Emilie Smith

Beating revision stress

Studies show that spending time with animals can reduce stress and clear your mind.  So the University of Portsmouth Student’s Union brought a petting farm to campus.  And the students in the library didn’t need much convincing that a break away from their books could be a positive thing when the animals are as cute as these!

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Abbie’s Kefalonian adventure

The chance to travel or study abroad as part of your degree is is one of the many great opportunities that you get whilst studying at uni.

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Last summer Abbie, a third year University of Portsmouth BSc (Hons) Marine Biology student, was lucky enough to go on an Erasmus+ placement to the Island of Kefalonia (Greece) .  Abbie spent two months out there, working as a field assistant on a sea turtle conservation project, whilst also conducting research for her final year project.

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On Abbie’s course, she’s learnt about a broad range of marine life and carried out a lot of field and lab work. The placement allowed her to gain a more in-depth knowledge of sea turtles, and learn new surveying skills.

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Whilst working as a field assistant, Abbie also conducted harbour surveys and turtle tagging. This was a hands on experience working with large animals, and also helped her gain confidence chatting to tourists on the harbour about sea turtles and their conservation.

On the left, is Barb, a famous local sea turtle, and the left is Abbie safely restraining a turtle ready for tagging.

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Whilst in Kefalonia, Abbie conducted research for her final project. She planned this research herself and carried it out with the help of other field assistants. When she was done, she brought it back to the university and wrote up her report.

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When you’re on placement, it’s not just about work, it’s also very important to go and visit the new country you are staying in! This is a picture Abbie took of the Melissani Cave in Kefalonia. Just look at the crystal clear blue water!

Abbie was also able to experience some of the local food and even learn some of the language in Greece.

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As well as this, Abbie also got to spend some of her free time snorkeling, and even made a few turtle friends along the way!

Look how cute they are!

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Whilst Abbie was out in Greece, she also celebrated her 21st birthday! Her team and volunteers decorated the apartments and bought her a cake to celebrate, which shows how being on placement allows you to meet new people and create lifelong friends.

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Conducting this research and conserving sea turtles was an incredible experience for Abbie, and is a brilliant start to her career. It will look great on her CV, and is definitely one of the highlights of her time at university!

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Abbie’s placement was a part of the Erasmus placement, so she received funding to help with the cost, and help from the University to organise it. She carried out the placement with Wildlife Sense, a sea turtle research and conservation project who take on volunteers from around the world.

That’s all for now, so let’s wish Abbie lots of luck with the rest of her studies and her career!

Keeping it social!

Clubs and societies are an important part of student life at uni.  At the University of Portsmouth there are over 190 sports clubs, societies, media groups and volunteering opportunities.

We caught up to with Vicky, a BSc(Hons) Biomedical Science student and member of the University of Portsmouth Equestrian Society to find out what it’s all about.

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Vicky is on a work placement at the moment but will be back on campus in September to start her final year.

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Whilst at uni, Vicky is also a part of the Equestrian Society. This society offers riding, jumping and polo lessons.  Even if you haven’t ridden a horse before. Not only that, but there are socials and the chance to compete against other universities!

Check out this video of when Vicky’s team went to play at the University Nationals. Their polo tournament is know as SUPA, which is the Schools and Universities Polo Association. It runs twice a year, in the winter and summer, and takes place over four days.

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For polo, Vicky’s team travel to Guildford, where they are lucky enough to train at student prices. They usually take the train or car share, which gives them a chance to chat about the lesson and make preparations for any tournaments.

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In the Winter, Vicky went to SUPA. Their teams did really well…including the beginners team placing 1st, and their novice team placing 4th! Vicky has been to four SUPA tournaments, and here are some of her pictures, including one from her first tournament and when she received second place prize.

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Apart from tournaments, the club also organises socials and events for the team to get together and chill out. Here are some snaps of when Vicky went to the riding holiday in Sicily, and from their Christmas meal.

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Here, Vicky showed us what you need to join the club, but what you really need to get is a traditional riding helmet! The club provides kit, such as mallets, knee pads and team tops. But, the option is there to get the full gear if you want to.

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Unlike clubs run at school, sixth form or colleges, university clubs and societies are run by the students themselves, and they are helped by the students union. Each club or society has a committee, which is a group of students elected by the club. Taking on these responsibilities is a great addition for your CV and helps you to develop great skills.

Vicky put herself forward as part of the club committee for organizing the polo committee, and was elected into the role, which she’ll begin next year.

Let’s wish her lots of luck!

Not so secret life of a uni student

As it reaches May, it’s almost the end of the academic year for most of our students.

We decided it would be the perfect time to take a look back at the past year for one of our Student Ambassadors, Richard.

Richard is a final year BSc(Hons) Geography student, some of you will remember him, from his @NextStepUoP Instagram takeover.  Here he is, just after he finished his dissertation!

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Richard started this year by going off on a fieldtrip to America! The trip was lots of fun, but the most important part of the trip was to make it to the summit of Mount Washington, to potentially record some of the fastest wind speeds on Earth.

Here is the first stop of the trip, Boston!

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Richard clearly had an early start on the summit day of his climb of Mount Washington…look at that sunrise!  Here is a view of the Appalachian Mountains at dawn that Richard took before he had to jump in a jeep to ascend the mountain!

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This is a view above the clouds, facing the Atlantic Ocean. Doesn’t it look amazing? Richard and his coursemates had the opportunity to record their own data whilst up here.

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On the way back home, Richard had time to stop off at New York City after a long nine hour journey by coach. Here’s a picture of the World Trade Centre in the evening…doesn’t it look incredible?

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After the field-trip and some deadlines, it was time to go home for Christmas. After a long time away at uni, it’s always a great feeling to relax at home with your family…especially the pets! Check out Richard’s cat chilling out in all the presents!

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In January, after coming back to uni, Richard went to visit London with his girlfriend for their anniversary. One of the opportunities at university is the chance to go and check out new places, and at Portsmouth it’s very close to places like London and has great travel links via train.

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During dissertation month, it’s also important to remember to take a break! Richard and some friends decided to escape the University Library and head down to Southsea beach for some fresh air. Being outside really helps to clear your head after so much studying, and look at that sunset!

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Here is the Brighton Dome…Portsmouth is about an hour away by train to Brighton, so it’s very easy to go and visit for the day. Both cities are seaside cities, but are very different places.

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Last of all, to celebrate finishing his dissertation Richard went rock-climbing in the Fontainebleau Forest, France. A uni there are loads of opportunities to carry on with any hobbies you enjoyed before, and to try out some new ones.

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That’s all for now…there are still one more month of uni left for Richard, so let’s wish him luck with the last of his studies!

Get inspired!

The Olympics is always a great place to look for inspiration and UP for Uni couldn’t be prouder of the

success Team GB is having. With over 11,000 competitors representing 207 National Olympic

Committees, this multi- sport event shows us that whatever your nationality or background hard-

work and determination goes a long way!

One athlete is excelling in her sport and Rio 2016 is her first ever Olympics! We are of course talking

about Simone Biles, Artistic Gymnast representing Team USA. At the time of writing Simone had

already won three gold medals and we are sure that will increase as the event goes on.

But what is it that makes her so successful and can we apply a bit of physics to explain her incredible

talent?

Check out this video made by Quartz, meanwhile we’re off to practice our layouts and blind

landings!

Go to uni!

To celebrate International Women’s Day (8th March) we thought it would be great to share this video with you, created by a woman who we find inspirational.

Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States (or FLOTUS as the title is also known), was the first person in her family to go to uni and admits that she found it a little overwhelming to begin with. In her role as first lady she has set up an outreach programme aimed at inspiring young people to take charge of their future.  Her message?

“No matter where you come from or how much money your family has, I want you to know that you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build an incredible life for yourself.”

Her video entitled ‘Go to college’, or uni as it’s called in the UK, is funny but has a serious message and is part of her ‘better make room’ campaign.  We at UP for Uni love this video and share Michelle’s hopes to

‘… honour and empower young people who are working hard in school and pursuing their dreams’.