Last Friday (November. 13th), bomb and gun attacks had hit central Paris at least 6 public places, which shocks me. And I immediately attempted to contact with my friend who is currently studying in the Paris. Thanking God, she stayed in the dormitory and did not go to the city centre. But I was sorry to hear that her friend’s classmate, a Chinese girl, died in the accident. Suddenly, I had a feeling that death is so close to everyone. And I was depressed for a long time.  At Saturday night, London Eye and Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower (in my hometown) turn up the blue, white and red lights, which is the colour of French flag to mourn victims in Paris. At 12 o’clock on Monday, an activity of ‘Pray In Paris’ was held at Alexander Square, Lancaster University. People from different countries got together bit and bit before 12 o’clock and when the clock pointed at 12, a hush fell. People present stood solemnly and pray for Paris. When it was over, the crowd dissipated quickly.

paris

 

I found a really interesting thing, just for me. Since I needed a book for reviewing Ac.F 214 to prepare for the Next Monday’s test, I checked it and it was shown that it is at lower ground. During past 2 years, I went to the library no fewer than a hundred times. But this was my first time to know the lower ground is available for students and go to the lower ground. There is a special deceive that I have no idea how to call it. It is an amazing deceive that you can move it by handle and it really save the space. I played it for a while. A little stupid, am I?

Library

The weather during this week was totally terrible. Winter has come.  It became cold, rainy and windy. And it was uncertain. The sun came outs after a heavy rainy with high wind on Friday. And rainbows occurred. There were two rainbows in the sky. One is faint. I found the rainbow is common in Lancaster, even 2 rainbows. But every time I see the rainbow, the mood can be improved immediately. It makes me believe that the good luck will come although I completely know the performing of rainbow. The mentality is quite ambivalent, I know.

rainbow

food

This week, I felt I was pretty hard-working and I decided to give myself a reward, which is cooking a succulent meat meal for me. Haha, I am a lazy girl. Usually, my meal is simple, cooking the noodles or having microwave food for survival. Actually, my cooking is relatively fine if I would like to spend the time on it. A nice dinner really need me devote myself into cooking. The above things look likes hamburgers are Chinese hamburgers, which we call Rou Jia Mo. It is a Shaanxi specialty. Although it is not a Shanghai local cuisine, I quite missed it. It was my first time to do them with my friends in a complete series of step, which is quite successful. Eating only one Rou Jia Mo, I felt plenty full because of flour and the full of meat.

 

Jenni Hanford – week 8

It’s Week 8, the deadlines have crept up and those test dates are imminent. It’s amazing how fast these past few weeks have gone and my friends and I were discussing it felt like yesterday when we were moving back to Lancaster. It’s exciting too though because it’s nearly Christmas time and I love when everything looks festive and merry !

 

I know I have mentioned it before but I thought I would talk about the study areas I like in the library, especially as it’s been getting quite busy recently ! There are the study rooms on each floor, which you need to book online, but are really great for doing group study work. There’s different size rooms also depending on how many people there are, the facilities you need etc and they are quite soundproof so you can have interesting discussions.

 

My favourite place to study are the booths on B and C floor. They sit one or two people, depending on how busy the library is, but are really comfy and have plenty of desk space. Each desk also has its own light which is really great when doing some late night studying !!

 

The space around the tree on each floor is really lovely too, it feels very open and relaxed and I think it’s a great environment for doing work in. I really like that part of the new library, the feeling that it’s much more spacious and calmer.

 

The side of the library which is still being worked upon has some seats available on the upper floors. This is a good area if the rest of the library is full as lots of people forget it’s there, in all the excitement of all the new areas, and there’s several of desks and computers. Is also usually pretty quiet there which is great.

 

On B floor, towards the back of the library there are about 4 booths and seats there are like gold dust. I honestly think people just sleep in there overnight to secure their spot !! If you do manage to study in one they’re really great as they are self contained, so have sort of a surrounding wall, so you can study in private, and they’re super comfy. They sit about 4/5 people so it’s nice if you want to study with your friends and it’s really quiet in that area, so hopefully you won’t get too distracted/procrastinate (something I struggle with).

 

There are lots of computers in the library which is great and I really like the new printing system. You can print from any computer, send it to a printer, scan your library card at any of the printers in the library and then choose which documents you’d like to print from your log. This is so much better than searching through piles of paper because you were either too slow getting to the printer or someone has mistakenly taken your essay !

 

I feel like talking about my love for the library is a bit weird but it’s true and I find studying there a lot easier than in my room. I think it’s really important to try and study in different places to your room, whether that be in a cafe, learning zone, library etc. as it gives variety and it can be a bit deflating if you never leave your room as you sleep, eat and study there everyday! It’s very tempting not to leave I know, especially with the wonderful Lancaster weather, but fresh air always helps me clear my mind and focus.

 

Accounting and finance, in the modules I’ve done, often has little tests at the end of each term. These always worry me as I panic and start to stress I don’t know anything !! It’s really important to try and stay calm because, although they are marked tests and count towards your end grade, they’re also very helpful. Having week 8/9 tests helps me to focus in on the key points of the topics and really revise what I don’t know/understand. When it comes to final exams and revision this really helps as you already have concise notes to work from and it makes starting a lot easier, especially if you learnt the module in Michaelmas and it’s summer term !!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this week and that I’ve hopefully helped in your search for seats in the library,

 

Thanks Jen.

 

 

 

By Lee Jing Chan

By Lee Jing Chan

I have been very busy in week 6 preparing for accounting and economics tests as well as finishing coursework. I learned a lot in this process, especially on how to prepare a formal report for the coursework. I was assigned to a group of students with different backgrounds in completing the report. Each of us are required to search information from different sources such as newspapers, journals, webpages and books. After that, we combined our findings and analysed how our findings contradicted or supported each other. For me, it was very interesting working with people from different backgrounds as each of us have different perspectives on certain topics and we had a meaningful discussion which led to the success of our coursework. I think this assignment is very helpful as I am exposed to business world which is diverse and collaboration is crucial in achieving success.

In week 7, I participated in Lancaster Startup Weekend, a 54-hour weekend event, during which developers, startup enthusiasts pitch on their ideas and form teams to work on the ideas within 54 hours and have demo on Sunday evening for judging. I am very passionate about entrepreneurship besides accounting and finance which made me applying for this event. In this event, I managed to meet my counterparts and mentors who gave me a lot of useful advice on entrepreneurship. I turned up knowing no one in the beginning but at the end of the event, I felt close to the other participants who shared their stories about their journey to become an entrepreneur.

Besides that, I also joined FLUX Business Challenge Qualifiers. FLUX is one of the largest national competitions in the UK and gathers top university students from all over the country. In the qualifiers, my team was given only two days to come out with a business proposal on a business case. We had discussion and prepared for presentation till midnight over the two days. I was in charge of the financial analysis of the case and I applied what I have learned in lectures in the past few weeks. At the end, we managed to pass the qualifiers and will represent Lancaster University in FLUX Business Challenge. It is an honour to represent my university and I am ready to work hard for the challenge next year.

To conclude, I think my university life has been interesting so far because there are vast opportunities provided by the university for me to join and learn beyond my studies. I really enjoy it and I am looking forward to my university life ahead.

Jierong Zhu – Week 5

In week 5, we have a new Ac.F 211 lecturer, not Chinese. He is such an interesting man and his speed is super fast. Once when I just turn to the page which he is talking about, he has moved to the next slides. He tried to make us involved in the lecture, taking out 10 pounds from his purse as an award for the student who provides a relatively correct answer. Crazy, isn’t it? At the first, I just thought he is joking. Actually, it was performed, which was completely stuck out at me.

And, in this Week, it is the last practical lesson of Ac.F 211. Actually, at the beginning of course, I cannot fit the style of the tutor. His tone is flat, and he looks very serious. And I still remember in my first lesson of Ac.F 211 Practical, he told us seriously “Do not speak. Just follow what I say.” SAGE, the programme we are learning, is a new thing for me. And my glasses were left at home. As a result of all this, I was too nervous to finish and understand the task perfectly. After the first class, I was dazed and had no confidence to the course. However, the condition was turned around because I sat beside a person who seems to follow the tutor’s step perfectly and I could ask for his help. Why not ask for the tutor’s help? I was afraid of him. And in the week 4 of Practical, he even complimented me. Haha, but I think I still need to find someone to help me to make up the lessons for passing the coursework of Week 10.

The weather turns into worse than the previous weeks. On Monday, Lancaster was surrounded by the frog, like a wonderland. In addition, the rainy and blustery days were frequent. And the daily life becomes shorter and the length of night becomes longer. I probably was affected this so that I became fond of staying in bed for a long time even I woke up. However, I must be positive and active since I have two deadlines on next Monday, which was totally horrible and made me crazy. Why the deadlines were arranged at the same day? To make me become hard-working, I intentionally bought a lovely bunch of flowers to make my bedroom full of vigour.

flowers

And during the whole week 5, I spent most of time in the library. And I really thanks my flatmate to stay with me in library till midnight on Saturday. And I found at 1 a.m. on Sunday, the N1 bus still works. The concept of time is quite different from my idea. In my mind, N1 should not run on during the wee hours of Sunday, since the timetable was shown that there is no N1  bus on Sunday. However, actually, the wee hours of Sunday still on Saturday.Haha, I was compeletly become addicted to study thanks for two deadlines. If I keep the active attitude to study, I may get a first class at the end of Year 2, which is absolutely impossible. By the way, I really hate that people eat the fried chicken,French fires, pizza and something with strong smell around me in the library , which makes not be in the mood for learning.

Jierong Zhu

In week 3, the biggest news for all the Chinese who are current studying or working in the United Kingdom is that our president, Jinping Xi, took a visit to the Britain with her life, Liyuan Peng for 5 days (from October 19th to October 23rd ). I think it may be the only chance in my life to be so close with them. Wow, it is so exciting, isn’t it! Since in China, we cannot see our president easily even in a far distance. And the military parade is quite grand, especially with 41-gun salute. It sounds super cool. I have watched a military parade in normal scale once last year, and I was shocked. This time, it is for welcome ceremony, which must be more attractive. Bad news, I do not have day-off.  Good news, one of my friends went to London to welcome Dada Xi and Mama Peng(In China, we call our president, Xi Dada, and his wife, Mama Peng). I got the “live telecast”.

1 2 3

And on Friday, they came to Manchester and I followed their  steps. But, it was too crowed to see them clearly. The environment was exciting. The Five-Starred Red Flag can be seen everywhere.

And according the news, the interpreter ( a Chinese man) who works for Queen of Britain reigns had gained doctor’s degree from Lancaster University in 1990. And the person who did a speech in Chinese for  president Xi is also from Confucius Institute of Lancaster University. Wow, they are my schoolmates although we are in different department. So cool~ And people around me  (include me) guess in the future more Chinese students will come to UK, to Lancaster University.

For campus life, the lecturer of Ac.F 214 was changed in Week 3. I got one more Chinese lecturer. And I quite enjoy the style of his teaching. The lecture which lasts 2 hours becomes less boring. Luckily, he also is my seminar’s tutor.  In Week 4, the lecture of Ac.F 211 was told to change due to too many complaints. I felt a little bit sorry for him when I heard the news. A worse thing is at  the end of Week 4 the deadline of Ac.F 350 Game Theory Report comes, which was given before the summer holiday. I ignored it for whole summer vacation. So did my friends. I am not the only one, which makes me relieved a lot. It is my first time to prepare the financial report. I really do not have any idea about it. And during the preparation of the report, I was crazy and hope I do have a good result.

After handing in  the report, I feel the sky turns blue and everything becomes better.  And when I passed by the Reception, I was  shocked. The reception was decorated in Halloween style . So did the receptors. One receptor dressed up like a zombie and the other  like a witch, I guess. They were so friendly to let me take a photograph with them. Friday night must be party time, for celebrating  Halloween. My Halloween dressing-up is quite easy. I wear in a little different from the usual and put some blood at the edge of  mouth and eyes. And on Saturday, I went to see the movie, 007, with my friends, eating a large tub of popcorn. The film is OK, but it is not as good as we expect. The car showed in the film is super cool, which can spit fire and bouncing off the driver with the parachute, which I remember the most after seeing.

Week 6 – Jenni Hanford

Although there’s always a lot to do at University, sometimes too much when you think about lectures, tutorials, deadlines, self-study, societies etc, it’s important to think about life after it’s all over, a very sad thought indeed! University is about enjoying a whole new life experience; making new friends, learning new subjects, living independently and much much more. However, all the things you do at University can, and most probably will, affect your chances in the ‘outside world’.  It’s really important to capitalise on your time at Lancaster University and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities it has to offer.

In a previous blog I mentioned the Lancaster careers service and target connect. This service is really important and has so much to offer, offering a wide range of sessions, which help you to prepare for future jobs. There are also various opportunities to attend talks that will enhance your current studies, dependant on your subject and year of study. Lancaster has brilliant connections with many different firms and there are often talks and workshops from such industry leaders, which can be very helpful in knowing what they are looking for, but also provides networking opportunities.

A strong CV is very important in getting any job, whether it is part-time or a graduate opportunity. Target connect has many sessions which it runs and these vary depending on the type of CV you want to create. I have attended a number of the different sessions and they were very helpful in focusing in on a concise and effective CV, explaining the key dos and don’ts to creating a winning snapshot of you for employers. Even if looking for a job is a long way off, it’s a good idea to have a CV ready to go that you can add to over the years whilst you’re at University, so that it isn’t a rushed job when you need it!

Work experience is very useful when applying for future jobs, as you can easily evidence relevant skills you have developed, which match your desired position. It also demonstrates that you have the motivation and ability to secure a job/internship/placement and, if it is in the field you are applying for, shows you are focused and dedicated to your future career. Work experience is also very helpful to you, in deciding exactly on the career you want. It may be the case you don’t enjoy certain work, which is actually great as it can guide you into a career you’ll definitely enjoy, but it’s also still experience and helps you to understand the ‘working world’, which is very useful for interviews.

Many job applications, especially in audit firms, require the completion of psychometric tests. Each firm differs slightly in the tests they conduct, but they’re all the same in principle. They cover the areas of numeracy, logic and verbal reasoning, normally completed online and are multiple choice. If you progress to further stages, you may be required to complete a paper version, to ensure you were the one completing them online! Many people say you can either do them or you can’t, which I don’t believe is 100% true. There are many examples online for you to practice with, and I also bought workbooks on each test type, which definitely assisted me in completing the tests successfully.

A good quality degree classification is very important in any job interview, so focusing on your studies from the start is important. There are many different job opportunities and they all want different degrees/grades/skills/people, so you need to look carefully at job descriptions and the necessary requirements.

In job interviews, it’s important to evidence the strengths required (specifics found on company websites) through activities and experiences you have encountered. To produce strong interview responses, you need to have participated in lots of different activities, which you are passionate and can talk about.  This can easily be achieved by; joining various societies at Lancaster University, taking advantage of the many volunteering opportunities on and off campus, getting a part-time job/work experience. If you have lots of different things to talk about, you will come across as very interesting in your interviews and evidence many skills that the company are looking for.

Apply early! There is always a job deadline but it’s better not to wait until the last day to submit your application. I suggest this because it means your application is less likely to be rushed and you may be more likely to get the job, as if the position is already filled before the deadline (job dependant) or they can only take a certain number of people, you may miss out.

Hopefully this weeks post has been helpful in providing a few tips in preparing for the future! I find it really scary, but if you take everything one step at a time and do it in stages, it becomes a lot less stressful and a lot easier.

Thanks for reading,

Jen.

Week 5 – Jenni Hanford

Week 5 has arrived and I have no idea how we got here so quickly !! It’s now halfway through the term and things are getting serious; tests, coursework’s, stress, tiredness, it can all be a bit much sometimes. The important thing to remember is you’ve already done 50%, so you’ve just got to carry on doing what you’ve been doing, often things aren’t as bad as they seem. If you try and keep on top of things as much as possible, it will be a lot easier on you and your workload.

So this week was my dissertation deadline and I’m pleased to say I was ready in time (yay!) and it wasn’t as bad as I initially thought. Don’t get me wrong, it was tough and a massive personal challenge, but it was extremely rewarding when I finally dropped it into the coursework box. Producing such a mammoth piece of work felt amazing and showed me how much I have actually grown whilst at university. I’d never have been able to produce what I did in first year and that’s the point here; you aren’t expected to know/ be able to do everything in your first few weeks at university, it’s all about learning new things every week and bringing them together for your final exams.

Before I came to Lancaster I had many preconceptions of what university life would be like and, for the most part, I was very wrong, some very important aspects never even crossed my mind! It’s very different imaging life away from home and then actually having to live it and it takes a long time to adjust, well it did in my case. Everything, pretty much, results in independence; cooking, cleaning, shopping, studying, washing (my least favourite) and it can become overwhelming. You also have to learn everything at once, the realisation setting in immediately after seeing your parents drive off on moving day/ sitting on that train as it pulls away. I thought it would all become easier after week 1 but it took me until week 6, at least, to feel properly settled and comfortable. However, make the most of it as in next to no time it’ll be the end of the year and you’ll be wishing time travel was a real thing !!

Accounting modules, in my experience, have tests at the end of most terms, which is always a little worrying, no matter how prepared you are. Sometimes people don’t really take notice of these tests but when it comes to the summer exams, they wish they had taken a little more notice. Every percentage counts and if you can go into your final exam with as much as possible from term tests, tutorial attendance, workshop preparation then it gives you a little boost. If you can get a percentage from turning up to tutorials, that can be the difference between a pass and a fail sometimes, or a 2:1 and a 1st and they are easy marks you don’t want to lose !

Often on courses there is a lot of extra reading and I’d be the first to admit that sometimes I don’t feel like I have time to do it. However, when I read the recommended texts, I’ve found it really helps with my courses and fully understanding the different topics. If you don’t have time during the week, take a few hours out of your weekend to read the main course text as it’s worth it and will really help when it come to revision in third term.

Everyone has different learning techniques and I find notes really help me. In my first year I made lots of notes but they didn’t really help me as I was just copying everything out. As I’ve developed my notes have become more concise, covering the main points needed in my revision and leaving out less key phrases. I try to make my notes as useful as I can so that when I come to revise they make sense and were worthwhile completing.

As a final year student I have been looking at my prospects for next year (scary) and it’s actually been really exciting. There are so many things out there and I’m confident that I’ll find something which is perfect for me. I am looking at the moment at doing a postgraduate year abroad and it has motivated me to really push my work to be as good as it can, so I can achieve what I want to in the future. University is tough in many respects but, after my placement year and looking at next year, it really is so worthwhile !!

Thanks for reading,

Jen

Jennifer Hanford – 3rd Blog – Dissertation Week

As part of my Accounting degree I am completing a 10,000-word dissertation, which is very scary. My deadline is next Friday and I’m very happy to say that I’m almost done, but I know most people doing dissertations have a little longer, so I thought I would focus this week’s posting on the tips and tricks I’ve learnt, so hopefully you can all be as prepared as possible!

My first tip would be to utilise target connect and the facilities here at Lancaster University. The careers service run various sessions, dependent on the week, based on the different sections of the dissertation. These talks are very useful as they ensure you stay focused in each area and if you complete/start the sections along with the timescale of the sessions, you will be in a great position when it comes to your deadline week.

Planning is essential is producing a good quality dissertation; therefore the proposal you submit shouldn’t be a rushed piece of work. If you create a strong proposal/outline then you are starting from a very good place. A key aspect to your proposal is you research question, which needs to be very clear so that your marker knows exactly what your dissertation will be focusing on and the area you are researching. If your proposal has a good structure then you can continue this into your dissertation, giving it a backbone and a continuous flow, which are critical qualities in a successful dissertation.

Referencing is very time consuming and can be difficult to keep track of. Unfortunately, I left all my referencing till the end and constructing my bibliography took a lot longer than I had expected. If I was doing it again, I would keep a log off all the sources I used and add each one to my bibliography, as I went along. This will make it much easier and ensures you include all the sources you have researched and used.

Research is the first step in a dissertation and it’s very important to be detailed and thorough. This is the foundation for your whole dissertation and it’s essential you find a topic you find interesting and are able to write a lot about! It’s helpful to write about something that already has a lot of literature, as you will have a good starting point for your literature review, and lots to discuss throughout your dissertation, when comparing with your personal findings.

My dissertation includes interviews, which needed to be focused and directly related to my subject matter. The questions you ask in interviews can be very difficult to construct, which is why I would recommend writing your literature review first. I found that after writing my literature review, I knew a lot more about the topic and the previous findings, enabling me to focus my questions on key areas so that I was able to directly use the answers given, as they were directly related to my research question.

Methods used are very important, as this is the data that you have personally collected. It’s important to explain your methods clearly, relating this to other researchers who have used similar techniques and why you thought that was the best option for your study. This is where you can also include details of methods you didn’t choose and the reasons, before clearly defining the approach you took and how you approached it.

One key aspect is the relationship with your dissertation supervisor. They are a specialist in your subject and it’s important you communicate clearly; to ensure your dissertation is the best possible output you can create. Asking relevant and clear questions to your supervisor should improve the final mark you receive.

The word count should be aimed for, as that is what is expected. So don’t write too many words and then dump them all in the appendix when you reach the limit, but at the same time don’t write too little as then there is less you can score marks on. The appendix should be used for giving any extra detail to the main points of your dissertation, which may not necessarily fit in the word limit but are relevant to your work.

Finally, don’t panic. It seems like climbing Everest when you start on the dissertation ‘journey’, but once you break it down into the key aspects, the mountain seems a little more like Snowdon. Try to remain focused on your research question, always asking yourself if it’s relevant, clear and concise. Hopefully this has helped with anyone writing their dissertation and good luck to all!

Thanks, Jen

Study abroad for the first time! – LeeJing Chan

September has been exciting for me as I have taken a big step in my life: Study abroad.  The journey from my country to Lancaster was long and tiring, luckily I was offered a help by a friendly student representative in settling down. My room is so beautiful which I thought it was a hotel room at first.    Later I found out that Lancaster University has earned the title of the ‘Best University Halls’ for six years running in the National Student Housing Survey and indeed, it deserves it.

I don’t think I imagined just how big it would be in terms of the number of students studying in this university until I was in the super long queue to enter Great Hall for Fresher’s Fair. It struck me then, that I was just one of many hundreds of students in the hall waiting to be introduced to a new stage of our lives: university. Lancaster University is a massive cultural mix and it is exciting to learn with people from different cultural backgrounds. During the first week, I managed to collect contacts of my classmates from all over the world. I strongly feel that this diverse learning environment helps me to expand my horizon not only academically but also culturally.

The best thing I like about Lancaster University is that they are very supportive in terms of giving career advice and insights to future working environment. Employability skills and personal development workshops are arranged throughout the year to prepare students for employment.  Besides, there are a lot of clubs and societies which are related to my course such as Finance and Investment Society, Financial Strategy Society and Economics Society. The first two weeks I have been busy joining introductory talks of different societies and I really looking forward to their activities including networking events with the Big Four which will give me added advantages in the future.

What I like about lecture here is the clear explanation by the lecturers. Besides, lecture slides are shared to the students before lectures and I found this is very useful because I could ask lecturers and pay extra attention to things that I don’t understand in class.

Outside of university life, there’s rather a lot to explore. During the second weekend, I went to the town to see some of Lancaster’s highlights. The Georgian Architecture is indeed a sight to behold. There are a lot of coffee shops which I found are great places for me to relax during weekends. The smell of coffee permeates the air as I wandered the streets, and I can sample everything from locally-brewed real ales to delicious home-made soups and cakes. Besides, I was fortunate enough to join Lancaster Music Festival and I was exposed to the musical abundance, excellence and diversity of Lancaster. There were some musical bands performing along the street and the performances were very unique with its local characteristics.  I was thrilled and mesmerised by the beauty of the city and culture.

Well, being so far away from friends and family does have its downsides. I believe feeling homesick is a natural reaction that most of us experience when we have to leave people that we love behind.  However, it’s easier than you think to make friends here, so you’re unlikely to feel lonely. The feeling reduces when I get along with new people and get involved in a new life. University life is like all adventures, it will have its ups and downs. It’s been a good start and I am ready to face challenges ahead and treasure every moment I have in university!