What you need to know about work experience during uni

The realities of university living costs mean that for many students, working part time throughout uni is the norm. While any experience is good to have on your CV, it is not always possible to gain valuable work experience related to your field of interest.

But it is possible. Here’s what students need to know about finding valuable work experience during uni - sooner rather than later!

●      You may have to balance a few plates

Achieving a uni/life balance as a student is tough (especially if you work part time already). However, if you’re prepared to sacrifice even just a few hours of your free time a week, you could make up some serious ground along your future career path.

Even just swapping your Saturday morning lie-in for a few hours of volunteering or staff-shadowing would add valuable skills to your CV.

●      It’s who you know...

It’s true what they say, it’s who you know that makes a difference - sometimes. While there is no substitution for hard work, getting your foot in the door early with people in the field you want to go into could prove very helpful.

If your course is related to the career path you think you want to head down, make the effort early on to get to know your lecturers, or join a society. Indicate to university staff that you are contributing to the learning culture of your chosen department. The relationships you built in your first or second year may come in very handy when it comes to securing a graduate job, even if just for references!

●      Face it - you might not get paid

Unfortunately, the chances of securing paid work experience are usually quite slim. Taking unpaid work is a very common and effective way for students wanting to gain experience and build connections. Many graduates move into internship positions immediately after university, so get ahead of the game. You might not see any immediate reward, but in the long-term your CV will be all the stronger for it.

●      Think outside the box

Approaching companies for work experience opportunities might seem scary, it is usually necessary (click here for some useful tips for asking for experience). While dogged determination is not something to be sniffed at, relentlessly emailing a contact who fails to respond might not be the best use of your time. Try and keep an open mind. If you’re not getting anywhere with your dream company, don’t panic - apply for some different places which would allow you to build up a similar skillset. You can find experience opportunities in some unexpected places - even asking at your student accommodation for student ambassador opportunities, or blog writing opportunities might prove fruitful!

●      Don’t expect it to be perfect

So, you walk in for your first day of your work experience and are promptly swept into the kitchen, inundated with tea and coffee orders. Don’t get frustrated with menial tasks like making coffee or filing paperwork. Just by showing up you are demonstrating to future employers that you are eager and willing to pursue this career path. So put the kettle on and do your best to keep focused - it will pay off in the future.

 

 

Six local hotspots in Newcastle-upon-Tyne our residents are loving right now

You’re never in danger of running out of fun things to do in Newcastle. The number of visitors drawn to the local attractions, thriving food and drink scene, and busy nightlife of Newcastle has increased in recent years. For current and future Portland Green Student Village students, Newcastle has a lot to offer. We’ve compiled a list of six local hotspots we know our residents love, all within walking distance of Portland Green Student Village!

The Biscuit Factory

Just five minutes walk from Portland Green Student Village is The Biscuit Factory on Stoddart Street. A large independent gallery, The Biscuit Factory is perfect for arts and crafts lovers, but it also boasts the popular Artisan restaurant and The Factory Kitchen cafe - check out their instagram for some major food inspo.

Ouseburn

Just behind Portland Green Student Village you will find The Ouseburn, a small river that flows through the city into the River Tyne. That river lends its name to a small area of Newcastle that has been gaining interest in recent years. Ouseburn is home to a host of trendy bars and cafes. Whether you’re interested in one of the many events held at Ernest bar (including open mic nights and Funky Fridays!), a long morning walk down the riverside or just fancy a pint at The Ship Inn, Ouseburn has a great mix of stylish venues and fun experiences for students. 

The Stack

A fairly recent addition, The Stack has proven to be one of the most unique and most popular features of Newcastle’s city centre: what used to be the site of an Odeon cinema is now inhabited by a cluster of independent local restaurants and food vendors, all serving tasty food out of shipping containers. It might sound strange, but the shipping container village has pulled a lot of interest in recent months. A social and cultural hub slap bang in the middle of town, the Stack is definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been already.

Tyneside Cinema

Located in the centre of Newcastle, The Tyneside Cinema is one of a kind. If you’re into films, the small independent cinema is for you. Showing the latest releases alongside special screenings, the cinema offers more than most: they are currently showing a series of films within their ‘Best Pictures: An Oscar Season Chosen By You’ season, showcasing Oscar best picture winners from years gone by. The Tyneside Bar Cafe is also the perfect spot for a date night or a catch up with friends.

The Stand

Pulling in some of the biggest names in comedy, The Stand Comedy Club is a tried and tested local favourite. If you’re stuck for something to do on a weeknight head down to the Stand for a guaranteed good night.

Mog on the Tyne

We could not compile a list of hotspots in Newcastle without mentioning the Mog on the Tyne cafe on Pudding Chare, just two minutes from Central station. What could be better than coffee and cake - with cats? Head to their website to meet the cats before visiting. And if cats are your thing, there’s the Dog and Scone!

https://theculturetrip.com/europe/united-kingdom/articles/the-best-things-to-do-in-newcastle-for-free/

Feeling overwhelmed? Tips for getting your studies on track

According to a 2018 study students are reporting higher and higher levels of stress. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with the pressure of your studies and unsure of what to do next, don’t panic. We’ve gathered some tips together that will help you keep your head above water. And if you’re really struggling with stress, come down to PGSV’s wellbeing session ‘Minimizing stress and worry’ for professional advice and help.

Identify your stressors

 When you feel overwhelmed, you might feel as though you can’t get a grasp on the problem(s) in hand. This leads to you feeling negative about your course overall. Take time to identify what it is that is causing you to worry or feel unhappy: are you struggling because of workload, a lack of motivation or inspiration, or are you feeling distracted by other issues in other areas of your life? Getting to the root of what is causing you stress, whether it is related to studying or not, will help you to prioritize your next step.

Talk to someone

 It’s hard to focus on your studies when you’re going through a tough time. Whether it’s a flat mate, family member, or a staff member at your university or accommodation, reaching out to someone could really help you address the problems you are facing. They can’t necessarily give you advice, but they could point you to the right organizations who can. See the links at the bottom of the post for further information and support.

Get motivated

Always in library but feel like you’re not even making a dent? Try downloading a study plan - My Study Life is an app which helps you structure your time more efficiently. If your workload is just too intense, reach out to your supervisor or a lecturer on your course. They’d be happy to book in a one-to-one session to offer valuable advice and help with how to stay on track and keep calm. Similarly, if you’re struggling to motivate yourself, talking to one of your lecturers at the university might help you find inspiration in your subject matter - they might make you see the subject or topic in a different light.

 

We know it’s hard, but STOP procrastinating

To some extent as a student you have the freedom to manage your own time: for many students this freedom often leads to procrastination. Whether you’ve been leaving work until the last minute, putting off emailing a lecturer about a point you’re stuck on, or prioritizing your social life (FOMO is real!), procrastination is completely normal - and completely unhelpful if you’re already feeling overwhelmed. It’s simple - crack on with your studying through the day, then reward yourself with an evening out at a bar. Balance is key - uni is about having fun at the end of the day, but you do need to balance this out to avoid getting bogged down later in the semester. And if you’re really struggling to get things done, come down to PGSV’s wellbeing session ‘I’ll do it later’!

Try to keep healthy

Whether you’re a regular gym-goer or an exercise-phobe, maintaining a (fairly) healthy diet and lifestyle is key to managing stress. It’s common to neglect your health during university but, unsurprisingly, regularly trying to survive long night shifts in the library on red bull and coffee alone isn’t conducive to productivity. Keep hydrated, eat as healthy as you can, and try to keep active. Moreover, managing your sleep pattern - even if you’re a night owl! - will help you implement a study routine that sticks.

 Be kind t yourself         

 University is stressful, and your course may be taking over your life - but try not to push yourself too hard to keep up. Be kind to yourself - take regular breaks and treat yourself every once in a while.

 Being kinder to both yourself and others is a great way of keeping positive.

 We kicked off this week with National Kindness Matters Day on Sunday, and here at PGSV we want to continue the positivity. Take a look at the ideas on the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s site - it might inspire you!

 To book a free place at the wellbeing workshops on 27th February mentioned in this post, email: nicolaarmstrong@pgsv.co.uk or pop down to reception to chat with Daisy, Shane or Johnny about how the benefits of the wellbeing workshops.

Links:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-mind/stress/

https://www.mind.org.uk/ 

https://www.ncl.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/,

https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria/support-for-students/.

Still need to get your accommodation sorted for next year? Here's how...

January is done and dusted, but for most of us there are a couple of jobs lingering on our New Year to-do lists. Sorting out University accommodation for the following year is one of those things that can easily get pushed to the back of the queue. It might seem like a complicated process, but in reality booking accommodation isn’t as much of a hassle as you might think! Stop procrastinating and get sorted - you’ll thank yourself later.

Step 1: Work out where you are going to live

The first step is obvious: choosing where you’re going to live! Ask yourself:

Narrow down on the type of room you would like to rent and in which type of accommodation - you can then start the process of enquiring about and eventually booking somewhere. If you’re still unsure about what type of accommodation you would like to live in, click here to read last week’s blog!

Step 2:  Make enquiries

Now you’ve decided roughly where you would like to live, it’s time to start making enquiries. If you’ve chosen to rent privately from a landlord, make an appointment at a local letting agent. If you’d rather live in University halls, your chosen Uni’s accommodation team will be able to advise further. If you’ve decided private student halls is more for you, get on google! A quick search on Student.com or Mystudenthalls.com will bring up relevant accommodations with whom you can enquire with directly. Even if you don’t book immediately, by making an initial enquiry you are supplying your details to that accommodation provider, who can then alert you of any future offers and discounts!

Step 3: Arrange a viewing!

Before settling on an accommodation, it is a good idea to view the property first. Most private student halls offer viewings, as do University operated halls. If the accommodation you’re interested in is too far to view, make sure to check the website: PGSV offer a virtual tour of the different types of room on offer for this very reason.

Step 4: Get organised

Booking your accommodation doesn’t need to be complicated, but the process may be frustrating if you don’t have the information you need to hand. Get the ball rolling early on: try to collect the information you’re going to need - guarantor’s details, personal information, bank details etc - well in advance.

Step 5: Apply and book!

Finally, it’s time to sit down and get booked into your chosen accommodation. If you’re renting from a private landlord, usually a trip to the letting agent is in order – staff there will help you through the process. If you’re booking into a private accommodation, note down useful contact details in case you run into any unforeseen issues. You can now apply online for most private accommodations – simply create an account and get your application underway.

So, what’s stopping you?

If you’re holding off from booking your accommodation because you haven’t got your grades yet, check the cancellation policy of your preferred accommodation. You may be able to cancel later down the line if you don’t get the grades you need for Uni without losing your deposit.

And if you’re already living in private accommodation and still haven’t got next year’s plans in place, why not stay put and take advantage of exclusive offers? Indeed, rebooking at Portland Green Student Village couldn’t be easier - just log into your account online and start your application, your initial deposit will simply roll over to the year after!

Wellbeing Workshops

We have invited Julie Rea, an experienced trainer and manager of student mental health services, to join us at Portland Green Student Village to deliver some wellbeing workshops. 

These workshops are free to attend; you just need to book a place, because numbers are limited.

If you find these workshops helpful, we may also run further wellbeing sessions in the future.  So bring along any ideas that you have about other wellbeing or mental health topics you would like us to cover in future workshops. 

4:15pm, 27th February: - “I’ll do that later.”  Are you putting things off?

How many times have you said, “I’ll do it later” or “I’ve got other things to do before I start that assignment”?

Do you find yourself putting things off – for example, leaving academic work until just before the deadline, then panicking your way to the final word count?  Are you perhaps putting off other things that you find tricky?  Yes?  Then this workshop is for you!

The workshop will explore the different reasons behind procrastination and some practical ways to help you get things done.  This is not a study skills workshop; rather it is an opportunity to understand yourself better, explore why you procrastinate.  It will help you to understand how to avoid procrastination and why this will have real benefits for you, your studies and your general wellbeing.

The session will start at 4:15pm and will last around 75 minutes (ending at 5:30pm).

To book a free place this workshops email: nicolaarmstrong@pgsv.co.uk or pop down to reception

6pm, 27th February - Minimising stress and worry

Are you feeling stressed out?  Are worrying about even the smallest of things – things that you wouldn’t usually worry about?  Yes? Then this workshop is for you!

Stress and worry can affect all of us at times, and sometimes we can feel a little overwhelmed by worry or by stressful thoughts and feelings.  This workshop explores what happens to our mind and body when we feel stressed or worried.

The workshop will also provide some great, straightforward, practical ‘take home’ tips on how to respond in these situations and how to reduce stress and worry.

The session will start at 6pm and will last around 75 minutes (ending at 7:15pm).

To book a free place this workshops email: nicolaarmstrong@pgsv.co.uk or pop down to reception

Private student accommodation: what are the pros and cons?

When it comes to choosing university accommodation students now have a wider set of accommodation options than ever before. Newcastle has the highest rate of student housing in the country (alongside Exeter) with 1 in 15 properties now classified as a student property. With so many options it can be a little overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of private student accommodation - it might make the decision a little easier!

 

What is private student accommodation?

Private student accommodation (or private halls) tend to vary, but typically encompass purpose-built buildings in which students can rent rooms within shared flats. This is different to student housing: you can also rent a room within a house from a landlord, usually through a letting agent. Private accommodation also differs from University operated sites, and Universities should provide you with information about both University and privately-operated options. For more information about the different types of student accommodation, check out the NUS website.  

 

What are the pros?

♦         If you’re a social butterfly, living in private student accommodation could be the choice for you. Private student accommodations usually have a social room where you and other residents can hang out together.

♦         For parents concerned about safety and security, it’s good to bear in mind that unlike private housing, private student accommodations are often staffed - this means you would benefit from an onsite staff presence 24/7.

♦         Private student accommodation generally offers great value for money. Often you will be expected to pay agency fees on top of a deposit when renting a room from a private landlord through a letting agent; the national average fee is a whopping £208. Generally, when booking with a private accommodation, no upfront fees are expected - at Portland Green Student Village you can book a room with all bills included by just putting a deposit down. Keep your eyes peeled for incredible cashback booking offers to sweeten the deal!

♦         A quick search on the forums in The Student Room will turn up plenty of horror stories of rogue landlords and neglected student housing maintenance issues. Rather than being reliant on your landlord to fix problems and sometimes waiting weeks for work to be actioned, live in private accommodation - alert staff of any issues and the onsite maintenance will get to work immediately!

 

What are the cons?

♦         In some university operated halls residents don’t get a choice in who they will be living in when they book. For some it can be pot luck who they eventually end up living with, and there isn’t always a guarantee you will live with you friends if booking as a group. Fortunately, in recent years private student halls allow students to select their own room, giving them a bit more control over who you’re going to be living with.

♦         While areas in which student housing is prevalent can be just as rowdy during the evening, the noise levels in private student accommodation might be an issue if you are a light sleeper. Usually this is simply due to the accommodation building being typically closer to the campus, and therefore getting a fair bit of footfall during the night. Of course, friendly onsite staff will always try and resolve issues where they arise so at least you can rest easy knowing that a member of security is on the case.

♦         In some accommodations you might find you lose some of the independence you would otherwise have in private student housing. For many students, a stint living in housing serves as a trial run of living out before the real thing. On the one hand, you might lose out on valuable experience of managing bills together with your flatmates. On the other hand, can you turn down rent with all bills included?

 

 

Which? University guide to private halls

Which? University guide to private accommodation

Citizens Advice guides to student housing

Beat the January blues this Blue Monday (21 Jan)

In 2005 Cliff Arnell, a lecturer at Cardiff University, appointed the third Monday in January as the most depressing day of the year. Arnell proposed Blue Monday signified the slump most people feel once the “initial thrill of New Year's celebrations and changing over a new leaf” is over and “reality starts to sink in.”

In truth, coping with the realities of student life can be a struggle. January marks the end of the festive period and the beginning of exam season - anyone would be forgiven for feeling a bit low this time of the year. We’ve pulled together five tips for students to help you survive Blue Monday 2019 and beat those January blues.

Be mindful this January

For students it is easy to become bogged down trying to balance studying with your personal life. It can all become overwhelming, and getting focused is difficult. Find time to give yourself space in which to become really aware of those nagging worries, separate what’s important, and realign your thoughts. If you’re struggling to do this, try an app or podcast. Meditate with the Headspace app, or download Rachael Kable’s The Mindful Kind podcast for stress-busting tips and tricks.

Plan events to look forward to

At the moment it may feel like your life is mapped around deadlines, but we promise there is light at the end of the tunnel. Having things to look forward to is key to maintaining some perspective. Plan a day out, organise a meal with friends or even (if you’re able to) book a weekend away just after your last exam. When you’re in the thick of it, remembering that life outside the library still exists could be just the lift you need.

Blue Monday... or Brew Monday?

Blue Monday is a well-established date in our calendars now, but remember - it doesn’t have to be. Take control of your Monday and repurpose the date. If you can, section out the afternoon of the 21st in your revision plan to do something positive. You could take some time for self-care, whether that’s a trip to the cinema, a few drinks in town or just an early night. Alternatively, take part in something positive for your community. Transform the 21st into Brew Monday by getting together with your friends or your family to raise money for the Samaritans and to catch up over a cuppa.

Always look on the bright side

Our last tip may sound simple, but it’s an effective one. It’s hard to keep the blues at bay in January, but one way of lifting your spirits is to try and find joy in the little things. Yes, it is cold and miserable at the moment. But... we are well past the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year), which means it’s already getting lighter in the mornings and evenings! It might seem silly but finding happiness in the little things helps to keep you grounded when it all gets a bit much.

Ask for help if you need it

Last year, Forth ran a study of stress levels in the UK and identified which stresses affected each age bracket the most. Their study indicated that students were “some of the most stressed members of society”. At the end of the day, while these tips are helpful we all know managing stress and our mental health is not easy. Never feel that you can’t ask for help, whether that’s by reaching out to a friend, utilising student services at your university or visiting your GP. We all need a helping hand from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it.

For more guidance and information, please see the links below.

Student Minds

The Student Room

Mind

Calm Moment

Bright Knowledge

NHS - One You

Newcastle University Wellbeing

Northumbria University Student Support

 

101 Ways To Banish Stress

Modern life can be a little stressful at times, there always seem to be demands on your time.

If thoughts of exams are a little more all encompassing after the Christmas break you don’t seem to ever get to the bottom of your to do list, then this list might be for you.

There are bound to be at least a few that might be useful; from taking a few more minutes out to do things that make you feel good or getting more organised.

We especially love the last one

Bonus: Relax, take each day at a time… you have the rest of your life to live.


Print it out and stick it in the front of your study folder as a great reminder to take a breath. Appreciate the journey not just the destination.

Check out the full list below:

  • Get up 15 minutes earlier

  • Prepare for the morning the night before

  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes

  • Avoid relying on chemical aids

  • Set appointments ahead

  • Don’t rely on your memory… write it down

  • Practice preventative maintenance

  • Make duplicate keys

  • Say “no” more often

  • Set priorities in your life

  • Avoid negative people

  • Use time wisely

  • Simplify meal times

  • Always make copies of important papers

  • Anticipate your needs

  • Repair anything that doesn’t work properly

  • Ask for help with the jobs you dislike

  • Break large tasks into bite-size portions

  • Look at problems as challenges

  • Look at challenges differently

  • Unclutter your life

  • Smile

  • Be prepared for rain

  • Tickle a baby

  • Pet a friendly dog/cat

  • Don’t know all the answers

  • Look for a silver lining

  • Say something nice to someone

  • Teach a kid to fly a kite

  • Walk in the rain

  • Schedule play time into every day

  • Take a bubble bath

  • Be aware of the decisions you make

  • Believe in yourself

  • Stop saying negative things to yourself

  • Visualise yourself winning

  • Develop your sense of humour

  • Stop thinking tomorrow will be a better day

  • Have goals for yourself

  • Dance a jig

  • Say “hello” to a stranger

  • Ask a friend for a hug

  • Look up at the stars

  • Practice breathing slowly

  • Learn to whistle a tune

  • Read a poem

  • Listen to a symphony

  • Watch a ballet

  • Read a story curled up in bed

  • Do a brand new thing

  • Stop a bad habit

  • Buy yourself a flower

  • Take time to smell the flowers

  • Find support from others

  • Ask someone to be your “vent-partner”

  • Do it today

  • Work at being cheerful and optimistic

  • Put safety first

  • Do everything in moderation

  • Pay attention to your appearance

  • Strive for excellence NOT perfection

  • Stretch your limits a little each day

  • Look at a work of art

  • Hum a jingle

  • Maintain your weight

  • Plant a tree

  • Feed the birds

  • Practice grace under pressure

  • Strand up and stretch

  • Always have a plan “B”

  • Learn a new doodle

  • Memorise a joke

  • Be responsible for your feelings

  • Learn to meet your own needs

  • Become a better listener

  • Know our own limitations and let others know them, too

  • Tell someone to have a good day in pig Latin

  • Throw a paper airplane

  • Exercise every day

  • Learn the words to a new song

  • Get to work early

  • Clean out one closet

  • Play with a toddler

  • Go on a picnic

  • Take a different route to work

  • Leave work early (with permission)

  • Put air freshener in your car

  • Watch a move and eat popcorn

  • Write a note to a faraway friend

  • Go to a ball game and scream

  • Cook a meal and eat it by candlelight

  • Recognise the importance of unconditional love

  • Remember that stress is an attitude

  • Keep a journal

  • Practice a monster smile

  • Remember you always have options

  • Have a support network of people, places and things

  • Quit trying to fix other people

  • Get enough sleep

  • Talk less and listen more

  • Freely praise other people

Bonus: Relax, take each day at a time… you have the rest of your life to live.

(This list is from a Californian High School teacher Brett Phillip given to his psychology students)


Fire safety statement

Fire safety statement

STATEMENT FROM ABODUS (BUILDING MANAGERS) ON BEHALF OF PORTLAND GREEN STUDENT VILLAGE

At Portland Green Student Village (PGSV), the safety of our residents and properties is a key priority. In light of recent events, we have reviewed the construction and design of our buildings as well as operational policies, to ensure that we meet and exceed required standards.

We were nominated!

We were nominated!

North East Student Housing Award's Finalist!

We are very pleased announce that we have been shortlisted for both ‘Property Manager of the year’ (Clive Somerville) and ‘Housing impact of the year’  (Turner Court) and will be attending the fancy NESHA Gala Dinner which is set to take place on the 1st June 2017 at the Assembly Rooms located in Newcastle city centre.