Top Tips on Settling into University

Third Year Theatre Arts Education and Deaf Studies student, Alexander shares his top tips on Settling into University.

Welcome to Reading! Settling into university can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time living and studying away from home. It can take time, but here are some top tips to help you out.

· Make your room look and feel ‘homely’. Put up posters and pictures on your noticeboards, bring your bedding from home. It may sound like a small thing but having things you recognise from home help you to feel more settled and relaxed.

· Go out to social events, even if this seems daunting to you or you are exhausted from travelling and unpacking. You don’t have to go out drinking, there is something for everyone at uni!

· Join a society, club or sport – Reading has many different options, from Arts and Crafts to Qudditich! The best way to meet people who share the same or similar interests to you is to join something to attend on a regular basis. It’s a chance to switch off from study and even try something new.

· Check out where your nearest shops are and how to get to them. Look up the different walking, cycling and bus routes you think you may need to use. When travelling by bus in Reading you need to have the correct change as the drivers on Reading buses can’t give change. You can also use the ‘SimplyUni’ card that you top up online and scan when you board the buses.

· Agree with your new flatmates how you want to organise items such us washing up liquid, cleaning materials etc. It sounds like a small thing, but sometimes people assume an item left on the side is for communal use. Discuss with them to see if people would be happy to buy their own, take it in turns to buy or share the cost between you.

· Register with a GP – even if you’re one of those lucky people who never gets ill, it’s still worth registering!

· Look into extra-curricular things, for example volunteering and the Reading Experience and Development (RED) Award. These can help you gain new skills, meet people and looks great on your CV.

· Explore Reading. It’s always good to break out of the student bubble.

All the best with your course!

There’s always room for a little more drama in your life…

Third Year History and English Literature Student, Ciara tells us “There’s always room for a little more drama in your life…”

Reading University Drama Society (RUDS) is the first society I joined. Being a lover of performing and singing, and a theatre enthusiast in general I was incredibly eager to join and I have never looked back. Whilst it seems like everyone is so much more confident than you are, the important thing to realise is that everyone, and I mean everyone, is just as nervous. One social in and I was chatting to everyone there as if I’d known them for years! This society has something for everyone – it doesn’t matter if you have never acted before, you can join and try out something new – the society prides itself on being fair to its members and ensures that everyone who wants to can be involved with every production!

Every year we put on numerous shows, and you will have the chance to suggest what the society performs – overall we do 6 shows throughout the year, including a Shakespeare, a musical and the charity 24 hour musical. Every production is so much fun and brings the whole society closer together, and as expected, when a group of excitable dramatic students get together it’s never boring, to say the least…

Get involved!

There are so many different ways to get involved with RUDS! I personally have never acted in a play or musical since joining the society, but that is obviously the most popular choice. After joining you will be able to find out about when and where the different auditions will be taking place and how you have to prepare for them! But if you don’t think acting is for you then don’t worry – there are so many more opportunities!

Hair and Make Up 

I have done the hair and makeup for around five different productions, and have loved it so much! It requires little commitment to the show so if you’re a busy person but still want to get involved then this is the perfect role. It’s so much fun, especially when the characters

have interesting or more challenging make up, such as making them look old or ill or even suffering from a vampire bite!

Tech 

If you’re a tech wizard then the society needs you – all the lighting and sound queues mean a lot of work for the tech crew, so there are many ways to get involved with that aspect!

Producing or Directing 

This last year I was able to produce A Midsummer Night’s Dream which was the most exciting and fun experience of university so far! It’s a commitment but you’re able to really integrate into the society and make strong friendships with the cast and crew. I had never produced a play before but I was able to learn so many new skills and it sparked a real love of production for me! You will also have the opportunity to direct shows – for the large autumn, Shakespeare and the musical you can present your idea to the society and everyone will vote for which idea they like the best – giving you the chance to direct a show!

Choreography 

If dancing is your calling then we always need people to come up with routines for our different shows – there is a lot of dancing in this society!!!

There are so many different ways to get involved in RUDS – it is such a welcoming society, and because of how busy and sometimes stressful being in a play can be, our welfare officers are dedicated to making sure you will fit in and are coping well within the society and within general university life. I have had the best two years in RUDS and made friends for life! It’s a society where I can have fun with other drama lovers and enjoy contributing to each new play. Make sure to head to the societies fair in Welcome Week and pick up a RUDS leaflet and talk to the committee about the society!

 

Video Killed the Radio Star?

Third Year Geography Student, Jack tells us more about Junction11 Radio…

Always the first to grab the AUX lead on a road trip? Friends fed up of hearing you bang on about new music and upcoming artists? Fancy yourself as the next Nick Grimshaw or Annie Mac? Whether you want to present a show on air or simply help behind the scenes with production, marketing, social media and more Junction11 Radio is for you!

Junction11 is the University of Reading’s student radio station, broadcasting across campus in University outlets and to the world on www.junction11radio.co.uk. The station boasts a fully functional radio studio based in the Stephen Lawrence media centre in the heart of campus, good links with local and national radio stations and is a member of the Student Radio Association.

Run by students for students all members of the committee are studying at the University of Reading and have been involved with the society – no scary executive or board of directors to pitch to, just a friendly community of likeminded, music loving individuals!

Music

Far from simply playing the charts on a loop of unparrelled despair Junction11 promotes the play of all genres of music, so, if like me, you have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of ‘Cheese Hits’ from across the decades (seriously, it’s worrying at times) then you can play them to your hearts content on one of Junction11’s ‘speciality’ shows. The station splits the day into distinct categories, each with their own style ranging from breakfast shows to the brand new Junction11 ‘After Dark’, no matter what you want to play on air, there will be a slot for you!

Events

Junction11 hosts a number of events throughout the year, these have included:

· Live Lounges – just like Radio1, Junction11 invites local bands to showcase their material

· Union Takeovers – presenters on Junction11 often get the chance to DJ at the Students Union on a Wednesday/Saturday night on union takeover nights

· Battle of the Bands – local bands compete to be awarded the ‘best band’ trophy

· Summer ball – presenters on Junction11 have the opportunity to DJ the annual summer ball to a crowd of over 4,000 students

Events are a great way to showcase the talent on campus and often attract a large volume of students and the general public.

Awards

The annual Society and Media Awards are a chance to celebrate the amazing work that has come from the University’s societies and media streams in the past year. From ‘Best Radio Show’ to ‘Best Media Newcomer’ there are a vast array of awards celebrating hard work, dedication and talent.

(Zack and I picking up the award for Best Radio Show)

Get involved!

If broadcasting to the world in a fully kitted out radio studio for only £10 a term or helping out with production and marketing behind the scenes of some of the biggest shows on campus sounds your thing (and let’s face you’d have started watching fail videos or something by now if it wasn’t…) then get down to Fresher’s Fayre during welcome week and make a beeline for the Junction11 stall (you’ll hear us before you see us!).

If you have any personal questions prior to Fresher’s Fayre then you can contact Junction11’s Studio Manager (which happens to be yours truly…) on studiomanager@junction11radio.co.uk or for anything about J11 and Freshers Fayre it’s getinvolved@junction11radio.co.uk

Yogalates Society

Third Year Geographer, Holly blogs about the Yogalates Society.

The Yogalates Society is currently the largest society on campus with over 500 Facebook group members. I have been a member of the Yogalates Society since it started in 2015. It is on once a week on Tuesday evenings in Wessex Hall on Campus. Yogalates is run by a fun and friendly committee of students, for students of all abilities. It is an exciting mix of yoga and pilates. Membership only costs £10 for the whole year and all you need is a yoga mat or towel and a bottle of water! The sessions are very relaxed so you can take them as slowly or intensely as you want. I find it an easy way to stay fit around lectures and assignments as well as a fun social society with regular socials to Q club and the Student Union. The sessions are usually to music and sometimes include paired exercises and competitions. The yogalates society won the most improved RUSUS sports club in 2016. If you are looking for a fun and affordable fitness society where you get to meet new people, then Yogalates is the place for you!

For up-to-date information or to get in contact with the committee, join their Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/948592071865436/ 

How to make the most of your Welcome Week

Third Year Biological Sciences Student, Chui-Yan shares her Top Tips on how to make the most of Welcome Week.

Find your way around

Firstly, I would recommend learning how to get to your lecture rooms, so you don’t get lost when they begin the following week. There are campus tours held during Welcome Week that will show you around the university. It can also be useful to learn where your local supermarkets are for groceries.

Meet other students

Take advantage of the many taster sessions by societies and sports. It gives you the chance to try out something new or find those with the same interests as you. They are a great start to build lasting memories and friends. You can also get to know people through night socials included in the Fresher’s wristband when you buy it but there are other socials available for students.

Check out the university

You should take a look inside the RUSU building as it provides many useful services and facilities such as the bookstore, Blackwell, where you can typically get new or second hand books that are used on your course. There’s also the Bagel man AKA Cerealworks, which is best known for its delicious bagels. And if you plan to use the university library, they usually have sessions that you can book around to learn how to use and borrow books from the library.

Be proactive

There will be many great opportunities during Welcome Week to prepare for the term ahead. So, be sure you attend the Academic Success Fair for information on academic support, course queries and module advice. Don’t miss out on the Fresher’s fayres too, where you can find out more about volunteering, societies & media and sports.

Look after yourself

Get the flu vaccination in advance to avoid the dreaded Freshers’ flu but do still take care of your health. This means staying hydrated, eating healthily and getting enough sleep. Also remember to wear warm clothes for the season or else you’ll become ill. It is recommended that you register at a local GP and ensure you have had the Meningitis AWCY vaccine as well.

Get help early

There will be many Freshers’ Angels and other student ambassadors around campus to help you. They are mainly only there during Welcome Week, so ask your questions now rather than later. You will have a STaR Mentor available throughout autumn term if you still need help or guidance though. There are also support centres now for assistance in academic and non-academic issues.