Friday, 27 February 2015


I don’t live at University; I live at home and commute in. There are many advantages and disadvantages of this but I thought I would talk you through my thinking process when deciding where to live whilst studying at Uni.

Benefits of Living at Home:
  • You know who you are living with, their habits, mess and their cooking abilities
  • Meals are cooked for you (not always), and cost of food is split.
  • Washing machine facilities are in the house – no dragging clothes to the laundrette
  • Heating! (although in Halls this isn’t really a problem!)
  • I could continue with my activities outside of Uni
Disadvantages of living at Home:

  • Traffic - Rush hour traffic is a pain! You will devise several different routes to switch
    between just to keep the drive a bit more interesting.
  • Sleep - Get used to having to get up earlier, you don’t have the option of rolling into lectures in your PJs!
  • Social Nights out – You have to find somewhere to stay overnight, but once you have made a few friends I’m sure there will be a sofa you could sleep on!
  • You don’t get to meet new people as easily – there is a wealth of life experience that can be gained from living at Uni that some people really value.

I’m sure you can think of more and specific things that apply to you in your own situations. For me it was a no brainer – I knew I wanted to live at home and commute in. It works really well for me, I don’t feel like I miss out on anything, and if I want to go out I crash at a friend’s house and then drive home the next day.  I think I have the best of both worlds, but it’s not for everyone.

Here are my top 3 tips to consider when deciding whether to live in or not:

  1. How will you be commuting? Car, Public Transport? Easy route? Lots of transfers between trains/buses?
  2. How long will it take? Remember to double this for 9am starts and 5/6pm finishes! Are you really going to be ok getting up at 6am, leaving the house at 7am, getting home at 8pm (or 11pm like I do after team training) to then have to drive back the next morning?
  3. How much will each option cost? Remember to compare the finances of your options as this may help your decision.

     Here is the link to the Beds Accommodation: 

               Have a look and decide for yourself! 

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Student Juggling Act...

Here I am setting up the course!
It was freezing and really windy
 - don't let the blue
sky make you think otherwise!

This week I have been balancing working, studying and socialising – and I think I have done pretty well! Uni contact time has reduced from first semester as I have completed 2 modules completely, 1 will be done in March, another in April and then I only have 2 modules left which finish in May. This is quite good for me as I find studying whilst the weather is good really difficult, so the fact that I can get outside and work to make some extra cash is nice!

This week I have been helping to run an orienteering scheme called Xplorers ( for more information if you are interested), which has been funded by Central Bedfordshire Council and is free to the public. The summary of my job involves following a map to set up the course in a local park area, inviting people to take part and then handing out certificates to those who complete it. It’s great when it’s busy and the weather is good but not so much fun for me when it’s cold and wet! Here are a couple of photos of me setting up the course.

Good hiding spot!
Socialising and leisure have been balanced nicely; I have played more badminton, sung with my choir and chilled out with friends. I have packed for my cycle this weekend in the Isle of Wight, and it looks like I’ll be away for months with the amount of stuff I’ve packed “just in case”, despite being away for 2 days. The making and eating of pancakes has featured this week – my favourite being strawberries, raspberries, golden syrup and chocolate honeycomb bits – yum! (Sorry no photo – it wasn’t on the plate long enough!) I am not sure how but I have also managed to squeeze in watching the whole first series of Glee (yes, not for everyone but I love the musicality) which I believe totals approx. 16 hours. Not sure h
Another card...
ow I managed that, but nonetheless I’ve had a really productive week of studying too!

I’ve planned two assignments; I’m more than half way through one and will probably finish it next week, I’ve completed my core readings and tasks for the week and begun planning and reading for my dissertation! Very successful week I believe!

My Top Tips for Balancing Student Life:

1.      1. Organisation – Have a diary, either written down or, like me, do it electronically so that it syncs with all your devices. This way you are less likely to double book yourself!

2.       2. Planning – Plan everything! When you’re working, or at Uni, travelling times, when you can do your readings, sports – literally everything. This way you can use your time effectively – for example if I have 10mins spare, when I have travelled more quickly than expected, then I open one of my readings for the week and utilise the time.

3.       3. Sleep – Always make time to sleep! I cannot function with a few hours’ sleep, and the more often you do it the longer it will take to get your body back into a rhythm. Your body needs sleep to recover, physically, mentally and emotionally so don’t scrimp on it!

Work Hard, Play Hard!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Books, Badminton and Bike rides...

This week has been fairly relaxed after the stress of assignments and exams finishing last Friday. The main focus was on thinking about dissertation ideas, doing a bit of reading around and trying to come up with something that I am interested in – well enough to write 10,000 words on! I am due to meet my tutor later today to talk through some ideas, so I'll let you know how that all went at some point!

This is the Alexander Sports Hall (Students call it ASH) where
 the Uni Badminton teams train

Badminton has been a big feature of the week, combining training and matches I have played for at least 2 hours a day. The reason I love to play so much is because it’s a sport that can be played leisurely with friends or at high intensity and speed in competition! The Uni team this year is comprised of people who have not competed in badminton before and so training and matches has really improved their game play and tactical understanding. It’s really good to have people from different sporting backgrounds on the team too because it means training can be mixed up a bit to keep it interesting; people often bring new ideas to the table which means we have a laugh even when we are training hard.

Not even halfway!

Bike rides have been another key theme this week as I am currently training to cycle the circumference of the Isle of Wight for Charity (which is happening next Saturday – ahhh!!) and so I have been out practising for that! It has been a challenge but I feel pretty much ready for it now. I have found that for me the key is in the breathing, which sounds odd but has really helped improve my stamina and power output – especially uphill!

Pause for a Selfie!
As I said previously, it was an unusually quiet week, but plodding along has been a well-deserved rest! Next week is half term (although at Uni we don’t get half term) and I am working on a children’s camp, whilst still attending my sessions at Uni. So the plan for the blog next week will involve balancing life, Uni and Jobs and, hopefully, I’ll have some good stories to share from my Explorer Camp!

Monday, 9 February 2015


Hi! My name is Steph, I am a second year Sport and PE (SPE) BSc (Hons) student studying at the University of Bedfordshire. I originally chose Bedford because of its locality but also the phenomenal history and reputation of PE education. I am thrilled with my choice! My course offers a wide range of topic areas from sport sociology, physiology, psychology and, most importantly to me, pedagogy (combination of teachers/teaching, learners/learning and knowledge in context). The SPE course offers in depth and current knowledge of these areas across all years, particularly in pedagogy, which the department prides itself on. They use lots of different techniques of assessment, not just essays, but podcasts, blogs, presentations and practical tasks so if you're not one for writing essays there are plenty of opportunities for you to show you know your stuff! 

The staff here are incredibly supportive, active in research and genuinely want their students to achieve their best. The SPE department are also keen to integrate technology in the classroom which I have found really helps my learning and remembering of content. 

I also currently captain the Women's 1st Badminton team. Sports teams and societies are great ways to extend your social network, learn new skills and challenge yourself. This has been one of my favourite parts of University! Another favourite part are the practical sessions for my course - I have learnt how to play ultimate frisbee, how to make cross country running more engaging to students and some non-traditional games. 

However, my favourite part so far has been the science internship that I completed last summer, working on a PhD project, in the sport science labs. I learnt so much spending time in the labs and the paper is now going to be published in an academic journal - with my name on it! This is particularly special for me as I would like to pursue a career in academia and research. 

The next coming weeks are looking quite good. I have completed a few modules now as we are now in the second semester and so I have less contact time, which means I can get cracking with the dreaded dissertation. But I genuinely can't wait! I have a few ideas in the pipeline at the moment, which I am sure I will share with you in future blogs, but I need to read the literature surrounding my area of interest first before ideas can be cemented. 

Please follow me on Twitter @stephwhite121 where I often get involved with various PE related discussions and tweets! My blogs won't always be written, I may try a VLOG or podcast, so if you have a preference then get in touch.  Let me know if there is anything specific you would like to know about and I shall make sure I cover it in a blog, otherwise... Speak to you next week!