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Issue No.31 2013

FREE to a good home

The Official voice of Northumbria Students’ Union Your Favourite Student Magazine

Filled with News, Gossip and Advice from around Northumbria SU

ELECTION RESULTS ANNOUNCED VOLUNTEER NORTHUMBRIA WEEK ROUND UP EASTER EXTRAVAGANZA Plus: Northumbria Overheard, Advice, Spotted and everything you need to get involved!

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contents NSU NEWS Sabb Spotlight 4 - 5 Page Of Praise 6 Upcoming Events 7

editors words Hey guys, hope you’re all okay This semester is going ridiculously fast. I’ve been working on the online version of nu:life and it’s now up and running for all your nu:life needs but of course, it’s still amazing to be able to pick up this magazine (new prints smell AMAZING) Read all about the valiant effort of our volunteers from Volunteer Northumbria, relive some internet sensations which disappear as some as they appear and find out all about Easter around the world. There’s so much going on around the Union right now so it’s a great time to get involved in anything and everything that we’re doing Happy Reading, Mike xxx

FEATURES Hot Or Not: Easter 8 - 9 Elections Results 10 - 11 Internet Sensations 12 GET INVOLVED Blood 13 Nightline 14 Student Council - How To Submit A Motion To Council 15 Volunteer Northumbria Week 16 Hospital Arts Project 17 LIGHT RELIEF Northumbria Overheard 19 Spotted (VN Special) 20 - 21 Awkward Moments 22 - 23 How To Be Organised 24 Academic Advice 25 STUDENT CULTURE Mental Health 26 Student Hell 27 Confessions Of An Erasmus Student 28 - 29 Summer 30 Easter Around The World 32 Recipes 33 CAMPUS SERVICES Tough Guy Results 34 - 35 Let The Games Begin 36 - 37 Wok It Out 39

Contributors Hot or not: Easter, Easter around the world Suzie Harker Internet Sensations Becky Dean Blood Cameron Giles Hospital Arts Project Liz Russhard Awkward Moments Adam Crawley How to be organised Beth Long Mental Health Jamie Thompson Confessions of an Erasmus Student Jamie Thompson Summer Rebecca Pearson Student Hell Julia Bond Recipes Emily Sait

Special Thank you to; Lee Halpin for a second proof read Editor Mike Potter - Twitter: NSUCommsOfficer Design nu:life 03

NSU News SABB Spotlight

SABBSPOTLIGHT Sabbatical Officers work tirelessly for you to ensure the Union is the best it can be. As the Union is independent from the University, the Sabbs are here to represent you to the University, whether that it is in committee meetings, giving student opinion on everything imaginable or mentoring student volunteers in order to achieve so much. They are elected each year and this years team are now halfway through their Sabbatical year. JO RHODES President What is your role? It’s to lead the Students’ Union and be the spokesperson for over 30,000! I get to interact with lots of organisations and represent students to the University, National Union of Students and local community! Within the Students’ Union I deal with all the campaigns and oversee all our commercial activity! I’m basically your go-to girl for anything and everything! What is your biggest achievement as a Sabb team? Definitely the bursaries! We secured up to £4,000pa per student of cash in hand bursaries. I’m so proud of how the team got behind me and got to grips with the issues. We definitely did it together! Did you give anything up for lent? Hair straighteners! So if you see me with an unintentional beehive, try and avoid pointing and laughing! me


NICOLE PEGG Vice-President Academic Affairs What is your role? I take the lead on all education related policy and campaigns, as well as mentor all of the academic reps – that’s course, school, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research! I also mentor the lovely Student Advice Reps. What is your biggest achievement as a Sabb team? I think there have been a fair few fantastic achievements so far this year! It’s extremely difficult to call one of them the biggest though, personally I would say it was the feedback campaign that we ran in December with a great number of students responding! Did you give anything up for lent? I have done in the past, for example chocolate, however I’m not actually religious so I haven’t this year. Probably should have gave up fizzy drinks, but everyone has to have some sort of vice at least. me

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NSU News SABB Spotlight

MIKE POTTER Vice-President Communications & Democracy What is your role? I look after student media such as this very magazine and it’s new online format and also I have the pleasure of looking after NU:TV too. I look after Union Democracy – so Student Council and the elections to ensure every single student at Northumbria has a chance to have their say. What is your biggest achievement as a Sabb team? It’s really difficult question. We’ve achieved a lot because we do so much lobbying of the university behind closed door to really improve things for students. Every month the lovely Sabb team help me on Go Out and Listen Days where we find out issues for Northumbria students, so it’s stuff that the entire team helping me on do these that makes them so successful. Did you give anything up for lent? Nope, I’m too weak

HANNAH HORNE Vice-President Welfare & Equality

ANDREW CHEUNG Vice-President Activities & Development

What is your role? I look out for student wellbeing, and make changes to improve their student experience outside of the classroom. I am also the lead Sabb for all Equality groups, and have 12 Equality Reps to help me challenge discrimination.

What is your role? I oversee all the student activities, so our Welcome Team, RAG fundraising, Volunteer Northumbria, EcoNSU, and Societies! I also look at student development, such as employability.

What is your biggest achievement as a Sabb team? I’d say simply our strong team work skills and how we are always looking out for each other, and giving a helping hand when others are swamped! Taking a bus load of students on the Demo was a highlight. Did you give anything up for lent? Yes, for the first time ever! As I always say I’m going to and never decide what to give up. So this year it’s fizzy drinks.

What is your biggest achievement as a Sabb team? RAG and Welcome Week, although they fall into my remit to organise strategically, I get so much support from my team with helping running the events from a operation sense. Did you give anything up for lent? Last year I gave up bread and pasta which was a massive effort so this year I’m rewarding myself me

NSUActivities1 me

NSUWelfare1 me


Remember to drop by our Coach Lane Office and see us at our second home Mike Monday Afternoon Andy Tuesday Morning Nicole Tuesday Afternoon Hannah Wednesday Morning Jo Wednesday Afternoon

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NSU News Page Of Praise

Amy Urwin Volunteer Northumbria Team Leader of the Week Amy was a great team leader with a passion for volunteering which really united her team. Supportive to not only her own team but also her fellow team leaders and their teams, Amy was awarded a green army cap as an official sergeant of the green army.

Ryan Bunce Above and Beyond Ryan’s enthusiasm was unparalleled during Volunteer Northumbria week especially during the Random Acts of Kindness event where volunteers gave out free hugs in Newcastle City Centre. Ryan soon proved himself to be the most huggable guy in Newcastle and inspired the local community which is what VN week is all about.

Ha Le Team Member of the Week Hayley was a breath of fresh air. Constantly happy and smiley and willing to help. Hayley was an amazing addition to the Volunteer Northumbria team, having previously not volunteered with the Students’ Union before.

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NSU News Upcoming Events





Think you’re the person to come up with the next Gangman Style? Can you come up with the Harlem Shake part 2? The university is offering up a cash prize for people who have the creativity to come up with the next viral video – any ideas just email to mike.potter@ and you could be a little bit richer and be responsible for the next viral sensation

Northumbria Musical Theatre Society are back with Tony Award winning musical SPRING AWAKENING! Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 play exploring teenage anxiety and sexuality Spring Awakening is an exciting new musical that celebrates youth and rebellion in a daring fusion of morality, sexuality and rock & roll. This production contains mature themes, sexual situations and strong language. Performances will take place in Stage 2 and tickets are £5 each

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HOT ORNOT The Big Debate: Easter Easter: Christian Festival or Capitalist Extravaganza? After working in retail for 5 years, it has always baffled me that the only two days of the year shops close and greedy capitalists give it a rest for 24 hours, are Christmas day (of course!) and Easter Sunday. The latter of these I have never understood, as it almost seems like any other day to me; however it is of course a religious celebration, and must be respected accordingly. But it did get me thinking… How many people truly do consider the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday? I may be wrong, but I imagine that in today’s secularised society, most of us are too busy scoffing our Easter eggs and roast dinners to even consider the religious connotations of the day.

Churches hold specific Easter Sunday services for Christians to attend to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus...

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THE CHRISTIAN SIDE Easter Sunday is officially a Christian festival intended to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. It is preceded by lent, a forty-day period of fasting for members of the Christian faith. The celebration also holds pagan ideals due to its position in the calendar year. It is not a fixed date, falling on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox (I had no idea either!). Easter has also been linked to the Jewish Passover due to its similar symbolism. Churches hold specific Easter Sunday services for Christians to attend to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus, as well as Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday, where bread and wine are often served to mirror the actions of Jesus Christ at ‘The last supper’. Contrary to popular belief (including mine when I began writing this article!), Easter eggs do in fact have a religious reasoning, intended to symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus Christ found on Easter Sunday. However, whilst children once coloured hard-boiled eggs to get involved with this tradition, children today seem to find Cadburys and Nestle’s offerings much more appealing.

THE CAPITALIST SIDE As with other Christian traditions, including Christmas, Easter celebrations have extended beyond the church. Easter has gained commercial importance, as does almost everything in a capitalist society, with companies banking on the wide sales of greetings cards and confectionary at this time. Easter traditions have led to parents telling children that a friendly bunny delivers all the treats they consume around this time, allowing even more reasons to cash-in on this holiday; the craze of ‘malt-easter’ bunnies, for example! Many families also have a traditional Sunday roast on Easter Sunday, even if this is not the norm for Sunday’s in the household. This also guarantees a rise in meat sales at major supermarkets! Hot cross buns, traditionally decorated with a cross on top, were once only associated with and consumed on Good Friday, but they are now available pretty much all year round. These are just a handful of examples of how big-name money-makers seize the opportunity for even more profit around the Easter celebration, even though many abstain from acknowledging the religious significance of the day. So we asked: ‘What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Easter?’ And you said: “Time off uni! And the dreaded dissertation hand in.” Alice, 3rd year Geography “Bread and wine at the last supper.” Joseph, 2nd year Mathematics

“Chocolate! And a great lamb dinner!” Jamie, 3rd year Media, Culture and Society “Jesus and the religious story behind the day.” Patrick, MSc International Development “My birthday!” Danielle, 2nd year Childhood Studies and Early Years “The end of winter and the beginning of lighter nights and better weather.” Julia, Psychology MRes “A crucifix, but only because I’m trying to think outside the box.” Anna, 1st year Midwifery “Bunny rabbits and lambs” Sophie, 3rd year Sociology “Fluffy chickens! Is this to prove nobody thinks of Jesus?” Serena, 2nd year Theatre Studies “Jesus dying, you can tell I was taken to church as a child!” Dan, 1st year Psychology So it seems that besides a small minority of you, most people consider chocolate, the Easter bunny and even university work before considering the true reason behind the day. The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. However I can’t help but feel it is now simply the foundation of Easter egg hunts, eating copious amounts of chocolate, and a welcomed day off work! Suzie Harker

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FEATURES Elections Results


RESULTS In a week in early March, 23 candidates fought to be the next Sabbatical Officers of your Students’ Union (not Hunger Games style) by convincing Northumbria students that their passion and their vision for the union were the best. After 4 and a half days of voting and over 2237 votes, Northumbria had spoken And here are the results...

PRESIDENT Natalie-Dawn Hodgson


Natalie was elected as the leader of your Students’ Union after pledging to fight for more printer credits and resources from the university, wishing to create a new commercial night to reinvest profits into the union and also extend the opening hours of City Campus East.

Nicole was re-elected after telling thousands of students that she wished to ensure that electronic submission feedback is implemented across the university as well as train more course reps and stagger assessment deadlines you won’t always be a stressed out student.

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VICE-PRESIDENT ACTIVITIES & DEVELOPMENT Sarah Price Sarah campaigned tirelessly for a week in order to tell students of how much she wanted the role. Her ideas of group fundraising projects, bringing causal sport to the union and to promote activities out of the building won voters over and she was elected over tough competition of 7 other candidates.

FEATURES Elections Results


Also a special well done to the new Lay Student Councillors and Equality reps



Mike was re-elected after promising to consult more with students before the union makes key decisions on their behalf, introduce a podcasting service and bring in sub-editors for this very magazine.

Jamie’s vision for an on site GP, more STI testing and more job fairs were a hit with Northumbria’s voting public which saw Jamie chosen to champion everything outside of the classroom.

This team will represent and work for you from July onwards to ensure that your views are represented to the university and that the Union is the best it can possibly be!

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FEATURES Internet Solutions

INTERNET SENSATIONS Internet sensations; they have the same life span as your average butterfly. But as to what makes them, I have a theory and its not pretty. To be an internet sensation, people have to laugh. I’m not going to lie, my favourite sensations are linked around cats, the point of the internet. There isn’t a day when someone doesn’t find a picture of a moggie to drop off in my inbox, but there is a hierarchy of moggies. Maru was possibly the first of the famous cats, a moggie who loves nothing more than a box to leap into and then out of, any size will do. The other side of Maru is the fact that now you can wander into Waterstones and buy a book about Maru and his life. But there is a new cat in town! And her name is Tard, the chances are you will have seen her annoyance at well everything online. I feel especial affinity to her hatred of the wider world, and I happily caption her to expand my facebook posts. Maybe the point of internet sensations is we love to have a good laugh Which leads you to find the other side, the dodgy yet catchy song, I must confess I downloaded Friday and made the guests to my 21st birthday party sing and dance along. Possibly because they were so sick of it, their grimaces were amazing. But also, Friday wouldn’t have been half the sensation it was if it hadn’t be auto tuned and cheesy to such an amazing extent.

BUT THAT’S SO LAST YEAR, right now its all about Gangnam style, a hyperactive song detailing life in South Korea’s equivalent to Beverley Hills, but I can guarantee all everyone in the club remembers is ‘Hey Sexy Lady!!!’. Being the highest viewed youtube video of all time, you would expect so, but also it showed the mild racism of the internet, part of me doubts that it would ever have been so successful it hadn’t been an excited Korean man. Like Rebecca Black, and Maru, Psy should bring his book out and enjoy the fame while it lasts. Because in the way on the internet, it won’t, we are already looking for something else to snigger at. Becky Deab

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Blood A few weeks ago I joined another 150 or so Northumbrians in lying down in Domain, one of the easiest ways to help save or improve someone else’s life, we were all giving blood at one of the many donor sessions held across the term. All together on that icy afternoon we will have donated over 70 liters of blood enough to replace all the blood in the bodies of fourteen people. Giving blood is relatively straightforward and painless; you’re given a basic health check to make sure you’re ok to donate, and away you go, lying on one of the beds a needle is placed in the arm of your choice and it’s time to relax; listen to music, read a book or go on Facebook, you wouldn’t think you were helping save up to three lives. Donations can take a little over ten minutes but are usually over in three or four, if at any point you have problems (not that it’s likely) help is on hand. Once you’re done you have a little rest before getting your reward – Tea and biscuits!

Whilst you’re enjoying a cuppa, your donation will be packaged, tested and sent on to patients- who might have been involved in accidents, having surgery or cancer treatment, or to treat long term medical conditions such as hemophilia. Whilst you’re donation might drastically effect someone else’s life: the effect on you will be hardly noticeable, you might want to take it easy for the rest of the day, but your body is quick at work to replace the donation, which will usually take week or two. Being a regular donor is even better, men can give blood every 12 weeks and women every 16, donating regularly helps the NHS maintain a regular supply of all blood groups, all blood is in demand but some groups are rarer than others, less than 1% of the population are AB-, blood supplies fall particularly low in the middle of summer and winter (the times when blood is also in highest demand!), but donating at any time is a brilliant thing to do.

There’s been a 50% decrease in the number of young people registering to donate in the last year, which is especially concerning as most first time donors are in this group, turn back the trend and register at or call up the NHS Helpline on 0300 123 23 23. To borrow the NHS slogan “Do something amazing, give blood.”

Cameron Giles

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Nightline From September this year, Northumbria will be launching a new Nightline service. Nightline is a listening, confidential, information service, run by students for students and open at night when few other services are available. Nightline will provide an anonymous service to students wishing to talk through anything that is troubling them, which will compliment the university’s support services. They work to improve mental health and well-being, and reduce mental health stigma.

There is a great need for Nightline services because as a group, students have higher levels of mental health problems, but are less likely to approach counselling services. A recent study of student health needs in Newcastle showed: 50% of female and 40% of male students have experienced emotional or psychological problems within the last 12 months 15% said they had considered dropping out of University within the last month due to worries 54% told us that they would rather manage themselves if they had emotional problems rather than access any services As Nightline is ran by peers, it is thought that there are less barriers to access the service and therefore it can be the first step to students getting the professional help they need.

To sign up, please visit our volunteer database at volunteer We will then invite you along to a training weekend later in the year. We hope to hear from you!

We are looking to recruit volunteers before the end of this academic year, to start working with Nightline in September. Volunteers are taught how to actively listen, reassure distressed callers, explore topics and ask questions sensitively and empathetically and help students come to their own resolution. They also refer students to professional services such as the University’s counselling service or external organisations. Therefore, if you are going to be here next year and you are interested in helping others, gaining valuable listening skills to help you in your future career, and would like to meet like-minded people, then you should become a Nightline volunteer! 14 nu:life

Hannah Horne Vice President Welfare & Equality

GET INVOLVED Student Council - How To Submit A Motion To Council

STUDENT COUNCIL Student Council is the Students’ Union’s democratic decision making body, you elect the people that make the key decisions but that in no way means that a regular student can just have to sit back and have people make all the decisions for you.

Any student can directly bring policy to Student Council by getting a petition of 50 signatures from Northumbria Students which shows that many students share your belief about something that should be changed or that the Union should support something. Alternatively, you can approach somebody on Student Council to ask them to bring a motion to council for you!

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GET INVOLVED Volunteer Northumbria Week


This year Volunteer Northumbria was massively successful with Northumbria Volunteers giving over 750 hours of their free time in just a single week. With a huge range of activities for volunteers to engage in, it was important that each of the activities had a huge impact on the community too. From a beach clean to teaching the elderly how to use IT, each activity had great improvement to community life for residents in Newcastle. After being trained, the volunteers, full of energy grabbed their paint and paintbrushes to repaint an underpass covered in graffiti. Although some members of the team may have sometimes somehow got more paint on themselves than on the wall – the event received an overwhelming response from the community and local councillors. The next day, the volunteers headed to Tynemouth for a beach clean which benefitted not only people within the city centre of Newcastle. Through the week, there were many more events such as gardening in a carehome and then spending some time with the local residents too. Teaching elderly people how to use IT, if our volunteers set 16 nu:life

your granddad up with Facebook then we apologise profusely and advise you to change your privacy settings. Another highlight was Random Acts of Kindness where students take to the streets of Newcastle and spread some cheer. This culminated in our fantastic volunteers handing out fortune cookies with messages such as “love and kindness are never wasted, they always make a difference” for free. They also had FREE HUGS signs and did just that – gave free hugs to anybody who approached them. Hugs and a cookie, what a lovely bunch of people. Other amazing events included Dog Squad and Cuddle Patrol where volunteers would go to a dog and cat shelter and make the animals feel loved, and also a Religion and Diversity night which was attended by over 100 members of the community in order to dispel misconceptions of different religions. In one week, some Northumbria volunteers gave up their time and effort and effectively saved over £5000 for Newcastle as a whole. For anybody who has ever thought that every single student is a nuisance to society – think again.

GET INVOLVED Hospital Arts Project

HOSPITAL ARTS PROJECT The NSU Hospital Arts Project is new to Volunteer Northumbria! We began in September 2012 and are progressing day by day! So far we have established a really strong and positive working relationship with the charity officers at the Northumberland NHS Trust, who have been brilliant and patient throughout! Completing the relevant paperwork and background checks has been great professional experience for everyone involved and our volunteers have navigated this fantastically. We have an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers who we are proud to say have stuck with us through these tentative first stages!  Now we are up and running! The project has its first training day arranged for the 30th January 2013, at North Tyneside Hospital! Volunteers will be provided with support from the NHS staff, on how to work with patients of varying capabilities and mental health backgrounds such as dementia. Of course the safety of the patients, staff and our volunteers is always at the forefront of our concerns, and this training day is our first step to bringing the Arts safely into the hospital environment!

Our aim is to us our relaxing, creative workshops to add some Northumbria cheer to the wards in order to brighten up the surroundings and improve patient experience. It’s Art for the heart! So if you’re interested in benefiting the lives of others through Music, Dance, Arts, Crafts, Story-telling and much more then join up today! You can find us on Facebook or on the Volunteer Database! Kathryn Thompson, Project Leader Liz Russhard, Project Communications NSUHospitalArtsProject

Volunteers will be provided with support from the NHS staff, on how to work with patients of varying capabilities and mental health backgrounds  such as dementia.

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LIGHT RELIEF Northumbria Overheard

Overheard in Lipman “Sorry I’m late, the escalator broke down and I had to wait for someone to fix it”

Overheard in Pandon Basement

“Isn’t Bronchitus a dinosaur?”

Overheard at Camden Court “How many people were in 5ive?”

Overheard in Reds

“I was on the Atkins diet. I lasted 2 hours”

Heard something stupid and want to humiliate your friends? (anonymously, of course) drop an email to or tweet me at @NSUCommsOfficer with hashtag #northumbriaoverheard

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In February 2013, over 50 volunteers gave up over 700 hours of their time to give to the local community. These are just a few highlights

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LIGHT RELIEF Awkward Moments

AWKWARD MOMENTS The library is a fantastic facility and one of the reasons Northumbria is such a brilliant university. With nine floors, 24-hour access, 50,000 journals and over half a million books, there is a wealth of knowledge just waiting for an eager student to digest. Quite possibly everything you could ever need to know on any given topic available there. For example, typing in a random word, such as “albatross”, will reveal thousands of results to plough through (16,714 to be precise). Regardless of its incredible capacity for helping students, the library is often regarded with contempt and fear. This is because the library is seen as the place where social lives go to die, where night outs with friends are replaced with nights in with books. There will not be a single student on campus that will be able to say that they have never spent at least one night stuck in the library, cramming for an exam or writing a hand-in for the following morning. If there is someone who hasn’t, they’re either not working hard enough, impossibly organised, or lying. When you coop up hundreds of stressed and tired students in one building, there will undoubtedly be some awkward situations. Sometimes, the embarrassment can happen before you’re even in the library. Trying to persuade librarians to let you in without uni ID can be troublesome, speaking from first-hand experience. A friend of mine managed to get into the library without ID but when they tried to leave in the early hours, the staff who let him in had gone home, so he had to face the wrath of the night-staff and had to do an awful lot of grovelling to persuade them that he hadn’t broken into our library to abuse our facilities.

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Easily the most frequent awkward situation is wandering into the library with the expectation to get a good amount of work done to find no more computers. This can be made more irritating if you only go to the library to print off a few essential documents. When this unfortunate situation occurs, the only option is to hover round the floor you’re on like an academic vulture and hope someone gives in and leaves a computer for you to scavenge. Once you’re seated, that does not mean you’re safe. Not only will you actually have to do work, you will be stuck with hundreds of cranky students who are probably fuelled by snacks and pro-pluses. I am undoubtedly the worst person to be sitting next to, as my revision snacks of choice are sultanas and olives, which tend to result in quite a stench. So if you see a scruffy haired law student munching on dried fruit and other exotic snacks, it may be best to give me a wide berth. Playing music can come as either a blessing or a curse. Personally, I cannot leave the house unless I have my headphones playing so loud they could drown out an earthquake. Without them, I refuse to work. Although music helps me escape people talking to me, I can’t help but feel that they must be talking about me, or maybe that’s my ego. Also, sometimes, I need to be careful to only indulge in guilty pleasures, such as Taylor Swift, when it’s safe. However, the most awkward situation of all could be being immortalised by the Facebook phenomenon that is Spotted. All I can say is try to avoid making a spectacle of yourself. Unless you want be a notorious attention-seeker, then feel free.

So, here are some tips to help you though the long hours of work and make sure you avoid those horribly awkward situations.

LIGHT RELIEF Awkward Moments

Dress appropriately: Don’t forget, you could be there for a while and you’re there to work, not pull - so dress comfortably. I’ve seen people in glamorous faux-fur coats visit the library when it’s been raining; they didn’t looked cool, they looked like drowned Labradors. Make sure you have everything you need: Make sure you have all your books, notes, pens, paper, music, Northumbria ID and anything else you think you’ll need to get you through the night. Emergency chocolate always helps. Take a wingman: Working with a friend who is equally stressed can often be a comfort and can help pass the hours. Be careful with caffeine and don’t overdo it: Pro-Plus and strong coffee can lead to a spurt of productivity but too much can be bad for your health and can also mess up your sleeping pattern, which is a definite no-no. Simply Print: If you just need to print something off, then look up Simply Print, which allows you to print from your laptop and not worry about finding a printer. Try not to end up Spotted: Enough said. Adam Crawley

Playing music can come as either a blessing or a curse...

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LIGHT RELIEF How To Be Organised

How to be organised How to become more organised

I am always the centre of peoples jokes when they realise exactly how organised I am. I’ve learnt to deal with it and regularly give some great advice to others about how to be more organised. Some take the advice well, others realise what a loser I am and that I need to get out more. I bet there are so many other people out there that get excited about the anticipated arrival of a brand new Filofax diary. Even my own Mum thinks that I am not normal. However, despite what others think, I love being organised. So it’s time to pass my ‘words of wisdom’ onto you, to help you become more organised. Firstly, every needs some sort of a diary. It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as a £60 Filofax, any diary will do. That way you can write down your timetable, instead of clenching onto a piece of paper for the rest of the year. Just because you have a diary doesn’t mean you have to be the next Bridget Jones, pouring your heart out onto paper, just use it to remind yourself of places you need to be and when. The next tip (which is a personal favourite of mine) is stationery. Yes, it sounds boring but when writing up essay plans or lecture notes, use highlighters or a different coloured pen to highlight any important information you may need in the future. Not only doesn’t it make everything look more interesting and pretty, it also saves you time by not having to re-read everything just to find one sentence. I love a good and detailed list. To-do lists, shopping lists, lists of deadlines etc., it all helps me to organised my time in order to get everything done. I love it when I have done something, then I get to use my favourite pink highlighter and cross it off the list. By writing lists, you can take each point one by one, get it done and then forget about it. There is nothing worse than having too much to do, leaving you with the feeling that your head is about to explode. That is when the stress and grey hairs start to creep in, so just break everything down into manageable and achievable chunks to avoid pre-deadline stress. Hopefully this will help you deal with the workload that the New Year has brought us, so have fun making all those lists! By Beth Long

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LIGHT RELIEF Academic Advice

Hi Kim & Ashleigh Why do our lecturers bother writing so much about what we did well and what we didn’t do so well on the feedback sheet on the front of our assignments? Surely I can tell what I didn’t do well by the mark I got? Han Chao

Our Education Caseworkers Kim Buffery and Ashleigh Blackwood are here to advise and represent on academic issues. This month our Advice and Representation team welcome our new Student Advice Reps (STARs) to our service. The STARs will be working across the Northumbria campuses, assisting the Caseworkers to help students with issues that arise during their studies. Hi Kim & Ashleigh

Hi Han Chao, Feedback is essential for “feeding forward” – in short, making sure that you learn from your mistakes and don’t make the same ones again! The more detailed feedback you receive, the better placed you are to take control of your own learning - work out what you need to focus on, which skills you need to prioritise developing and where your strengths lie. Gaining this kind of self-awareness is what university study is all about. A mark on its own doesn’t tell you very much. The Students’ Union has actively lobbied for more good quality feedback for students on their work for these reasons. And if your lecturers spend so much time writing it, surely it’s common courtesy to read it? Kim & Ashleigh

If you have an academic problem you would like to discuss just shoot an email to and I we will be back in touch with you within 48 hours. Alternatively pop to the base information desk on the ground floor.

I am an international Masters student and have great difficulty in understanding the lecturers (more precisely, the small jokes they make in class). Where do I begin?! Ellen Dear Ellen, Don’t let the fact English isn’t your first language knock your confidence - the English you learned probably sounds a million miles from Geordie! You could ask your lecturers to speak slower, let you record them or forward you the PowerPoint – or sign up for ASK (Academic Skills – international) at the English Language Centre in Squires Workshop, City Campus. These sessions will help you develop the skills to communicate confidently in a range of University life situations. As for lecturer’s jokes, British ‘irony’ is a core part of British culture. However, one of the fantastic things about being at an international university like Northumbria is that you get to share banter with people from all over the world – whether India or Islington. Don’t be shy! Kim & Ashleigh

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Mental Health Mental health is a difficult topic to talk about really; health professionals struggle to diagnose mental health issues while sufferers often don’t realise (or struggle to admit) that they have them - so what can we do? Firstly, it’s up to you to take charge of your mental health. Stress, anxiety and depression are very common ailments experienced during university - It is said at least 1 in 4 students suffer from a mental illness during their studies. - So if you’re feeling the pressure, GET HELP! Student Support and Wellbeing located near the Students’ Union on the City campus specialises in looking after Northumbria students. Give them a call or an email if you don’t feel ready to visit them in person - they have a wealth of information available. So what happens next? You will be given an appointment with a specialist; don’t worry if you’d rather talk to a female than a male (or vice-versa) - they can accommodate any preferences you may have. After an initial assessment they can advise you and organise suitable support for your individual needs. Should they think you need higher level of support than they can provide, they will support you while you wait for support through your GP. Being registered with Student Support and Wellbeing can also have other benefits. If your mental health issues could have a detrimental effect on your University submissions being registered means that your school office can automatically authorise a week long extension without requiring permission from your tutors. This is a great help if you are struggling and need a tiny bit longer. All you need to do is have a quick word with your friendly office staff, fill in a short form and its all done! Some students are also eligible for ‘DSA’ (Disability Support Allowance) which is externally assed following a referral from Student Support and Wellbeing. DSA is particularly beneficial for students who struggle during classtime / exams. They can offer all sorts of

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support - from hardware such as a laptop packed with helpful software to a personal tutor who can help keep you organised. Well worth it ! In order to assess your individual needs you must attend a 2 hour medical test - a long time for a medical examination but it is very thorough in order to be sure you get the support you need. It is advised you apply for support as early as possible - there can be a hefty waiting time if there are a lot of people using the service. However - no time like the present - don’t be disheartened if you’ve waited a while or know somebody that could use some support from trained professionals you know where to go. So! If you or someone you know is going through a rough time and feel it may impact on your studies, long OR short term - speak up! The staff at Student Support and Wellbeing are there to keep you in university and help you achieve the most from your course. Make the most of the facilities available to you and don’t let yourself or your education suffer!

d with istere t and g e r g Bein ppor nt Su have Stude g can also in Wellbe enefits. b r othe


How to survive Hell (…well student deadline hell) The period between March to May is notoriously stressful, hellish and slightly maddening for any student as its when all deadlines, final portfolios and dissertations suddenly dawn upon the masses. Leading to wide spread panic, lack of computers university wide and managing to lose your smart card when you most need to print off your work.

Start early, I know, shocking. But, the earlier you start the less panic and stress will happen towards the deadline season. If that’s your dissertation or a yearlong research project, sadly you can’t do an allnighter and get it done, have it started by February and aim to finish it a week or two before it is due in. This will give you time to check it all thoroughly and give yourself time to edit it a few times to make sure that you haven’t spelt any names wrong, or haven’t deviated from your question entirely in a moment of madness. If you don’t have the delight of a dissertation, but have the pleasure of exams, yet again, start early. Ask all questions to your tutors before you go on your Easter break if you don’t understand something, as tutorials go the closer it comes to the end of term. Also take library books out, as they all seem to conveniently disappear even the reference ones when you most need them, or if you don’t want to carry a million books home, photocopy the chapters from the books so that you can always have them on hand.

Ask all questions to your tutors before you go on your Easter break if you don’t understand something...

The lack of computers available in uni is a renowned fact especially as dissertation deadlines take hold, which means most of third or fourth year will take residence in the library. Take a laptop into uni, you can connect to the internet and access generally most of the facilities that the university offer from other computers. So you’ll always be able to get on with your work whatever time you manage to rock up to the library. If you don’t fancy lugging it as your clumsy and afraid you might drop it, or might get distracted by its content get to the library before half ten if you really want a computer, otherwise you may have to stalk out one the best place in that case is sub-basement. So, don’t panic, don’t cry, but get prepared and you’ll sail through just fine. Julia Bond

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STUDENT CULTURE Confessions Of An Erasmus Student

Confessions of an


for the following four months. After a smooth flight to Prague, getting the train from Prague to Olomouc provided our first culture shock. Needless to say the image of five English girls with two huge suitcases each attempting to get up thirty steps to the platform would have been an entertaining site for locals, as well as our eventual struggle down the narrow corridor of the train to the carriage we had booked. Please take note if you are planning on travelling in Central Europe, trains can be a little cramped, despite the excitement of Harry Potter style carriages!

I am not a regular columnist for NU:Life, but after my recent travels, there is definitely the need to share my adventures to a wider audience. Currently in my final year of a law degree, I decided to take a leap out of my comfort zone this year by spending autumn term at a Palacky University in the Czech Republic, courtesy of the Erasmus Scholarship scheme. On Tuesday 4th September, myself and four other ‘English Girls’ (as our identity became), took the eventful journey from Newcastle to Olomouc, our home

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On arrival at our new home, the halls we stayed at epitomised the word ‘basic’. It was typically two people per room, although I was lucky enough to have my own room, as the girl I was supposed to be sharing with didn’t turn up. Two of the other girls and I shared a flat which consisted of a shared bathroom, fridge and kettle. The ‘kitchen’ was situated outside in the corridor, by that I mean a stove and a kitchen sink, to be shared by approximately 16 people! There was another kitchen in a room at the end of the corridor, which included the luxury of a microwave. Although not unpleasant, I have definitely left Olomouc with a large appreciation of the small luxuries we have accommodation wise in Britain! We were some of the first students to arrive on campus, as the university term didn’t start until the week after we had arrived. In this week, because the town’s residents tended to be middle aged or elderly, we all had a sense of desperation that no one spoke English. We were lucky that during our first week, one of the girls’ buddies

STUDENT CULTURE Confessions Of An Erasmus Student

took us under his wing and helped us all find our feet in the town. Without him, our first week would have been unbearable! Thankfully, once the other Erasmus students arrived from all across Europe, we were once again in our comfort zone, as everyone spoke excellent English. In those circumstances, you definitely realise how spoilt you’ve been as a native English speaker, considering the majority of other nationalities have to learn it as the international language! Work wise, our time table was excellent. We were in for two full days a week, and I had a lecture early on Thursday morning. This meant it was easy to go travelling at the weekend, which we did do on most weekends! The subjects, although not too strenuous, were sometimes difficult due to the broken English. This was particularly stressful when it came to the phrasing of some exam questions. As the exam questions were mainly MCQs however, depending on the sort of exam style you’re best at, this made things a little easier for me. Another disadvantage about study was the lack of choice on offer to us. We were given seven choices of law subjects taught in English at the beginning of the term, and were allowed to pick six, meaning the choice was more “what aren’t you going to pick”. Despite this, most of our subjects we studied weren’t available as courses at Northumbria, so there was a bonus. Undoubtedly the ability to travel every weekend was the best thing about our Erasmus. The town of Olomouc was an ideal location, as most of the big

cities of central Europe were nearby. We visited Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Krakow and Budapest all relatively cheaply, as both train tickets and hostel prices are significantly cheaper for students than in the UK. Those four locations however were quite expensive compared to Olomouc, as all were popular tourist destinations. It was also a great advantage making friends from across Europe for the benefit of travelling cheaply. We made friends with an Austrian girl from Graz, and were invited to visit her home town one weekend. All our travel experiences were amazing apart from the first; a ‘cottage’ weekend in the Czech countryside, arranged by the Erasmus Society, where the food was not edible, the beds were broken and it rained all weekend, meaning there was literally nothing to do (some other Erasmus students did become quite, ermm, amorous in these conditions). If anyone decides to go to Palacky University for an Erasmus semester, take my advice, save money and don’t go on this trip. You will have a lot more fun elsewhere! I would thoroughly recommend to anyone considering taking a year or term abroad to DO IT!!! You will have many funny memories, and by the time your year or term draws to a close, you won’t want to come back! Despite first of all feeling like the decision was a bit of a gamble, it has definitely been my best experience of university so far, and would encourage anyone to do the same.

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IN NEWCASTLE I’m appreciating the irony as I’m writing this when there are weather warnings about the snow. But, Newcastle has a tradition of a few sunny weeks in March, where it is tempting to ditch the mountain of essays and exam revision and enjoy the sunny weather.

Picnic in the park Newcastle has some great parks, like Leazes Park and Exhibition Park that are perfect places for picnics. Further afield, there’s Saltwell Park in Gateshead which is well worth a visit. You and your friends could each bring some food or drink making it a cheap and cheerful day out.

But where can you go? Here are a few suggestions…

Quayside Perfect for a wander along the River Tyne, to be cultural in the Baltic Art Gallery or The Sage, or to visit a beer garden in one of the many pubs and bars.

The Beach Yes, it’s obvious, but Newcastle is situated with easy access to the coast. A metro day saver can get you to South Shields, Tynemouth and Cullercoats beaches. If you fancy going further afield, check out Arriva’s bus tickets to get you to any of the north east’s beaches.

And if it’s not so sunny? Why not make the most of Newcastle’s free museums (Great North Museum, Laing Art Gallery, and Discovery museum are a few), cinemas and explore areas you may not have been before, to make the most out of your time in Newcastle!

Perfect for a wander along the River Tyne, to be cultural in the Baltic Art Gallery or The Sage...

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STUDENT CULTURE Easter Around The World

Easter Around the World Whilst we’re on Easter egg hunts and enjoying time spent with family on Easter Sunday, countries across the globe are celebrating the festival rather differently! Here are just a few examples of Easter around the world… USA: Alongside traditional Easter eggs, American children are also given baskets of candy by the Easter Bunny, who is as exciting as Santa Claus over there. An Easter Parade is held in New York City, and over in Washington the President holds an annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn! Czech Republic and Slovakia: An interesting one! A tradition of the men spanking and whipping the women takes place on Easter morning, as legend has it over there that being spanked with a whip ensures women’s continued health and beauty over the next year. Some women give the men a small amount of money as a token of appreciation; however it cannot always be appreciated, as many women get their revenge by throwing cold water over the men the following day! This tradition has been adapted in Poland to become an all-day water fight on Easter Monday. Germany: In Germany, decorated Easter eggs are hung on tree branches, creating ‘Easter egg trees’. Cyprus: The tradition is to light great fires in school and church yards, as young boys enthusiastically gather wood to ensure their fire is bigger than the neighbouring one. This only ever ends badly though, with police being called out to extinguish out of control fires!

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Hungary: In Hungary a lovely tradition named ‘watering’ involves being sprinkled with perfume in exchange for an Easter egg. Norway: In this part of the world there lies a tradition to read and watch murder mysteries at Easter time. All the major TV channels show crime and detective shows, and novels of this genre are even scheduled to be published around Easter. Finland, Sweden and Denmark: These countries also celebrate Easter in a spookier way, with small children dressing as witches collecting candy door-to-door, very much like our Halloween. Bermuda: This country’s traditions mirror the religious story more than others, with traditional kite flying celebrations to symbolise Christ’s ascent from the crucifix. The Netherlands, Belgium and France: These countries hold a myth that their church bells fly out of the steeples and go to Rome for the days leading up to Easter Sunday, therefore they don’t chime. The bells return on Easter morning, to ring out on Easter Sunday. Scotland, North of England and Northern Ireland: Apparently, in this neck of the woods, the tradition is to roll decorated eggs down steep hills… Maybe there just aren’t as many hills in the South?! Suzie Harker


Hot Cross

Buns With Easter fast approaching (how did that happen so quick!?) I’ve decided that this month’s recipe should be something we only really enjoy this time of year – hot cross buns! Of course you can buy perfectly decent ones in the shops, but I always say why settle for ‘decent’ ones when you can make amazing ones yourself! These really are super easy and you probably already have the ingredients laying around your kitchen somewhere, plus for all you chocoholics if you don’t fancy adding fruit to the mix you can add chocolate chips instead! Trust me they’re definitely worth the tiny amount of effort to make them – you’ll never buy from the supermarket again!

For the buns 500g strong white bread flour 50g Butter (chopped into cubes) 50g Caster sugar 2 teaspoons mixed spice 1 teaspoon cinnamon 200g sultanas or chocolate chips 180ml Milk 2 Eggs ½ teaspoon salt 7g sachet ‘easy-blend’ dried yeast For the crosses 3 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons water Honey or golden syrup to glaze 1.

Mix the flour, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon and sugar together in a large bowl. 2. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it becomes breadcrumb like. 3. Mix in the dried fruit, then sprinkle over the yeast and stir. 4. Warm the milk (but so it’s still cool enough to put your fingers in!), then beat in the eggs and pour into the dry ingredients. 5. I’d suggest using a blunt knife here rather than a spoon, and gently mix the ingredients to form a moist dough. Leave to soak for about 5-7 minutes. 6. Remove from the bowl and cut into about 8 equal pieces. 7. Shape the dough into buns on a lightly floured surface and cover with cling film. 8. Leave in a warm place for about an hour until they double in size. 9. When risen, heat oven to 220ºC. 10. Mix the flour with the water to make a paste. Pour into a piping bag or a regular food bag and cut the corner off - and pipe crosses (or whatever you want really!) onto the top of the buns. 11. Bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden. 12. Brush the tops with honey or golden syrup. Enjoy! These are the best breakfast in the world when toasted and spread with butter... yummy! Emily Sait

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RESULTS NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY SPORT COMPLETES THE “WORLD’S TOUGHEST RACE” TO RAISE MONEY FOR NORTHUMBRIA SPORT FOUNDATION ZAMBIA IDEALS PROJECT. Student Sport President Josie Pointon and Student and Staff Development Manager Sarah Stephenson recently took on the annual Tough Guy contest, to raise money to benefit disadvantaged children in Zambia. Tough Guy is a gruelling 8 mile military style assault course which claims to be “the safest most dangerous event in the world”. On Sunday 27th January, over 6500 other competitors embarked upon the challenge and less than half of those managed to actually cross the finish line! The pair had to battle in freezing cold temperatures through water filled tunnels, fire walks, swamps, barbed wire and even electric shocks to complete the course in Perton, Staffordshire. And through sheer resolve and determination, both Josie and Sarah managed to finish the course in an impressive time. Josie and Sarah were raising funds on behalf of the Northumbria University Sport Foundation, which has close links to the Zambia IDEALS (International Development through Excellence and Leadership in Sport) Project. The project is a UK Sport initiative that sees students and staff from the Wallace Group Universities (Northumbria, Durham, Loughborough, Bath, UWIC, Stirling, and St Andrews) travel to Zambia to deliver sports coaching programmes. This community project is based in the capital city, Lusaka, and utilises the skills of students to not only coach the children but also educate them about issues like HIV/AIDS through sport. Here, we catch up with Josie and Sarah about their experience that day ...

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Josie (left) Sarah (right) How did you prepare for Tough Guy? Josie: Lots of training in the gym and plenty of high intensity circuit training. Looking back though, I think I could have started earlier. It was very intense. Sarah: To be totally honest with you I didn’t actually do anything! I’m not advocating this as the best form of preparation but I seem to have a history of not training for big challenges! What was the hardest part of the challenge? Sarah: Running 8 miles in shin deep mud was hard enough but the prolonged period of being cold was the hardest part for me. It was mentally tough to keep going. Josie: For me it was the ice swamp. It was 200m of neck deep icy water reaching minus 10 degrees in parts! I’ve never felt pain like it, tears were imminent!


Did you encounter any unexpected setbacks during the trial? Sarah: The mud swamps were particularly challenging for me. I’m a little on the short side so I was waist deep in them, which made it incredibly difficult to move! There were two other guys either side of me who lost their shoes, so between us, we eventually managed to find the lost shoes and drag each other out . . . it was like something out of Laurel and Hardy. Josie: At one point I tripped and fell head first down a steep hill. Also, I foolishly decided to lift my head up on the barbed wire crawl and ripped my hat from my head! What times did you make? Sarah: Josie powered through the course first, crossing the finish line at 3 hours, 14 minutes and 27 seconds, and I was close behind at 3 hours 14 minutes and 29 seconds. This placed us 1932nd and 1943rd overall, and 104th and 105th out of the women who finished the course. How much have you raised so far? Sarah: I have raised just over £350 from my tough guy challenge. I have a remaining target of £850 but have a few more activities planned like cake sales and a quiz night so I’m confident I can hit it. Josie: So far I have raised £587 and need to raise a further £700. Do you feel like Tough Guy has mentally changed you in anyway? Sarah: I would definitely say the whole experience was mentally challenging and I think rather than changing me in any way it has just made me realise that I can be quite tough if I need to be. Josie: Yes. From now on when I come up against a challenge, I’m going to look back and think ‘If I could conquer Tough Guy, I can conquer anything’. Everything else seems menial in comparison.

Sarah, do you think the experience will help you when you’re in Lusaka? Sarah: I’m not sure how many electric fences, fire pits and icy pools I will encounter in Lusaka but I do believe all the experiences I have had over the years will help me in my role as staff member overseeing the students during their time in Zambia.

If you’d like to find out more about the foundation and the IDEALS project please visit www. Sarah and Josie are still trying hard to reach their fundraising targets so any donations large or small would be very greatly received. To donate please visit: nu:life 35


Support Team Northumbria in Style at the

SUPER 8s Semi Final Weekend!

Super 8s champions Magda Ropiak, Peter Bakare and 1st team hockey star James Moorhouse model Go Shop’s latest range of sport fashion clothing - all emblazoned with the Northumbria University logo.

Grey Fairtrade Hoody

£28.95 White Fairtrade T-Shirt


Peter: Grey Fairtrade Hoody

Magda: Pink Fairtrade Hoody



Black Shorts

Grey Jogging Bottoms

£13.99 36 nu:life


James: Grey Jacket

£39.99 Black Shorts



Grey Jacket

Grey Fairtrade Vest



Black Shorts

Green Fairtrade Shorts


£14.00 Green Fairtrade Sweater


Black Fairtrade Polo Shirt

£13.50 Fairtrade Gillet Green Fairtrade Sweater


£20.00 Fur Rimmed Blue Fairtrade Gillet


Blue Fairtrade Hoody

£28.95 White Vest

£13.50 Shorts


For further information or to purchase any of the products listed please visit Alternatively pop into one of our GO Shop stores situated within Northumberland Building, The Students’ Union and Sport Central. The Super 8s Semi Final weekend will take place on the 6th and 7th April and entry is free for all. Come and discover one of the best emerging sports around and support Magda and Peter as they serve, block and dive their way to victory!

Stay up to date online, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Student life is about to go up a level En suite rooms in self catered flats featuring high speed internet access, fitness suite and outdoor running route. Landscaped private outdoor space with unparalleled views of Newcastle and Gateshead. All situated above a brand new shopping and leisure development with multiscreen cinema, bars and restaurants. Trinity Square from Northumbria University. Welcome to the new centre of your student life.

Coming Autumn term 2014. To ďŹ nd out more or register for updates, email



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Tell us what you think about your course

40 x ÂŁ100 prizes to be won Follow the survey link from your eLP or MyNorthumbria page: Ç National Student Survey (most ďŹ nal year undergraduate students) Ç Northumbria Student Satisfaction Survey (other students on taught courses)

21 January - 30 April 2013 Find out more at

NP O      N  I  N O P N

nu:life Issue 31  

The latest edition of Northumbria Students' Union's official student magazine.