Being a Working Student

This article was first published here as part of an internship with Liverpool John Moores University.

So, the day has finally come, you’ve got your start date for uni, your first timetable, you’re feeling like a giddy 12 year old once again and then it dawns on you… how on Earth am I going to juggle University and a job? The answer: it’s actually a lot easier than you may first think.

Since I was sixteen, I have had a part-time job working for a supermarket chain (legally, I’m not allowed to tell you which one sorry!) and the thought of losing my monthly paycheck is just not a welcome one. Regardless of the fact that you’re about to get a student loan, there is still that niggling voice at the back of your head saying that you need the extra money and the truth is, it is nice to have it. Even though I could afford to give up my job and live off of my loan, I don’t want to. I enjoy knowing that I can have nice things as well as having essentials.

So how do you balance having a job whilst meeting deadlines and actually doing all the reading that is required? The answer is to know your limits!


LJMU English.png
This is me after a late shift in work. Notice the book about to be burnt in the fire? That’s Paradise Lost.


Now I know that everyone has to work for different reasons. Some can’t afford to not work because they get the minimum loan, or they have a family to support among other things, but it is still a good idea to follow a few of these tips.

  • Set a schedule for yourself – when you first receive your timetable, build a schedule around your shifts and your time in university, that way you can see when you will be able to carry out certain tasks and not be ready to throw yourself off a cliff due to stress!
  • Speak to your manager – if, like me, you are lucky enough to work for a company who will change your hours to suit your educational needs, then speak to your boss about changing shifts. In the five years, I have been working, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to speak to my managers and tell them that I can’t work because I’m in uni/college.
  • Do NOT leave things until the last minute – I am the worst person for doing this. I leave everything until the last minute and it is an absolute nightmare. I am the person who you will see at 3am in the library with a pile of books on Great Expectations looking like they are ready to sign on. Use the breaks to your advantage and get a head start on reading and assignments.
  • Take your books to work – during my breaks in work, you can often find me sat in the canteen with a copy of whichever text I am studying at the time.
  • Use social media to your advantage – I barely use Facebook. I hate it. But it has been a lifesaver during the last year when I haven’t been able to attend study sessions or lectures or seminars due to work as you can discuss topics online and you have a record right in front of you.
  • Use your holidays, unpaid leave, whatever your work calls it, to your advantage – it’s a horrible thought I know, but unfortunately, it has to be done. When you have three pieces of work due in on the same night or with three days of each other, there is no other way to ensure that it is done than to take time off of work. Now some workplaces will change shifts for you or allow you to make hours up elsewhere but if this isn’t possible, then there is always the option of the dreaded “unpaid time off”. Sorry for swearing.

So as you can see, although I haven’t covered every advantage and disadvantage of having a job (I have a word count otherwise I would be here all day!), it is a lot easier to work alongside your degree than it might first appear!


Matt Haig: Reasons to Stay Alive

This review was originally posted here as part of an academic project. 

Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s autobiographical Reasons to Stay Alive is a book which not only details the perils about depression, it also details the aftermath.

When first picking up this book, I have to admit that my main fear was that this book would just be another self-help book. That it would be filled with psychological terms that I would have to Wikipedia. That it would just be somebody else who thought that they knew the real-life experience of living with depression just because they either hold a degree or they have read a newspaper.

Haig’s book details the harrowing rollercoaster that is not only depression but is depression teamed with anxiety. Instead of filling the text with enough psychological jargon then you can shake a stick at, Haig breaks the reality down into honest lists and even more honest thoughts. It seems that nothing is really off the table when it comes to the author’s own experience, but it is evident that Haig understands the complexity of the illness. He discusses how common it is for people to sit and google ‘celebrities with depression’ and even lists some of the most well known public figures who suffered from depression.

Before moving into his section on anxiety, Haig outlines clearly the reasons that anxiety is such a big issue nowadays. Instead of enlisting the reader with a barrage of terms and outdated

For me, Haig’s book is a definite must-have for anybody who is either suffering from depression or has overcome their depression. Not only does Haig offer up an honest depiction of how isolating and terrifying those dark days are, it also reaffirms the truth that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Through fictional conversations with his past self, Haig says those words that all people wish that they could have heard when times are tough.

All in all, Reasons to Stay Alive may actually be one of the best books I have ever read about depression. Haig willingly opens up his own wounds in order to help others by analyzing his own experiences and figuring out the solutions that people need in those hard times.


Victorious Festival announces more names

Victorious Festival Logo

This article was originally posted here.

After the announcement of one of their biggest line-ups to date, Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival last week revealed a new wave of amazing artists. Joining headliners such as The Prodigy, Paul Weller, The Libertines and The Kaiser Chiefs are a whole host of incredible acts including music royalty Brian Wilson, social commentators Sleaford Mods and indie rockers The Cribs.

As the de facto leader of The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson changed music history with his distinct blend of pop, rock and psychedelia. With the album Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys secured their place in pop history and Wilson secured his place as a writer, producer and musician. With no new album to support, there is no doubt that Wilson will offer festivalgoers the once in a lifetime chance to see him perform some of his greatest hits!

Since forming in 2007, Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods have provided fans with a critical social commentary of austerity-era Britain and working-class life. Their electro punk sound has received acclaim from numerous critics and the release of their tenth album English Tapas last year proves why. Although the novelty of the band could have worn off after their first album, they have firmly cemented their place as liberal punk heroes with their topical brand of music and lo-fi sound.

Labelled by Q magazine in 2008 as ‘the biggest cult band in the UK’, Yorkshire brothers The Cribs have come a long way since they first formed in 2001. Their 2007 album Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever thrust the band into the public eye and spurned the singles ‘Moving Pictures’, ‘I’m a Realist’ and ‘Men’s Needs’, which finished at number three on the NME’s ‘Songs of the Year 2007’. With their latest album, 24-7 Rock Star Shit, reaching number 8 in the album charts last year, it’s clear that The Cribs will be a stellar addition to Victorious’ line-up.

Also adding to their extensive line-up are electronic veterans Dub Pistols who have been on the scene for over 20 years and had their music featured on numerous film and video game soundtracks. In contrast, Indie quartet Stereo Honey seem to be the ones to watch this year after breaking onto the scene in 2017 with just two singles to their name. Now the boys are back on the Festival scene and their set at Victorious will no doubt prove just how big they are going to be.

You would be forgiven for thinking that 20-year-old Catherine McGrath was from Nashville, but the Irish native has proved that you don’t have to get your start in the Bluebird Café to be a country star. Since the release of her debut EP in December 2016, McGrath has gone from strength to strength, even landing a coveted spot at the Country 2 Country Music Festival in both 2017 and 2018.

Rounding off the lineup announcement are critically acclaimed Bang Bang Romeo, tropical rock trio Cassia, London rockers Electric Pyramid and alternative folk musician Nathan Ball. None of which are newcomers to the festival scene and all promise to deliver memorable performances which will convert anyone who hasn’t heard of them.

Held in the seaside resort of Southsea over the August bank holiday, 24th – 26th August, Victorious Festival offers an experience for everyone. The Common and Castle Field plays host to the Festival’s four main arenas which contains multiple venues and events including two main stages, the Common and the Castle stage. Connecting the Common Stage and the Castle Stage, an Acoustic Stage, a Kids Arena and Happy’s Circus. There is also the Market Way which is perfect for anyone who likes to trawl market stalls looking for quirky and unique finds. If you prefer your music with an alcoholic beverage there is the Real Ale Village which boasts a wide array of brews and food vendors, all accompanied by the Mayfield Studio Stage showcasing indie, folk and covers music. If you prefer cider and chilled-out beats from Radio X, there is the Strongbow Yard, who proudly sponsor the festival.

Not only is the festival family friendly, but it is also price friendly too with Friday tickets available from £30 and Saturday and Sunday tickets £45 per day.

Friday Night Opening Party – 4-11 pm
Saturday – 10am-11pm
Sunday – 10am-11pm

For more details and to purchase tickets, go to www.victoriousfestival.co.uk