About the University SportsPark


Have you already broken your new years resolution to ‘get fit’ or ‘be healthier’? Don’t worry! The Reading University SportsPark has you covered. The SportsPark is located at the Upper Redlands Road entrance to the Whiteknights campus. It is open 7am till 10pm Monday to Friday, and 8:45am till 9pm on Saturday and Sunday. The SportsPark offers a great VO2 membership rate for students at £20.50 a month, which includes the use of the gym and a range of exercise classes. I particularity like the Pilates and Zumba classes. It also has a Starbucks café which gives a nice incentive to go!

The gym is fully equipped with free weights, squat racks and exercise machines, including cross trainers, exercise bikes, treadmills and rowing machines, over the space of two floors. Cardio machines are fitted with screens where you can enjoy multiple tv channels while you work out, such as Sky Sports, BT Sport and Freeview channels. There are also 2 large matted areas that can be used for stretching and core exercises.

For those who need some extra gym motivation, the SportsPark offers ‘personal programmes’ at an additional cost where a qualified fitness consultant discusses what your fitness targets are and designs an effective programme for you. You can upgrade your programme when you think you are ready to challenge yourself further. The SportsPark also offers 1-2-1 personal training to add extra detail and motivation to your gym routine.

SportsPark has over 100 group exercise classes a week to choose from! All classes are run by qualified and experienced instructors in the dance studio, yoga studio or sports hall.

With a VO2 membership you also get discounted bookings for tennis, badminton and squash courts, as well as the AstroTurf.

I spoke to some of the staff who work at SportsPark they said that the best thing about being a SportsPark student member is “the opportunity to use the available facilities at a discounted rate” and that “there are no excuses now with the discounts that we offer and the variety of facilities available. There’s something to suit everyone!”

For further information, visit the SportsPark website or ask at the SportsPark front desk.

How to Work Successfully in Group Projects


Term 1 has come to an end and reflecting on the term, I counted how many group projects I participated in this term and it came to a grand total of 10! These were mainly in the form of group presentations. In these group projects I worked with a variety of people and cultures. So, using my extensive experience, here are my top tips for being part of a successful group project:

  • Always swap contact info. Choose the mode of communication you want to use as a group. If you have been put into groups, it is highly likely that you won’t know everyone in your group already, so make sure that the first thing you do is swap your contact information. I personally favour using WhatsApp, but make sure you chose a mode of communication that works for all group members, no use in using WhatsApp if not all the group members have it!
  • Choose a group leader. Whether you are working on a group project with friends or people you have just met, it is important that you choose a group leader who is responsible for arranging group meetings and delegating work. This way, if there is an issue with the group, group members can talk to the group leader about it and then the group leader can either resolve the issue or take it up with the appropriate member of university staff.
  • Make your voice heard. Related to the point above, it is vital that if you feel that you have been set too much or too little work that you let your group leader know. The same goes for if you feel that you are having too many or too few group meetings. Furthermore, if you are the group leader, make sure you listen to your group and give them the opportunity to raise any concerns.
  • Communication is key. When working on a group project it is key that you stay in contact with the group and are reachable if anyone has any questions or if there are any changes; so, make sure you keep those notifications switched on!
  • Time management. Just like all work, ensure you manage your time effectively so that you meet your deadline.
  • Have fun! Group work doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, enjoy working together and encourage each other to work hard and you will gain your highest potential grade, as well as some new friends!

If you need any more guidance or advice on group work, please contact the university study advice team who are based in the library to discuss good practice in group work. More information can be found here: https://www.reading.ac.uk/library/study-advice/lib-study-advice.aspx

Holly’s Gluten-free Peanut Butter Overnight Oats


These quick, gluten-free and delicious oats will hep you start your day right without any fuss in the morning, meaning you can have that extra 10-minute lie in. These overnight oats only take 5 minutes to prepare and you can choose your favourite toppings to have with it.


  • 120ml almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (can be creamy or crunchy, I’ve used crunchy)
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 45g rolled oats
  • Your choice of toppings, I’ve used blueberries and cinnamon


  1. In a mason jar or a small bowl, mix the almond milk, peanut butter and maple syrup until mostly combined
  2. Add the oats and stir together
  3. Press the oat mixture down to make sure that the oats are fully covered by the milk mixture
  4. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap/foil and set in the refrigerator overnight
  5. The next day, open and garnish with your favourite toppings
  6. Enjoy!

Professional Track scheme


As a final year English Language and Applied Linguistics student, I thought it was about time I got around to sharing how much I have benefited from the Professional Track scheme and promoting it to new Language and Literature students.

The scheme is an easy way of tying together placements and different University opportunities to create a separate qualification to add to your CV to increase employability. I interviewed the scheme convenor, Jack, to share with you how the scheme works and just why it is such a great addition to not only your CV, but also your University experience.


Hi Jack, can you introduce yourself and the Professional Track scheme to us?

Hi, I’m Jack and I run and administer the Professional Track scheme within the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Reading. As an alumnus from the University of Reading myself, I wish this existed when I was here!

The Professional Track aims to piece together the jigsaw puzzle of all the things you have done whilst at University that can benefit your employability, as well as the opportunity to enhance your professional skills. It is exclusive to the School of Literature and Languages, meaning that we can tailor the scheme to the needs of our students. In fact, we believe we are the only university in the country that offers a professional development qualification.


What courses do the Professional Track offer?

Next semester we are offering courses in Publishing, Social Media Marketing, Project Management and Leadership to name but a few. We are also offering courses that develop your professional behaviours, such as professional presentations, and personal branding to enhance your CV. On top of this we run external courses that enable you to get a certificate, such as St. John Ambulance, TEFL and an introduction to Marketing.


How is the Professional Track beneficial as a qualification to add to your CV?

The Professional Track is an amazing addition to your CV to enable you to stand out in the graduate market. Businesses and organisations consistently strive for their employees to have a personal development plan; by completing the Professional Track you are showing to future employers that you have thought about your own professional development before even leaving University. For example, a student has recently been successful in gaining an apprenticeship in marketing and her interviewer said that the Professional Track courses she had completed supported her application.


What do you have to do to complete the scheme?

To complete the Professional Track, you need to have attended three courses, carried out two placements (one of these must be academic) and been part of a University scheme, such as student ambassadors or STaR mentor scheme. This is about piecing together your experiences so some of you may have already carried out a placement as part of a module or taken part in a University scheme. We help you to complete the rest and show you how to package this as a professional qualification on your CV.


How do I apply?

No need to apply! Your RISIS record will be updated automatically when you complete a course, carry out a placement or when you show evidence of having completed a university scheme.


Courses are advertised via Facebook, BlackBoard and email with guidance on how to sign up for them, so keep an eye out for what we are running next semester and see what takes your fancy. I am more than happy to support with placement hunting, whether this be professional or to support a module. In the school of Literature and Languages you can convert any part 2 or part 3 module into a “placement module” meaning the placement replaces part of your assessment for the module. Please email me at j.m.tame@reading.ac.uk should you want to book in some time with me. Please see our booklet of University schemes on BlackBoard.


Website – https://www.reading.ac.uk/literature-and-languages/sll-the-professional-track.aspx

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/uorprofessionaltrack/

Instagram – instagram.com/proftrackru

Twitter – twitter.com/proftrackru

RISIS will show you your progress on the professional Track.

All students in the School of Literature and Languages have access to the Professional Track BlackBoard site.


Should you have any questions, please feel free to email me at j.m.tame@reading.ac.uk or swing by my office at Edith Morley G14a.

Tackling the January Blues


Oh the January blues… Christmas is over, the weather’s not getting any better, it’s time to go back to uni… we all experience it. But you can beat those blues, with these tips:

  • Remember that before you know it, the weather will be getting better and the days will be getting longer. The dull weather can drag you down, but looking forward to Spring and Summer can help.
  • Wrap up warm and get some fresh air… there is something about being outdoors and enjoying nature, that can really help to lift energy and mood.
  • Some people find exercising can lift mood… for me that’s just going for a short walk around the nature reserve in Earley, but for some of you it might be something a little more vigorous!
  • Continue doing things that you enjoy outside of your course. It can be easy to get into an eat, sleep, study, repeat routine… but having things that help you relax and socialise are important. Maybe you could start something new this month. If you’re not part of a club, society, or sports team at the moment or you already are but fancy joining more, check the Essentials page. There is also information on there about volunteering, RUSU and sports.
  • See your new year’s resolutions as a positive. Look at them as a way of positively improving something in your life, rather than a heavy weight of “I must change this!” Try not to burden yourself with them and beat yourself up if you’re struggling with them, it’s a case of one step at a time… you have 12 months before setting the next ones!
  • Think about how much you have achieved. This should help to motivate you through the next few months.
  • If you’re struggling being back at uni, think about what motivates you to be at uni, the modules you enjoy or are looking forward to. Remember, that you worked hard to get here and you deserve to be here! If there’s a club or society or group of friends that really help to get you through, keep getting stuck in with that. I have met some great people in Reading, and spending time with them really motivates me. Remember that if you are struggling, you can also talk to the University’s Wellbeing Team.
  • Continue to keep in touch with friends and family from your hometown. Sometimes we just need to hear a familiar voice. I really love using Skype and FaceTime to keep in touch with people… It’s so nice to see and hear somebody live in front of you, even when they’re miles away!
  • Change your bedroom around, to give it a new look. Put up some new pictures or posters that will make you smile, reminisce, and motivate you.
  • Treat yourself! If you have any monies or gift vouchers that were given to you over Christmas, use them to get yourself something you will love.


Hope these help you to have an uplifting Spring term. If any of you have any tips for more ways to tackle those blues, post a comment below!




R.U. Not Drinking Much? Society


What is it about?

The R.U. Not Drinking Much? Society is a place with no pressure to drink alcohol as there are many people who just want to have a good time together without drinking being the main event. This society is open to everyone regardless of whether they drink alcohol a lot or not. They have a welcoming environment, which lets you socialise in and have fun at their events. It provides alternative entertainment for people who cannot or do not want to drink alcohol for whatever reason even if it’s just for one night. Therefore, for those who drink, it lets you save money on nights out that would have normally been spent on alcohol but still lets you have a great night.

My experience

I have been a part of the R.U. Not Drinking Much? Society since my first year at university and it’s been great so far. I am very comfortable in this society and was happy to meet other people who do not drink a lot of alcohol like me. At their events, I always had an enjoyable time since everyone there is really friendly and they all get along with each other. I like their events and have made lots of wonderful memories. I’m sure the other members would agree that the society is a lovely place to be and hang out with your friends. They have a very relaxed atmosphere, so you’d be warmly welcomed to any of their events even if you just come along to a few of them.

The events

The society has regular events every academic term, usually once or twice a week. They are typically held on a Monday or Friday evening on campus. Some examples of the wide variety of events they organise include board games nights, film nights and off-campus trips. Most of the society’s events are completely free to attend as well. Therefore, if you haven’t already tried out this society, you should definitely come along to one of their events. You can even invite your friends and family who are not a part of the University since the society has free membership for students and non-students. There is also an optional donation membership for anyone who would like to donate and contribute towards the society’s funding for their events. So, if you are interested and have some free time, you can find their events via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/notdrinkingmuch/

Holly’s Turkey and Spinach Omelette


Make sure you stick to your new years’ resolution of being healthier this year with this cheap, quick and easy meal that can be eaten at any time of day. This omelette is packed full of protein and vitamins and is carb free!


2 teaspoons of oil

3 large eggs

Baby spinach

Turkey slices

Your preferred seasoning


  1. Crack and whisk the 3 large eggs in a bowl
  2. Pre-heat grill at 170 degrees
  3. Heat a medium frying pan then add 2 teaspoons of oil
  4. Add a handful of spinach to the pan and cook for 45 seconds
  5. Pour onto the egg mixture onto the spinach and let it sit
  6. Add turkey slices on the top of the egg mixture in small pieces
  7. Once the bottom of the egg mixture is cooked, take the pan off the heat and cook the top of the omelette by placing the pan in the grill until the top browns off
  8. Serve with more spinach and your favourite sauce and/or seasoning

Interview with my Personal Tutor



At the University, Personal Tutors are available to meet with you to discuss how you are getting on with your course. I’ve had a very positive experience with my personal tutor, and I would recommend to first year students to build up a good rapport with your tutor, and an honest relationship, because there is nothing worse than bottling things up. You shouldn’t be embarrassed to say you’re struggling, because your tutor is there to help you. I caught up with Ilan, my Personal Tutor to find out more about his role.

What is your role as a personal tutor?
Ilan: My tutoring role is a general pastoral role, to support students and make sure they are happy and enjoying university life. It could be helping them through any problems with halls of residence or renting a house, anything that they may be anxious or worried about during their time at Reading.

What can you help students with?
I: If they’re stressed or worried about anything, I can talk to their course tutor, or if it’s issues relating to halls, I can find out who the relevant person is and pass on the concerns. If they’re feeling lonely, I can encourage them to join in with university events, sports, clubs and societies. If a student has a disability, I can also sign post students to where they can get information and support.

How often can students meet with you and for how long?
I: Once every term, for one hour. Although my students can contact me, anytime to request another tutorial.

Is there a procedure to go through with booking a tutorial, or do tutors contact students?
I: I email out the times I’m available and then students book directly with me, the time they would like to have their tutorial. It works on a first come, first served basis.

Can students choose who their personal tutor is?
I: Generally, when a new cohort of students start, tutors are allocated with some students. Students don’t get to pick who their personal tutor is, although you can request a re-allocation if your relationship is not working as well as it should.

What else do you do alongside your personal tutor role?
I: I lecture on three courses; BA Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies (TAEDS), the new BA Education Studies, and BSL (British Sign Language) – a new module on Whiteknights.


Thank you Ilan!

To find out more about personal tutors, click here.