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Caitlin Irwin | University of Sunderland

English and Creative Writing BA (Hons)


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March 24th, 2015

Ice Hockey

This weekend I took the metro across to Whitley Bay to go and see Whitley Bay Warriors play Billingham Stars. It’s a fantastic experience and at only 8 pound a ticket it won’t break the bank either.

March 19th, 2015

The Amazing Teaching Awards

teaching awards

So last Friday I got to get out my nicest dress and shoes, and get all glammed up – black tie event style. Yup – it was the teaching awards. Some of the best teachers I have ever had are right here at the University, I could talk all day about how my creative writing teacher is probably one of the best teachers (and people) I’ve ever met. And if you ask anyone, I have no doubt they’ll tell you the same.teaching awards1 (English students and lecturers)

The teaching awards were a fantastic chance for students and lecturers to sit down together and celebrate some of the unbelievable lecturers here at the University. The night was put together by the Universities Events Management students, and thanks to them we got to sit down and have a lovely three course meal in a posh hotel (except the soup – I hate soup).

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The English students were out in force spread across three tables to support the wonderful Colin Younger (aka the amazing creative writing lecturer I just mentioned). It’s the students that give the lecturers the opportunity to win an award for their utter amazingness, so obviously, Colin was nominated. But not just that – he won the star award (the best one).

I think it’s fair to say that I have never been to a place where lecturers and students get along so well, and I feel lucky to have been there to support them. Times like this I realise how happy I am to have come to this university, and to have the honour of being taught by all these amazing people.teachingawards (me and colin)

Go Team English and Creative.

And Spectral Visions.

We are, undeniably, the best.


Caitlin x

March 16th, 2015

Poetry Is Kinda My Thang.

I have been reading. As always. But recently I’ve taken to my poetry books – majorly, and I’ve been feeling, well, totally inspired. So the books I’ve been reading, are mostly John Keats and e.e. cummings. I bought five new books the other day though with different authors, so I’ll try and get back on some new poets I’ve read soon.

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So, heres some of my poetry, because like I said, its kind of my thang.


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February 16th, 2015

What books will you study if you choose English and Creative Writing

These are just a few of the books I’ve done this year, as well as this I’ve looked at loads of poetry and short stories. Take a look to see what I’ve had to read!

February 13th, 2015

How To Make Your Own Budget Stationery – (For Classroom Hipsters)

A love for stationery really is ingrained into some of us. Those of us, with the love, will go out of our way for new stationery, using any excuse for a new pretty notebook or that stationary-organiser-related thing that sits on the desk. The start of term at University is an opportunity. I don’t mean an opportunity to ‘do more work’, we all do that anyway, right? I don’t even mean an opportunity to down more jagerbombs than last year, we do that anyway too. It’s an opportunity to blow everyone in your lecture out the water with your classy new pencil case. But this isn’t high-school anymore, for stationary lovers, lectures are a battleground where at any corner someone could have the same notebook (you might as well have put the same outfit on), and worst of all our parents aren’t paying anymore. It’s our responsibility to handle the student loan.

And, that really is the worst thing. Even if you aren’t a dedicated stationary lover, with a perfect leather diary, buying nice stationary is costly. Especially when you’re a student. So after getting annoyed at the 10 pound per notebook price tag and the expense of folders, I decided to do something about it. Make my own. It’s so easy done, and so cheap, I don’t know why I haven’t done it before and you can also guarantee that nobody will have the same stuff as you – it will be completely your own.

To make your own notebooks and folders, you need plain notebooks (I picked ones with a paper front page and a glossy front because the glossy front makes it look nice, but just cardboard or plain covers are fine)


Plain folder – cardboard type cover ones are the easiest for this.

Different types of wrapping paper of your choice


Prit Stick

Now you’ve got everything you need to make your own stationery, and it really is simple. First you need to cut the paper to fit your notebooks, you can wrap it around the entire notebook if you don’t have a one with a plastic cover, and fold it over the edges. If not, cut it to cover the front of your note book, cut and stick! It’s so simple but the outcome really does look good.


When you’ve done this with your notebook, you should hopefully have wrapping paper left over. Often this is in bits and not enough to cover a folder, but this is where you can get creative. Cut what you have left into squares and triangles and stick them over each other to make a collage of the nice paper. Personally, I think these look better than the notebooks.



And thats really it, nice looking stationary for a fraction of the price. Officially an edgy hipster because you made it yourself – well done you. 

February 10th, 2015

Working While At University

work night (my work christmas do!)

From the very beginning of my first year I’ve had a part time job, I got the job in May and have been extremely lucky to have such a good employer. Trying to get a job while at university is on a lot of people’s agenda, and most of the time you’ll take any job that comes your way. But sometimes you have to be a bit careful, working while studying is a balancing act and one that you have to get right, the last thing you want is to either loose your job, or see your University work suffer. So heres a few tips to think about when working or looking for a job.

1. Don’t do to many hours.

Applying for that job that’s 22 hours a week might seem okay at the time, because I mean, you’re only in class 9 hours a week, right? NO. I can’t stress it enough, be careful how many hours you let your boss/future employer know that you are willing to take on. You might appear to have the spare time because you aren’t always in class, but remember to include all the hours that you have to do you’re assignments and study, as well as giving yourself time to relax. I originally worked 21 hours a week, dropped to 16 then dropped to 12,which is perfect for me. I wouldn’t suggest to anyone doing more than 16 hours a week if you can avoid it, but in circumstances it is unavoidable.

2. Studies Come First!

Your boss is never going to turn around and say ‘oh you have uni work, don’t come in all week’ – as much as you wish that they would. But a lot of employers are student friendly and aware that your studies come first, these are the types of people you want to work for. You don’t have to make a big deal to them that your studies are more important, but always make sure that your boss/future employer knows you are a student. The last thing you want is your boss ringing you at 6am asking you to start at 7am, when you have uni at 1pm – its not feasible. Student friendly employers won’t bother doing things like this (unless they’re really desperate) because they know you won’t be able too!

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(picture from a work night out)

3. Know the Facts!

Bar work? Make sure you know if they are going to put you on a shift every single Wednesday (student night) and probably all weekend. When you ask them what time you will finish work – it’s not when the bar closes, ask them what time you will ACTUALLY get out. Weekend work? How much time do you get off? Does it give you enough time to go home and see your family? Make sure you know the facts about where you are being employed and who is employing you to avoid future trouble, check how much time you will get off, if they’ll ever ask you to do overtime, etc.

4. Being Employed by Sunderland University

A good way to avoid tricky situations is simple. Apply for a job here! At Sunderland University, Student Ambassadors are paid employees. The upside being you work when you want, if you can’t do a day because you have to many assignments, that’s no problem. This can be a great alternative, and something which I see myself applying for next year.

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5. Student Union Help!

If you do ever get into trouble with an employer, either disciplinary or other things, the Student Union are there to help. Most people don’t know but they can represent you at a work disciplinary and help you out if you think you’ve taken on to much and don’t know how to manage it.

So there is some tips from me for working while you’re at University. The delicate balancing act can be a difficult one, but can be achieved. Always make sure you have at least 1 day off a week, to just chill out from it all! I find diaries, lists and timetables really help me organise my time, so try some of them to help manage everything you have going on!


Caitlin x

February 4th, 2015

Whitehouse Farm

I went to whitehouse farm near morpeth, and saw loads of cute farm animals and reptiles, it was great…although we were probably the only people there who weren’t taking their kids to the petting zoo.