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Monday, 30 September 2013

Can't Find a Job? Keep Your Head Up!

The sole purpose of going to uni was to find a job, right? And during your three or four year uni life, you were probably optimistic about finding work after school. However, optimism can suddenly turn to fear if you’re unable to get a job.

You may start thinking of the worst. What if I have to move back home? What if I can’t repay my student debt? Will this affect my credit score?

Your fears are valid, but understand that it often takes time to find work after uni. With more and more people going to higher education, the job market is simply flooded - and sometimes, it can take six months to find what you’re looking for.

Don’t give up your efforts, and don’t panic either. There is plenty you can do as you wait for your dream job.

Volunteer with a local organization. Not only can this take your mind off your job worries, volunteering with a local organization can also provide work experience that looks good on your resume. If you didn’t have a job while in college, this might make some employers nervous. They may prefer an applicant who understands how an office runs. If you get some work experience - even if it’s only volunteer work - this can work in your favour and possibly open doors.

Look for an internship. When the job market is flooded, getting an internship is an excellent way to make use of your days. Like volunteer work, an intern can get your feet wet and help you acquire valuable work experience. But unlike a volunteer assignment, an intern may lead to a job offer. Many companies use internships as a way to recruit new employees. Do the job to the best of your ability and demonstrate that you’re a team player. At the end of your internship, you may have a job offer. Look for a paid internship, this can put extra cash in your pocket as you wait for permanent work.

Temp work. Signing up with a temp agency until you find full-time work also has its benefits. Temporary assignments can solve your immediate financial worries, and since these assignments are pretty flexible, this leaves time for job interviews and completing applications. And you never know, the temp agency may assign you to a company that’s looking for someone with your particular degree - the perfect opportunity to network and find permanent work.

Further your education. Okay, so the idea of going back to university may not be appealing. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for, additional education might open the door to opportunities. If you’re working with a temp agency or part-time to make ends meet, consider getting an online degree. Founded in 1854, Bryant and Stratton University might be a good match. Thus, you can work on your Master’s degree at your own pace, which keeps your days free.

Finding a job after graduating isn’t always easy, but don’t let this discourage you. Positivity is the only way to stay motivated. Build your work experience, network and take additional courses - your efforts will pay off.

Monday, 23 September 2013

57% of students taking up part-time work

57% of students are engaged in part-time employment of at least 20 hours per week in addition to their studies, according to a recent survey by Endsleigh Insurance.

62% of those undertaking paid employment to support themselves whilst at university say that the extra income is used for leisure activities like going out or socialising with friends. However, more than half (55%) have reported that they need to work in order to cover basic living expenses such as food, accommodation and household bills.

Graduate, Hannah Stradling, was forced to use her childhood savings in order to cover the cost of her bills whilst at university: “Over the summer all of the money I earned went on my rent because the loans didn't come in before it was due. When the loans came in and I could use it to pay my rent, I still used a lot of my earnings to pay the remainders which were between £1,400 and £900”. Hannah does go on to say about how some of the money she earned did go on socialising but says it was upsetting to break into her savings as she had been saving since her 9th birthday.

The survey showed that fewer students are depend on their student loan than recorded in previous years. The percentage of those who rely on student loan payments has reduced by over 10%. This figure may be accounted for in part by the rise in the number of international students coming to study in the UK as they do not receive student loans for their tuition and living expenses.

The results indicate however, that the majority of the UK students depend heavily on a student loan. Bex Fris Jansen, another graduate, said: “My job paid minimum wage, which was a bit unfair considering how hard we were expected to work... the student loan therefore just helped to cover my rent, but I still had to make up some with my own money.”

Not all students opting to take on part-time work are doing so out of necessity though. 44% of those surveyed have taken jobs to start saving for life after being a student and 40% of students say they have chosen to work to avoid getting into debt. Nearly 60% of those questioned view student employment as a chance to improve their CVs and get ahead in the competitive graduate recruitment market once they have finished their course.

Friday, 13 September 2013

How Musical Education Leads to Professional Opportunity

Today’s economy has been particularly tough on millennial artists. This population of 20 and 30 somethings have to face a harsh reality of less opportunity and rising living costs. The solution for many in this group has become entrepreneurship, and the academic community has started to embrace these ideas.

While it may be easy to pigeon hole graduates in the arts as undervalued in today’s workforce, the reality is that arts graduates share the same kind of thinking that is required for entrepreneurship.

Catherine Fitterman Radbill, NYU Director of Undergraduate Music Business, argues that musicians and entrepreneurs can be one in the same. Both use creativity and analytical thinking to accomplish their tasks, and both derive the same level of gratification from success. Each type has its own way of defining success as well, but the mindset is very much the same. 

Cost Concerns

Every business requires an investment of cash in order to launch, as well as careful management of that
money over time. A musician invests in the instruments he or she plays, and learns how to maintain and upgrade them as he continues his practice. As a working adult, musicians translate these same skills into solid decision making.

Cost concerns might prohibit a family from investing in musical instruments for children or growing students. In most cases, brand new instruments are moderately priced, about the same as game console or a television. While there is evidence that video games can provide instruction and positive benefits for growing minds, music has been shown to impact language development and IQ. And you don’t need to be a music student to reap these rewards either. Simply playing an instrument will help.

Try going to a music store and playing with the sample instruments. Low end versions are normally much cheaper than standard or advanced models, offering the same basic functions. Check classified ads online for a user instrument that may be cheaper. 

Finding the Right Teacher

In the same way that an entrepreneur needs a mentor, a musician needs an instructor. Even casual players benefit from having some form of instruction with homework to keep the student focused on the task at hand.
The right music instructor will enhance  playing skills and teach discipline:
  • Ask about practice routines and expectations
  • Observe a lesson to be sure the instructor corrects things like posture
  • Reviews online may be hard to find, instead search or the instructor by name and read his or her blog
  • Ask for a sample of the instructor's playing
Rather than going to a generic music institute for group instruction, investing in private drum lessons gives a one on one experience with someone experienced in music. Anyone can teach you which chords to play, drums to hit or strings to strum. A good music instructor is passionate about that instrument and has industry experience that you might not get at an institute.   

Music Practice

The discipline to practise is the same thing that drives entrepreneurs to continue working on their ideas. Entrepreneurs routinely fail--it’s basically written into the description. Musicians experience these same trials and overcome them through practice and dedication to their instruments.

The place where you live does not need much space, even for a drum set. Guitars, drums, and many wind instruments can easily find a home in one’s room. Most have easy storage containers too, like guitar stands or cases.

Those concerned about noise levels will like electric instruments, like guitars and drums. With electric instruments, music students can practise without disturbing neighbours. The instruments themselves are often more affordable than their acoustic counterparts as well.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Fresh Look at Student Security

The new university term is just around the corner and students countrywide are brimming with excitement! Enjoy all student life has to offer and make the most of all the new experiences, but remember to spare a thought for security.

Amid the excitement and pandemonium of Freshers’ Week, it’s important to be aware of personal safety and home security. For many students Freshers’ is the first time living away from home, which can be a pretty unnerving experience.

In order to start the term as you mean to go on, remember to take extra care on move-in day not to leave your room unattended. The hustle and bustle of bags and boxes coming and going can provide the perfect cover for a burglar to strike unnoticed.

Statistics reveal that a whopping one in five students fall victim to crime while studying at college or university. Opportunist burglars target student halls and houses, as bedroom and flat windows and doors are often left unlocked or ajar, making a it a quick and easy job for burglar.

To avoid becoming a student statistic make sure you close and lock all doors and windows when you’re not in – even if you’re only popping out for a few minutes!

It is also advisable to protect your valuables in a safe. Yale offers a value safe, which is ideal for students because it’s affordable and comes in various sizes.

Another top tip when it comes to university safety is to avoid leaving notes on your door telling your friends you’re out or ‘back soon’ - instead tell your friends face-to-face so they can act as an unofficial student watch while you’re out.

Personal safety also needs to be high on your list of priorities. After evenings partying, try to travel home with friends or in a licensed, reputable taxi.

If you do walk home, try to stick to main roads and footpaths and avoid poorly lit areas – especially any dodgy looking shortcuts and dingy alleyways. For peace of mind it’s a good idea to carry a personal attack alarm. Yale’s personal attack alarm is battery operated, with a built in siren and cord loop for convenience. It is simple to activate, easy to carry and discreet.

On top of all this, remember we’re now edging towards the winter and the darker evenings. Statistics show that burglaries can increase by up to 20 per cent during these months, making home security more important than ever. To combat this rise in crime, Yale is now a proud sponsor of National Home Security Month (NHSM), which runs throughout October and is designed to create awareness around home security throughout the dark autumn and winter months.

For further details please visit the website, Facebook page or Twitter feed, or for more information on Yale or any of their products visit

Thursday, 5 September 2013

How to personalise and decorate your uni room on a budget.

Hello my names Kate and I’m a recent graduate myself from Staffordshire. Upon graduating I now blog about all sort of interiors , DIY projects and decor trends whilst also pursuing a career as a freelance illustrator over at

With the summer holidays having gone by it’s now that time of year for many of you to make your way to your university of choice. Whether you’re a new or current undergraduate moving into the halls or student accommodation it’s nice to actually make it feel a little bit more like home whilst you’re away during your studies.

Now hold right there you may be wondering how can I do this without costing me an absolute fortune? It really is easy to create your very own budget friendly decorated uni room and here you’ll find a mix of tips and advice to help you personalise your own space for the academic year ahead.
Do you have an Instagram account? Who doesn't - it’s a creative and exciting way of snapping quick shots of friends, family and anything whilst you’re on your travels that you can then edit in a style you like and share with your friends. There are a variety of online printers which allow you to upload your instagram photos and print them to different sizes, but if you have a printer handy yourself why not print your own? Create a wall arrangement like you see here and your instagram's and notes here and there really add a memorable personal touch to your room as well as keep you in the know of important dates and deadlines.
Whether you’re living in the halls or student accommodation to add a bit of
life to your space try adding unique styles, patterns and colours to your room. Whether you’re bringing items from home or eager to make your way to the shops, try to incorporate some different bedroom accessories such as bedding sets, throws, cushions , curtains and more to really add that personal touch and character to your bedroom.

For those of you who are quite creative, enjoy crafts or have a big interest in colour paper goods and stationary ever heard of washi tape? Washi tape is a really popular Japanese masking tape available in
different widths, patterns and colours and you can pretty much acquire it from a mix of craft stores online. If you not very good with a hammer and nails (or don’t want to knock any holes in the wall) why not use washi tape to embellish photographs or artwork to your walls.

The fact that washi tape is a masking tape means you can easily change the style of frames you make for each of your pictures, move things around and when it’s time to go back home at Easter or Christmas you can easily take them with you .

There are endless possibilities as to how you can decorate your student living space, it’s all in the colour, patterns, and accessories that really shout out about your own personal style and gives a great start off to the academic year ahead.