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Acne is one of the teenage and in some cases through the older years big issue. Trying to prevent acne is one solution as this can help slow down the process and make the breakout less noticeable. So here are our 5 tips to preventing acne and we’d love to hear some of your own tips -

1. Wash Your Face Daily

Shiseido, uno, (face-wash) Orange;CLEAR OIL-in...

Shiseido, uno, (face-wash) Orange;CLEAR OIL-in, Black;ULTRA Black, Blue;Scrub King, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This sounds so simple, but whether or not you have acne, it is so important to wash your face daily to remove impurities, dead skin cells, and excess oil from the skin surface. To wash your face, use warm water and a mild facial cleanser. If you are using a regular soap, this could injure the already inflamed skin and cause more irritation. You should also avoid scrubbing your skin harshly with a washcloth, exfoliating glove, or loofah and simply gently wash it with your clean hands or a very soft cloth.

2. Moisturise your Face
Many acne products you can purchase will contain ingredients that dry out your skin, so always use a moisturiser that minimizes dryness and skin peeling. A gel-based moisturiser usually works well for oily skin. If you have dry skin, you should try a moisturizing cream or lotion.

3. Try an over the counter Acne Treatment Cream

Most acne products may contain ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide – which is an antibacterial agent with a drying effect, or salicylic acid, an agent that sloughs off skin and gets rid of bacteria. You should start off small and work your way up getting the skin and face prepared for the new regime.

4. Avoid heavy makeup use

During an acne breakout, try to avoid wearing foundation, powder, or blush. If you do wear makeup, wash it off at the end of the day thoroughly. Try to use oil-free cosmetics. Water-based cosmetics are available and will be very beneficial to preventing acne.

5. Avoid touching your face

Avoid touching your face or propping your cheek or chin on your hands. Not only can you spread bacteria, you can also irritate the already inflamed facial skin. Also if you pop or peel skin and spots then this can result in scarring and leaving marks.

Have you any of your own tips?

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New Year's Exercise Resolution

You may have already devised your New Years resolution or you may be thinking about it – but the one most popular New Year’s resolution is to get fit and start exercising. Most people fall short at the beginning or do not keep to their resolutions. Here is our 5 top tips to starting your New Years exercise resolution.

New Year's Exercise Resolution

New Year’s Exercise Resolution

1. Find and Choose an Exercise that you enjoy - 

There is a reason why this is the first point on the agenda – as it is the foundation to an exercise plan. You wouldn’t want to do something you didn’t enjoy so why have to put yourself through an exercise regime you don’t enjoy? When you choose an exercise you enjoy, it won’t feel so much like hard work. Some people like walking or jogging, others prefer cycling, weight work, tennis, squash, table tennis, swimming or even team sports like football or hockey. Some people prefer to do the same thing every day, others prefer variety in their program.

It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, as long as you do it consistently and if that exercise is an activity that you enjoy you should not feel the exercise is a burden to do daily or whenever you work at it.

2. Work at your own pace -

The benefits of exercise come from following a consistent program and sticking to it. If you go to the gym and work so hard that you are excessively tired and sore the next day, it’s difficult to maintain that consistency – you should aim to work your body sufficiently so that you can recover within the night or next day in order to work just as hard or even harder next time you are at the gym.

You DO NOT have to train to the point of exhaustion to benefit from your workout. All that you need to do is enough that you feel it’s somewhat of a challenge, but not so much that you couldn’t do the same thing again tomorrow.

Working to the point that you feel like you have achieved something or feel happy about what you have done, not so much that you cannot walk.

3. Find and use an exercise partner - 

Most people are more likely to stick with a daily exercise plan when others are involved. It’s easier to skip an exercise session when the only one you’re accountable to is yourself. But, when you know your friend is counting on you to join them, there’s little chance you won’t go through with it. An exercise partner does not have to come in the format of a friend, many people use forums and blogs to document their training, they even use mobile applications to track and progress further.

4. Don’t let a bad day or week derail your schedule - 

Although exercise shouldn’t be torture, be prepared that it will be challenging at times, and you may struggle a little, especially at first. You cannot always get the weather for a jog or even predict how busy the gym will be or even if you are feeling a bit under the weather, but that’s fine. If you find yourself starting to break away from your exercise plan, just pick up where you left off, and keep trying. Don’t be too hard on yourself, everyone has days when they don’t feel like exercising, just keep going as best you can and if you can, try a bit harder the next time.

5. Set goals for your exercise program - 

One thing that contributes most to our feeling of motivation to exercise, is to set goals, and then striving to achieve the goals that you set. The process of setting goals and achieving them, not only gives you a meaningful path of progress, it helps to build your confidence and self esteem. As you begin to see that you can achieve your goals you may not have thought that was possible, but it is with consistent, disciplined effort.

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You’re late to University or school, again. No matter how much you reason with yourself, your lateness is probably due to the fact that you couldn’t get out of bed quick enough or through the fact of wanting to. It’s always unpleasant to drag yourself out of bed, so here are some tips to help you wake up alert and get you out of bed quickly:

  1. Assess your health - Your drowsiness in the morning might be health-related. Perhaps you need a better diet and exercise plan or maybe you have sleep apnea. If you’ve been doing everything right, go to a doctor for an expert opinion.
  2. Coffee on your bedside table - This is for extreme cases, but leaving some coffee or another caffeinated drink like Mountain Dew or coca cola on your bedside table might be a good way to get yourself out of bed.
  3. Place your alarm clock strategically - If you place your alarm clock across the room or outside your door, this might force you walk to the clock to shut it off.
  4. Get an alarm clock that lights up 
  5. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol the night before - It takes a while for caffeine and alcohol to get out of your system so for a better night’s sleep, refrain from imbibing these liquids the night before.
  6. Smelling salts - Smelling salts have been reviving people for hundreds of years, but you don’t have to smell something distasteful. Put a bottle of a pleasant-smelling essential oil like orange, grapefruit, or mint next to your bed to sniff in order to shake yourself out of a groggy state
  7. Train yourself - Train yourself during the day getting out of bed quickly. If you train yourself it might be easier to jump up and get out the door.

If after all of these you are still failing to get up and out of bed on time then you are simply, lazy.

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It’s that time of year again where those January exams for University students are upon us and GCSE mocks as well. The last thing you want to do is sit down and revise. But it is really important that you do, so here are some tips on how to get through the stressful exam period -

Manageable revision: Don’t try to revise for too long all at once. Do your revision in half-hour slots, stopping for a drink and a five or ten minute break in the middle. This will help you concentrate and you’ll remember more of what you are revising.

Start early: Don’t leave your revision until the last minute. If you haven’t already, start revising now. It is true that it is never too late to start revising, but you shouldn’t leave it until the day before your exam.

Get help: If you don’t understand something then ask someone. Never suffer in silence. There is no point learning something from memory if you don’t understand it, it won’t help you in the exam. Get your teacher to explain it.

Make notes: Get a small pile of notes (Post-it or similar) and a biro and write all the key words from your subject onto the notes. Then stick them all over your house. As you walk around and see the words, challenge yourself to be able to say what they mean.

Revision tip: I find this a really useful way to revise. First, write out the key topics onto an A4 piece of paper. Fit as much on as you can. Then, take only the important bits and copy the information onto the A5 piece. Try to fit it all on! Condense it again onto the postcard. You should now have only the very important words left.

And finally – good luck in your exams!

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Ingredients
½ small Onion, finely chopped or grated
100g/4oz Minced Beef

1 teaspoon Tomato Ketchup or Paste

1 teaspoon Dried Mixed Herbs
Salt and Black Pepper

A little Oil

2 thin slices of cheese

Instructions

1. Preheat the grill to hot. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended, squidging the mixture together with your hands.

2. Shape the mixture into 2 burgers, brush with a little oil then place oiled side up on the grill and cook for 3 – 4 minutes,

3. Turn the burgers over, brush with a little more oil and cook for a further 4 – 7 minutes depending on how well done you like your meat.

4. Place the slices of cheese on top of the burgers then return to the grill and cook for 1 minute until the cheese melts.

Serve on their own or in a bun with garnishes such as shredded lettuce, tomato slices, pickled gherkin slices, mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise.

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To help you make the most of your time, we’ve put together 10 easy steps to help you conduct better research at university.

1. Take a Tour of Your University Library

You have a variety of library professionals at your service, and joining them for a library tour will help give you an idea of which resources are available to you (books, journals, electronic databases, reference resources, interlibrary loans, etc.) and where you can find them. If you need help later you’ll also know who your subject librarian is and where you can find reference librarians able to help you track down needed information.

2. Know Your Research Question

Before you waste time looking for useless information make sure you know your research question. If you’re working on a thesis then you may find that your research question emerges from background research, but even in this case you’ll need to know the general topic so that you can start your search. Also be aware of any research requirements as some instructors ask for a certain number of sources or certain types of sources included in your bibliography.

3. Know Your Time Frame

Obviously instructors will have different expectations for assessments that are given with a one week deadline and assessments that can be completed over the entire term. Knowing your time frame will give you an idea of how much research you can conduct. Also make sure you know if any mini-deadlines are due before the final assessment must be handed in. Breaking your work down into manageable chunks will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed and will also help you prioritise those parts that are due first.

4. Evaluate Your Sources

Just because you find a source that relates to your research topic doesn’t mean it will be appropriate for your purposes. Evaluate not only the information that the source contains but also the authority of the source. Why should you believe it? Is it up to date? What is the reputation of the author? Could the information be biased? It is especially important to evaluate the authority of Internet sources since anyone can publish information there at any time.

6. Keep Track of Your Sources

It can be easy to lose track of which information you find from your sources, so make sure that every note you take references the source from which it came. Try to take down all of the information you’d need to include in a bibliography. This will also be useful for making your bibliography or works cited list later and citing sources within your papers.

7. Exploit Your Sources

When you find a source that offers you good information, exploit it for other potential resources. Look at the bibliography to see if you can use any of those sources in your own research. Skim the source to see if it mentions any other works as groundbreaking or pivotal. While Wikipedia is not considered an academic source, mining it for links to others sites and works can be a great way to start your research.

8. Look for What’s Missing

If you haven’t been assigned a research question and must develop one of your own then take special note of topics that are missing in current research. These holes could be good indications of topics that are crying out for research. But beware, some topics might be missing because there is no information available and/or because conducting such studies could be a very large or difficult task.

9. Take Direct Quotes

As you take notes, be sure to take them in your own language and make it obvious when you have taken a direct quote from your source. Direct quotes should be offset by inverted commas and should include details of where it was found. If the quote you take from a source is actually a quote itself, then take down both the source in which you found it and the source from which it was originally taken. With such well-detailed notes you’ll have little worry of inadvertent plagiarism later.

10. Leave the University

After a while you’ll no doubt wear out the sources available to you at your university. Try to get off campus and do a little research at a public or special library where the sources will be a little bit different. Alternatively, see if you can leave the sources behind and go to a museum, centre, lecture, workshop or even on a tour of a particular place or area to gain a better understanding of your topic. Getting a different feel for your topic will not only help you stayed interested in it, but might also help you come up with your own angle for your assessment.

 

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Everyday as human beings we put things off. No doubt all of us find a window to clean, cook a meal to cook, run an errand or even do a spot of gardening when faced with the prospect of less appealing ways to spend an hour. Unfortunately procrastination often kicks in when we’re faced with schoolwork, something that most of us understand that we have to do even if we don’t particularly want to. Remind yourself that procrastinating on an assignment won’t make it go away, it will only make it last longer. Don’t let your schoolwork take over your life, bite the bullet and tackle your assignments head on by avoiding procrastination and finally getting down to work.

Remove Yourself From Any Distractions

Before beginning an assignment or starting to study, take a few minutes to prepare your work space. No, this is not procrastination – though it will be if your clean-up turns into a major overhaul – rather it is an integral part of your preparation. Make sure that your study space:

  • Is cool enough for comfort. Remember that you can always put on a jumper later if you start to feel chilly.
  • Has enough natural or overhead light that you can read and write comfortably.
  • Offers a quiet environment away from distractions such as your radio, TV or Internet connection.
  • Provides storage for your mobile phone, mp3 player and any other gadgets that you routinely check.
  • Includes a door, so that you can let others know that you are busy and do not want to be disturbed.
  • Supplies a desk large enough for you to spread out your materials and a chair comfortable enough for you to sit for 30 to 45 minutes at a stretch.

Set Yourself Some Goals

Rather than just flipping open a book and hoping you’ll absorb something, set yourself some goals for your work session. When you vaguely know you need to read something it is much easier to put off your studying, but when you know that you need to read three chapters and it will only take you 30 minutes it is much easier to buckle down and get to work. Many students find it helpful to set small goals for their work sessions, such as:

  • Reading a certain number of pages or chapters.
  • Writing a certain number of words, paragraphs or pages.
  • Solving a certain number of problems or questions.
  • Reviewing a certain number of pages or topics.
  • Getting through a certain number of small tasks or chores.
  • Finishing each session with a “to do” list for the next go.

Offer Rewards for Doing Work

A lot of times we forget to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, and never more so than when we are in a panic and are pressed for time. Regardless of when you finally get to work, offer yourself some rewards for a productive session. Each time you accomplish one of your goals; allow yourself a small treat to celebrate the milestone. Make sure the treats are small and can be completed in approximately 15 minutes, however, or you simply run the risk of procrastinating before getting back to work. Many students find it helpful to reward themselves with:

  • Walking outside for some fresh air.
  • Preparing and consuming healthy snack.
  • Checking their email inbox.
  • Picking up a book or magazine for a change of subject.
  • Engaging in a brief yoga routine.

While no one likes to admit to it, everyone is susceptible to procrastination. Figure out what works for you, whether it’s to mark off one full day to blitz through your work or one hour a night to work along steadily, and stick to this routine. Everyone will have different tips and techniques for avoiding procrastinating, but in the end it is only you who can actually sit down and get to work.

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This is a really nice, simple dish to enjoy.

You will need -

  • Dried pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin tuna
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • Mixed dried herbs or oregano
  • Grated cheese

Put the pasta on to cook for about 10 minutes (allow 75g-115g/3oz-4oz dried pasta per adult). Drain the pasta once cooked.

Use tuna in oil if you have some. Pour a bit of the oil from the tuna into a pan and fry some onion and garlic. Pour away the leftover oil. Add the tuna to the pan, and heat through and mix up for a minute.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and some mixed herbs or oregano, and a little black pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
Add to cooked pasta.

To make it into a ‘bake’ pile it all into an oven dish, and top with cheese.
Bake for 20-30 minutes at 180 C/Gas 4.

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Staying healthy is something everyone must take personal responsibility for.  Students in particular must be extra safe and on top of their health because they are pulled in so many different directions, meet new people and in need of vast amounts of energy to keep up with their commitments.  If you value your health and wellbeing read through these top tips for staying healthy.

Remember to Eat Well

With so many options available it can be hard to remember the basic rules for eating well.  Bad diets, ready meals and take-aways are the usual route for students on a simple diet, often diverting us from the fresh, wholesome foods that we know to be healthy.  According to the British Nutrition Foundation, the basis of a healthy diet includes:

  • A third of your daily food intake should be bread, cereal or potatoes.
  • Eating 5 different fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Consuming 2 – 3 servings of milk or dairy per day.
  • Sensible portions of meat, fish or alternatives, including 2 servings of fish per week.
  • A serving or less of fatty or sugary foods per day, including sugary drinks.
  • Drinking at least six glasses of water per day and more when you are active.

Work Out

Once you are giving your body a healthy diet, make sure that you also offer it multiple opportunities each day to stretch, strengthen and tone.  Working up a sweat for about 30 minutes each day will leave you feeling better and with noticeably more energy and enthusiasm for all of your other activities.   To make the most of your workouts, remember to:

  • Quit or don’t smoke.  Cigarette smoke wreaks havoc on your body and will stand in the way of true health.
  • Integrate aerobic or cardiovascular activities, weight training and stretching to into your workout.
  • Join the student health club and explore their exercise equipment and classes.
  • Bring home an exercise or fitness video to work out in private.
  • Build a home gym with free weights and a skipping rope so that you can exercise even when it is cold and rainy.

Get Rest and Sleep Weel

An important part of staying healthy is getting enough rest.  Both your body and mind require free time to recharge and regenerate.  Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, and give yourself multiple breaks during the day.  Sneak in a rest by doing the following:

  • Concentrating on eating during your meals, nothing else, give your mind a break from work.
  • Listening to music during your commute.
  • Taking a yoga or meditation class instead of watching television.
  • Hanging out with friends for a few hours having a chat.

Staying healthy requires work, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.  Commit to living a healthier lifestyle and you will reap the rewards of fewer illnesses, increased energy, more enthusiasm and better health.  Overcome the obstacles and commit to healthy living today.

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