Managing your money

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by Student Money Service

70% of students say they want to be clued up on money before starting uni. So here we share some tips so you can manage your money instead of it managing you.

Create a budget

First of all, figure how much money you have coming in – from your student loan, part-time job etc. Then figure out how much is going out.

Once you’ve worked out the essentials like rent, bills, course materials, food and travel, you can turn your attention to non-essentials like eating out and entertainment. What’s important to you? Budget your non-essential spending around that. Create a budget around what really matters to you, being realistic with the money you have!

Check out Blackbullion and Money Saving Expert for budgeting templates and money advice. There are loads of template budgets out there, you don’t need to create one from scratch.

Consider opening a second bank account

This may be the first time you’ve been in control of your finances, and if you’re eligible for a student loan, then you’ll get a lump sum once a term – and the temptation is to blow it! To help make your money last the term it’s for, consider opening a second bank account to pay your student loan into (and salary too). From there you can set up a standing order to your current account to pay yourself what you need each month. This could help you manage the big chunk of cash from the Student Loan Company (SLC) coming in each term.

Get a part-time job

Lots of students get part-time jobs to help make ends meet. As well as boosting your income it’s a great way to get some work experience for your CV. But whilst it might be tempting to take on all the hours you can get for extra money, try to find something that’s less than 16 hours a week so that your academic work doesn’t suffer. The Students’ Union at UWE have their very own JobShop where they advertise part-time jobs on campus and around Bristol.

Don’t eat away your money

Eating out and takeouts are pricy! See them as a treat rather than the norm.

Write a shopping list before going out rather than just buying what catches your eye – and don’t shop when you’re hungry, otherwise everything will look good! Try to cook and eat with your housemates when you can to save money (and washing up). Consider bulk cooking – perhaps doing a big batch of pasta so you have something for the next day.

Review your budget

The amount you pay for things can go up and down over the year. Make a note to review and tweak your budget each term.

Capitalise on all the savings

Now you’re a student you get to take advantage of loads of discounts. Get into the habit of asking wherever you go – sometimes student discounts aren’t advertised so it’s good to ask or just pop your TOTUM card down on the counter and see what they say!

Ask for help

If you can’t figure out a budget that works for you, don’t worry – we’re here to help. Ask for help before you find yourself in a pickle.

Useful websites to take things further:

Blackbullion – money modules and detailed advice

Save the Student – good advice and weekly cheat sheets

Money Saving Expert – loads of tips for uni and everyday life

Student Beans – student discount codes

How Starting Block helped me prepare for the year ahead

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By Megan, BA(Hons) Media Culture and Communications

Going into a new year at university can be a nerve-wracking time for anyone and there are lots of ways you can prepare. As a student going into a year of online learning for the first time last year, I was very apprehensive about the new way of learning and all the new challenges I would face learning from home.

Fortunately, we had a Starting Block.

Starting Block is a great opportunity to set yourself up for the year ahead and make sure you’re prepared with the skills you will need for university life. Last year, because of Covid-19, all learning was done online. This took a bit of getting used to as it was a new concept for a lot of people, and while it sounded fun at first, it came with its own set of challenges.

Before starting block I felt nervous about the year ahead as well as new obstacles like wifi connections, audio issues and all the new aspects of learning we had never had to consider before. Thankfully starting block was a great opportunity to test all of this out, so when it came to the first week of term I felt fully prepared and comfortable. 

I learned a lot from Starting Block. As I mentioned, I had a lot to figure out with audio issues and connections at the start, starting block gave me the opportunity, time and support to make sure my wifi was strong enough or that I had a good desk to work from, small things that could have hindered me had I not had the opportunity to sort them out. It also helped me get used to seeing and interacting with lecturers and my peers online instead of in person.  

Another aspect that really helped me was a group talk our lecturer gave where she discussed mental health and working from home. We were given really good advice on how to separate university life and home life, for example having separate space to work, even if this is just a desk in your room instead of working on your laptop from bed (as appealing as that sounds), so we have spaces to switch off.

We were also told to take regular breaks outside, so we could rest our eyes from looking at screens all day. Having this advice not only helped feel more prepared for what the year would be like, but it also made me feel like everyone was in the same position and it made starting the academic year easier to cope with knowing everyone was doing something new for the first time.

The advice we were given from lectures during Starting Block not only helped me prepare my working set-up but also helped me prepare mentally for the new challenges learning from home comes with. It made me feel much more comfortable with how online learning was going to be and I gained incredible benefits from it like advice from lecturers, as well as talking to other students so it is a great way to feel prepared at the start of a new year.

And whilst this year will look different to last year, I have no doubt that the advice and skills learnt during Starting Block will help me prepare just as well for whatever the year ahead will bring.

Visit our Starting Block webpage for more information.

Welcome to Bristol!

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By Mercedes, BA (Hons) Drama and Creative Writing

To choose to live in Bristol as a student, is to choose to enter into a completely different way of exploring, moving, creating and living. There isn’t a corner of the City that isn’t signed with some form of creativity and individuality, and they’ve left no room to question the authenticity of the people and appreciation of the history.

Bristol has an amazing understanding of community and has mastered a way of being all-inclusive. From the party-goers to the theatre-goers, to those who prefer artisan coffee shops and a good page-turner, to those who are desperate to keep the kids entertained for half-term, to the history fanatics, to those who love a good shaded spot on the grass with good company, to those who love a bit of ‘me time’ — there is something here for everybody!

To all of the foodies out there, you won’t be left disappointed! I’m yet to find a cuisine that doesn’t have its own place. They’re dotted all over the City too: Harbourside, Stokes Croft, Gloucester Road, Clifton, Cabot Circus, Cribbs Causeway — thank me later, and “Bon appetit!”

Creatives, whether on your own or with a group, a whole weekend can be planned to get the creative juices flowing! You can go to places such as the Arnolfini or Spike Island, or get lost in the fresh air up at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or even in the array of quirky cafes to plan your next project!

And no matter where you’re coming from, Bristol is definitely a home away from home — and the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it!

To find out more about living in Bristol visit our Discover Bristol webpage.

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL)

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by Jo Lewis, PAL Manager

You’ll probably notice something called ‘PAL’ on your timetable, or maybe you heard about it during Block Zero.

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is a student-to-student support scheme which helps you with your transition to university, in particular:

  • engaging with your course
  • connecting with your peers
  • increasing your academic confidence and resilience
  • developing good study habits

Online PAL sessions are delivered by second and third students, known as PAL Leaders. They won’t be teaching you, but will facilitate interactive group study sessions giving you the opportunity to ask questions about university life, expectations, course content, online learning and much more!

You’ll also be able to share ideas about assignments, projects and exams – all this in a friendly and collaborative online learning environment. So don’t miss out, you never know, you may go on to be a PAL Leader in the future too!

If PAL doesn’t appear in your timetable and you would like to connect and collaborate with peers, why not attend our online Resilient U PAL sessions? For more information about these student-led sessions, view the Events Diary.

For more information, visit our PAL webpage.

How and where can I get IT support?

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by IT Services

We want you to feel confident when using IT at UWE Bristol, whether you’re studying at home, in halls or on campus, our support team has a wealth of experience and we pride ourselves on our excellent customer service.  

Advice and information online

Our IT Services webpages include a range of information with handy step-by-step guides including:

  • myUWE and Blackboard support
  • Software for your personal computer, including Microsoft Office
  • Data storage
  • Eduroam (student campus WiFi)
  • Online safety and best practice (more to come on that later!)

A good place to start is our getting started with IT at home guide, as you’ll need to make sure you’re ready to go once term starts.

If you’re unsure what IT equipment and specifications you might need for studying at home, check out our choosing IT equipment for university webpage.

Staying safe online

We want you to stay safe online so have compiled a few handy tips to help you. Whilst the UWE IT systems are safe and secure, you need to do your bit too!

  • Don’t say it won’t happen to me! Everyone is a potential victim of cyber criminals.
  • Every password you use should be strong and unique. Never share your password with anyone and remember that the University will never email or call you to confirm your password.
  • Be cautious and always think before you click, open attachments or download files in emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. Fraudsters often impersonate well known companies such as Amazon and Spotify.
  • Always use cloud storage or network drives. As a student you have access to 5TB storage space via Onedrive so try to avoid using hard disks and USB drives as these can fail and are susceptible to ransomware attacks.
  • Always lock or log off a device when you leave it, even for a moment, to keep your information safe and secure.

More information can be found on our information security webpage.

How to contact us

We’re committed to providing your IT support in the safest possible manner and, whilst our phone and email service is operating as usual, we’ve made adjustments to our face-to-face services to ensure they are COVID-secure.

Email

If you’re experiencing issues with IT or have a query, you can email itonline@uwe.ac.uk.

Telephone

If you would rather call us, our telephone support is available 24/7, 365 days a year on 0117 32 83612.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to get in touch!