Student Accommodation

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!

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

 

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.