Friday, 31 July 2015

Final sign off...

Just a short one today to say Goodbye! 

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the PE and Sport Student Blog this year. I have learned a lot about my University having explored corners of it I otherwise would not have and hopefully I have drawn people's attention to the fact that it exists!

I hope that you have enjoyed reading/watching it and that at least some of the information was useful!

My future plans are to Graduate with a First Class (Hons) degree in Sport and Physical Education (BSc) and to go on to further study, for which I am on track! I plan to set up my own blog to record my experiences of further education and professional study.

If you would like to stay in contact please follow me on twitter @stephwhite121 and I shall follow you back! I am always happy to answer questions people may have about University life at Beds so drop me a line.

Thanks again,


Friday, 24 July 2015

GO Global!

Go Global! is a programme run by the University that allows students to spend a minimum of 2 weeks abroad at one of their partnering Universities. This was launched in 2013 and so far the students have explored parts of China. In 2015 there will be the option to choose from China or India. All trips and accommodation are included, all you have to worry about is getting a visa, travel insurance and getting yourself to and from the airport in the UK. 

This is something I am considering doing in the summer after I Graduate as I know a few people who have done it and said it was amazing! All you have to do it submit an application form that says why you should be chosen to go. 

The exact experience depends on the destination chosen but it tends to include visits to famous historical sites, tasting authentic local food, experiencing local life, various talks on things about the country and even basic language classes. 

The Go Global! Leadership award is something that will look great on your CV, can provide you access to work-ready programmes and will give you experiences that you will remember for the rest of your life. It's a great way to 'go travelling' with an organised tour, for not too much expense and all the hard work of booking accommodation is done for you!

Check out more here: Go Global!

Friday, 17 July 2015

What can I be doing be doing in the Summer before Uni?

Firstly RELAX and ENJOY YOURSELF! Most people will come from school/college and this will be their first proper break from education in a long time! But there are a few things that those who are keen to get started can be either thinking about or doing.

Earn some money - University is an expensive time before you even think about living costs and a social life! Having a resource of cash in the bank available to you before you come to Uni is really helpful - Especially during freshers week! I worked and built up a pot of 'spending money' and 'rainy day money' for Uni, meaning that during term time I don't have to spend as much of my free time working. I have a reserve fund if something comes up out of the blue, but more importantly I have money that I can spend on what ever I like! This just makes things less stressful when you get to Uni and everything is changing.

Get Experience - If you are planning to get a degree to do a particular job then get some experience of working in that environment if you can. For example, if you want to become a PE teacher then get experience in some schools volunteering. If you want to go into personal training then ask the local gym if you can shadow someone for the day.

Find the reading list - If you want to get a head start on your course then find the reading list and maybe even buy a few books. I would recommend that you don't go on a crazy spending spree because there will be some textbooks on the list that you will only need once and others that become essential for modules. Maybe visit the University Library as a Visitor to have a look at the books first? You won't be able to take them home but it could help you decide which to buy.

Buy Stationary - Think about how you are going to organise yourself whilst at Uni. Are you going to need pens/pencils/folders/highlighters/paper or are you going to go down the iPad/tablet route? Put a plan in action, it doesn't matter if it changes! Look out for back to school deals at the end of August and beginning of September.

Accumulate Living Items (if living away from home) - Yes I mean ACCUMULATE! Many friends/family members will have a surplus of kitchen utensils, bathroom stuff and washing things so ask around if anyone has anything going for free before you spend out on brand new things. I ended up with a microwave, plates, knives/forks/spoons, a few saucepans, a washing basket, a clothes horse, chopping boards, ironing board - and that's just the stuff I took! (I could have had a fridge, washing machine etc. but I didn't need it). This meant that there were only a few things I needed to buy new, and some of those I bought in charity shops! No-one at Uni has matching stuff, it's at risk of being broken/lost anyway so why waste money on it!

I drew the line at towels and bedding - I bought those new/took my own from home!

Add your University on Social Media - There will be loads of groups to join/follow surrounding your University, from official events to freshers events to clubs and societies. These are a great way to interact with people before you get there or even just keep an eye on what is happening so that when you arrive, you feel like you know what's going on. 

I'm sure there are plenty of other things to do during your summer but those are a few. I would highly recommend RELAXING because as soon as you get to Uni, you won't stop until you Graduate - and even then you might have a job to walk straight into!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Support at University

Beds is a great University in terms of supporting its students, whether it's financially, academically or with personal problems. I'm going to introduce you to a few services that Beds offer to support its students but you can find out more here: Support at Beds.

A few of the services include mental health support, disability support, community and faith support, counselling, student money advice, academic support, careers and employability support, to name some. I am going to speak mostly about finding out who to go to, academic support and support for international students.

Who do I go to?

The Student Information Desk (SiD for short) is a great place to start if you don't know who to go to. They are available on campus, online and provide e-guides to common problems students face. If they are not able to find a solution to your query themselves, they have a vast network of specialist services to direct you towards. They are also able to print various letters for you (e.g. council tax exemption letter), can help with forms to fill out (e.g. access to learning forms) and much more. 
Check out their full range of services here: SiD

Academic Support?

The Study Hub offers help with academic study, computer skills and personal development.
You can go to their drop in sessions, book an appointment for a 1-to-1, attend workshops or use their extensive range of self-help guides that take you step by step through common problems students come across. A few of their previous workshops have included note taking for assignments, assignment planning, giving a presentation, referencing and help with reading academic material. 
Check out their website for more information: Study Hub

Support for International Students

This service can help with problems from Visas and immigration to study support and communication skills. I personally have not used this service but if you require more information, please see their website here: International Student Support

It is very clear to me that all the support offered at Beds is designed with the students at the centre. I personally feel that if ever I have a problem, I am well supported by my University to help deal with it in the best way for me. 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Facilities at Bedford

Here at Bedford there has been a lot of money invested into new facilities over the last few years. We have relatively new accommodation, a fairly new sports hall and most recently a brand new Gateway Building and brand new Gym. 

I'm going to focus this blog on the Library, the new Gateway Building and the Gym but there are other facilities to check out too --> see for more info.

The Library
At Bedford there are a vast amount of books, journals and resources available to students,

but also an incredible wealth of online jounals and ebooks. There are plenty of computers, printers/scanners/photocopiers, group study areas and a silent floor (Level 2) for independent study. There are large TV screens that you can plug in to laptops/tablets, which are great for group work (and also watching Wimbledon! Shhh!). Our library is open 24/7 and manned by specialist staff during the day, who are always happy to help. The library offer a wide range of services to help students with academic study 

( and each faculty has a Specialist Librarian assigned to them, who are available to help with more subject specific queries.

I have spent a lot of time in the library and it's a good atmosphere, even when you're pulling your hair out over an assignment! During term time I can guarantee I will see at least 10 people I know and will say 'Hi' to every time I go in.

The Gateway Building
This was finished earlier this year and provides LOTS more teaching and learning spaces.

On the ground floor there is the ESSENTIAL Costa Coffee, many social seating areas, areas to study (inc. TVs to plug laptops/tablets into), computers available for people to use and the main reception desk. Level 1&2 have social areas, isolated working areas of various sizes for private group work or individual study and many lecture/seminar rooms, most of which have multiple whiteboards which are good for 
group working!

See more photos here: Gateway

The Aspire Gym

This was finished just over a month ago and looks pretty swish! There are lots of weights
machines, cardiovascular machines, lots of free weights specialised strength and conditioning equipment including three lifting platforms and two squat racks. The gym has changing rooms with showers, hair-dryers and lockers for members to use. When you sign up, you are able to use the gym at both the Luton and Bedford campus.

Hopefully that gives you a small insight into some of the facilities at Bedford, but I would highly reccommend you having a look at the Website AND coming to an Open Day to see them for yourself!

Friday, 26 June 2015

How to pick the right University for you

Firstly, congratulations on deciding that you want to attend University - It's not an easy choice to make for everyone but you've already taken the first step! I have put together a step by step guide to help you find the right University and right course for you:

  1. Select a subject area (e.g. Sport)
  2. Decide whether it is important to you if you stay near home or can move away. (If you are staying near home your choices can become narrow very quickly).
  3. Try looking at some league tables, for example The Guardian or The Complete University Guide. Note that different University's will rank better for different subjects and under different headings (e.g. student satisfaction, graduate prospects, entry standards etc.)
  4. Use the UCAS Website to Find a Course - look at lots of different courses and different Universities (even if you are planning to stay near home).
  5. Print off some courses and highlight things you like/dislike in different colours. You will start to notice a pattern, for example course content (more science/sociology) or method of examination (essays/exams/practicals).
  6. Find a course that has the most of what you like - it is unlikely that you will love everything about one course but you can like most of it.
  7. Research that particular course and the Universities that offer it.
  8. Narrow down the Universities by checking out their websites, googling news stories, going to open days and chatting to people who have done that course or have studied something else there.
  9. Sometimes courses appear more or less the same, so think about their geographical location - would you like to live by the sea, or in a big city, or in a rural area?
  10. Make your choices on your UCAS application.

This can be quite an emotional time and the process can be quite stressful - be prepared for that. I try to deal with any emotional decision by looking at it logically at first, so following the process above can help with that. Here is another guide from The Complete University Guide.

Most importantly though is that you talk to people about it all - your friends and family can provide a support network and can be great to bounce ideas off of. Don't set your heart on one course at one institution - be aware that things may not develop in the way you intended them to, for example budgets can be cut and thus less places offered. 

Once you have an idea of the course and Universities that you are interested in, BOOK AN OPEN DAY! These are great opportunities to work out whether you like the University, the course and the local area - remember you will live there for at least 3 years!

Any questions please leave a comment below - otherwise, happy searching!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Get into Sport

Get into Sport is a programme set up by the University of Bedfordshire to encourage more students and staff to be physically active. All you have to do is sign up for FREE and you can attend any and as many as the sessions on the timetable as you want. 

Wheelchair Basketball
The sessions are mostly non-competitive and fun, and can be a great introduction into sports you haven't tried before. There are qualified coaches at the sessions to provide hints, tips and coaching. Some of the more traditional sports offered at the Bedford campus include cricket, badminton, tennis, football, dodgeball, table tennis and futsal. However there are sessions for sports that you may not have had an opportunity to try out - ultimate frisbee, canoeing/kayaking, rowing, handball and wheelchair basketball. 

Another good thing about Get into Sport is that if you have a coaching qualification, you can apply to be a Coach, or an Activator if you don't have coaching qualifications, meaning you can be paid to run the sessions! 

I have attended a few sessions and they are great fun! After a while you tend to get the same people turning up each week, meaning you get to know them. Being on a sports course means I meet lots of other people from sports courses, but through Get into Sport I have met and made friends with people from other courses too.

Human Table Football