Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Student Portraits

Hopefully, you like what you read here on Charade but, of course, I'm just one student of a million talking about my own personal experiences. So from here on out, every so often, when the wind takes me, I shall be calling on a fellow student blogger to share their wonderful stories and give out a few tips.

Sound cool? I shall call it Student Portraits and it starts right here people!

Who? Helen of Afeitar

Where do you study?
I study English Literature and Language at The University of Liverpool

Where are you from? Have you travelled far to study? If yes, what made you choose to do so? If not, why not? I am from a small town on the outskirts of Liverpool so no, I haven’t travelled far to study! I decided to stay at home because partly I’m a home-body, partly because it was much cheaper to do so and also because I am extremely lucky in having such a good university on my doorstop in a city that I love!

What made you choose the path of higher education? I suppose it has always been something I expected I would do – and study English too! From a very young age I have been a bookworm and would visit the library every Saturday with my mum and sister to get books out and devour them. Of course I did once want to be a lawyer and a vet, but I always returned to English. To me, going to university wasn’t about getting a good job at the end of it but getting an education.

What do you love most about the course you study? This is a hard one… I love reading so I suppose I like that about it! I am really enjoying being in third year at the moment because the modules we do are so interesting. At the moment, I’m studying speculative fictions, which is science fiction, horror and fantasy and it’s something I would never normally choose to read yet I am loving it. I love discussing books too every week with my class mates and how much we get to read. It also gave me the chance to volunteer for a project called Get into Reading where I help out at a reading group in a mental health unit which I have really enjoyed and found rewarding.

What do you love most about the place where you study? Oh Liverpool! I have really grown to love this city since being at university. I have explored it more while on breaks in between lectures and really feel a part of it now. It’s been brilliant this year because it’s the capital of culture so there have been lots of events, such as the Shipping Lines Literary festival or the Made Up Biennial, but Liverpool has always been an exciting place. I love the fact that it’s compact so I can stroll around and discover all the hidden gems it has and the people are really the friendliest in the world! You always meet a character or two around town. It’s not just full of criminals and wags, it has heart and soul and really is like no other place I’ve ever been! I could praise this city forever!

What would you change about your higher education experience? The cost and the stereotype of students. I hate that I feel obliged to go out and get pissed because that is what students do. If I told people I would rather stay in and bake or read a book, they would think I was some kind of freak and not a ‘real’ student! While I do enjoy an occasional night out with my friends, I don’t enjoy ‘student culture’ at all. I am not paying thousands of pounds to go out every night and miss lectures the next day! Many of us aren’t like that, I know, but I dislike how we’re perceived in the media.

What are your main interests outside studying? Do they tie in with your future career? I really love baking, as I said above. On my blog I often post recipes of things I bake. I probably bake at least once a week, if not more! Lots of people tell me I should open my own bakery but while I would love that, I don’t see it happening soon! Another hobby of mine is photography, since I studied it at A-Level and have carried on with it since then. I love all kinds, digital, film, lomography, polaroids. I also have a love of fashion, especially street fashion from ordinary people such as on fashion blogs or wardrobe remix. I love how creative people can be!

What are your aspirations after University? They are not too clear at the moment! I am considering studying for a PGCE and becoming a secondary school English teacher, because I would love to pass on my passion for English to other people. Even if I just influence a handful across my career I would think it worthwhile! I also had one really inspirational teacher for GCSE English who I will never forget and hope maybe one day I could be like him.

Do you have any favourite student websites or blogs? Charade of course! I also like Student Bloggers and Gearfire Productivity helps inspire me to get my pen to paper! I read lots of blogs and there are some lovely, stylish students out there, such as Flying Saucer, WishWishWish and The Life Aesthetic

What would your three top tips be for a fabulous lifestyle on a student budget?

1. Buy quality, not crap! I always invest in a nice winter coat that fits me properly, because you will wear it so much it’s always worth it. Of course I do indulge in some Primark bargains, which are always useful for jazzing up old outfits, but a whole wardrobe from Primark would just be a false economy.

2. Don’t waste money on expensive ready made food! Always buy cheap, fresh vegetables that are in season, or store cupboard essentials from the value/smart price range at supermarkets. Use lots of different spices and herbs to jazz up simple, cheap dishes such as pasta or stews.

3. Try not to fall into the trap of using your overdraft as your own money. Okay, it is there to be spent, but that does not mean you can go out on a huge shopping spree in Topshop! Too many people live on credit these days, but with this economic climate there’s never been a better time to learn how to budget properly.

A round of applause for superstar Helen please!

Megan x


Jackie said...

This is such a cool idea! I look forward to more Student Portraits. I am especially interested to learn what individuals plan to do after their college career because I need help in that area.

manuel.U said...

Wickedly awesome to see an author like Helen interviewed like this!

There are somethings she thinks wouldn't be interesting; but her readership sure would swallow it up!

Plus great idea to interview students for students.

JD said...

I'm a fan of this type of stuff.

Claire said...

Ahhh awesome to hear from fellow student bloggers! Great idea :)

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