How I found my 'Passion for Fashion' on Work Experience!

I have always had a lust for fashion, I was one of the lucky people who always knew what I would study once I got to university. I often read magazines and watched fashion shows on the internet. However, I didn't know much about what fashion design students actually did and learnt at university. Nottingham Trent University organise placements throughout the year for students who want to know more about university studies. It is such a renowned university so I wasted no time getting myself on one of their placements.

My work experience lasted for a week, thankfully there were 2 other students on their work experience as well, so I wasn't alone.  Over the first few days, we worked with the second year fashion design students, they were very helpful and enthusiastic to share their experiences of what they had learnt since joining the university. But, not only were the students helpful, but I was suprised by the range of software and technology that they used to create their designs. At one point we had to create mood boards using Photoshop.

It was completely new to me so I was excited to see what I could create with it. Even though my friends had all come across Photoshop before, I had no experience with it. Thankfully the teacher was exceptionally patient with me, she was willing to repeat the steps over and over again until I finally got it! There was a segment where we were given certain fashion websites and told to identify 3 latest trends. This was a walk in the park for me because I live and breathe fashion! All the fashion shows I watched and the fashion magazines I read adequately prepared me for this. I enjoyed applying my knowledge into my work.

On the third day, we learnt how to create our own little fashion magazines by using yet another software programme called InDesign. The over design, content and layout of our magazines was completely up to us. The lecturer only taught us what techniques we could use but everything else was our decision. I enjoyed the autonomy and It made me feel more confident in my abilities. 

On our last day, when everyone had finished designing their booklet, we had a taster workshop on pattern cutting! This is one of my favourite parts because it reminded me of why I wanted to study fashion design in university. I had so much fun. They definitely saved the best for last!

After this week, I have a clear idea of how a fashion design course is studied in university.I found my passion again and now I am absolutely sure university is the way for me. My advice, if you are not sure about going to university or what a fashion design course is like I strongly recommend getting work experience, because it gives you a taster of what the course is like instead of your own guessing. 

Author: Milly Ma
Editor(s): Siba Munsanje

8 Cooking and Food Tips you'll need to survive University


How many of us students feel like this? However it isn't as hard as you think. You can make quick meals, for cheap food that tastes good! Who wouldn't want that? Below I will share with you some tips I have been told and that I have 'discovered' since I started university in 2012 (seems like ages ago now).

1. If you are sharing your accommodation then why not ask your flat mates if they want to split the cost of the food and cook something together? This makes it less of a chore and you might actually have some fun!

2. Make sure you have the basic utensils to cook. These can be found at places such as Asda, Tesco, Poundshop and Wilkinson's and buying them won't break your bank account. Having these will make cooking much easier and less of a hassle. 

3. Sometimes bulk buying can be good and save you money and time. However, if you don't know your week plan and won't be around then your food is only going to go to waste so bulk buy wisely!

4. Buy the cheap essentials foods. These can be stored for a while without going off. Some examples beans, pasta and rice. These are useful to have in the colder months when you just don't want to go out!

5. Meat can be expensive, so you if can't afford it then try to eat vegetarian food. It doesn't taste as bad as people think. Here's some quick vegetarian recipes you could try.

6. This next one links into budgeting. When you go to the supermarket try to avoid impulse buys! Most of the time chocolates and sweets are on offer and you think you are getting a great bargain. But it all adds up when you get to the till. Try to write a list and stick to it. This way you can plan your meals out in advance and also have some money left over to go out and have some fun.

7. Another great tip that I know works is to shop at the end of the day. This way stock is reduced (not faulty) as they need to get rid of it to put new stock out. (I have managed to get a £15 shop for £5 before, bargain!). Most of the time the food will be going off the same or next day so only buy it if your planning to eat it ASAP! 

8. The last tip, which I believe is the most important one, is to make sure your kitchen is clean! You do not want to get ill two days before your exam. This takes 5-10 minutes and if maintained on a daily basis is super easy to do.

We also have a board full of cooking tips all for you!

Author: Sharon Bains
Editor(s): Siba Munsanje

Being a Student Ambassador at NTU

I found out about the Student Ambassador Scheme from a house mate who was applying and I quickly followed suit as it seemed a great way of building experience in the education sector and earning money. The main selling point for me was the flexibility of the scheme; being able to work lots of different of events when and where I wanted, seemed almost too good to be true for a part time job.

My first shift was at Central College Nottingham – the Activities Officer delivered the session whilst the Student Ambassadors provided general classroom support. I answered the pupils’ questions about student life and what it was like to study Criminology at university (most pupils aren't aware that the course even exists). The Activities Officers provide a lot of support during all of the events and also offer you advice and feedback on how the sessions went.

The majority of the work during term time was visiting local schools and colleges and sharing my experiences with 10 to 17 year old pupils. I was essentially getting paid to talk about my educational journey, discuss my highlights and concerns and offer advice and top tips – I loved it! There was also a range of other events across the University that I worked during my three years as a Student Ambassador. This included summer residential's, telephone campaigns which involved calling future students, open days and clearing. I once supported a Japanese lesson and was able to play football with the Sport Science department’s GPS kit! I can honestly say that this was a job I never dreaded getting up for in the morning and every shift delivered something different.

The best events were those that were delivered over the summer and the summer residential was undoubtedly the most enjoyable of them all. I remember my flat of Year 12 pupils giving the entire halls of residence a late night rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody! I also had the chance to deliver my own taster session to visiting pupils about my course. The biggest highlight for me was the number of friends I made as a Student Ambassador and the experiences I shared with them outside of work. 

I wasn't originally from Nottingham so working on the Student Ambassador events helped me to get to know the area and made me feel a part of the local community. I enjoyed working with the local schools and colleges and hope that I've had a positive impact on the pupils. I wish that I had another year left at NTU so that I could have worked on the events during Welcome Week (the start of the University term) and see if I recognised any of the new students from the pupils I worked with. If you are studying at NTU now, you can find out more information about becoming a Student Ambassador here.

Author: Julian Robertson
Editor(s): Anisa Mumtaz and Siba Munsanje

Starting a new job

Our activities officer Danielle has written a blog post about starting a new job (as the title suggests) so if you're in the process of starting your new, exciting job have a read!

So you’ve survived the interview and landed yourself a new job! WELL DONE! Now for the next step – conquering your first day. Whether it’s your first job or 30th you’ll probably feel just as nervous on your first day as you did at the interview – I know I did! 

We always have a few ‘first day jitters’ but I felt particularly nervous about starting my job as NTU Outreach’s Activities Officer, because I’d had a year out to do some travelling. Living out of a backpack and generally slumming it for so long I wasn’t sure I remembered how to work anymore, getting up early, going to meetings, EMAILS!? But within an hour of coming through the door all my worries were put to rest. 

I felt welcomed into a really lovely team and although I knew it was going to be a challenge getting started I felt really supported and sure it was going to be a great job. So, as the newbie on the block I thought I’d share with you all a few tips to help you on your first day of work!

For me knowing that I’ve prepared everything in advance takes about 75% of the stress away. So before you start it’s useful to go through a check list to make sure you’re ready to go!

  • What are you going to wear? Make sure you decide what to wear the night before, as any fashion nightmares in the morning will stress you out and lose you time. Dress smarter on your first day, like you did at the interview, you can work out the dress code when you see what everyone else is wearing.
  • How are you going to get there? Know your route to work and how long it takes. If your unfamiliar with the area it’s probably worth doing a practice run to make sure you arrive on time on your first day. Make sure you know who to ask for when you arrive as well!
  • What do you need to take? You should have been told beforehand if you’re expected to bring anything with you, like your passport or qualification certificates, so obviously make sure you take them if you’re told you need them! It’s worth taking a packed lunch for the first day too, as you can’t count on there being anywhere nearby to buy some food.

Don’t forget it’s still really important that you make a great impression. The first few months of any new job are basically like an extended interview, and you need to prove you can deliver the stuff you said you could so always try your best. 

Be on time, work hard, be polite and, I know it’s difficult, but really make the effort to get to know everyone and what they do. Most of all don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’re new and nobody is expecting you to know everything, so don’t be shy! You’ll soon get the hang of things and people will soon forget your new at all.

Author: Danielle Sample
Edited By: Sharon Bains