ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS for
BSc Environmental Conservation
A Guide to Student Life, by Those Who Have Survived It
Written by students past and present, all of whom studied BSc Environmental Conservation at UWTSD Special thanks to Natasha Rose Dodds Casey-Jo Zammit Ella Wilkinson Naim Awal Luke Charters Natalie Jordan Rowan Kenney Imogen Lloyd-James Asahi Pollock Fraser Reid Elanor Alun Christopher Beynon Celyn Rees Talisha Weston Tom Williams Chloe Chignell Daniel Adams Menai Rowlands Sammy-Jo Pengelly
WHAT IS THIS BOOK? You’ve looked at the course (hopefully); you’ve read the prospectus (probably); you’ve even dropped by an open day (maybe). But after all the official lines and glossy propaganda… … What’s it really like at UWTSD? You hold in your hands the insider view of life at UWTSD, surviving (and passing) the course, and all the gossip and information about real student life in Swansea to let you make the most of your time here. This book was written for new, aspiring students like you, by old, recent graduates, who have come through the process and know exactly what’s good, bad, and brilliant about the whole thing. Want to know what the course really contains? Want a better understanding of your future lecturers before arriving? Want to know how to adapt to independent, adult(ish) life for the first time, from those who have survived it, toaster-scars and all? Want to know what Swansea has to offer as a student town? Want the pub guide? Read on…
CHAPTERS SECTION 1: WHY CHOOSE SWANSEA?
SECTION 2: SURVIVING THE COURSE!
SECTION 3: LIFE HACKS FOR NEW STUDENTS
For those short on time
CULTURE GUIDE Student Hotspots of the City
ACTIVITY GUIDE Want an adventure? Look here to start!
Further Afield Beach Guide
LIFESTYLE GUIDE All the gossip with none of the drama
17 19 20 21
Living Green Vegan Living Volunteering Pub Guide
2 3 5
Swansea is Walesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; second biggest city, featuring all the perks of a big city with all the easy access of a small town. Swansea is rich in beaches. It has its own, which is sandy and delightful, or if you have transport you can quickly get down the Gower peninsula, with its award-winning surfing beaches. The nightlife is bustling, and conveniently mostly centred on Wind Street. Many varied festivals take place throughout the year, including Swansea International Festival, the International Jazz Festival, and the Swansea Sausage and Cider Festival. Shopping is plentiful. Pubs are plentiful. Swansea museum contains two actual Egyptian mummies. One is a human. The other is a duck. Have you ever seen a mummified duck? Thought not.
The Culture Guide In the Spotlight: High Street
The street with the name “High Street” in Swansea is no longer, in fact, the high street; it withered thirty years ago when the road systems changed, so these days the main hustle and bustle is on Oxford Street. But in recent years, something of a community-led revolution has seen High Street take on a new identity for itself, as an LGBT focal point, the hub of Swansea’s burgeoning art scene, and a haven for local, independent businesses.
The Volcano Theatre Company has taken over what used to be an Iceland building, which has now been transformed into the Art Haus – a gallery space-cumtheatre that hosts multiple exhibitions and plays throughout the year, and has a massive painting of Elizabeth Taylor’s face on the front for easy recognition... The Elysium Gallery now has a pub/gallery on High Street that also hosts open mic nights, comedy nights and poetry evenings.
Cinema & Co is a fantastic independent cinema on High Street which merges from coffee shop by day to cinema by night. It’s generally a more affordable choice than the Big Two Cinemas (Vue and Odeon, in case you’re wondering), and among the delicious local foods they sell is the option to have a pizza while you watch! Films are an eclectic mix of classics, independent local films, critically acclaimed foreign films, and some new releases. And, they take requests; although you might have to wait a few months for your pick to roll around!
Independents' Day You can find independent businesses throughout Swansea, of course (shout out to Madame Foner in Picton Arcade for stocking decent-sized bras. We salute your service, ladies), but High Street punches well above its weight for these. Copper, the Hyst, whatever the Last Resort is currently (it regenerates more often than a Time Lord), the rest of the businesses in this section; you’re spoiled for choice, whatever your pick. Copper even sells beer brewed by Swansea’s own Boss Brewery in the Hafod. How’s that for keeping the carbon footprint down?!
The King’s Arms has been a stalwart of the city's LGBTQ scene for years now – once just a standard Local Boozer, they added internetlinked jukeboxes a few years ago and inexplicably that was enough to transform it into the glorious hub of all things LGBTQ that it is today. The Swansea Drop-In Centre is also on High Street, and offers a gender identity support service. And if meeting other LGBTQ folks is your thing, don’t forget – UWTSD has it’s own LGBTQ Society, free for you to join! Swansea Pride runs in April every year, which means you’ll all still be around in uni to celebrate together! It’s a fairly new Pride parade that’s growing every year, and always happy to take on volunteers. Or, for the big party, Cardiff is but a short train ride away!
Taste the Rainbow
Good Game The Gamer’s Emporium is on High Street, a shop with games to suit everyone from the nerdiest nerd to the... um... whatever the opposite of a nerd is. Our top picks for non-gamers wanting something fun and different for a bit: Pandemic. A co-operative board game where you have to work together to keep four new diseases from taking over the world. SUPER fun to play in house parties (and oddly empowering in the age of Coronavirus...)
Exit Games. Essentially, a sort of board game escape room (albeit without the board.) These are non-replayable games that take about an hour and a half to play, and you can take with you to a pub if you want.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf. You use cards, but it’s not a card game – this is a lying game, where you’re trying to work out who in the group is a werewolf and needs to be lynched. The catch? Depending on the cards dealt and the choices of the players, it might be you... If you’re a hardcore gamer of old, of course, the Emporium also offers tournaments and social gatherings for various games, including the Pokemon Card Game (Sawsbuck is the BEST, no we will not be taking any questions at this time).
Kaspars A LATE NIGHT DESSERT SHOP!??
y t i y t v i i t v i c t c A A e h e T Th e d e i d u i G Gu
Looking for some fun activities to spice up your life? Here are our top recommendations!
a m e ni C
Swansea has four to choose from – Vue, Odeon, Cinema & Co and the Taliesin Arts Centre. The Big Two are exactly what you’d expect from a cinema, showing all the latest blockbuster releases and offering massive buckets of overpriced and underwhelming popcorn – Odeon is cheaper, but weirdly doesn’t have properly tiered seating, so sometimes Other People’s Heads become a problem.
Mondays are a very cheap day at Vue, however, so there’s that. Cinema&Co is glorious (see page 3), with its pleasing blend of indy films and local community initiatives. The Taliesin is over in Swansea Uni’s Singleton Campus, so can be a little trickier to get to, but it shows a good mix of blockbusters and independent films for around £6 a ticket.
Rough As Comedy Club
The Swansea Grand Theatre /swanseagrand Held in Swansea Grand Theatre on the last Wednesday of every month, the Grand fetches in high calibre acts for a more cabaret evening in tone. The grand also puts on high end comedians on tour sometimes, with past acts including Bill Bailey, Dara O’Briain and Stewart Lee. Tickets are £12.50.
Elysium Gallery, High St
The Perch, Wind St
A quirky little night, Rough As is a free entry monthly gathering that’s built to allow comedians to try out new material. While this means the performances aren’t as polished as normal, it does mean there’s a wonderfully informal, community atmosphere to the whole thing. The host, Sarah Bridgeman, also runs courses to help out and give pointers to anyone who wants to give it a go themselves...
/comedysheep An excellent night of professional comedy that runs on the last Wednesday of every month, from local promoters Comedy Sheep. Hosted each month by Ignacio Lopez, Punchlines has worked up a dedicated following by now and so has a great atmosphere every time. Early bird tickets are a tenner – check their Facebook page for details.
The Grand Comedy Club
Punchlines at the Perch
If you’re after an activity with a bit of a different flavour, look no further! We’ve got you covered.
A major craze, currently, escape rooms are themed puzzle rooms – you’re closed in for an hour and have to solve the puzzles in teams to escape. Swansea has two escape rooms with a broad range of themes:
Breakout Live Found on the Kingsway, Breakout Live have a choice of three rooms; plus, one which can cater for bigger groups of up to 10. /BreakoutLiveSwansea
You’ve been captured by a serial killer! Can you solve the puzzles left behind and escape before you become the next victim?
The Voyager spacecraft was travelling to a new homeland when its systems malfunctioned. You have come out of hibernation way too soon - prove that you are human to enter the cockpit and turn the ship around.
Perfect if you have a bigger group and want to play together! In a terrible case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you have been framed for murder and sentenced to a death penalty. Escape from under the guards’ noses.
The Escape Game Now in a brand new, custom-built venue, the Escape Game is on track to be the biggest escape business in Wales with 10 games! Currently it boasts three, with a fourth imminent.
Imprisoned on the notorious Alcatraz Island, can you escape before the guards return? Start this one locked into two separate cells - communication is key!
Kidnapped by an international ring of serial killers-for-profit, can you escape before your torturer arrives? This one is SUPER hard and also SUPER scary - great for Hallowe'en...
Double crossed at your last Heist, you've been arrested - but can you escape before the guards transport you? A game with a difference - this is not a room, but a literal prison van. Not one for claustrophobes!
Go Forth, Adventurer! Laserzone
Found next to the castle, slap bang in the city centre. Fancy running around with a laser gun in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk dystopia? Well NOW YOU CAN!! This is a great activity if you’re on a budget, too, as £7 gets you two games. Heads up – make sure you’re wearing clothes that will let you run around without overheating, because you’re going to run around and overheat.
Oh, yeah. You can jump out of planes here, no problem. Go to www.skydiveswansea.co.uk. No big deal.
Swansea is rich in rock options!
Indoor crazy golf! Bunkers is newly arrived in Swansea, found at the bottom of Wind Street, and is already taking off. As well as the golf they have a few arcade-style things like air hockey, plus a bar. Thursday night is date night – a drink and a round of golf will cost you a mere £10.
Swimming and Surfing
There’s a whole bunch of leisure centres in Swansea, of course, but the Big Boy along the Waterfront is the LC2 – that’s a pool with slides, lazy rivers and an indoor surfing wave! Or, of course, if wild swimming is more your thing, you can simply pick your beach (with caution, obvs). Fancy learning to surf properly? The Gower is stuffed with more surfing schools than there are starfish in the tide pools (and there are Lots.) Throw a dart at a map and pick one!
Dynamic Rock is based out in Clydach, and taster sessions start from £10 per person for 6 of you. The Climbing Hangar recently opened a branch in Morriston – their inductions are about £9.50 per person.
Admittedly, a giant soft play area IS normally for children. But Play Zone opens to adults on Friday nights, letting you release your inner child. Pro tip: tag is SUPER fun in there. The tall slides are terrifying. It’s so much fun.
A little slice of the tropics in the city centre! See the big glass pyramid in Parc Tawe? Yeah, in there. Packed full of tropical and arid-land plantlife, Plantasia is a fun and inexpensive way to spend an afternoon, especially since they got monkeys and meerkats and a caiman.
At some point, you and your mates will want to pile in a car or jump on a train and get out and about, exploring beyond Swansea’s borders. Alternatively, your parents will come for a visit and you’ll want to do something a bit different, perhaps? On the following pages, we present your cut-out-and-keep guide to the highlights of Swansea’s environs.
FURTHER AFIELD... To the West... Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Want to get out into The Nature? Want to look at one of the most biodiverse coastal areas in the whole world? Get over to the National Park! The Coastal Path lets you walk from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south, featuring seals, porpoise and a plethora of sea birds. Plus, Skomer - the jewel in the crown.
Immediately to the west of Swansea lies the Gower Peninsula, UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and home to more beaches than you own socks, probably. See page 15 for our beach guide, but the Gower is a wonderful escape to the countryside for those who are so inclined, with excellent walking routes, quaint little villages, and plentiful country pubs. It is also well served by buses from Swansea’s central bus station. Pack a picnic and get away…
Oakwood Theme Park
Wales’ only true theme park, this. Proper rollercoasters and everything, including Megafobia, the jewel in the crown. It’s £26 a ticket on the gate (with a valid SU card), or £23.40 if you book online ahead of time.
A zoo! WITH GIRAFFES! And a recently born baby black rhino called Glyndŵr! And also with old fashioned Victorian circus-ground games and stalls and such, like a carousel and one of those things where you have a stick and there are ducks with numbers on and you hook up a duck and then you win some horrible toy or other, you know? One of them. Folly Farm has evolved over the years from petting farm to full-blown conservation organisation, now participating in 23 different conservation breeding programmes. Plus, you can buy proper Animal Experiences with the giraffes and lions and penguins and rhinos and Folly Farm is just really great, okay.
Cwm Deri Vineyard Okay, take a designated driver and buy them a bottle of something while you’re there. But otherwise, Cwm Deri is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. Hidden away in Pembrokeshire, they make traditional country wines from native plants, like a white wine made from silver birch sap, and a red made from elderberry. They also do liqueurs (the blackberry liqueur is really rather nice), traditional Welsh mead (lightly spiced and made from actual honey), and have an excellent cheese selection, too. Wine tasting is pretty cheap at £7.50 for a sample of all 23 alcohols. Plus you can stroll the vineyards.
The Brecon Beacons National Park
Look at this! Two different National Parks on your doorstep!! You’re so lucky!! And how very different they are; while Pembrokeshire Coast offers the best in biodiverse marine environments, the Beacons bring you rugged mountains and chiselled valleys, perfect for hiking, cycling, and rock climbing. The highest peak is Pen-y-Fan which, at 886m above sea level, is the highest mountain in all of southern UK.
Aberdulais Tinworks and Waterfall
A National Trust-run museum, Aberdulais shows you how water was used through the ages to power the technology there – including today, when they’re entirely self-sufficient for energy by using an underground turbine. You can explore ruins, discover archaeology, try on costumes, and eat cake in the tea room. What more could you want?
To the North...
Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary Nestled into the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, the Ape and Monkey Sanctuary is home to rescued primates of pretty much every imaginable type; plus some extras like porcupines, capybara, donkeys, horses and wolves. As a charity, visiting them not only means visiting all the nice animals, but also that you help fund their rescue work. NICE.
Craig-y-Nos Castle and Country Park Built in the Victorian era by legendary opera singer Adelina Patti, Craig-y-nos Castle lays claim to being the most haunted castle in Wales, and offers ghost tours regularly for those who fancy walking into walls and screaming at moths in the dark. The country park attached, meanwhile, is open all year round, and allows you to have a lovely walk around the old castle grounds. And cake in the tea room. What more could you want?
Dan-yr-Ogof National Showcaves
What on Earth is a showcave, we hear you ask? You fool, we answer. Havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you heard of showcaves? Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re beautiful underground caverns, carved naturally from the rock over millions of years, with underground waterfalls and dazzling rock formations and also a load of dinosaur models wired together out of some bones people found. Fancy never hearing of showcaves.
To the East...
Go Ape Margam Park is just round the corner from Swansea in Port Talbot, and it now features a Go Ape course – a high ropes adventure course that sees you clambering through the treetops on increasingly flimsy rope bridges and trying not to fall off (you are, of course, very securely roped into the trees, and can’t actually fall.) Great fun, provided you don’t suffer from vertigo.
MacArthur Glen Designer Outlet Cheap shopping!! Need clothes? Pans for the kitchen? Hiking gear? Victorian parlour games? MacArthur Glen is about 20 minutes away by car, and has designer outlet shops for multiple big names selling stuff at a fraction of the price. Including Thorntons.
Cardiff Missing the glamour of a big city? It’s less than an hour by train to Cardiff, and a same-day return for £10 gives you access to Wales’ capitol city for all the shopping, eating and fun that you can’t find in Swansea. Cardiff is a lot bigger than Swansea, and so has a lot more to offer. Although in the interests of fairness it should be pointed out that it’s more expensive and also they don’t have a beach. So there.
Castell Coch Ah, Castell Coch. You know how most castles are just big stony ruins with all jutty-out bits and that? Yeah, not Castell Coch. Castell Coch was built by a nutter who believed in the concept of Aesthetic, and so it has the sorts of turrets that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d feel comfortable throwing your mile-long hair out of. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s probably a maiden sleeping for a thousand years up in the attic somewhere. Possibly a troll lives under the drawbridge. Hard to tell.
Big Pit Go down an ACTUAL COAL MINE!!! Staffed by ex-miners, they take you down over a mile underground and show you what life in the mines was like, including a creepy bit where they turn out all the lights. It is aces. It is also hilarious watching tall people down there.
To the South... The Be ach, B aby
From classic leisure beaches to secluded coves full of rock pools, Swansea and the Gower have you covered for just about every type of beach imaginable. Our helpful guide below lists the main options by type and facilities; plus the odd recommended extra. Enjoy! Don’t swim while drunk.
Swansea Beach Massive and sandy, and right on the doorstep.
Good For? Sandy things and paddling! Swimming is good with the usual caution.
Bad For? Surfing. Doesn't get the waves. Not much in the way of rockpools, either.
Big and sandy, and an official poll put it at the 10th best beach in the world! Not local bias, either. An international poll.
Good For? Sandcastles, surfing and watersports. There are facilities there, too.
Access is a little bit tricky, down narrow steps. No wheelchair access.
Port Eynon, Oxwich, Caswell, Llangennith Big and sandy!
Good For? Sand and surf! Plus Port Eynon has a 10,000year-old petrified forest, and Oxwich has dunes. Facilities at all four.
Bad For? No lifeguard in term-time. Don’t die. If you go surfing in Llangennith, mind out for submerged shipwrecks.
Pobbles Bay Small and sandy and yes, it is a silly name.
Good For? Adventuring along the cliffs is v. fun and also sand castles.
Bad For? Access is tricky, there are no facilities. Surfing isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t great.
Small and sandy and possibly the most secluded Gower beach.
Good For? At high tide the titular Blue Pool fills and is a natural plunge pool for diving. Possibly Narnia is at the bottom.
Bad For? Access is very difficult at high tide. No facilities.
Bracelet Bay Tiny and pebbly/sandy.
Good For? ROCK POOLS! This is your beach for rock pools.
Bad For? Surfing. Also the nearby facilities are pricey.
Pwll Du Tiny and pebbly, with some sandy bits.
Good For? Adventuring - you can only get there by Intrepid Exploration along the valley.
Limeslade Tiny and rocky.
Bad For? Access is difficult. But fun in itself.
Good For? Adventuring! It's aces for exploring. And rock pools. There are facilities nearby, even though it's secluded.
Bad For? Sandcastles. Swimming is hard when you get swept into a rock.
The Lifestyle Guide Living Green
Swansea is actually a surprisingly eco-friendly sort of place, with a lot of stuff for you to explore if you’re That Sort. Which you might well be. We’ve seen what course you’re interested in.
The Environment Centre
Found behind Morgan’s Hotel, the Environment Centre is a great little hub for all things sustainable in Swansea. On site, they have a shop selling sustainable gifts, books, and Ecover refills (which, by the way, are much cheaper than buying a new bottle each time); they have message boards containing details of volunteering opportunities, courses, and environmental jobs; and they frequently host talks on various environmental issues, featuring everything from bio-char to nuclear power.
Environment Societies Between UWTSDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Environment Society (page 55), and Swansea Uniâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Conservation Ecology Society, students in Swansea have huge potential to meet likeminded environmental types, do volunteering and activism to Make a Difference, and then get themselves to the nearest pub for merriment.
Swansea Sustainability Trail The Swansea Sustainability Trail is a collection of examples of good practice in sustainability around the city, covering the thirteen themes of Animal Welfare, Biodiversity, Built Heritage, Education and Training (ESDGC), Energy, Global Links, Healthy Lifestyle, Local Produce, Community Action, Sustainable Building, Transport, Waste Management, and Water. The trail includes local businesses, community projects and organisations. Full details can be found at www.sustainableswansea.net/ sustainability-trail.
Recycling You can recycle an enormous number of things from your own home in Swansea these days, on a fortnightly cycle. Green week sees paper and cardboard in one green bag and tins and glass in a second, while pink week sees plastic in a pink bag and general waste in a black bag. Food waste can be put out every week, which stops the bins smelling nicely. Recycling bags, be they green, pink or the special potato-starch food waste ones, can be obtained free from the council (and many corner shops throughout the city have begun offering them, too.) If you’re unsure about your collection days, visit www.swansea.gov.uk/recycling. You’ll also find a list of civic amenity sites there, for recycling the things that can’t go from the kerbside. Like batteries. And paint.
Want to spare the animals but still eat things outside of your own kitchen? Well GOOD NEWS! Swansea is equipped. Top picks: Cafe 18 (Brynmill)
BeerRiff (Maritime Quarter)
V Veegga ann LLiivvi inngg Zinco Lounge (Castle Square)
Brontosaurus (Indoor Market)
Yogaya (Craddock Street)
SU The Students' Union is always worth a look! They have a programme in place to help match students to
If you’re the sort who wants t o gener ally fee useful o l r if you just wa to gain nt specific e x perienc in the w e orkplac e , volunte ering is a fabulo option t us o both m ake a differen ce and m ake you CV a bit r jazzy.
volunteering placements, so swing by for a chat.
SCVS The Swansea Council for Voluntary Service is the city-wide organisation that will match you into whatever field you’re after. Go to their website at www.scvs.org.uk, have a look-see at their various opportunities, and then get in touch to get volunteering!
The Pub Guide
Uplands Brewstone Hoogah's
Uplands Wind Street may be Swansea's nighttime focal point, but Uplands gives it a run for its money! It's a lovely area, with more of a distinct flavour to it; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a bit nicer, a bit classier, and a bit more expensive (though Uplands Tavern might make you think you're back in town). Generally, the main interests here are Whitez, with its pool and live music and ultra-late opening hours, or Brewstone, with its delicious pate and cocktails (classy).
Wind Street Jack Murphy's
Coyote Ugly Sin City
Wind Street It’s odd, Wind Street; its Welsh name is Stryd y Gwynt, which makes it clear that it was named after the way the wind blows up it from the Marina on blustery days. But in English, the “Wind” is pronounced to rhyme with “Mind”, with the result that people often think it’s called “Wine Street”. This would not be inappropriate. Wind Street is easily the most nightlife-rich street in Swansea, transforming from a quaint wind of restaurants and pubs by day into a thriving strip of pubs and clubs by night complete with taxi rank, kebab shops and a constant, steady police-and-paramedic presence to keep you safe. This is where you’ll find a lot of the big chains that you know; Revolution, Popworld, Las Iguanas, etc.
Pick Your Poison... Brewstone
For classy times with cocktails and tapas, Brewstone is the place to be! Try the vodka pate. Trust us. It's breathtaking.
Uplands Tavern The Tav, as it's known, is a proper traditional local pub that has nonetheless become a hotspot of nightlife. Expect no bells and whistles just a great time!
Three floors, three different bars! The Terrace on the top floor is a cocktail lounge with live music, the Pool Hall in the middle is a cozy sports bar, and the Garage in the basement boasts live gigs in music and comedy. With late night opening hours as an added incentive, Whitez is a great place to spend an evening.
You'll find Hoogah's off the beaten track a bit, just before you get to Uplands - but it's worth going out of your way for it. It's a local business offering good cheap cocktails, plus some fantastic locally and ethically sourced food. Make the effort. You'll love it.
Infamous in name, Swansea's branch of Coyote does not disappoint; apart from anything else, they let you the patrons dance on the bar. It's also a big venue so you don't feel too overcrowded (Saturday nights excepted, obviously). If you want a dance, this is the place.
Fancy a rave? Head into Sin! Formerly run by Swansea University, Sin City is now an independent nightclub that nonetheless still caters primarily to students. This is the place for music loud enough to knock bats out of the ceiling, cheap drinks in plastic cups and sticky floors to dance on. Regular live music, too.
Nostalgic for the 90s? Get to Popworld! It's a fun, bouncy retro bar that plays a lot of ABBA, among other things, so if you're really feeling the urge to dance like a maniac to the Spice Girls, this is the place for you.
Bambu Beach Bar is found halfway down Wind Street and is a lot of fun. Their cocktails are a thing of beauty and some come in buckets, so there's that; but also, they have karaoke booths if the singing mood takes you, and their roof terrace offers free blankets to keep you warm if you fancy an outdoor experience.
Jack Murphy's Glitz and glam not your thing? Fancy something with a bit of dirt under the fingernails and a rockier vibe? Jack's got you covered.
For those short on time
WHAT AM I ACTUALLY STUDYING?
FIELDWORK, VOLUNTEERING AND THE ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY
Who are these people and how do I get good marks from them?
What to do? What to wear? What's going on?
51 53 55 57
The Summer Job The Winter Job The Environment Society Outdoor Survival Guide
YOUR FUTURE CAREER What do I do with this degree, anyway?
"I laughed for three years straight... I honestly wish I could do it again!"
"A home away from home... It was the perfect university experience."
Surviving the Course!
This course is The Best TM. Unlike a lot of courses, Environmental Conservation is kept fairly small and intimate. This means you never become just a face in the crowd, and the ratio of lecturers to students is wonderfully low. The course covers a broad range of topics within the spectrum of “the environment”, including habitat science, law, renewable energies and waste management; so, you’re bound to find something you love! Intimidated by the Science? Don’t be! It’s taught in a way that makes it super easy to understand. Unlike most environmental courses, the focus is on practical management, making you more employable afterwards – modules are adapted every year to include what businesses and organisations say they’re looking for in graduates. You get to forensically examine rodent remains in owl pellets in a lab. Skulls are cool. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.
What Am I Actually Studying?
What does biodiversity actually mean? What’s with all the Latin names for stuff? Why do some animals have fancy beaks, then? Get the answers to these questions and more!
Fieldwork Environmental Issues and Academic Skills Climate change, pollution, species decline, ethics – you get a broadspectrum introduction. You also, helpfully, learn how to structure your reports, how to research them easily, and apparently there’s something called Harvard referencing, except no one has ever seen its footprints.
Essentially, this is sort-of-geography. This one teaches you all the physical processes that affect stuff, because it’s all well and good you trying to conserve a sand dune for a rare orchid, but if you don’t know how wind flow and sand deposits work in dune systems, all your careful work will be buried after six months and the bees will not thank you.
Learning on a planetary scale! Earth Science looks at how all the world’s different sections (the atmospheric bits and the watery bits and the bits with the mountains on and all that) interact, and shape the stuff that then lives on it. This is also the module that goes in depth on what climate change is, the science behind it and what it’s going to do. Bring chocolate. It’ll help.
Get outdoors! Lick a tree! Punch a fish*! This one introduces you to the joys of practical work and data gathering. Don’t worry, though. We’ve got your back. See below for our survival guide. *Do not punch a fish
Governance of the Environment All the knowledge and passion in the world won’t save that rare sand dune orchid if you don’t know how to legally protect it. Governance gives you the basics of UK laws that protect the environment, be they the important Acts (like the Wildlife and Countryside Act) or ways of slapping important labels on an area (a National Park, or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
In your first year, the modules are designed to give you an overview of the environment; as in, how it works, the issues it faces, all that stuff. It’s a fairly gentle start, designed to introduce you to the course and teach you the important basics, like how to structure an assignment, and what exactly is a rhizome, anyway?
Environmental Law and Economics
Year 2! And now the fun really begins. Year 2 is the first year where the marks start to actually count towards your degree, and also the year where you now go into detail on the topics. No more overviews! Now you know the difference between a tree and a shrub*!
We all thought this module was going to be dull as silt, but actually, it ended up being one of the most fascinating we had. Easy to follow, too. How did the lecturers do this? Science has no answers. It does what it says on the tin - law and economics, but how the environment affects - or is affected by - them.
*There isn’t any formal difference between a tree and a shrub.
Environmental Monitoring and Remediation Can't fine a factory for polluting if you don't know how much pollution it's producing. And once you know, how do you clean up again? This module has all the answers AND the chance to play with a spectrometer...
Coastal and Marine Science Are you feeling happy right now? Yes? Unacceptable. Learn all the ways in which the oceans are doomed. I hope you didn’t like fish. You’ll never eat it again. The dolphins are cute, though, fair play.
This one looks at different habitats (woodland, rivers, etc) and holds a magnifying glass over the things that live in them, the processes that shape them, and how those combine. And then it tells you how to manage them, in the event you become Queen of the Woods (not a real job title. But a real job.)
Low Carbon Technologies Combining the twin greats of renewable energy and waste management – or, to put it another way, Ways To Get Electricity Without Poisoning The Planet, and Ways To Get Rid Of Our Waste Without Just Burying It And Hoping For The Best. Again, this one is far more fascinating than it can sound. Good stuff.
Research Methods This one starts you on the path to your eventual dissertation, teaching you how to come up with a proposal, research it, gather the data, and analyse the data. You can even use it to literally start your eventual dissertation, if you're feeling like a go-getter/like you don't want to go to the effort of doing it twice.
Third year! Nearly done! Generally, the results of your third year carry the most weight with regards to your final overall degree mark, so pay attention and knuckle down. No drinking.
Fine; some drinking.
Environmental Assessment It’s hard to protect the environment when you don’t know how it’s damaged, mind. EA takes you through the ins and outs of the biggest measurement systems, including how to do them, their strengths, and their shortcomings.
Freshwater Conservation Is water a right or a resource? How do we preserve it? And just what are those creepy little wriggly things in it that have the spikes on the front and the too many legs and mouths?
The module that gives you some good, hopeful answers. How do you set up a functioning city system where people use public transport rather than driving? How do we create low-impact homes to meet our housing needs? How do we balance economic growth and not killing the planet? Come and find out…
GIS and Data Analysis I’m not going to lie. GIS is not easy. Even if you’re the sort of computer-minded person who builds computers out of spoons and regularly hacks into the Pentagon for kicks and giggles, you might not get along with GIS so well. BUT – don’t be afraid to ask for help, and you shall receive it. No one fails GIS. They just curse its name and legacy. However, every employer in the field wants GIS skills these days, pretty much, so it is worth doing.
The Dissertation Stop screaming, it's fine. It'll be fine. It'll probably be fine. Essentially an extended assignment, rather than the usual 1500 – 3000 words, the Diss clocks in at 9000-11,000 words, and for that reason, DO NOT BE A PLEB. Start it in the summer, and get your lit review done by Christmas. Top tip, that. Avoid the breakdown. The nice thing about the Diss is that the topic is entirely up to you. You choose whatever you’re most interested in. Wondering about the impacts of the loss of the traditional British milkman on the lesser spotted woodpecker population? You research that! There’s been everything from micro-hydro schemes, to orca captivity, to sustainable fashion trends. Go mad. Write what inspires you.
Want to know how to impress the teachers? Read on! Also give them a locally sourced apple occasionally.
Lecturer Guide Mega kind and mega professional Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like if someone gave a care bear a lecturing position Can seem strict at first (to some?? We disagree) but actually among the kindest markers Loves marine mammals Really loves them Also the carpet outside her office was worn down to the floor until she moved because of the queue of students who constantly want to see her because sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so great Has her own fan club Really loves them dolphins, mind
Chris Chris can be so sarcastic at students that we’re surprised no one has pushed him down the stairs yet · Very fair marker· Has the freakish ability to make maths understandable to a whole group of people who only took the course because they thought they’d get to look at dormice· Dad jokes· Thinks layers of ancient compressed mud are the most interesting things in the world · Seriously, just say the word ‘varves’ to him, that’s an afternoon right there
Probably single-handedly the reason environmentalists are called ‘tree-huggers’· Like you could have a lecture on automotive design with her or something and it’ll probably end up being a three-hour explanation of mangroves · Pros: Super interesting lectures, will drink with you with very little provocation, gives lots of breaks Cons: Goes too fast sometimes, like whoa Elanor chill it is NOT a RACE but also she will definitely call you a dweeb, right to your face Seriously into trees
Sergio Not a lecturer anymore – he is now King of the Lab, but he takes students for sessions sometimes · BELIEVE NOTHING THIS MAN SAYS EVER · What a joker· What a card· Like that time he told a student that all his references were wrong two days before his dissertation was due in· And it turned out to be a joke· BELIEVE NOTHING
Lara Very good lecturer, all professional and friendly and good knowledge and the like· Lara’s all orderly and systematic · Lara’s so orderly and systematic she’s an expert in it and knows everything about managing stuff to be more environmentally friendly · You get the impression you could ask Lara for tips on how to manage your life better and the next day she’d give you an annotated 18-page document with diagrams and a reward system · Fun lectures though, still, somehow??? No one knows how, science has no answers She is, however, a Bin Nerd She's so into bins and recycling and that Probably because they help with the organising
Kate She’s been working in a wood for about a decade so possibly has not acclimated back to human civilisation yet· Maybe American?? Maybe Welsh?? All very unclear. Suspicious. · Very good marker PROVIDING you have clearly read beyond the basics · If you just put in the basics you have disappointed Kate and she will be disappointed Do not disappoint Kate · You’ll feel bad
Keerthi Now this is a man who knows everything you could every want to know about drinking water and soil· He also lives for maths and problem solving · Definitely a nerd · But, like, a good nerd · Really, really good at explaining challenging facts/equations too And anyway you’re also a nerd so it’s all good
Sammy is very much a Bird Person · Also she is into freshwater and can identify all them little wriggly things with the too many legs and mouths that live in rivers and that · How does she know these things? It’s unknown· Super lovely, though, you’ll love Sammy
Most likely, you are not going to pay much attention to your actual degree at first, because there is Fun and Adventure to be had and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re probably hungover for the first twelve weeks of lectures. But since it is important, fear not! We have compiled our best tips for studying Environmental Conservation and getting the best marks with minimal stress. 37
Safety In Numbers
The fact is, if a group of you decide “Hey, let’s all spend this afternoon working on the assignment/revising”, you are much less likely to go “Life is short and death is coming so instead I shall eat four (4) pancakes and sleep.” It’s good encouragement, and then you can go out socialising for morale purposes afterwards. And, you are much less likely to end up trying to pull one of the dreaded All-Nighters you hear so much about, which – trust us – are far more horrendous than they sound, and best avoided at all costs.
So, form a study group with your course mates. You are an excellent resource and support network to each other. Make use of it. Plus, it can be extremely helpful to have an extra couple of brains to help you make sense of what to write in your assignments (keep reading...) 38
Note Taking - The Easy Way If you’re coming straight from school, you’ll be used to having your notes dictated to you, probably. If you’re coming from something non-academic, you may well be unused to talking notes at all anymore. So! With that in mind:
The lectures will consist of a series of slides, with the lecturer telling you about what’s on them. It is tempting to just write down what’s on the slide and leave it at that.
DO NOT DO THIS Why not, we hear you cry? Because, Anonymous Readers, the slides only contain the briefest, barest summary of the information you need. It’s all the stuff the lecturer is saying that contains the meat of the subject, and – most likely – the stuff that will come up in an exam. 39
The steps to successful note-taking are: At the start of the lecture, ask the lecturer if they’ll be putting the slides onto Moodle. If they are, see, you barely need to write anything the slides say, and can focus entirely on the lecturer. If not, write VERY short notes of what the slides say, to be a framework for the rest of the info. The things to always note down are stats and case studies. In the example to the right, the stuff you need is that bit about a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases coming from deforestation, and to look up the Pontbren Project. That’s the stuff that will be useful to you in an exam or assignment. Develop your own shorthand. As long as you know what each abbreviation means, you’re golden. Your notes could end up looking like they were rejected from Bletchley Park. Doesn’t matter. Never be afraid to ask the lecturer to repeat or explain something! They don’t generally bite. The thorny issue of recording the lectures: well, you can. The risk with making recordings, though, is that you start to complacently think that you don’t need to listen at all in that case, or take any notes. That means, come exam time when you’re frantically trying to revise, you’re basically sitting through all the lectures AGAIN, taking the quick notes that you should have taken months ago. So, be honest with yourself. If you’re the type to make notes anyway, or who will immediately go to a computer after the lecture and type it all up: go for it! Otherwise, it’s not recommended.
Example What the Slide Says Trees: ecosystem services Stabilisation
What the Lecturer Says “Trees provide multiple ecosystem services, like converting CO2 to oxygen, and acting as a carbon sink. Up to a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases come from deforestation. They stabilise soil and slopes, preventing both soil loss and landslides. A very good case study is the Pontbren Project, which you should all look up.”
Assignments You have been given a 3000 word report about the impacts of dragon extinction on the growth of new forest in North Wales. What do you do? It’s possible that, like many of your fellow students, you won’t have ever written a scientific paper before. But fear not! Here is your guide, both handy and dandy, to making it simple.
Okay, so, there will be exceptions, but generally the format runs thusly:
Keep it BRIEF. In a 3000-word report, we’re talking 500 words. Summarise the underlying issue that the paper is about; basically, what is the problem, and why is it a problem? A good place for quick facts and figures. Once that’s done, outline what your report is about to do. “This report aims to examine the impacts of dragon extinction on new forest growth in North Wales.”
What did you do? What did you use to do it? How did you do it? Did anything go wrong, or need to be adapted? Basically, just describe HOW you examined the impacts of dragon extinction on new forest growth in North Wales. “Vegetation survey data were compared both pre- and postextinction, along with prey numbers such as feral goats.”
What did you find? If you analysed the data, explain how and include graphs. Remember to explain in the text what the graphs actually say. No interpretation yet, by the way. Just results. “Figure 2 shows the rise in sheep numbers, corresponding with the drop in dragon and sapling numbers, in the mountains around Blaenau Ffestiniog.”
Here we go! This is the money shot, as it were. This is where you take your results and try to explain why you got them. Most of your marks will come from this section, so go mad. “As the dragons were no longer predating on the sheep (see Figure 2), the sheep were free to eat more saplings, reducing new forest growth. These findings are supported by Chang et al (2002), who found similar patterns in China and Cambodia.”
A summary of what you found and why you think you found it. DO NOT put references in the conclusion. You should have explained everything in the text. This is just the summary. Like the introduction, if this is a 3000-word paper, we’re talking 500 words to finish. "In conclusion, extinction of the top predators has inhibited new forest growth in North Wales thanks to increased herbivory."
UGH. Tedious. The Library has a good Harvard referencing guide, though, which you can download. Or, download Zotero - it does them for you, for maximum convenience.
It can be hard to know quite what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re being asked to talk about in assignments sometimes, but there are three answers to this.
Firstly: READ THE ASSIGNMENT SHEET. It will give you all the topics it wants covered, including with a breakdown of where the marks will go. Pay attention. It helps.
Secondly, ASK THE LECTURER. They are there to help. They will spend about half an hour going over the assignment sheet with you all when they first hand it out anyway, so ask questions and make notes. If you then find yourself getting in knots, just go and ask. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re happy to help.
Thirdly, SAFETY IN NUMBERS. As you saw previously, study groups are magical things for this. Six heads are better than one, and you can brainstorm all the best ways to structure the content, focus on the different angles, and phrase the difficult bits. You can also share resources that way, which takes a lot of the pressure off.
Revision Revision Here’s the secret to successful revision: the best thing you can ever do is teach the topic to another person. As soon as you’re the teacher, it goes right into your head.
So, enlist the study group! Share out the topics amongst yourselves, and take it in turns to teach each other. Swap topics once you’re done if you need to. But get teaching! The other thing to remember with these exams is that the focus is on how to practically manage stuff. If you’re struggling to work out what facts are likely to be relevant about the global fishing industry, look up case studies of how different countries have tried to manage it, both successfully and unsuccessfully. These will get you through.
Ah, the dissertation. *Wipes tear away* This is basically a giant-sized assignment of 10,000 words on a topic of your choice that makes your degree an honours degree, rather than a simple pass/fail ordinary degree. It’s worth two modules in its own right. And it’s actually a lot of fun to write – provided, that is, you don’t leave it until the last three weeks and end up crying in the Library at 4.30 in the morning because you can no longer remember how to make Excel produce a graph.
Dissertation Dissertation 24 45
The trick here is artificial deadlines. If you choose the same topic as for Research Methods, a lot of the ground work will be done for you; you’ll have a skeleton introduction done, and a good chunk of the literature review and the methodology. Nonetheless, set yourself goals
The introduction should be fully written, in its entirety, before the end of the summer holiday and the start of third year. Lit review should be done by Christmas. If your topic requires an experiment, get that done as soon as it’s possible for you to do it, especially if it can be done in the summer holidays. Methodology should be done by the end of January, and the results written up – including graphs – by the end of February.
Spend the rest of March and the first two weeks of April working on the analysis. Conclusion and abstract should come the following week, and then you have a week left to polish the whole thing and make sure it reads sensibly. Do the references as you go along. Never leave those. If you follow these instructions, you should achieve your dissertation with a minimum of hair-loss and sleepless nights. Good luck…
Fieldwork, Volunteering and the
Quick Facts Volunteering is very important; for your future job, yes, but also to find what you actually like doing. There’s loads! And it’s all different! Just find something to suit. The Environment Society means you can get experience AND socialise at the same time. Also there’s normal socials. Those don’t even involve mud. Unless you want them to. 24 48
Working in the Wild Fieldwork for the course tends to be varied, as each trip is tailored to a specific module. This lets you learn important skills, like How To Survey For Things, and How Things Are Recycled, and How To Avoid Dropping A Tree On The Heads Of Your Fellow Humans While Scrub Clearing (depending on your course mates, you may be very grateful for this one.) They usually have assignments attached to them, and are compulsory.
However, to really rack up the experience hours and in areas you’re interested in, you’ll be needing to do volunteering. This might be making you think of nothing but litter picking; but, anonymous reader, you would be wrong. Well; if you want to do litter picking you can, of course. There’s not a law, like. You do you.
But you can search for volunteering opportunities and tailor them to your interests! Are you eyeing up habitat management? Good news! Organisations such as Swansea Council, the Wildlife Trusts and others are always looking for help with scrub clearance and coppicing! Is marine biology more your thing? Fantastic! Information is currently needed on the porpoise populations of Swansea Bay, meaning working eyes are needed for surveys! Are you one of these â&#x20AC;&#x153;Twitchersâ&#x20AC;? we hear so much about? Cool beans! Organisations like the RSPB, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and the British Ornithological Trust are always after breeding bird surveys, and sometimes have bird ringing projects!
The list goes on. Pick your chosen area of interest, and off you go.
The Summer Job
Especially in your first year, you might hear lecturers talking about summer volunteering opportunities. This is because it looks great on your CV to have an immersive, residential conservation experience, something that lasts a couple of weeks or months. These help to broaden your understanding of what it means to be a conservationist, and what that looks like in practice â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it all sounds like fun and games to spend six weeks working on Costa Rican turtle conservation, but actually finding (and smelling) broken rotting turtle eggsâ&#x20AC;Ś
If you decide to do a summer volunteering placement, then the placement you choose will depend on your own personal interests, finances and pre-existing commitments. Previous students have done placements with Raleigh International, International Citizen Service (ICS), Frontier, Grampus Heritage Trust and Scandinavian Conservation Volunteers, which range from the flashy and expensive to the short and fully-funded. Whilst lecturers will support you to apply for these initiatives and provide you with a reference should you need one, do remember that researching and applying for summer volunteering placements is ultimately down to you.
There is a limited amount of financial support available to students wishing to undertake summer volunteering opportunities, so have a gander at the list of bursaries and scholarships available and decide if they apply to you/your opportunity. Additionally, your Fun New Friends in the Environment Society should be able to help you fundraise towards the cost of your trip, if you ask nicely.
The Winter Job The Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE) is part of the university, and it offers paid internships to students for 1 (one) academic year at a time. There are four internships available with distinct roles, though they have huge crossover and often run events together. You have to apply for the internship as you would a job, and submit monthly timesheets detailing what you've done that month, and what you plan to do the following month. INSPIRE might invite applications from students wishing to work on a certain project, such as Fair Trade or waste and recycling, or they may be open to suggestions for projects from applicants - this will differ year on year.
Primarily working on two NUS events (Blackout and Stude nt Switch-Off), plus campaigning am ong the student body to encourage be tter energy consumption. Great for events and project managemen t
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Joining the un i’s Fair Group, trade S workin teering g to ga with o in Fair ther ca trade s mpuse Great tatus s and for ev organi ents m sation anagem s. ordina e n t and c ting ca ompaig ns
Crucially, though, an INSPIRE internship can be both a fabulous entry for your CV, a handy bit of extra pocket money while you study, and potentially a great way of securing funding for your dissertation. For example, former student Ella, a Waste Management Nerd, studied recycling contamination within Halls of Residence for her dissertation. Blog and Design INSPIRE wanted Support to add this to The marketing role, keeping the other their own interns’ work advertised on the sustainability INPSIRE blog and creating research, and so supplementary materials like posters for them. Great for marketing and cofunded the project. ordination
Do you like socials? Do you like the environment? If you answered â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;yesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to either of these questions, GOOD NEWS! The Environment Society is here to answer all your needs.
The Environment Society The Society has held the title of Society of the Year for almost every year of its existence, helped in no small part by its vibrant social life and the 100% survival rate of all students. Its activities have included such practical work as tree planting, dormouse surveys, questing for otters, porpoise watching and fence building for conservation grazing ponies, and such events as protests for climate action, Fairtrade tasting days, green film screenings, and holding a Green Fayre in the Dynevor campus to encourage clothes swapping.
You like socials? THEY’VE GOT SOCIALS. The Society has held Christmas socials, Hallowe’en events with fancy dress themes, Hedgerow Taster Parties, General Waggery, and even a trip to Chernobyl in conjunction with the School of the Natural Environment to view the way nature has reclaimed the Exclusion Zone in which they maintained their 100% survival rate with absolutely no hiccups at all. Unlike many societies, though, the Environment Society gives its members huge control over its activities. If you want it to expend its energy further into areas you’re interested in, simply join the committee! And it looks fabulous on a CV.
Surviving Outdoor Work: a Practical Guide It’s possible you’ve never been caught out in a torrential Welsh downpour, or eaten alive by a ravenous cloud of zombie midges. So, to help you prepare for every eventuality, here is our handy guide to surviving outdoor work – and in most cases, on a student budget…
A Tale of Two Bin Bags Oh, believe us. This one is a must. Take two standard sized bin/recycling bags, fold them up small, and put them in whatever bag or coat pocket you take volunteering. They are small and light and sometimes free, so you can forget all about them – until, that is, the day you’re approximately three miles from shelter and the heavens open. On that day, take out those Bin Bags. Punch holes for your head and arms in one, and wear it like a large and highly fashionable coat. Put your bag and important equipment into the other. Your life will be saved.
The Bugs Are Coming
BUG SPRAY, TAKE A GALLON. Especially important if you’re working in the morning or evening. Or near water. Or just at all.
The Sun Is Coming
Which we’re sure is great news if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t burn like a candle in 13°C, but otherwise, take suncream. In fact, take it anyway. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to burn when you’re out longer than you think.
Take water. Real talk now. Especially if you’re doing active work, like felling. You will get thirsty fast. Take food. This includes snacks. Something that will fill you. Flapjacks can be pretty good for this. Take extra clothes. Socks; pants; a free t-shirt from a Freshers’ night at Walkabout. When you get drenched, you can pull them from your bag – kept dry by your Bin Bag – and make your like 250% better.
You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That
Footwear: sturdy hiking boots or wellies. Every time. Wellies get very cold, so wear plentiful socks inside; or, line them with cardboard, that can help. Hiking boots are better, but less waterproof. It’s a personal choice that we all must make. Also, jeans get heavy and hold the damp easily, so you might want something else. And collect free t-shirts like they’re going out of style. Which they are, but they’re also useful for volunteering so you can save your still-in-style nice clothes. Also also, hats, neck-warmers and gloves.
Your Future Career (Stop Crying)
Quick Facts The environmental sector is growing, and also incredibly varied. You can do more outdoorsy work if you hate offices and/or people, or more indoors work if you hate rain and/or people (N.B. you may still have to work with people) There are certain skills that almost guarantee youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never be out of a job. Like bats, we need bat workers Also botany Also GIS Bats are great, choose bats
The Environmental Sector or, I Did Not Realise There Were So Many Options
Coastal Zone Management
Where you try to stop the sea from eroding away the beach/people, and decide which bits should be kept for swimming and which bits for jet-skis, and where to let tourists visit and where to rope off to protect some unique form of sea-unicorn living in the rockpools. That stuff
Of children, or just of the general public. What does your organisation do? How are you protecting the pygmy shrews? Why is this important?
As you might expect, environmental law has its own practitioners, being its own special area involving things like torts and the phrase Common Law.
Forestry and Agriculture Both of these industries are increasingly trying to move towards greater sustainability so that they can still have jobs in twenty years. This means lots of scope for some whippersnapper to come and tell angry farmers with guns that they’ve been doing everything all wrong; which is to say, this is an excellent field for diplomatic people.
Where you survey places to find out what’s living there, in a bid to stop corporations from trying to build 80 houses on top of the last breeding colony of the Lesser Spotted Vampire Bat in Wales, or something similar. And if you get a bat license, or become a botanist? Jobs for life, yo.
Flood Risk Assessment
Welcome to Wales, land of rain and slopes and therefore floods. How vulnerable is a community to getting flooded? How likely is that river to burst its banks? In what way can the community be protected from the Oncoming Waters? This is one field with a pretty solid future, and good money.
Environmental Imapct Assessment
If you want to build a thing, first you must know what environmental things will be damaged by the thing. Step in EIA writers! A good job for those who like bits of practical survey work and lots of written work. Also, there’s good money in this one.
Where you try to learn about/conserve all the stuff that’s living in the oceans without breaking down crying at 2.30 every single day at how bleak and hopeless everything is.
Research Science If you just love academic research, there’s always more to study in the fields of environmental sciences, and you can largely pick your topic.
Habitat Management This one is largely land management, where you try to manage a site to improve conditions for the dormice or whitebeam trees or what have you without other people getting annoyed because you won’t let them take their 50 trained rhinos on a walk through the site anymore. It’s all about compromise…
Warden of a Remote Island
No, really. These contracts run for about nine months at a time, and you go and live on an island in the sea and manage the island and its wildlife and possibly chase pirates away. The ultimate job for the “I hate people” crowd.
Waste Management and Recycling
It may sound unglamorous, but it’s a fascinating process, turning waste into a saleable, useable product to reduce pollution. Like… they can turn glass bottles into a fine sandy aggregate for the building industry! Amazing! There’s also very, very good money in it.
Policy Advice to Companies
Many companies now hire environmental advisors to suggest to them how they might make their operations less polluting/destructive. They probably then ignore these advisors, but it does pay nicely, and you get an office.
You might be thinking it’s all trees and rare bunnies or something, and that would be fair enough; the tree-hugging hippy stereotype is well-earned. Many of us do exactly that. Some of us are doing it at the same time as writing these words. But! To give you a broader idea, here are just some of the fields you can go into with an Environmental Conservation degree.
What to eat? How to avoid scurvy? We can help...
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Welcome to Student Life!
Cooking for Newbies What to Bring Shopping Tips Surviving Junk Food
COMMUNAL LIVING How to live harmoniously with no murders
FACILITIES Where do you go to get work done?
TRAVEL How to get out and about
MONEY MATTERS Managing money without becoming destitute
HEALTH AND SUPPORT Taking care of yourself
FOR NEW STUDENTS
Most new students are fresh-faced 18 or 19-year-olds, and as such have not yet had the pleasure of living away from home for the first time. If this is you â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and even if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not, in fact â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this section will guide you through the handy hints and tips for starting your new life as a student and/or independent adult.
and the WelcomeFest Freshers’ Week at UWTSD is actually Freshers’ Fortnight, kicking off in the last bit of September before lectures begin; basically, it’s a chance to get settled into the fun bits of student life and to socialise with your new course mates before the work starts. It includes a lively calendar of events, such as: S w a n s e a F r e s h e r s ’ F a y r e. A t t h e e n d o f S e p t e m b e r b e f o r e le c t u r e s b e g in , t h e F a y r e i s t h e p l a c e t o g o t o j o in t e a m s a n d s o c ie t ie s , g e t g o o d d e als in p o s t e r s a l e s t o l i v e n u p y o u r h a lls , a n d lo a d s o f f r e e s t u f f in c lu d in g p iz z a.
T h e F r e s h b o o k T - S h i r t P a r t y. F r e s h e r s w r i t e a s h o r t a u t o b i o g r a p h y o n t h e i r c lo t h in g t o g e t t o k n o w o n e a n o t h e r . B o n u s p o in t s f o r o b s c u r e claims-to-fame.
Sports Day. There’s lots of sports throughout, in fact, but Sports Day lands on a weekend and i n c l u d e s c a s u a l s p o r t s , b a r b e c u e s , a n d m u s ic aplenty. Good for the sporty and the not-sosporty alike!
L a z e r Z o n e . Y e s , t h e y w i l l r e n t o u t S w a n s e a ’s b e s t p o s t - a p o c a l y p t i c 8 0 s c y b e r - p u n k s h o o t in g r a n g e f o r a n a f t e r n o o n o f s l a u g h t e r i n g y o u r m a t e s w it h la s e r g u n s . What could be better? P a r t a y ! M u l t i p l e n i g h t s a c r o s s t h e c it y , in c lu d in g t h e B e a c h P a r t y , t h e S c h o o l D i s c o , S in S a v e r s a n d m o r e . Swansea Freshers' Ball. The final event of the fortnight, t h e B a l l g i v e s y o u a c h a n c e t o g e t A B it D r e s s e d U p a n d that.
FRESHtival also represents an early volunteering opportunity, since the Union recruit volunteers to work the fortnight. Overall, you can buy special FRESHtival wristbands that give you free entry to all events, depending on how many you plan on attending; the platinum package is the most expensive, but allows you entry to all Union events for the whole year, while the Fresher Package just covers you for the fortnight (they are a little pricey for a one-off purchase, but if you plan on partying hard, they are more than worth it.) And of course, don’t forget – Swansea Uni Freshers’ Week is also open to you…
A surprisingly high number of students have not learned to cook by the time they get to uni, and promptly begin wasting away, sustained only by a diet of McDonalds and Flaming Hot Monster Munch. To avoid this, here is our super quick guide to cooking some basic meals, plus some tips on what kitchen equipment to bring, what to put in your food shop, and how to make the inevitable takeaways work for you.
Cooking: a Beginner's Guide Level 1: Things on Toast Beans on Toast
Let’s start simple! And it couldn’t get simpler. Tin o’ beans Bread Cheese/Violife (optional) Put the beans in a saucepan, and set the stove heat to medium. Stir every minute or so to stop them sticking. Beans are already cooked, so the aim is just to warm them through. Toast the bread at the first hint of steam from the beans. If you’re using cheese, slice or grate some now. Once the bread is toast and the beans are warm through, combine them and sprinkle over the cheese!
It may not look much, but this is a complete meal. Beans are both protein and vegetable, the cheese is protein and calcium, and the bread is carbohydrate. It’s cheap, tasty, and actually healthy. If you do burn the beans, fear not! Whack in half a handful of curry powder, and Want to m tell your flatmates that you were experimenting with ix it up? Stir tinned new flavours. sweetcorn or frozen peas in fo r Extra Veg etable, or mix in BB Q pulled pork/jack fruit for a tangy sum mery flavour.
Bananas and Cheese on Toast We know, yes, it sounds like an unholy alliance but MAMA is it good. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t knock it until youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tried it, seriously. Banana Cheese Bread Toast the bread. Slice enough cheese to cover two slices of bread. Cut the bananas into thin disks, like pound coins. Once the bread is transformed through the magic of heat, put the bananas on, followed by the cheese. Whack it under the grill until the cheese is melty. Enjoy!
Cheat's Rarebit Welcome to Wales! The proper ver sion of a Welsh rarebit is much fancier and involves ale, but it also involves effort. This is the quick student version. Cheese Paprika/cayenne pepper (if you like heat, cayenne; if not, paprika) Mustard Bread Use heat to turn the bread into toa st. This may be obtained from a toaster. Meanwh ile, slice the cheese, enough to cover the bre ad. Spread mustard on the bread. Then put the cheese on, then sprinkle the paprika or cayen ne lightly over the top. Grill until melty.
Level 2: Conquer That Pan
Okay, so we’ve mastered the art of toast. Hooray! Now what? Well; now, dear reader, you learn to cook… The rule is, each meal should try to contain a protein source, at least one vegetable, and a carbohydrate for energy. If you’re veggie or vegan, good meat substitutes are beans, quorn or tofu, and mushrooms, while soya dairy products are available. And don’t disregard tinned soup – as well as being cheap and healthy, they make good pasta sauces for lazy days.
Simple Stir-fry The very epitome of meat-and-veg easy cooking. 1 tablespoon oil Chicken (the rough guide is 1 chicken breast per person); tofu if vegan What ever vegetables you want, really, take your pick (leek, peppers, broccoli etc) Rice (half a small mug per person)
The Sauce: 3 tablespoons soy sauce 3 tablespoons tomato puree Garlic (2 cloves) 2 teaspoons ground ginger Salt ‘n’ pepper 1 pinch Chinese 5 spice (optional)
Chop up everything before you start; it’ll save time and minimise the risk of burning anything. Meat should become chunks of meat (if you didn’t buy it ready-chopped), vegetables should be thin but long, ideally. If you use broccoli, you want small little trees. Leeks can be chopped into thin disks. Peppers into strips. Basically, make things either small or thin, so they’ll cook better. Now! Put your frying pan (or wok, if you have a fancy housemate) onto a high heat. While the pan warms, put half a small mug of rice into a separate saucepan with a full mug of boiling water and a pinch of salt (per person), and leave it on a medium heat. Put the oil into the now-warm frying pan/wok, and start cooking the meat in batches. STIR IT. If you stop stirring, it’ll stick and burn. That’s why it’s a stir-fry. As soon as the meat is cooked on all sides, start adding the vegetables and the garlic. Keep stirring. Cook for five minutes, then add in the soy sauce, the tomato puree, the ginger and the Chinese 5 spice if using. Stirry stirry, mixy mixy. Cook for another minute, then use the edge of the spatula to cut some of the bigger lumps of chicken in half. If they’re cooked, you’re done. The rice is done once it has absorbed all of the water. Serve together and enjoy.
Great for when you want a good hearty meal with considerably less hearty effort. 2 large potatoes, cut into chunks 150ml milk Knob o’ butter Salt ‘n’ pepper Grated cheese; about 25g, but more if you like it cheesy 1 onion 1 clove garlic Tin o’ beans Bacon rashers (optional, but delicious)
Cheese and Potato Pie
Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until they’re soft when you violently stab them with a knife. Mash them up with the milk and butter over a low heat; stir in half the cheese, and season. Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic finely and fry them on a medium heat until the onions are translucent. Once done, fold those into the mash as well. Put the mash into an oven-proof dish and cover with the other half of the cheese. If you’re using the bacon, lay the rashers over the top and bake the pie in the oven on about 180C/gas mark 4. Once the rashers arte done on one side (about 10-15 minutes) turn them over, and bake further until they’re done. If you’re not using bacon, just bake the whole thing for 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
The Spanish did good when they came up with this, because the beauty of it is, you can put whatever you want in it. If you have any leftover meat or veg at any point, make one of these. You will need a frying pan for preference, but you could use some other pan. 3 eggs 3 tablespoons of milk Salt ‘n’ pepper 1 tablespoon oil Cooked bacon/ham, chopped into bits Cooked vegetables (frozen peas work a treat, too) Grated cheese
Heat the beans through in a saucepan with five minutes to go, and serve the two together.
Whack the eggs, milk and salt ‘n’ pepper into a bowl and whisk them with a fork (or a whisk). Put the pan on a low-to-medium heat, and let it warm up. Then, chuck in the oil. Take your chopped meat and vegetables and shove them in as well, stirring to stop them sticking. After a couple of minutes, pour over the egg mixture and splat on the cheese. Cook until the egg is set and firm, and then use a spatula to try to prise the edges away from the pan. They should be golden brown underneath. Omlettes never look pretty, so just splat it out however you want. 74
What What to to Bring Bring Look, for a lot of people thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great temptation to bring every kitchen gadget every created, from colanders to specialist egg-slicers. But if everyone does that, there will be zero cupboard space; and besides, just use a knife to slice the eggs. Naturally, at least one person in your house will bring everything but the sink, but for your part, just limit it to the essentials.
Everything else, pretty much, you can either pick up as you need or, more likely, borrow from the person who brought everything. Sometimes, places like the Range will sell box sets of 4 plates, bowls and mugs each for a tenner, so these can be pretty good. 75
1 saucepan 1 frying pan 2 plates 2 bowls 2 mugs 2 glasses (theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll definitely get smashed, so keep it simple) A small cutlery set 1 wooden spoon 1 good sharp knife 1 tin opener 1 chopping board A corkscrew/bottle opener 2 tea towels
Food Shopping Swansea has multiple supermarkets in almost every brand possible, except Waitrose. If you shop in a supermarket, while itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good idea to take advantage of special offers to save money, do double check if those offers are actually saving you anything. Plus, always follow the cardinal rule:
NEVER SHOP HUNGRY Outside of such mainstream choices, though, Swansea Market is more than worth a mention. Many stalls offer student discounts, and when you build up a rapport with the owners by visiting once a week, they give you excellent deals. Both the butchers and the vegetable sellers are frequently cheaper than the supermarkets, too. 76
How to Stave Off Malnutrition... Look, let’s not pretend you’re going to be good as gold and on your best behaviour food-wise; you are going to have more than your fair share of late-night pizzas, kebabs and burgers in your time, especially after a night out, or after a hard night’s frantic report-writing for tomorrow’s hand-in. But this needn’t mean scurvy. Here are the best tips on how to avoid full-blown malnutrition, genre by genre:
Pizza Pizza needn’t be that bad, actually, as its base components are bread, tomatoes and cheese. The rules are simple enough; firstly, choose a tomato base, and have the barbecue sauce as a drizzle if it’s really catching your eye. Secondly, load up on extra vegetables! Mushrooms, onions, peppers, sweetcorn, pineapple… it’s all good, and gets you those extra nutrients. Processed meats such as pepperoni contain the highest fats; seafood is better. Also, the thinner the base, the better.
Burgers DO NOT. PICK OUT. THE SALAD. Eat it. It’s good for you. Burgers are best if they’re grilled or griddled rather than deep-fried – often, veggie burgers get deep-fried, so while they are a good shout if you’re a bit low on nutrients, do just bear in mind that they’ll be higher in fats. Chicken fillet burgers tend to be best for fat content. Chips are best thicker rather than thinner; best of all, though, is if you’re in a pub that offers sweet potato fries.
while still eating Junk Food Kebabs Chinese Oh, battered pork and special fried rice, why do you hate our arteries so? Try to steer clear of anything marked ‘battered’ or ‘crispy’ – it means deep frying. Well, it’s not all bad news, though – anything steamed or stirfried is brilliant, and Chinese cookery can offer both in spades. A chicken or mushroom chow mein can be a good shout, but seafood like Szechuan prawns is fabulous. Mind the starters, though – spring rolls and prawn crackers are delicious, but wow the calories.
If it’s creamy in some way, like a korma, it’s going to be fattening. Try to limit your carb choice to one instead of two; rice OR a naan. Something like a biryani is particularly great, since it’s healthier AND cheaper, already containing the rice as it does. Tandoori chicken is best, though, since the sauces contain most of the fat in an Indian. Get a dhal with it for moisture. Cracking.
Kebabs The doner may be tasty, but it’s also the highest thing in fat that you could choose as a takeaway by some margin. Opt for the shish kebab instead, as it’s usually grilled, and consists of a whole cut of meat. Have it with pitta, and once again, DO NOT. PICK OUT. THE SALAD. It’s good for you. Eat it. Also, go easy on the mayo.
Communal Communal Living Living Consideration Remember: for every little problem you have with something your housemates do, they will have problems with you. And for every one of those that you can justify in your head, they can do the same thing. It’s worth it, therefore, to do your best to accommodate each other’s requests, and be open with each other. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool carnivore living with a vegetarian, don’t put your sausages on their shelf in the fridge and contaminate them with dead-animal-essence. If someone is a neat-freak beyond your own comfort limits, agree a compromise early where you’ll do your own washing up at least every other day and won’t dump your stuff in the living room. If someone really wants to live in Washin a house with a No Shoes rule, g up, in number cidental one sou ly, is th do it. Because sooner or later, rce of f e house, e r i c v t e i o n n in a s ahead o you’ll want something from that’s a hared f Noise close se A t N ight (al cond.) D them, and it’s only fair. up; if yo though on’t lea u use so v e y o m ur stuff it up im ething o to pile mediate f someo l n y e ; a e nd if yo going to lse’s, w ash u cook really, r someth e a l l y ing that smell if or fish ’s – wash left – li it up str ke cabb age, aight aw become ay. Do n ot That Gu y.
Settling Dispute Settling Disputes
With the best will in the world, though, you will sometimes need to take your housemates to task for something – and vice versa. There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle the situation, no matter which side you’re on.
Don't Become Argumentative “Hey Gary,” you say. “Could you remember to turn the light off in the bathroom once you’re done? I’m just a bit worried about our electricity bills, and I don’t like electricity being wasted, anyway.” “Fine!” Gary snaps. “Well in that case, can you stop leaving your shoes in the middle of the hallway, because I don’t like how messy it looks!” Now, children, do we see what happened there? Instead of an adult discussion, Gary turned it into an argument. Now, both you and Gary are angry and upset, and the second either of you slips up – Gary accidentally leaves the light on, or you forget to pick up your shoes – the other is going to assume it’s intentional. Nice one, Gary, you idiot. Here’s how it should have gone:
This is, no joke, kryptonite to fair, adult discourse. Let’s set the scene. You have noticed that a housemate of yours keeps leaving the bathroom light on once he’s done, so you go and ask him to stop.
“Hey Gary,” you say. “Could you remember to turn the light off in the bathroom once you’re done? I’m just a bit worried about our electricity bills, and I don’t like electricity being wasted, anyway.” “Oh, yeah, sorry,” says Gary. “I do keep forgetting. Maybe we should put a sign up. Oh, while I remember, by the way – do you mind not leaving your shoes in the hallway? I think it looks untidy.” “Of course, Gary,” you say gravely. “For we are both reasonable adults.”
Much better! Bravo. Five stars out of three. Well done, you and Gary.
Apologise It’s funny how few people do this, but it’s important. Look; it doesn’t matter if you meant to upset someone or not. What matters is that you did. Apologise. “I’m really sorry I upset you, Gary,” you might say. “I really didn’t mean to. I was just making a joke about the bathroom light. I didn’t realise it would be a sensitive subject.” Say sorry. And mean it. People can tell when you don’t, and it’s offensive.
If you do find yourself living with someone whose ego won’t allow normal communication, mind, you need a way of talking to them. The trick is to phrase your complaint in a way that’s about you, and not them; “I don’t feel like I’m being heard”, rather than “You’re not listening, Gary, you absolute plum”.
TALK TALK SOONER SOONER Most important. The fact is, if it bothers you that Gary leaves the light on but you never say anything, then you and he are both in for a rude awakening come exam time when you find that light on mid-revision and snap. You will tear him a new one, possibly lamp him in the face with the toaster, and it will lead to a profoundly unhappy house. Tell him at the start, before it becomes a problem. This is especially true, by the way, if you’re a non-confrontational type. You know who you are. But you not telling people when they’re bothering you is deeply unfair on them, because they don’t want to be upsetting you. But they aren’t mind-readers. And if you go and snap and scream yourself hoarse at poor Gary when he had no idea this was even an issue, you have treated him badly, and the situation is your fault, not his. Talk to each other. Avoid the problems before they arise.
24-Hour Computer Room Alas, you will likely spend a lot of time in here... To study and work on that last-minute assignment you ignored for three months and now have two days to do because you're a spanner, at any hour of the day or night, simply go to the ground floor of the IQ building. Not only will you have computer access, there are porters and security 24 hours a day, so it's a safe working space despite the hour.
Facilities The Library
As well as its own book hoard, the library can order in any text you need, free of charge; just use the online "Need More" service.
The bus network in Swansea is pretty good, with all services travelling through the central Bus Station at some point. An all-day ticket around the city centre is £4.20, but the Students’ Union sells bus passes of varying lengths that can make bus travel cheap as chips for you. A year’s pass is an expensive initial investment, but if you know you’ll be travelling by bus a lot, it’s worth getting one as soon as your loan comes in.
In spite of being a city, Swansea isn’t so massive that you can’t walk across it in a reasonable amount of time if you’re so inclined; and, for the most part, it’s pretty flat. As the cheapest method of transport, it can be pretty attractive to the student wallet, too! Just… trust us. Invest in a good pair of waterproof shoes.
Travel Travel in Swansea is pretty good, with multiple ways to make it cheaper
Train Train links to Swansea are pretty good from the east, thanks to the regular London Paddington – Swansea service that runs hourly. There’s also a pretty regular service up to Manchester in the north. Westwards isn’t quite as regular, but there are Transport for Wales services that head as far as Pembroke Dock and Fishguard Harbour, so those are your best bet. TfW is also your best bet for getting a train to the smaller Swansea stations in Llansamlet and Gowerton.
The Students’ Union is currently negotiating a deal with Data Cabs, whereby if you’re out at night and have no money left for a taxi, you can hand in your student card and the SU will pick up the tab for the night. The next day, you pay the SU the tab and pick up your card again. Keep an eye on the Union’s website and Facebook page for news on this front. In the meantime, here are some firms to get you started: Data Cabs – 01792 474747 Yellow Cabs – 01792 644446 Citytax – 01792 475200
Taxi Cycling Buy yourself some good, sturdy bike locks and cycling is a very good option in Swansea! The Waterfront Campus is all on the flat, and has bike stands out the front for your convenience (they even have a sort of roof cover. Sort of.) Cycle routes through town are pretty good, too, with many either off-road or in wide bus lanes for maximum safety. There’s an off-road cycle route stretching the whole of the seafront, and multiple major cycle routes that head out further afield. Visit www.cycleswanseabay.org.uk for more info.
If this is your first time away from home, odds are this is also your first time of being wholly financially independent. If you’ve been financially independent for years; good for you! But welcome to the world of student finance! It’s a lot like what you’re used to, but with a couple of add-ons…
Money Money Matters Matters If at any point in your studies you want some good financial advice, UWTSD operates a Money Doctors service for students. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 01792 481123.
Budgeting; or, How Can I Afford Beer Each Month? Budgeting is deeply tedious, but also extremely necessary if you don’t want to end up in a Dickensian debtor’s prison selling your teeth to live. Or something. We’re not entirely sure what the punishments are these days. But certainly, if you want your loan to allow you to live, and also have a few nights out and other fun stuff… you’ll need a plan. So! Whether you do this manually in a notebook, or digitally in a spreadsheet, here is our Six Step Guide to Budgeting!
Step 1 - What's Your Income? If you get a student loan, divide each instalment by the number of months it has to last you. So, if your first instalment is in September for £1000, and the next will be January, divide that £1000 by four to get £250. That’s your monthly income from your loan. If you have a job, add your wages to that. If you have any shifty side-businesses, like whelk smuggling, add those too! If your income varies from month to month, the best thing to do if you can is to use the pay from last month as the budget for this month. If you can’t, take an average of your earnings over the last three months and use that. Anyway, point is, among all that you should have arrived at your overall income per month. Excellent! Onto the next step…
So, if you thought Step 1 was fun, just wait until you see Step 2! Here’s where you list all of your monthly expenses on the things you have to spend on – rent is the biggie. If you’re in halls, bills will be all-inclusive, but if not, remember that you’ll need to budget for gas and electricity, water, insurance… If you aren’t a full-time student, or if you’re living with non-students, you’ll have to check if you should be paying council tax. If you have a TV, the TV license will need paying once a year. On top of that, you’ll need a food budget, and if your car is vital to you you’ll need petrol (plus insurance, road tax, MOT… cars are pricey.) Food is cheaper if you have a meal plan, and if you buy food communally, so consider those. This step is tricky at first if you haven’t lived independently – and therefore haven’t paid utilities – before. The best thing to do, if you’re uncertain about how much gas and electricity cost, for example, is to ask people you know who live in equivalently-sized houses and households how much they pay on average. Go by that until you get your own bills through the door.
Step 2 - The Boring Expenses 87
Step 3 What's the Plan, Sam? At this stage, you need to do a quick thing. Namely, you need to decide what your financial goals are, here. Do you just want to finish the year in the black? That’s fine! Do you want to save up for a cool holiday in the summer with your new mates? Aces. Whatever it is, most likely it’s something you want to be putting money aside for. Write these goals down. Then, start thinking of them as expenses. This will get you into the habit of Saving. Let’s say you want a new games console by the end of the year. £30 a month will soon build up, and goes in your expenses section.
Step 5 - Do The Maths
So! You should now have three totals: Income, Boring Expenses, and Fun Expenses. Add your two lots of expenses together, and take them away from your income. Moment of truth! If you have a positive number – hooray! What a healthy bank balance. We advise you save more of it. It’s not fun if you hold a house party, discover a guest trashed a set of antique curtains, and then get landed with an unexpected bill from your landlord that you can’t pay.
Step 4 - The Fun Stuff Now then! This is where you set yourself a budget for all the fun stuff that you don’t need, per se, but you’re going to have anyway. Nights out are usually the biggest entry in this section for students; the aim is to set yourself an average spend for each night. If one night at one point ends up being relatively quiet, financially, great! You can either spend the leftovers on the next night, or you can save it for that games console. Clothes, entertainment, gifts… This stuff all goes here. The point is, you can survive without them, so this is the stuff you adjust if you’re having a lean month.
Step 6 - Walk the Walk Now that you’ve done it: do it! Stick to the budget. It’s only hard at first – it becomes second nature after a while. And remember to update the budget every month – it might be that smuggled whelks are worth less one month, or you get an unexpected order for oysters that pays well. Keep on top of it.
If you just broke even – cool beans! Probably do a bit of adjusting, though. You want a bit of leeway for emergencies. If you got a negative number – ah. Er… hmm. You need to do some adjusting. Stop drinking your own bodyweight in gin four times a week, that’ll help. It’ll help your liver, too.
r Student Account
Your Student Account
Student accounts are great, because they have all the benefits of normal accounts while giving you excellent freebies, like interest-free overdrafts and cinema tickets. You can also switch student accounts to different banks if you feel you didn’t get the best deal. But, we hear you cry! How do you find the best deal? Well, we’re glad you asked…
So, the overdraft basically works as a safety net, but if you aren’t careful it can end up costing you a lot more if you go over it. Generally, then, you want the biggest overdraft possible, with 0% interest. After you graduate, you’ll have a year to get yourself out of the overdraft, and then the bank starts charging. If ever you go over the overdraft… That’s not good. The bank will apply heavy fines then, and you can get trapped in a vicious circle.
Sometimes, these can be so useful that they end up being more attractive than the best overdraft deal. Some banks will offer free railcards, for example, or Amazon gift vouchers, or even your full three-year NUS card. Depending on what you use, these can save you more money and be more beneficial in the long run.
Hardship Fund If you’re studying full-time and you do find yourself getting into difficulty, in spite of our excellent financial advice above, don’t worry. The University offers a hardship fund to students provided they can show that they’ve exhausted all other funding options, including their overdraft. The fund is normally non-repayable, and you can apply at any time.
Bursaries and Internships The University offers multiple bursaries, scholarships and internships for students on both full-time and part-time courses, depending on eligibility. Some of these provide you with the chance to gain new skills while you study, letting you graduate with that precious extra experience you’ll want for a CV… Full details of all available bursaries and scholarships can be found at www.uwtsd.ac.uk/bursaries.
Health Register with a Doctor Do this at the start of term – Freshers’ Flu is a real thing, winter is coming, and the last thing you want is to be trying to blearily fill out a form while swimming in germs and dosed in Lemsip. Fortunately, Swansea is awash with Doctor’s Surgeries for you to pick from. Go to www.wales.nhs.uk and look up the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board to find a list of GPs near you.
Waiting lists for dentists being what they are, you may be best off using your own dentist on trips home (although for emergency dental care you can, of course, call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47. They will organise an appointment for you.) Alternatively, as a UWTSD student you are nonetheless eligible to use the oncampus dentist at Swansea Uni (www.universitydentalcare.co.uk).
Obviously, we rather hope you won’t need these! But if you do find yourself in need, Swansea has two hospitals; Morriston, which is where you’ll find the A&E, and Singleton, which is where you’ll be sent if you need specific care such as dermatology, or ophthalmology.
Student Services is located in the Union building at Llys Glas and is there to help if everything just gets… a bit much. Counselling is free and confidential, and does wonders if you just need to cry on the shoulder of someone impartial and non-judgemental for an hour. You can book an appointment by filling out an online form.
Student Services Uni life, and the fear of what comes after, can be an intimidating experience. Student Services provides students with information, advice, guidance, and practical and emotional support as needed. If you suffer a bereavement or a similar disruption, think you might have an undiagnosed learning difficulty (late-diagnosed dyslexia is surprisingly common, as is ADHD), or just need someone to talk to at some point, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what Student Services are for. They can also help with issues of accessibility. Visit www.uwtsd.ac.uk/student-services for more info, or drop in to see them; they're in IQ, on the first floor by the stairs at the back of the building..
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