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International Haiku Poetry Day 2021

By Advice, Culture

International Haiku Poetry Day 2021 is celebrated annually on April 17th, but what is a haiku?

Haiku poetry underwent a refinery in the 17th century that helped to push its popularity, as well as its association with zen meditation.

This ancient form of poetry however can be dated back to the 1st century in the “Heian Period of Japanese Culture” where it was a social requirement to be fluent in Chinese and Japanese poetry.

It then developed into a lighter form of poetry called “haikai”, which meant “vulgar” or “earthy”, and was powered by its use of satire and puns in the 16th century.

It was not until the 17th century when the famous Matsuo Bashō perfected the art form into a more serious form, or Haiku, and solidified it as a literary genre. Bashō portrayed ordinary people into his work, combining comic playfulness with a spiritual depth. This led to the birth of modern haiku and was solidified with another reform movement to be commonplace today.

From Matsuo Bashō to you! Anyone can write a haiku, and here are some tips to help you.

  • A haiku most commonly follows the “5-7-5” structure: The first line is 5 syllables, the second line is 7 syllables, the third line is 5 syllables.
  • Think about your topic: Themes of nature, and powerful images are traditionally focused on in a haiku, with a juxtaposition of the two images. Pay attention to small details around you such as birds, leaves, or even the wind and how they will make the reader feel. Add in one, or two senses in your poems such as sound or touch.
  • Read your poem aloud: Hearing the poem flow will help you stick with the “5-7-5” form.
  • Remember your cutting word: A “kierji”, or “cutting word” will create a break which if used in conjunction with punctuation will control the rhythm of the poem.

Haiku’s restrictive rules will push your brain’s problem-solving side encouraging you to be creative in your poetry, so have fun with your writing! 

Stress Awareness Month

By Advice, Culture

What is Stress?

Let’s start by mentioning that stress is not always a bad thing. Without stress humankind would not have survived. Our ancestors used stress to heighten their responses to potential danger!

There are 3 main responses to stress:

Fight: Your bodies natural reaction will be to ‘fight’: You may feel agitated or aggressive! This was useful when we had to fight off predators but can be unnecessary in certain situations. Affecting relationships and reputations.

Flight: Some of us avoid our stress, we remove ourselves from situations instead of tackling our problems and taking risks. In everyday life this instinct can lead to stress escalating – when that stress doesn’t go away and we have to face it. On the other hand, removing yourself from certain situations can be very beneficial, and good for your mental wellbeing.

Freeze: Unknown to most, there is a third natural response to Stress: Freezing! For some people becoming stressed can cause them to get ‘locked’ into their nervous system. This response is most noticeable when we breathe. Holding your breath or shallow breathing are both forms of freezing!
Whilst freezing seems impractical, in rare cases not moving could prevent predators being aware of your presence!

It goes without saying that there is no good/or bad response to stress, each are equally beneficial and detrimental in their own ways.

What Causes Stress?

Some of the most common causes of Stress in the modern world include:

  • Loss of Job
  • Increase in financial obligations
  • Moving home
  • Illnesses or Injuries
  • Mental Health problems
  • Traumatic Events

Stress can be caused by anything that induces fear or uncertainty. How you perceive situations, and your attitude can affect your stress levels: Having unrealistic expectations of yourself, others, or people having unrealistic expectations of you. Or change (in routine, in lifestyle etc) can also have a massive effect on your wellbeing.

How can we combat Stress?

I think its important to not fear stress! Also, to be honest with yourself and others. If you feel overwhelmed, that is ok! We need to stop apologising for having boundaries, and for having a life! You are as equally important as your University work, your job and your financial obligations.

So let’s start prioritising our health!
Get a good night’s sleep, practice deep breathing, stay hydrated, eat well and healthily, get moving, don’t be a slave to technology. And (possibly most importantly) learn that you can say no!
You are the master of your own fate!

You got this!

Advantages Living Off Campus

5 Advantages to Living Off Campus

By Advice, Student Accommodation

Tags – Advantages Living Off Campus

 

Living off campus provides a great opportunity to make the most out of your uni experience.

Even though living on campus has it’s benefits, like direct access to services and facilities, there are many pros to living off campus too.

And, you may not have to compromise on as much as you thought.

In this blog we explore the 5 advantages to living off campus to help you make a better informed decision on where to live during uni.

 

1. Save Money

The biggest advantage to note is, living off campus means you will save money.

And which student doesn’t want to save money right?

Let’s say, you’re worried about travel costs.

Simply, find accommodation that’s still within walking distance to eliminate these concerns.

Furthermore, living off campus gives you more control over your personal budget and you’ll have more options to suit your needs.

 

2. Choose Your Housemates

Who you live with plays a big role in your overall student experience.

Beneficially, living off campus makes it possible for you to choose who you want to live with, or live alone, which may not have been possible living in halls.

Regardless of your situation, this is your opportunity to live with who and how you want!

 

3. Choose Your Location

It comes as no surprise that we all have different needs in life.

Some of us prefer to live near nightlife, others near train links and some like to be near shops.

Good news!

Deciding to live off campus means you can choose to live near the goods and services you want and where is most convenient for you.

That said, the off campus lifestyle will fit you perfectly.

 

4. More Privacy

If you’re feeling concerned over your privacy, living off campus offers you this.

Because, you won’t have students walking down your hallway at 3am.

Simply, living off campus provides you with your own space and without the supervision of residence staff too.

 

5. Fewer Distractions

Living off campus means you will be away from all the hustle and bustle.

Which means, there will be fewer distractions, allowing you to focus your full attention during study time.

As a result, living off campus can substantially reduce exam stress and positively impact your grades.

 

Finishing Thoughts

Renting accommodation during uni will most likely be your first adult milestone.

Overall, living off campus can be considered a more peaceful decision and get rid of challenges you may be facing.

Ultimately, you are in control, therefore you should choose where you live based on your personal needs – living off campus gives you the opportunity to save money, choose where to live and with whom, whilst offering more privacy and fewer distractions.

 

For more information, get in touch.

 

In the meantime, check our Students Lettings Leicester service.

 

You may also like:

  1. A Simple Guide To Your First Few Days In Student Accomodation
  2. The Upside Of Living In A City: 5 Convincing Points
  3. 5 Simple Tips To Make Student Properties Look Stunning
Guide to First Few Days In Student Accommodation

A Simple Guide To Your First Few Days In Student Accommodation

By Advice, Student Accommodation

Tags – Guide to First Few Days In Student Accommodation

 

The time has come.

You’ve been accepted to your dream university course and it is almost time to move out of your family home and begin student life.

Settling into university life can be quite the challenge.

Meeting strangers and committing to living with them can often be a strange and awkward time for everyone.

Fear not!

This guide will prepare you with tips on how you can settle into your new student home during the first few jittery days.

 

Don’t Badger Your New Housemates

As exciting as it is to meet your new housemates, no one wants to be badgered with questions as soon as they’ve walked through the door with their arms full of boxes.

Understandably, you will want to know everything about who you are going to be living with.

But, it is better to allow your new housemates to unpack, recoup and settle in first.

Doing so, will create a relaxed atmosphere in your new home.

When the time is right, give each housemate some of your time and attention and begin building those connections – be open and honest 

Don’t worry if you are nervous; this is completely normal and will pass as time goes on.

 

Set Ground Rules

To avoid conflict later on in the year, it’s a good idea to set some ground rules at the beginning.

For instance, you can all sit in the kitchen and assign storage space in cupboards and fridges.

Doing so will avoid confusion and everyone knows where they can put their things.

Let’s say a few months have passed and you realise you need more space.

Simply have a conversation with your housemates and communicate your issues to resolve them as quickly as possible.

 

Divide The Chores

You may have gotten away with washing the dishes at home, but now you’re an independent student living with new people.

Ensure you and your housemates are on the same page when it comes to cleaning.

Perhaps you could set a cleaning rota.

Don’t worry, a cleaning rota does not have to be super detailed.

Instead, set out weekly, manageable tasks and assign them to each housemate.

For example, kitchen tasks could include:

  • Sweeping and mopping the floor
  • Cleaning worktops
  • Wiping down the dining table
  • Clean the fridge
  • Clean the oven

If cleaning enthusiasm is lacking in all your housemates, call a meeting and discuss ideas on how you can all work together to avoid a messy house!

 

Of course, there’s a lot you can do to settle in and befriend your housemates.

As long as you are polite and respectful, you have nothing to worry about.

As mentioned above, communicate clearly with your housemates, set ground rules from the beginning and split house chores – the rest will fall into place!

 

We’re here to help. For more information, please get in touch.

In the meantime, check our page for Student Lettings Leicester.

You may also like:

  1. What Makes Leicester a Vibrant and Enjoyable City to Live In
  2. 5 Simple Tips To Make Student Properties Look Stunning
  3. The Upside Of Living In A City: 5 Convincing Points
Part Time Jobs for Full Time Students

Part Time Job Ideas For Full Time Students

By Advice

Tags – Part Time Jobs for Full Time Students

 

Working as a student offers a great range of benefits later on, and it’s a great way to put your free time to good use.

For instance, you can pay back your student loan quicker, gain all important professional experience and be exposed to networking opportunities. 

To make sure you’re looking in the right places, we’ve created a short list of part time job ideas that you could do whilst studying for your degree.

 

Hospitality 

The hospitality sector offers great jobs to those who are motivated and willing to work in a fast-paced environment. 

If you are full of energy, sociable and punctual this industry could be the one for you.

Some examples include:

  • Waiting/Waitressing for a restaurant
  • Bar work
  • Organising events
  • Catering
  • Cleaning

So, working in hospitality is a fun industry; you will be working closely with people who are looking to escape the working world, which is great if you yourself are an outgoing person.

 

On Campus

Jobs on university campuses are often a good choice for full time students.

One reason being, is that campus employers can be more lenient towards work schedules, as they understand academic pressures and deadlines.

Therefore, they can accommodate staff changes based on fluctuations throughout the year.

Moreover, university campuses can offer a wide range of jobs. Some include:

  • Working in the library
  • Student ambassador 
  • Bar work in the student union
  • Shop assistant in the on campus shop
  • Tutoring

Regardless of which position you apply for, on campus jobs are great as they are convenient to get to, offer flexibility and experience for your CV.

 

Retail

Working in retail is a great opportunity to understand what it feels like to be on the other side of the counter and develop customer service skills. 

Types of retailers include:

  • Clothing stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Electrical stores
  • Book stores
  • Opticians 

Many people are under the assumption that retail is just stocking shelves or working the cash register.

However, working in retail can result in careers in merchandising, HR, marketing and IT.

Furthermore, retail is fantastic for students as you are not limited to a typical “9 – 5”.

Instead, there is more room for flexibility; let employers know you are a student and which days or hours you prefer around your studies.

 

Final Thoughts

It’s no secret.

Everyone loves some extra cash.

Now that you have some factors to consider, it’s time to begin your job hunt!

To see what’s available to you, visit a local careers centre or book an appointment with the careers team at your university.

Or, you can contact businesses directly to see what they have to offer.

Don’t forget, take into consideration the location, pay and hours before you apply – this will ensure you are getting the most of your part time job.

 

Get in touch for more information.

In the meantime, check our page for Student Lettings Leicester.

You may also like:

  1. Opportunities Arising For Students As a Result of Covid 19
  2. Our Top 5 Revision Tips For Students 
  3. Carpe Diem – Pressure and Achievement 
Destress During Exams

Our Top 5 Tips to Destress During Exam Time

By Advice

Tags – Destress During Exams

 

Most of us experience stress at some point in our lives.

Sometimes pressure can act as a motivator.

However, if you’re feeling anxious and concerned about your pending exams, read on because we’re revealing our five top tips on how to handle exam stress.  

 

Remember to Breathe

When your alarm clock wakes you up for your morning’s revision or for your exams, spend a couple of minutes breathing.

Breathing exercises work wonders for putting yourself in a calm frame of mind to approach the day ahead.

There are dozens of mindfulness apps you can download or YouTube videos you can watch to help you get started. 

 

Eat, Exercise, Drink and Sleep Well

Living through your exams while eating food full of fat and sugar will make you feel tired and bloated.

You’re also not getting the right kind of energy that your body needs to feel full and fueled for the day. 

Instead, stock up on healthy foods before your revision and exam period begins. That way, you won’t be as tempted to fall into bad eating habits

Build-in time to exercise regularly, either alone or with friends. It doesn’t matter if it’s the gym, the pool or just a walk in your local park, the important thing is that you leave your revision behind to rest your mind and recharge your batteries. 

Swop caffeine and beers for plenty of water and aim to get at least eight hours of sleep a night, every night during this period. 

 

Think Like a Runner

Just like marathon runners, you have to pace yourself during exam time.

If you’re experiencing panic, remember not only your breathing exercises but also give yourself time to pause. Drink some water and try to examine the stressor from a different angle. 

If, for example, you’re struggling to remember a particular piece of revision, try breaking it down into bite-size pieces.

Perhaps you could attempt to condense your notes? Or write flashcards to help you remember what you’re studying? 

 

Have Some Fun

It’s common for hard-working students to think they have to deny themselves fun when revising for exams.

However, building in some time to see friends, to chat, and have a laugh goes a long way to helping you unwind.

Alternatively, watch a funny film, bake a cake, or listen to a funny podcast – anything that releases some feel-good endorphins so you can relax. 

 

Ask for Help

If you’re struggling during revision and exam time, there’s no need to go through it alone.

Try to talk to trusted friends if you’re going through a hard time and ensure you reach out to your social support network during this time.

It’s a simple technique to ensure that you don’t feel isolated and alone during this stressful period. 

Asking for help isn’t something to be embarrassed about.

A NatWest Student Living Index survey in 2019 found that 45% of students feel stressed by their university course. 

If you fall into that category, contact your university support services or your GP to ask for professional help and support.

 

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

 

In the meantime, check our Student Lettings Leicester services here.

Carpe Diem – Pressure and Achievement

By Advice, Culture

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem is a Latin sentiment, probably an over-used one, which means ‘seize the day’.

You can find the phrase printed on t-shirts, headlining pop-songs, repeated in every motivational speech, so much so, that it seems to have lost its meaning. First written over 2,000 year ago in a Roman’s Poem, Horace, its true intention has been lost in translation.

‘The Spirit of this Centuries-Old Philosophy has been Hijacked’

 

Definition.

The idea of ‘seize’ creates an aggressive tone, compelling us to immediate action, to take something through hard work. This really reflects the aesthetic of the modern-day corporate world, a gratification-obsessed, work-until-you-drop culture. Surely to seize every opportunity and make every day great, sets an impossible standard.

If you dig deeper, in the context of the poem it was first written in, its translation from Latin to English is more suited to ‘plucking the day’. This slight difference can completely change our view on the world. To pluck resonates more with nature, to enjoy a present but fleeting moment. Not to instantly get things done and set the bar of achievement so high, but to take joy in the smallest aspect of your day and carry that with you. You don’t have to make the day great, just resonate with the great moments that it gives.

 

How We Interpret the Metaphor Today.

You probably hear this translation ‘seizing the day’, and immediately think how you have not done enough today.

If we can take away one lesson from the Pandemic, it is that external factors are out of our control, we cannot always fulfill the complete potential of every day.

As a society, we exert too much pressure on ourselves, on our students, our workers, that only 100% is your best, only perfection is seizing the day. Whereas it is important to remember the circumstances we are in – that one day, only 70% might be your best, 50% another day and 90% the next, and that is O.K.

 

Pressure and Achievement.

Sometimes changing your mindset can be done by simply telling the story in a different way. So today, change it and take that pressure off – you don’t have to seize, just pluck. Suddenly it is less aggressive, and the action needed is smaller.

Achievements come in all sizes – celebrate them all.

 

 

Revision Tips

Our Top 5 Revision Tips for Students

By Advice

Tags – Revision Tips

Preparing yourself for exams can feel daunting.

So, it’s easy to form lousy revision habits

Whether your exams are around the corner, or not for another year, it’s never too early to start thinking about how and when you’ll begin to revise. 

That said, here are our top five revision tips to help ensure you’re fully prepared when the time comes:

 

Start Early

Avoid stress and last-minute all-nighters by starting your revision early.

Experience will tell you that you can’t rush your revision.

Set your alarm and begin your revision in the mornings.

That way, you’re less likely to succumb to displacement activities such as scrolling through your Instagram and sleeping. 

 

Be Prepared

Draw up a revision timetable.

It’s no use starting early but taking a scattergun approach to your revision.

You could put your schedule on a cloud storage platform like Google Docs so that it’s accessible from any device or location. 

Try to break your timetable down into manageable chunks, subject by subject, so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. 

 

Be Realistic

This is as much about your attitude as it is about your approach to revision.

Set yourself achievable targets for each revision session. For example, instead of telling yourself, you’re going to “revise everything about 19th-century philosophers” in one session, try to boil down 10-15 key bullet points instead.

By setting yourself realistic goals, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and burn out. 

 

Write It Down

A simple but effective way to remember your revision is to make notes to help summarise your learning.

It’s worth trying the following techniques:

  • Use flashcards that act as memory tools. You could colour code them by subject matter. 
  • Draw mind maps to visually organise the information you’re trying to digest. 
  • Create mnemonics – these are a pattern of ideas or letters to aid memory. For example, here’s a well-known mnemonic for remembering the order in which the planets are closest to the sun: My very excited mother just served us noodles = Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

Give these a go to see which works for you best. 

 

Exercise, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Remember to dedicate time for recharging your mind and body.

Exercise will boost your serotonin and oxygen levels and help you sleep better.

Whether you prefer working out at the gym with a friend or going for a walk, it’s essential to leave your place of revision to exercise your body and rest your mind. 

Add to that a healthy and balanced diet, and you’re less likely to feel bloated and anxious from eating junk food and drinking too much caffeine. Try substituting water for caffeine instead. 

After a day revising (and taking regular breaks), go to bed at a reasonable time, so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on another day’s work. 

There’s no perfect recipe for revising, but preparation and the right mindset goes a long way to feeling fully prepared.

 

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

 

In the meantime, check our Student Lettings Leicester services here.

“What have you got planned for Valentine’s Day?” The question most people dread.

By Advice

This year however, we are all in the same boat and I guess one positive of being in the midst of a national lockdown, is that we are all safely off the hook of having to plan something extravagant for our other halves, friends, or that special someone we’ve got our eye on.

That being said, even though we are stuck at home this year, we can still have fun. Here are some ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day in lockdown.

  1. Marks and Spencer’s Dine In for two.

M&S is a firm favourite for many couples wanting to spend their Valentine’s Day in the comfort of their own home, even under normal circumstances. They really do ‘up the ante’ for Valentine’s and with so much choice on the menu, there will be something to suit even the fussiest of eaters.

https://www.marksandspencer.com/c/food-to-order/valentines-dine-in

  1. Grab a takeaway from your favourite local restaurant.

If M&S isn’t for you, more businesses than ever have turned to takeaway options to keep themselves afloat. Check in with your local favourites to see if they are doing takeaways. Here are a few of my go to restaurants to give you some ideas:

Halcyon Kitchen – http://halcyonkitchen.com/

Winstanley House – https://www.winstanleyhouse.co.uk/restaurant/

Wigston Fields New and Deli – https://notjustacornershop.com/preorder/

  1. Go on a romantic walk.

Pack a bag full of chocolates and fizz and take a stroll with your loved one.

  1. Flowers are always a good idea.

What says I love you more than a gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers. I have linked some local florists below that I can guarantee will have something for you, no matter how big or small you want to go:

The Bloom Project – https://www.thebloomproject.co.uk/

The Flower Corner – https://www.theflowercornerleicester.co.uk/

  1. Create an at-home spa experience.

Treat you and whoever you are spending Valentine’s Day with to an at-home spa experience. Get the candles on, tell Alexa to play something relaxing and enjoy massages, a hot bath, face masks or whatever floats your boat.

  1. Get dressed up – use your imagination.

If the spa scene is not for you, why not get your glad rags on. Just because you are at home, doesn’t mean you can’t put on your favourite outfit and dance around to some music. Turn your kitchen in to that romantic restaurant or grungy nightclub that you have been missing and let your hair down!

  1. Treat yourself to a home cocktail making kit and get creative in the kitchen.

Whatever your drink of choice, I am sure there will be a kit out there for you. I’ve added a link below to a Pornstar Martini kit from the local Leicester bar Fat Cat because, you can’t go wrong with a classic Pornstar Martini, right?

https://thedrinkgarden.com/collections/fat-cat-pornstar-martini

  1. Or get ready made cocktails delivered.

If you don’t fancy making cocktails yourself, why not support a local business and get them delivered in ready to pour pouches. All you have to do is get your glass ready and you are good to go. I have linked my personal favourite ‘33 Cank Street’ below, enjoy!

https://www.bar33cankstreet.com/

  1. Netflix and chill.

No explanation needed. We all know what this entails.

However, and whoever you are celebrating, we hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s day.

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