New year, new backpack? As 2021 kicks off, and we all hope that the world will return to a little bit of normality, there is one thing that every student can get excited about: A stylish new backpack! Here are some of our top picks for cool, stylish, and great value backpacks in 2021.
Valued at around £15, the Everest 1045k Basic is the perfect option for those students wanting a cool and cheap backpack in 2021. It has 2 main compartments, changeable straps, and a clean aesthetic that makes it perfect for use in college or university.
2. Most Stylish Student Backpack – Herschel Daypack Heritage
The Herschel Daypack is the epitome of style. Made with a lightweight washed fabric, it offers protection, utility, and aesthetic. It has a variety of colours and patterns to choose from, and it certainly one of our best student backpacks for 2021.
3. Most Eco-Friendly Backpack – TSD Hill Side Canvas Sling Bag
The Canvas Sling Bag by TSD is certainly not cheap, but it’s one of the most eco-friendly bags on the market. Made with recycled hardware, cotton canvas, and even coloured with vegatable based dyes, this bag certainly has a low carbon footprint.
This water-resistant backpack is full of nifty tricks to keep you secure. It has 11 small pockets throughout the bag, and comes with a secure bag combination lock. It also has a USB charging port to keep your phone topped up, and even an internal port to keep the charger topped up. Basically it is a high-tech utility backpack that is great value too!
One of the best parts about being a student is, of course, cheap stuff! Brands know that money is often tight on a student budget, and some companies offer amazing discounts for students to take advantage of. Here are some of the best student deals in 2021 that you need to be using!
Most people already know about Prime Student, but if not then where have you been?! As a student, you can get Amazon Prime FREE for 6 months. As long as you cancel before the 6 months is up, you won’t be charged anything. Even after that, you are only charged 50% of the price that everyone else pays. That means Amazon Prime Video, next day delivery, Amazon Music, and more can all be yours!
Students can get 10% off every Co-op shop you do, all you need is a Totum card (they are super cheap). 10% might not seem like a lot, but if you have a £50 shop every week, that’s £5 saved. If you do that for a year, that’s £250 saved! Totum also have some amazing discounts with other brands, so it is well worth investing in a Totum card.
The 16-25 Railcard is awesome. It costs £30 / year or £70 / 3 years, and saves an average person around £200 / year! You can even attach it to an Oyster card and use it on the tube for even more savings!
If you are 16-17, you could also get the 16-17 Saver card which gives you a huge 50% off train journeys instead!
Once you have your Totum card, you should also look at getting the Unidays app. This gives you so many amazing discounts for FREE, including 10% off TopShop, 21% off New Look, and more. The restaurant deals are also amazing, so don’t miss out!
Big cinema chains such as Odeon always offer cheaper ‘student’ tickets when you purchase, so you should be getting that anyway! However some chains offer even greater discounts with the student discount apps such as Totum. In fact Totum members can get 25% off Odeon, so don’t forget to check your discounts and cards before booking a cinema ticket!
This year has been an extremely difficult time for students, with self-isolation, lockdowns, and Covid anxiety adding to an already stressful student schedule. But how can students keep up their mental & physical wellbeing during this tough time?
Some current students talk about their favourite techniques to try and reduce stress and improve mental health at college and university. Here are a few of the tips from Becca’s Small World:
Take time out of your busy routine
Keep up with friends even if you can’t meet in person
Get fresh air everyday
Speak to housemates everyday
Limit social media use e.g use Downtime app
Make sure you get enough sleep!
Yoga is a perfect activity for students, it helps reduce stress and anxiety, it helps with fitness, and it even has been shown to improve memory and attention span. Anyone can get involved with yoga, all you really need is a quiet room, some relaxing music, and a guide to help you through it!
Check out our free Yoga session with Beth Hardwood here. Beth is a Vinyasa Flow teacher with over 200 hours of training. Her sessions will help you to escape from stress, engage with the mind, and find greater connection from within.
How well do you really know yourself? Self-awareness is basically the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively, understanding why you feel what you feel and why you behave the way you do. Self-awareness has been shown to improve wellbeing in a number of ways, as this talk by Helen Cowper shows.
What are the main benefits of self-awareness:
Make informed personal decisions
Allows you to stay driven and positive
Understand your values
Helps you set short and long term goals
Be more confident
Keep out negativity
But how exactly can you go about improving your self-awareness? Firstly you should think about some basic questions: What do I like doing? What do I dislike? What makes me happy? By jotting down some key ideas, this can help give you a better understanding of your values and eventually your goals.
Here are some great resources to help you improve your self-awareness:
By moving the muscles of your face into a smile, it starts sending signals to the brain that we are calm and safe. As a result, the brain releases serotonin and endorphins, which can slow breathing, improve mood, and make you happier!
So if you are feeling anxious:
Move your mouth and eyes into the smile position
You should feel your heart rate and breathing slow
At university, there are as many introverts as extroverts! If you are introverted, try to find some sociable and outgoing people who will be much easier to talk to. If you can make friends with an extrovert, they will likely introduce you to many of their friends, helping you find lots more people to get on with! Joining societies or group chats is another great way to meet new people.
What to do if I’m feeling lonely at uni during lockdown?
It’s hard during lockdown, with zoom meetings stopping people from the normal ways of meeting up! But social media is your friend, so make sure you keep up with your friends and message them on a regular basis. Even after an online lecture, you can drop someone a message asking for help or giving them a compliment on the points they made, this can lead to new friendships forming!
My anxiety is really bad at the moment, what are some ways to cope with this?
There are some great tips on the Student Minds website for anxiety. But spending time with yourself and having some ‘me time’ is a great thing to introduce to your daily schedule. This helps you to stay calm, introduce some mindfulness activities, avoid difficult environments, etc. You need to be able to express how you are feeling, either by talking to your friends or writing it down. This can help you to keep on top of your emotions, and not allow them to overwhelm you.
We hope you found this guide useful. Remember to check out the various student mental health resources that are available:
This guide offers a ‘five step formula’ which students can use to write a perfect personal statement. The UCAS personal statement can be tricky, but with the right structure it can be made a much simpler task. In this guide, we suggest a ‘5 paragraph structure’ for your personal statement, with each of the paragraphs being explained below. This guide is taken from the bestselling book: ‘How to Write a Personal Statement‘. If you are interested in learning more about writing the personal statement, then consider purchasing the book here.
Personal Statement Structure:
Start with a compelling 1st sentence that relates your subject to a wider issue or to your personal experience.
Outline some of your particular interests within your subject.
Explain why your subject is important to study at university.
Example: The world is confronted by huge problems caused by rapid and complex changes within societies and in the environment, particularly those resulting from globalisation and climate change. Addressing these issues not only requires more profound research into the underlying causes and what can be done about them, but a proper knowledge and understanding of those causes amongst the public. For this reason I believe strongly that further education, particularly in the field of geography, is vital to all those responsible for making decisions about our future.
Give more detail on your specific interests.
Give personal thoughts and opinions on your interests / issues in your subject.
Give examples of how you have shown your interest e.g wider readings, lectures, events etc.
Tell a story: E.g You learnt about… at A Level, this inspired you to read…, you really enjoyed this author so watched a lecture on…, now you are fascinated to learn more about… at university.
Example: My initial interest in geography was sparked by the ‘spectacular’ physical aspects of the subject. On a World Challenge expedition to Iceland in Year 9, I was awestruck by the bubbling hot pools, the geysers and the vast lava fields: the most tangible evidence of the dramatic forces operating within the earth I have ever seen. I wondered how a modern society could grow and develop in such an extreme tectonic environment. Over the course of the past two years, however, my interest in Human Geography has grown enormously. I particularly enjoyed looking in detail at the effect of Globalisation in the High Street as part of the Open University module which I took alongside my A Levels. This module also exposed me to the issues surrounding population growth, and intrigued me to further research the overpopulation debate. Reading the conflicting arguments put forward by Stephen Emmott and Danny Dorling in their rival books about the potential population crisis of the next few decades has led me to believe that Geography is a subject which is all about perspectives, and the ‘right answer’ to global problems is never as simple as it may first seem.
3. Work Experience / Activities
Talk about at least one of: Work experience, volunteering, or subject-related activities such as competitions or events you attended.
Mention a particular moment during your work experience / event which really inspired you to learn more. This moment should be at least one of: Memorable, heart-warming, difficult, or eye-opening.
Tell a story again: E.g You experienced… during your work experience, you then became particularly interested in… and volunteered at… as a result.
Example: My work-experience as an assistant Geography teacher on my gap year allowed me to view the subject in a completely new light. When discussing poverty, many of the students recalled personal experiences where someone they know has struggled to afford basic necessities such as food or rent. In fact, they were surprised that the textbooks only discussed poverty as an issue which exists in Africa or South America, and makes little mention of issues closer to home. This encouraged me to take more of an interest in UK inequalities, and reading ‘The Violence of Austerity’ by Cooper and Whyte opened my eyes to the current problems of food-banks and austerity which exist in the country today. After this, I attended The Times Festival of Education, and implored Michael Gove to modernize the study of Geography to illustrate contemporary UK issues.
Show your skills, talents, and abilities through your various extra-curricular activities. Explain / imply what skill you developed through each activity
Develop a ‘human-face’ to your personal statement by giving some insight into your personality and some things that make you unique
Try to show some of the skills your subject requires (see university websites for what skills they are looking for). Examples of skills: Adaptability, Communication, Organisation, Responsibility, Time-management etc.
Example: I have a great interest in rugby, having played at school, club, and country level for many years, and I regularly volunteer to coach younger boys at my local club at weekends. This has taught me the importance of both positivity and leadership, and how these traits can complement each other in many different walks of life. I also volunteer as a Cub Scout leader. Working with children has been a hugely rewarding experience, improving my communication and organizational skills, and I am now considering the possibility of a career in teaching in the future.
Reiterate why you are interested in studying the subject at university.
Briefly discuss your future aspirations and how this subject will help you achieve your future goals / job.
Say something interesting and memorable which reflects your personality / view of the world and makes your personal statement more unique.
Example: I would relish the chance for deeper research into Geography at a university level. Rapid action is needed in order to try and negate the impacts of issues such as climate change, overpopulation, and inequalities. A stronger understanding of geographical principles would give me the skills and knowledge I need to make a positive impact to society, and could help drive me towards a future career in teaching or public policy.
Get 10% off all orders up to £15 on Uber Eats. You need a TOTUM student card, but they are very cheap and are well worth the money!
Dominos – 35% Off
Domino’s are usually pretty good with discounts, particularly if you are with a friend, there is often a 2-4-1 or double pizza deal! However if you are by yourself, or want a solid deal to use whenever you like, check out the 35% off all Domino’s you can get for free with Student Beans. Check out the deal here.
“Zumo gives financial power back to the people and unlocks safe smart money for everyone.” Zumo Co-Founder Paul Roach
We know that the notion of cryptocurrency can feel scary and unknown. That’s why we’ve created our Refer and Share rewards, so you can safely own and explore digital currency without having to spend a single penny.
Whenever someone joins Zumo using your referral code, you will both be sent 0.02ETH within 7 days*.
That’s worth approximately £5* each, with an extra £5+* every 6th referral. Invite friends and watch your balance grow, because good things happen when you share smart money.
If you haven’t had enough of diseases this year, you could dress as the halloween classic ‘plague doctor’. It has serious ‘Haunting of Bly Manor’ vibes, and the mask is adjustable to fit any head size.
This LED light-up mask will be sure to give someone a fright in the dark. It comes with 3 different lighting modes, and can be worn with some amazing outfits to make you look like the perfect ‘Purge’ enthusiast.
Ok, it might not be the scariest costume, but it is one the funniest & most complete costumes you can get this halloween! Complete with moustache, top, hat, hair, and cuddly toy, this will be sure to impress anyone.
A full body of hair, what could be better? Dress in style this halloween as a hairy relative… You won’t even have to bother choosing an outfit to go with your mask, as this literally coves your whole body!
Sometimes we feel like we need a change, like we want to update, refresh, or revitalise our lives. A great way to do this is by decorating your room! A well-decorated and homely room can often help you feel more positive, particularly if you are studying away from home at university.
However, decorating university rooms can be difficult, particularly as you cannot usually drill / nail / leave marks on the walls. Here are 5 ways you can decorate your uni room without any damage:
One of the best things to do a uni is to have some pictures / portraits of your family / friends framed and put up on your wall. Annoyingly, most unis don’t let you hang things on the wall for fear of damaging them, unless of course you have Command Hooks.
These are awesome life-savers for any student looking to decorate their room. Simply remove the layer of tape, wack them on your wall, and place your picture frame/clock on the hook! When you move out, you can just carefully pull the command hook from the wall, and there will be no stain or markings!
One of the simplest, but also most satisfying, changes you can make to a uni room is simply by adding more pillows! Most accommodation only gives you one pillow (or 2 at a push). However, by adding more pillows, it adds a whole lot more comfort, and could help turn your prison-like room into a pillow-y paradise.
If you don’t have any photo frames, but still want to add a personal touch to your room, think about having a photo wall! This is simply a section of your room with photos stuck on, a bit like a collage. All you really need is a basic photo printer and you are good to go!
We have been working with Red Bull Basement over the last few weeks to help student innovators bring their ideas to life. In this article, we explain a little about Red Bull Basement and how you can apply:
What is Red Bull Basement?
Red Bull Basement are looking student innovators to submit an idea to drive positive change using tech solutions.
What does this mean? Any idea that you think could benefit students or the wider community, that uses some sort of technology, will be relevant here.
Simply create a video that explains your idea, and submit it on the Red Bull Basement website by 25th October.
How does Red Bull Basement work?
Firstly you need to decide whether you want to enter alone, or with another person as a 2-person team. The only restrictions are that you are at least 18 years old, a student, and can speak English.
This is not a competition for your film-making abilities, so it doesn’t matter if you are not the best video editor. The main thing to think about is your idea. Despite this, the public will be voting for their favourite idea, so having a good quality video will definitely help!
What Happens Next?
Once the public vote for their favourite ideas, a team of judges will then examine these ideas to come up with the national winner.
The UK national winner will be supported in bringing their idea to life through the development phase until finally they will attend a global workshop where they will have the chance to pitch their idea to a team of industry experts.
This is an incredible opportunity to build your network, develop your skills, and come up with an idea that could help change the lives of millions. It could also help you build your own start-up business!
As an international student who moved to the UK for the first time to go to university, I was surprised by the *interesting* phrases my flatmates liked to use…
If you are an international student, you might be confident in your English speaking skills, but believe me, student life always has surprises. Here are 5 phrases you need to know to blend in with the British lads.
Mate vs. love
You might be left wondering about how much someone actually likes you after you went from “mate” to “love” in the course of a day. Do they want to be friends? Best friends? Do they fancy you? Don’t waste your time. There is absolutely no consistency in British people calling you mate, love, bruv, honeyboo or babes. Maybe be a little worried if they call you by your actual name though..
Nothing can ever be so bad that you can’t just “allow it”. It’s basically another way of saying “whatever”. There’s no limit to “allowing it”, the extent to which it applies is probably best described as scary. You ate two bars of chocolates after your cheeky Nando’s? Allow it. You slept in and missed a whole day of lectures? Allow it? You dropped out of uni? Allow it.
Being called a peng ting was probably not what you had in mind when you were dreaming about your uni romance, but it’ll have to do. When you go on a lit sesh with the squad and spend way too long in the smoking area freezing to death, it’s only a matter of time until someone comes up to you and tells you you’re a peng ting. I mean if he shouted it loud enough for you to make out these words, you should at least appreciate the effort.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “innit” before, but I don’t think it occurred to you that you can finish any sentence with it, without any exaggeration. First you might feel like you need to reply, like when someone says “That was a good movie, innit”. So far so good, but soon you’ll get in a situation when there’s simply nothing to say. “I’ve just had breakfast, innit.” “Yes, you did Adam, I saw you eating it, I hope you enjoyed it.” Ummm… might be better to stay quiet.
There are two rules with the word banter: 1. Say it under any circumstances and it’s going to be okay. 2. Always shout it with all your energy, as if you just cracked the code to time travel.
You accidentally hurt Karen with a joke? That’s not too wise on your first week of uni. Quickly shout BANTER and even Karen will appreciate it was a joke. Other situations to use in: when you have nothing to say, but want to add to the conversation and sound cool.