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Monday, 28 February 2011

Another fantastic prize from Lexmark!

Lexmark are giving away one of their latest, most stylish printers, the Genesis S815. You can read all about it over on Lexmark’s website here, but you can see from the picture that this is no ordinary printer! It’s super fast, has a touch screen and you can download apps to make life easy.

Just imagine, no more queuing for the printers in the library, have your own personal printer. Yes, we know ink is an additional expense, but Lexmark are throwing in an initial supply of ink as well, so this awesome printer is ready to go!

Last year our prizewinners were over the moon to have won, this time IT COULD BE YOU!

To enter you can go to the competition page, enter your details and tell us in no more than 140 characters why you should be given a Lexmark Genesis. Alternatively you can enter through the StudentGems Facebook Page, or simply tweet your entry to @studentgems.

HINT: Try using the words StudentGems, Lexmark and Genesis in your entry!

Don't miss your chance to win a FREE printer.

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Friday, 25 February 2011

Today's young people the most financially-pressured in history.

Apparently today's 25-year-olds need to be earning 55 per cent more to live the kind of lifestyle their parents took for granted. They would need to earn 74 per cent more for houses to be as affordable as they were when their parents were the same age. As a result, Britain's heavily indebted young people are having to delay key milestones on the road to adulthood, or put them off completely.

Young Britons need to earn 55 per cent more if they are to live the lifestyle their parents took for granted at their age, new research reveals. The study from first direct reveals the average Briton in their mid-20s would need an annual salary of £39,720 to buy a house, pay for a wedding and have their first child – all milestones their parents’ generation had passed at that age. This far outstrips current average earnings of £25,500 by some £14,000, or 55 per cent.

These financial pressures are forcing Britain’s youth to delay key life stages. Whereas three in 10 of their parents were married and on the property ladder by 25, money worries mean the average young Briton today does not expect to pass these milestones until their mid-30s.

And far from living a carefree existence, more than three in five young Britons admit money worries are preventing them from making the most of their youth.

Three quarters of Brits think today’s young people are the most financially pressured in history.

Those aged under 25 have an average of £11,467 debt from their university days. One in three  admit that they need to borrow more just to make ends meet – the under-25s’ most common reason to get into debt.

You have to wonder, what will a similar study show five years from now, when the first crop of students paying the increased university fees have graduated with record debts?

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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Hooray for predictive text!

I have just downloaded a brilliant and award-winning Android app  called SwiftKey which takes predictive text to another level. Your next word is predicted with incredible accuracy and a third of its suggestions are right first time without the need to press more than two letters. By downloading and processing all previous texts you have sent it remembers how you write and it creates a dynamic understanding or your texting style. I just sent a text with 26 characters and only tapped the keyboard 6 times. Talk about quick!

So with the hilarious uploads on is it really a good thing to have your smartphone telling you what to say?
For me, anything that gets rid of the ubiquitous ‘txt spk’ can only be a good thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with text speak, just so long as it is confined to SMS texts and doesn’t stray wantonly into emails or, God forbid, letters!

We have an onsite messaging system on StudentGems for students and graduates to use to make contact with potential employers. From the day we launched we were amazed at how some students did not grasp the concept of ‘first impressions’ and how important it is to make it a good one. Feedback from employers as early as May 2008 was that communication needed to be prompt, polite and correct. After one employer raised it on BBC’s The Learning Curve back in May 2008, Libby Purves took the point further in her column. To her it was the single most important issue.

An example? This is a message from a student to an employer sent yesterday (the username has been changed!):

this is acandi can u send me the details of the job to

Not very impressive. We have made it our mission to stress the importance of a professional standard of communication and have information on the site to help.

Of course it’s not fair to imply that all students are incapable of stringing together a sentence. Most are highly articulate and create a very good impression with their high standard of communication from the outset.

For those who still have a lot to learn, I highly recommend downloading an app like SwiftKey so you can see what a sentence looks like with properly spelt words. Maybe as our phones get smarter the need for text speak will disappear completely.

C u l8er J

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