Dear First Year Me

Two years have flown by and with final year about to start I began thinking about everything I’d like to go back and tell myself before I even left, so in case time travel turns out to be possible, here goes;

Dear first year me, 

fruit and vegetables are your friends, eat them to avoid freshers flu

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Why would you want to do that?

What is it about the English that has made us such keen explorers? Was it the ocean surrounding us that inspired us to explore beyond it? Is it in our blood? From Captain James Cook (best known for his sea voyages and being the first European explorer to discover the Eastern coastline of Australia), to Henry Hudson (whom the Hudson river is named after), and Sir Ranulph Fiennes (who, amongst other achievements, was the first person ever to reach the summit of Mt Everest and cross both polar ice caps), history would suggest that we just can’t resist new horizons.

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Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

When you’re on an academic calendar it can be hard to see a new year as a fresh start. You’ve already had the start of a new year in September, and January is more about passing exams and fighting the cold weather than hitting the gym or eating more healthily. And in all honesty, I think most people have given up on the idea of ‘new years resolutions’ because let’s face it- you still bite your fingernails don’t you. Continue reading “Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!”

Fourth Place

So you came in fourth place, you probably put in the same amount of effort as a medallist and maybe if the wind was blowing a slightly different direction it would’ve been you on that podium, but today it just wasn’t meant to be. Then somehow, you figure fourth place isn’t so bad.

In fact, I would argue that it is really the very best place to be.

In September 2015 I moved to study in the ‘gezellig’ Dutch city that is Utrecht; the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, from Sheffield; the fourth largest city in England. These two lovely cities have a lot in common Continue reading “Fourth Place”

What’s the big Ikea?

So you spent first year in a fully furnished, probably overpriced, SSH room. But what happens when the reality of second year hits and, in typically Dutch fashion, you move into a completely bare room?

Well, the Dutch don’t necessarily have the answer, but the Swedes do.

Chances are, if you’re Dutch then your parents can help you out moving some furniture from home or picking something up from Marktplaats. For international students however, the reality of furnishing an entire room is a significantly more daunting task. The solution: a day trip to the flat pack heaven that is IKEA. Continue reading “What’s the big Ikea?”

Post-Brexit Blues

Nearly two months after the verdict and I’m finally writing this blog.

It’s not a post that I take great (or any) pleasure in writing. Nevertheless, I feel that I owe some follow up comments, given my post before the vote.

Like many people I know, my immediate reactions were that of shock, sadness and anger. Even the city I was born and grew up in voted to leave by a majority of 51%. The day before the vote I stood up in front of my Macroeconomics tutorial class to give a presentation about the UK economy. I talked about how one of the polls predicted a 52-48 split in favour of ‘Leave’. I went on to say that such a result was highly unlikely; after all, nobody had correctly predicted the results of the Scottish independence referendum two years earlier, and these things were almost never right. The embarrassing truth was that just this once, they were. Continue reading “Post-Brexit Blues”