Come winter…come fun!

It’s probably considered natural to not look forward to winter. Having hardly experienced a ‘winter’ for the better part of my life in Mumbai, it’s even more natural for me! The better the summer, as we had this year, the more one dreads winter perhaps. But…and I am myself surprised to have a ‘but’ here…this is my third winter in Lancaster, and I admit that I am rather warming up to the unique delights that only winter has to offer. Let me count the ways…

Clothing: I absolutely love summer clothes but there’s so much more creativity and activity involved in dressing up during winter. How to layer one thing over another is a question of keeping warm but it’s also a question of blending different elements harmoniously. The scarf, the jumper, the thin jacket, the thick coat, the boots…all of them have to come together to make the perfect ensemble. And if all this wasn’t complicated enough, the temperatures can dilly-dally between 10 and 1 so that till the minute you’re out of the door, you may still be in two minds about whether you need to put on more or less. I am usually the sort who decides what to wear the next day the previous evening—a hangover from my Mumbai days where the weather pretty much never changed its mind throughout the year—but this strategy seems rather ill-suited to this weather.

Fireworks: Am I the only one who thinks that there is something exciting about watching fireworks go off in sky while you are shivering in your boots? The various firework displays all across Lancaster including our University are a lovely start to the winter…making you catch that feeling of something ‘festive in the air’ that you can’t seem to shake off from that moment on, and don’t want to!

Christmas Markets: I have this theory that Christmas was invented for the sole purpose of making winters fun (I mean the whole merry-making part of it). Christmas markets as I discovered are the heart of all the fun, and every little town worth its name puts up a bright and bustling market sometime in November to last till December. I am really fond of the Manchester Christmas Market but then I am fond of all things Manchester. I also love taking the ‘Day Trips’ that we at Lancaster University are lucky to have. York is one of my favourite Day Trips as it combines a visit to the quaint little historical town with a detour to the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet around the area. I have booked myself onto the Durham Christmas Markets Day Trip in the first week of December; you might want to check out the Graduate College Day Trips section for that!

Delectables: This is the only time when ‘mince pies’ debut in the food aisles. While they are supposed to be a Christmas delicacy, I have noticed that they start showing up in November itself which is a good thing…because two months is too short a period of time to enjoy them. Buttery and softly crusted outside with juicy fruity filling inside, every store seems to stock a slightly different take on it—not that different and yet somehow different. So far my favourite is Greggs’ (though M&S comes quite close) and it’s not a small deal that they’re available right here on campus! Another typical item that makes an appearance only at this time is mulled wine. I am not an ardent fan of wines but there’s something so endearing about the idea of having ‘warm wine’ in the cold outdoors that I had to try! Every Christmas Market will have one and generally more mulled wine stalls.

Lights, Music, Action: Everywhere is so beautiful in winter what with lovely lighting on trees that shine in the early dark, the music wafting into the air, and various events like the Christmas Lights Switch On, Carol Concerts, and what not. Sometimes like around the Manchester Christmas Market you might even encounter a live carol singing and dancing group… their energy and joy is so infectious that though I am not one to dance I am about as close to doing a merry jig as I ever am.

Snow: Nature is probably the most magnificent magician of all but we are all so used to its wonders that it doesn’t capture us anymore. That is till we see a trick we haven’t seen before and that for me was snow. I look forward to catching some snow in winter.

Gifts and Giving: Last but not the least…Winter means Home to me because I visit my family for Christmas …to celebrate the joy of loving and giving! While I don’t need a reason to enjoy shopping, there is a certain delight to shopping in the winter when everyone else is shopping for gifts for near and dear ones … it makes me think of what gifts I will take home…and what memories I will bring back.

Guest Post: Annie Thompson – I Discovered These Incredible Hidden Gems in Lancaster

Hey there, I’m Annie and I’m a Marketing with Psychology Final Year student who likes good food and visiting unique and nostalgic places. Lancaster is a smallish city with its small-town charms, and I absolutely love finding new places and cool things to do here!

Now, if you love puzzles and challenging yourself then you need call up some friends and family and head down to Lancaster Escape Room… It’s an awesome activity that will entertain everyone and is ideal for teambuilding activities. One themed room, one hour, up to 8 ‘comrades’. It is up to you to hunt down clues and piece together the puzzles and break out. Pretty much Prison Break IRL, if you ask me. Get that sweet 10% student discount while you’re at it too. #GoTeam!

Oh, what’s that? You’d like some brain food after all that detective work? The KF Oriental Supermarket is right across from the Common Garden bus stop. It will provide you with all the ingredients you need to whip up a DIY delicious yet budget-friendly curry yaki udon or spicy ribs with fried rice and so much more! A lot of local students have no idea that they can stock up on interesting snacks, sauces, spices and even ingredients for a good ol’ fashioned hot pot. Or you know, there are instant ramen as well… (For those of you that aren’t too adept in the culinary field yet.)

And… Since there is always room for dessert, ice cream would definitely rank at the top of my cravings. The Walling’s Dairy Farm is such a cute little café/take away place on Garstang Road, a bit of a journey but is it worth it? Definitely! A must-try on a day out with your mates or on your cheat day! If you simply want some ice cream, look no further than the Walling’s store in Alex Square. A double-scoop cookie dough ice cream cone on a hot summer day will be something that I will truly miss after I graduate this year…

If you were wondering what landmarks or attraction that are of historical importance to the establishment of Lancaster city, then Lancaster Castle is a monumental trademark of the city. You can purchase guided tour tickets on the University Web Store. Discover the dark past of the Castle and how it was first served as a prison in 1196, as well as how it witnessed some of the most notorious trials in history such as the Pendle Witches. For you history buffs that are interested in more landmarks, I also paid a visit to the Lancaster Maritime Museum and learnt a lot about Lancaster’s maritime trade past, and its involvement in the fishing industry of the Lune Estuary. The upstairs exhibitions were pretty cool, really well put together and a delight to your audiovisuals.

Did you know that every Wednesday and Saturday, there are market stalls in Lancaster city centre selling fresh produce, accessories and trinkets, authentic street cuisine from all over the world, and many second-hand sale items etc. A chance for you to pick up some food that’s not from the local supermarkets… And get this, there are even freshly made crepes! I always go for my savoury ham and cheese fix, it never fails to perk up my day!

Besides good food, the other ‘love of my life’ would be gaming. We are inseparable. I happened to wander into the retro gaming store Game Over one day and was instantly intrigued by the selection of games and other knick-knacks they had in there. I must have said “Oh my God, I used to play that when I was younger!” a dozen times. I even picked up some collectibles to gift my ‘geeky’ friends, in case they also needed a nostalgic trip down the memory lane and rediscover some oldies but goodies.

Last but not least! Williamson Park with the spectacular Ashton Memorial – overlooking over 50 acres of woodlands and with views across Morecambe Bay to the Lake District Fells. On a gloriously sunny day, you could admire the glistening lake water under the sun, and the park coming to life with children, dogs and happy folks and the exquisite architectural design of the Ashton Memorial. I also popped into the Butterfly House and the Mini Zoo and honestly, I felt so giddy! Through the looking glass, I witnessed some of the most beautiful species of butterflies as well as some of the most gruesome ‘mini beasts’. Warning: not for the faint of hearts. But the park itself is a perfect way to take a much-needed break from the studying and reconnect with nature.

Don’t forget, if you’ve got any cool places that you love or came across, connect and share it with us on the LUMS Social Media.

Food Shopping in Lancaster

As a student, food shopping can be an event much like laundry: an annoying but necessary task that we often try do as quickly and with as little thought as possible. However, by taking stock of the various shopping options available in Lancaster, planning ahead a bit, and being a savvy consumer, you can save a considerable amount of money and improve the quality of the food you eat.

In this piece I’ll lay out the main food shopping options you’ll have as a Lancaster student, and their respective pros and cons. Hopefully, having read it, you will avoid the fate of living solely off Pot Noodles and Greggs pasties.

Campus Convenience Stores

As a first-year student, you’re likely staying in accommodation on campus, so your first ports of call will be Spar and Central. Spar is centrally located nearby to Alexandra Square, whilst Central is on the other side of campus near Pendle and Grizedale colleges. These are relatively small stores that provide convenient access to basic cooking ingredients, drinks, and lunch foods. Though they are useful for bits and pieces, you’re probably best off not making these shops your go-to for a weekly shop: prices are higher than supermarkets and the selection is limited.

The Farmers Market

Every Thursday, in Alexandra Square on campus, there’s a farmers market which sells all manner of local produce, handmade and homegrown foods, and lunches ranging from sushi to hot dogs. It’s a good way of getting hold of local ingredients as well as local delicacies – such as ‘lemon cheese’. Yes, really (its less weird than it sounds).

Sainsbury’s

Going to Lancaster’s largest supermarket on a Wednesday became something of a ritual for me during my first year at the university. Why, you ask? Well, like a more wholesome version of the free bus trips to the Sugarhouse on a Friday night, on Wednesday there are free buses from the university to Sainsbury’s – and back. Sainsbury’s has by far the largest selection of food on offer of Lancaster’s food shops. There are all the staples you’d expect: meat, vegetables, ready meals, alcohol, frozen foods, world foods; as well as a butcher’s counter, delicatessen, and bakery. Sainsbury’s strikes a good balance between value and quality – their own-brand goods are generally of a high quality compared to other major supermarkets. Furthermore, much of their food is ethically sourced or locally grown – for example, all of their own-brand fresh meat is British. There’s also a selection of non-food items, such as homeware and toiletries. The bus takes you to and from the carpark, meaning its easy to buy and transport large quantities of food. This is your best bet if you want to do a week’s worth of shopping at once and save on money.

Lancaster City Centre

Beyond Sainsbury’s – but, handily, only a short walk away – are the shops of Lancaster’s city centre. There’s Marks & Spencer if you’re looking for something more upmarket, but on a student budget there are some cheaper stores that will probably be of more use to you. Home Bargains and Poundland can be very useful for toiletries, tinned foods, and essentials like tea and coffee. There’s also Iceland, which specialises in frozen foods, has some nicely priced fresh fruit and vegetables, and is also handy for those summer barbecues you’ll no doubt be having. Lancaster is a fairly compact place, so its easy to drop into all of these stores in one trip – or have a quick look through before you do a big shop at Sainsbury’s.

Morecambe

Just outside of Lancaster is Morecambe, which has some great budget options for food shopping. There’s Asda, which is a similar size to Sainsbury’s and has a huge selection of food at low prices; and Aldi, one of the ‘German discounters’, with very cheap prices but a comparatively limited selection. Although both of these options are cheaper than anything available in Lancaster, they’re also further away, so you’ll need to take some time and money out to reach them on the bus. Fortunately, buses to Morecambe can be taken straight from the university underpass.

Online Shopping

Of course, if you don’t fancy venturing out on the bus for your shopping, there’s always the option of home delivery. Both Asda and Sainsbury’s offer this service, and it has been extremely useful to me in saving both time and money. I often find that being able to sort products by price, and being able to see all of the special offers together in one place, leads to me spending much less money on food than I otherwise would have. Additionally, once you’ve done a few online shops, the websites will remember which products you buy frequently and suggest them to you, making shopping even more convenient. The downside of this option is that there is a minimum spend of £25, and you’ll also have to pay a small fee for the delivery. This can be alleviated by ordering a few days ahead of the delivery date, or by spreading the cost amongst a few people by ordering a shop with a few of your flatmates or friends. The latter option is especially useful as you can buy products in bulk amounts, saving even more money.

That just about covers all of the main options for food shopping in Lancaster. With a bit of knowledge of the choices available, its easy to find the sort of food that you’re after. Plan ahead, save money where possible, and use all of the resources at your fingertips.

5 Reasons why I chose Lancaster University

My journey of making the decision to pursue Management from Lancaster University has been very unique. It was a bright sunny day early in February when I decided to attend the college fair organised by a counselling agency in Delhi. I chose it because, with a full-time job, I knew I would not be able to do thorough research on my own. It was a good decision because they gave me an opportunity to meet 100s of Universities under one roof. On the day of the fair, I was given a list of all the participating Universities and Colleges and was asked to approach the ones I was interested in. Seeing all the Universities and students being so specific in their approach, I got scared for a moment. It was finally happening. I had a few universities in mind that I definitely wanted to speak to, and so it all began. I went round and round in circles, crossing out the names of the ones I’d spoken to and making notes of whether or not I wanted to consider them and finally I came to the desk by Lancaster University. The programme appealed to me right away. I went home and started my research. I shortlisted 10 colleges from the long list and decided to further shortlist just 5 colleges where I wanted to apply.

My criteria of shortlisting those 5 colleges were the programme structure and modules, rankings of the University, FT ranking of the programme, fees and other living expenses and career support.

These were also the 5 reasons I chose Lancaster University:

  • Programme Structure and Modules: The programme had very interesting modules and a few modules that drew my attention were Digital Innovation in Businesses and Entrepreneurship. Most of the other universities were not offering these modules and I really wanted to learn them. Also, I was unaware of the block-taught structure of the programme while applying, but the structure closely resembles the industry environment and it prepares you for the future challenges. The 9-5 classes and different modules in different weeks made me a better manager of my time.
  • Rankings of the University: I made it a point to thoroughly check the rankings of all the universities and their programmes as well. Lancaster University is very highly recognised by institutes such as Quacquarelli Symonds World University rankings, Financial Times rankings, etc. 
  • FT ranking of the Programme: It is extremely difficult to find out the world rankings of the particular Programme, however, it was important to me. So, I took the challenge and researched and found that the programme was amongst the top 100 programmes in the world.
  • Fees and other Living Expenses: I would not say that fees and living expenses were my top priority but I understood the reality and I was definitely influenced by the amount of money I would be spending.
  • Career Support: It was an important criterion for me. I wanted to choose a University that not only provided the career support during the year of education but also after it. The careers support at Lancaster University has been exceptional. The team is amazing and I go to them with everything. If I have to prepare my CV or for an interview, they have the solution to all my problems. Also, it is just nice to have a chat with Martine whenever I am disheartened by the result of my job application, which has been the case so far. She seems to always know the right words to boost my morale!

I would just say that I applied to 5 universities and got offers from them all. I spoke to my counsellor, my friends as well as my family but in the end, I decided to go with my gut instinct and I could not be prouder. It was the right decision. I have grown more as a person and professional in this one year. It has been a difficult year, for people who say that it will be a cakewalk are probably being dishonest. But, at the same time, you are successful only when you challenge yourself. So trust your instinct and take the road not taken!

 

Walking in Lancaster and Beyond

While its true that Lancaster is a city, it is undoubtedly on the smaller side compared to many of its peers. The same goes for its collection of shops, and its nightlife – although any true Lancaster student will proudly vouch for The Sugarhouse when it comes to that. For the full city experience, Manchester is just an easy train-ride away. But being one of the more rurally located UK universities, one of the great things Lancaster has to offer is its close proximity to some stunning scenery and beautiful natural environments.

For me, the green sight of the university campus, surrounded by trees, was a welcoming sight on moving-in day, having come from a small rural town. The freedom to be able to walk for five minutes from my flat and reach the campus’ woodland trail was something I took full advantage of whilst living on campus. I can recall one particularly tranquil morning, when, following a night out, I walked around the campus’ green space as the sun came up, and saved a tired bee with a buttercup. Quite a contrasting follow-up to the bright lights and thumping music of The Sugarhouse…

This year, I’ve lived off-campus, and – fortunately, given my love of walking – right next to the canal. Walking up the canal, out of the city, and into the countryside was a great tool for maintaining sanity during those more gruelling revision periods. I’ve been pleased to see that the brothers and sisters of Lancaster’s iconic campus ducks inhabit the canal, and watching ducklings paddling side-by-side with canal boats has been a consistently enjoyable sight. One of the canal’s other great features is that its flanked by pubs and chip shops. Of course, no British walk is complete without a trip to one or the other (or both).

Further afield from Lancaster is the Yorkshire Dales, which my Lancaster college (Bowland til I die) offered a free coach trip to the other week. Armed with Greggs pasties and raincoats, we headed out to the Ingleton waterfalls trail. The foggy weather was a little disappointing at first – not that it’s wise to expect sunny days in the north of England, but ended up only adding to the stunning sights of the area: jagged cliffs flanked with dramatic waterfalls, crashing streams, cobbled walls dotting the hills. There was a café midway through the walk, and a pub at the end. Not bad for somewhere on the doorstep of university.

Lancaster’s own bus station is a surprising gateway to many more green walks. The city’s small size means no one’s far away from the bus station, and the bus station means no one’s far away from the Lake District. Tomorrow, I’ll be going there with some friends to enjoy a rare week of northern sun. Alongside the regular supplies of pasties and sun cream, I’ll be bringing some insect repellent – countless gnat bites being one of the less exciting takeaways from the trip to Ingleton. Of course, there are still many parts of the city and beyond that I’m yet to explore, but it’s been a joy to be able to incorporate walking and nature into student life.

Day Trips in the Surrounding Area

At the moment, exam season is underway at Lancaster University so my days are currently filled with studying and preparing for my exams. Therefore, trying to maintain focus and motivation, this week I decided to book a day trip to Edinburgh to look forward to after my exams. One of my interests when I have spare time at university is to travel and explore the local and surrounding area. Studying in Lancaster for the past three years has meant that I have had a chance to visit a variety of places and therefore I thought that I would share with you all some places that are ideal for a day trip when at Lancaster University.

Blackpool: In my first year I discovered that Lancaster is on the doorstep to one of the North’s favourite seaside towns – Blackpool! With direct buses that can be taken from the university or town, I have found that Blackpool makes for the perfect day trip during the summer months. That so, it has become one of my annual day trip destinations to visit at the end of Summer term. As a beach town, I love to visit the sandy beach front for a perfect summer walk and to enjoy fresh fish and chips from the restaurants along the promenade. I have also learnt that Blackpool is a great place to visit in winter to see the famous illumination event which sees the night town lit up with a light show.

Manchester: Manchester has become a city that I am always keen to return to and is perfect for a day of retail therapy and city exploring. You can take the train from Lancaster Station and when you arrive you are welcomed by the city bustle and a large shopping high street. Whilst in Manchester, I always try to make a visit to one or two of the many attractions that are spread throughout the city. Having taken several trips to Manchester now I have enjoyed visiting the Hogwarts-like John Rylands Library, Manchester Science Museum and Manchester’s China Town.

Liverpool: Another city favourite of mine is the city of Liverpool. As a city that is famous for being the birthplace of The Beatles, there are many museums and monuments to visit throughout the city which celebrate the band. As well as doing some shopping, I also enjoy making a visit to the docks and the maritime museum.

Tatton Park: For an escape from city life, I enjoy a visit to the Cheshire town of Knutsford to visit Tatton Park. Tatton Park is a National Trust estate and I am always excited to make a visit to see the deer and sheep that roam freely across the acres of grounds that the public have access to. If you are looking for a quiet place to visit then I would recommend Tatton Park because it is always a calming escape to sit and watch the wildlife and sailors around the lake and moorland.

If you have a love for travelling or exploring new places like me, then I hope I have captured your interest to visit some of the places that I have had a chance to visit whilst studying at Lancaster University.

On Campus Living and Off Campus Living

One of the distinctive qualities of Lancaster University is its campus. Located in Bailrigg, just outside of the city of Lancaster, it sits clustered atop a hill, the spire of its iconic Chaplaincy Centre peering down from above. Being located slightly outside of the city, the university ostensibly operates as its own little ecosystem – attached to Lancaster, yet distinct and separate: with shops, banks, eateries, parks and other facilities all of its own. This makes living on campus a very different experience to living off campus. I am in my second year of studying at Lancaster, and have experienced both – here I’ll go through the ups and downs of each and compare my experiences. Although most first-years choose to live on campus, as a student at Lancaster you’ll likely experience both in your time, and the choice to live off campus during the first year is there for those who wish.

Perhaps the most important thing to discuss is the accommodation. One of the great things to be offered by Lancaster’s campus accommodation is a huge degree of choice. There are a large range of accommodation types to select from, for all needs and budgets – some unique to certain colleges. These range from a standard room with a shared kitchen and bathroom, to en suite rooms, and even to townhouses – which operate more like a shared house than traditional university accommodation, with many people sharing the same large building and communal areas. When I lived on campus during my first year, I chose the Basic En Suite style accommodation – for me, this was what best balanced comfort and value for money. I lived at Bowland College, and had a room that was extremely spacious – especially compared to rooms of friends that I had seen at other universities – and shared a kitchen with three others.

Now I live in town, and my accommodation is very different. I share a four-storey house with seven other people. This is something I have greatly enjoyed. We are all friends, and having a house to yourself where you’re free to throw social events and do things together is very good. There’s always someone to chat to in the kitchen, people to study with, or someone to do something fun. However, the living situation in a such a large house working so well rests on us all knowing each other and getting along. This is one of the advantages of living on campus during your first year: you can get to know new people, and then, if you choose to live off campus in a much more communal environment, you can do so with people who you know and and get along with.

There are some parts of living off campus that take some getting used to, though: visits from cleaners are far less frequent, so its up to you and your housemates to keep communal areas in a liveable condition – and to remember when the bi-weekly bin collections are (trust me: this is easier said than done). Also, given that the university is located just outside of the city, you’ll need to get the bus to lectures. This isn’t difficult – with plenty of bus routes making their way to campus and running at very regular times, but it does mean you’ll have to leave slightly ahead of time for classes. This can be a challenge if, like myself, you’re not a morning person – no more dragging yourself out of bed at 8:59 for that 9:00am lecture.

The next thing to talk about is facilities. Living on campus, you have constant easy access to all of the university’s educational facilities. The library – which is open 24/7 – is just a short walk away. This was massively helpful for me when I needed to print something out in a hurry, get some last-minute work in for an essay in one of the study spaces, or meet with fellow students from my course for a group project. Getting to class is also easy – campus is quite contained and compact, and the Spine system means you’re never more than a short walk from where you need to be. There are also plenty of other, non-educational facilities on campus: college bars at every corner, grocery shops, banks and ATM’s, regular buses into town, and, most importantly, a Greggs for that pre-lecture pasty and coffee combo.

Living off campus, you lose some of that easy access to facilities. Buses mean its never too hard to get to where you need to be, but losing the ability to walk to the library or the Learning Zone in a matter of minutes was a bit of a loss. However, you do gain easy access to all that Lancaster has to offer: from shops and the city centre, to pubs and clubs, to cultural highlights like the castle, and transport hubs like the bus and train stations. Like campus, Lancaster itself is a rather compact place. Living near the centre, I’m never more than fifteen minutes from wherever I want to go. Being able to simply walk to the shops for food, or walk back from the Sugarhouse after a night out rather than wait for a bus was quite revolutionary for me. So, its about weighing up your priorities and what’s more important to you: a bigger house off campus, or more accommodation choice on campus? Living in a busy town, or living amongst other students and academics? Working in the many on-campus study spaces, or working in your own room? Round-the-clock access to the library, or round-the-clock access to kebab shops?

Both choices have their upsides and downsides, but for me, campus was certainly the right place to start. Lancaster’s campus was a warm, friendly, vibrant, and safe place to live; and being around so many other students and facilities was good for finding my feet and getting settled in. Saying that, now I have settled in, living off campus is great. The choice is yours, and I would recommend trying both to see which you prefer. Either way, you’ll have lots to do, be around lots of good people, and you’ll never be far from places to go and things to see.

Guest Post: From Varanasi to Lancaster

MSc Management student, Anjani, shares with us her journey from Varanasi, India, to Lancaster, UK.

 

“We are pleased to inform that you have been selected for the Masters in Management programme at Lancaster University.” These words blurred in front of my eyes when I first read them. Excitement and joy took over. A small town Indian girl was now going to be a part of the top University, it was more than dream come true. I was sure that my struggles were finally over, but it is usually when we think that the struggles are over do they really begin. Amidst the excitement, I had missed a fundamental detail. The course commencement date. I had exactly 32 days when I noticed the tiny detail I had earlier missed and I was yet to apply for visa, arrange my funds and select accommodation for my self.

If I have learned anything from my life, that is to never give up. I wasn’t ready to give up, not just yet. Days passed by, and all I had accomplished was booking my accommodation. I was happy that I had accomplished one of the major tasks. But the pressure was building, with just 15 days in hand I had gotten the Visa appointment. If things went well, I’ll be carrying my visa in a week. However, the very same day my bank had deducted a large sum of money in order to fulfil one of the loan criteria. I was devastated when I found this out the next day. There was nothing I could do. I did not want to lose this precious opportunity, but what could I have done? I prayed to my stars, I hoped for the best. I am an atheist but I believe in Karma. I believe that if we work hard enough, if we don’t give up, we will get what we deserve. The 4th day, the visa came through and the preparations began.

This wasn’t the first time I was leaving my home, but this was the first time that I was leaving my country. More than anything, I was scared. The excitement that I had felt a few days ago, had now turned into fear and anxiety. Even my family was anxious, their little one was off to a country they knew nobody in. I come from a typical Punjabi family in India, my parents are over-possessive about me. But this entire time they were nothing but supportive. To be honest, I expected them to ask me to stay but they realised that I was finally emerging from my cocoon. They realised that it was time for me to fly and to make my own mistakes. Not a day has passed, when I don’t learn something new. I make mistakes, I fall down, but with every new day I get up again and strive to achieve my goals. Life rarely gives us second chances so I want to make the most, in this first attempt.

Guest Post: The Start of my MSc Management Journey

Maariyah, MSc Management, reflects on her first term here at LUMS.

Receiving those life-changing words ‘…we are delighted to offer you a place on the MSc Management 2017 programme…’ was a truly unforgettable moment.

With my final law undergraduate summer exams and dissertation deadline fast approaching and the optimism that comes with a fresh start, it’s always daunting to experience a new beginning. But I had promised to bring my very best self to this programme and to say I’ve gained far more in return than I could have hoped is an understatement. The heart of this programme lies within the unique experience of growth and confidence to become the very best manager of you.

A pleasant surprise was learning that the course began in September, a month before most other courses. Welcome Week was a great start to the term because those initial nerves were gone in an instant during our Team Building Away Day in the Lake District! This gave us a better opportunity to get to know each other and we eased into what is usually a leap from undergraduate to postgraduate study. Starting earlier also meant the entire campus was ours to explore and long walks along the Woodland Trail gives us that well-needed refreshed mind-set during a full week of lectures.

The course structure of block teaching as a module per week is fascinating when you can aspire to be a marketing expert in one week and an entrepreneur in the next. Through the managerial perspective, all aspects of a business are explored during the year and what’s most rewarding is becoming an excellent well-rounded individual while staying true to your own core values. An exciting balance is created between the academics of becoming a future leader in the business world but also accessing the right tools and guidance to managing yourself to question what kind of leader you want to be. A year onwards it will definitely be inspiring to learn the diverse paths we’ve taken.

With diverse modules and a vibrant cohort to match, this time marks the end of our first Michaelmas term as Lancaster University’s MSc Management students. The Business Strategy Game was our final module this term and perseverance, teamwork and creativity were paramount while competing against each other to demonstrate our accumulated knowledge of all modules over the term. Although we work hard we also find time to celebrate those achievements and our end of term Christmas Meal at the Lancaster House Hotel was a night to remember with fabulous fashion, amazing food, humorous awards and a dance party to celebrate our successes and end on a high note as a farewell before Christmas!

From three years of law books to three months of managing my own strengths and weaknesses, it’s been a tough but rewarding process to see just how far I can challenge myself and overcome certain difficulties as a master’s student. Being a part of a world-ranked business school definitely has its unique challenges but the reward is far more than ever expected!

 

Things To Do in Lancaster

Have you ever felt tired of all routines, assignments, never ending classes or group work? You feel like you need fresh air, yet you’re too lazy to go outside the city or do not want to spend too much money going out? Then… why don’t you explore our own city, Lancaster! Some of you might not realise that there are so many beautiful places that you can visit only 15 minutes from campus in 1 day!

Before you visit places around Lancaster, it might be good for you to know few facts about Lancaster. Some of you might probably know that Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire, England surrounding the River Lune. Lancaster, is a historic city in England with numerous buildings in Georgian architecture. You might realise when you’re going to the city center that there are many old buildings that you’ll never get tired of seeing!

Now, I will try to give you some ideas on what to do in Lancaster over the weekend. All you need to do is just to take a bus from campus and you’re good to go! 🙂

Lune Millennium Bridge

The first place that I would recommend is Lune Millennium Bridge. It is located near the Bus Station right behind Sainsbury’s. It spans the River Lune, Lancaster. The history of this bridge is that it was built to commemorate the millennium of 2000. It forms a “Y” shape and it is suitable for cyclists and pedestrians. Be ready for a surprise from this bridge as sometimes it will shake a bit when you’re walking on it 😀

Lancaster Castle

After you spend some time on Lune Millennium Bridge, you can take a walk to a hill right next to the bridge. 5-minutes-walk will bring you to one of the icons of our city, Lancaster Castle. You can see the stunning views of Lancaster from above. This castle may have been founded around the 11th century and it used to be a prison! Owned by The Duchy of Lancaster (Her Majesty the Queen is the Duke of Lancaster), the castle has witnessed significant historical and political impact in the thousand years of its existence. Until 2001 it was still functioning as prison, but now it is open for public and tourist activity. If you want to learn more about its history, you can join the guided tour that is available inside the castle. You can also enjoy a cup of tea in the café inside the castle.

Lancaster Canal

Another attraction that you can visit in Lancaster is the peaceful Lancaster Canal. You can walk 10 minutes from Lancaster Castle to this place. You can also grab your lunch in at the White Cross Restaurant by the river. You can enjoy a nice lunch with river and bridge view as well as seeing some cute ducks along the river 🙂

Ashton Memorial Park

This place might be my favorite place in Lancaster! It is reaaaalllllyyyyyyyy beautiful especially on a sunny day. You can take a walk here but it’s quite a distance from the canal or you can just take a bus whereas you still need to climb a bit to reach this place. Many people called Ashton Memorial Park “England’s grandest folly” and the “Taj Mahal of the North” because this iconic building was commissioned by Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife.

You will first be welcomed by Williamson Park, a pretty park with some small ponds and various kind of plants. After that, you will get this view.

When you are walking up to the building, you can see the city of Lancaster from above. It is breathtaking! This spot is also the highest point in Lancaster where you can see the whole city. There is a pretty dome that is also open to the public. Please note that the interior will be on renovation from November 21 2016 to April 2017 so you might not be able to go inside. But do not worry because the outdoor view of Ashton Memorial is already amazing!

So yeah, there are many things that we can do in Lancaster right? An important thing that you should note before going around the city is: CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST! It won’t be as fun if the rain is pouring hard. In my case, I tend to go out when the sun is up with a clear and bright sky.

Now… Are you ready to go? 🙂

P.S photos are from writer’s personal collection