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

Source: www.someecards.com/

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! http://www.pinterest.com/ntuoutreach/cooking-tips/

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

Why study Product Design: A student's perspective

Born and brought up in Saudi Arabia for 12 years meant that education was not on the cards for me. However, my family moved to the UK after my eldest sister finished her year 12 as she had nowhere to progress to. Year 12 is where education in Saudi Arabia comes to an end. We would need 1000s of Saudi Riyals to have any further education like University or Apprenticeships.

Unable to afford any further education, we came to the UK as there are plenty of world class universities here. At the age of 12, my first day in the secondary school was scary. I have been brought up speaking Gujarati and Hindi – English was merely a language that we HAD to learn. In school I became fascinated by how products were made. This confirmed to me that I am attracted to the realms of Product Design. I adore coming up with 100 designs and picking the 1 which will go onto become a product used by 10s, 100s and 1000s of people. 

Imagine if you designed your favourite hair brush. One product you use every day but the same brush will be owned by 1000s of people. It is something you don't think about but if you are the designer of that hair brush and you know 1000s of other people own it, then every time you brush your hair you will be reminded of the fact that so many more people are being helped every morning or every night with something that you have designed. That is why I enjoy product design. 

My Work
Product design is all about solving an issue and reducing human effort. The buttons on a remote control aren't placed randomly; somebody has designed the positions of them very carefully. Where you see the subtitles on the television - someone has spent hours researching into user interaction and designed for the subtitles to be at the bottom of the screen. It is all Product Design and I love it! To read more about my love for design and to see some of my product design work read this post on my personal blog.

When it came to making my UCAS application, I knew I wanted to pick product design. But the big question was where do I go? What university to pick? I looked at the universities I aspired to go to – Brunel University and Loughborough University. After looking at their courses and campuses I decided against them because I felt Nottingham Trent University and the city of Nottingham were ultimately going to provide me the best student experience over the 4 years of my degree. I was right. 

I am glad I made the decision to choose NTU and the university has provided me with so much support and helped me with so many different aspects of my life. The product design course in NTU rivals Loughborough and Brunel and so I didn't compromise the quality of my course, in fact I upgraded from being isolated in cities within a city to being in the heart of a buzzing and growing city that is Nottingham.

Another question UCAS brought up was what course to pick – I knew I wanted product design but when it comes to degrees you have options! BA Product Design, BSc Product Design and FPD Product Design... what do these acronyms mean? What do I do with these random letters? I want product design! But to pick the right product design course for me, I had to understand the differences. 

BA Product Design deals with the user interaction side of things and incorporates hands on approach with 3D modelling, sketching and making prototypes. However, BSc Product Design allows the students interested in both design and engineering to bring the two professions together. A BSc Product Design course allows you to become an Engineering designer. Meaning as a product designer you add an extra skill set of an engineer to your toolbox and vice versa. FPD Product design on the other hand is very specific – it stands for Furniture Product Design and it is exactly that. You become a furniture designer, designing whacky and quirky tables and wardrobe concepts or coming up with the next amazing fitted kitchen or a smart sofa which is automated.

Earlier I mentioned my interest in engineering and design. So a BSc course was for me. It’s tailored to my skills, it was tailored to what I want to do in life and the course at NTU I recommend highly because it's a small group of students and you work with the industry with companies such as Saint Gobain, Oakleys and Hillary blinds. So, the opportunities to gain some real work experience is there! This course allows me to learn everything an engineering degree provides but beside these I also combine my engineering and designing skills together to come up with smart concepts.

Why should you choose to study Product Design? My answer is it teaches you entrepreneurship, responsibility, management, marketing, design and many more other aspects you need to become successful in any field. The course is for those who are passionate to learn and are willing to get stuck into different roles and adapt themselves.

The course is so versatile that you will never work on the same project again. I have worked on projects which are as simple as a Bird House to projects as complex as an External Wall Insulation. Being a product designer means you can design an aeroplane if you want, or a baking tray! All you need is the knowledge and the know how to apply it in the right manner. It is never about the whole product, it is about the subtle aspects of a product that make the product revolutionary. 

Picking this course is like taking on an adventure. Every day you have a new quest and a new challenge at every turn. Picking Product Design gains you a wide array of transferable skills allowing you to branch out into any industry you wish.

If you have made it this far thanks for reading! If you have any questions about product design then you can tweet me @mindmapdesign or email me