’t contribute to your growth as an individual, let them go. Instead, develop a community of like-minded people – ones that encourage you by example to aim high.


What do you guys think? What kind of fears are holding you back and what will you do about it? Do you have any suggestions to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let’s discuss! Tweet Karishma @karishma_roy and follow her blog This Curious Girl.