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Caitlin Irwin – Livesonline

BSc (Hons) Psychology

What To Expect In Freshers Week

Monday, June 22nd, 2015


Starting University can be daunting, especially if you’re moving away from home. Often theres a general sense of confusion over whats going to actually happen when you get there, but the main thing to remember is most other people are feeling exactly the same.

This is why you have freshers week. It gets you all settled in before you have to start your lectures and the real work, so for the most part you’ll just be finding your away around, meeting your lecturers and other students…and partying. You’ll receive a timetable for freshers week which will tell you what days you need to be in University and where to be. If you get the chance, it’s good to walk around the campus before the week starts and figure your way around a bit. Through the week you’ll have library inductions, and introductions to course leaders, and module leaders – you should really turn up to them. Chances are you’ll only be in a couple of days in freshers week and usually for not very long – so you’ll still have plenty of time to go out. Although they may not seem important at the time, you might regret not going later if you don’t know how to use the library or who your lecturers are.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 12.52.03

But thats mostly just the boring parts of freshers week, the rest of it is filled with events, and theres usually something for everyone. The main bit of freshers week is that you take the time to meet people, there’s events every day both in the university and all through the city. Don’t worry if you haven’t a clue what any of these events are yet – they usually release them a lot closer to the time.

What most people are looking forward to is the parties and nights out. There’ll be things on every single night, last year there was foam parties and paint parties and even comedy hypnotists. Go to them and enjoy them, it’ll give you a good chance to bond with your flatmates and people on your course. Remember that although its important to turn up to your inductions, the week after you’ll be starting your real lectures, so take the time to enjoy yourself.

Most importantly – go to freshers fayre! Freshers fayre takes place on the campus in freshers week and you’re guaranteed loads of freebies and vouchers (often for dominos and wetherspoons, which you’ll be thankful for later in the year). It’s also your chance to sign up for sports clubs and societies – sign up for anything and everything you’re interested in and give it a try. There are loads of different clubs at the University and they are such a good way of meeting people outside your course and flat.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 12.49.54 (last years freshers fayre)

Lastly – don’t worry if you’re travelling in to the university and either aren’t in halls or don’t live in Sunderland. Make friends on your course and in societies and usually someone will let you crash at their place for the night if you’re going out!


Caitlin x

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

Friday, February 13th, 2015

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. 

Divergent Review: I didn’t want to like it, but I did

Friday, January 9th, 2015

I bought this book about a week ago, in the ‘teen fiction’ section and have read it in no more than four days (surprisingly quick, for me). I watched the film first, as I always do, and decided to read it. I enjoyed the film, so I was expecting to love the book, as the books are nearly always better – but in this case, I found the opposite. My reasoning is that the book is distinctively for a younger audience. Sounds obvious as it was in ‘teen fiction’, but unfortunately ‘teen fiction’ is not all that simple. This book seems to me to be for a very specific age of around 14-17 (just, 17). Some themes are far too much for an under 14, and others, far to childish for anyone over 17. This is my problem with teen fiction, I am a huge fan of ‘The Hunger Games’, as I think many people are, reaching into their twenties and beyond. I find this also to be true with ‘Twilight’ (although I hate the twilight series myself – but not because of the same reasons). Yet, these are both also classed as ‘Teen Fiction’, and their audiences span much further. It’s impossible to define what age range a teen fiction book will apply too, as some are directed towards younger teens 12-15, others, older, and others just a massive mix. But anyway, my problems with the teen fiction genre are for another day, I’m here to talk about ‘Divergent’.


I found this book an extremely easy read, a mixture of both good and bad writing, and as much as I found some of it ridiculous and stupid, it still entertained me. I’m going to start with the negative things. My problems started when I began to find little flaws, things not well explained, which I didn’t seem to notice in the film. Gutted. My first problem came with the character ‘Peter’. He is from Candour, the faction which whole-heartedly believe in the truth, and telling the truth, so much so that you have to take lie detector tests to get through their initiation. It’s clear why Peter chooses to be in the faction of ‘Dauntless’ instead, his cruel nature, and the fact that he lies. The character of Christina, also from Candour, makes reference to this early on. Saying that, he used to start fights with people from other factions, then when people would come, he would say they started it, and because he was Candour people believed him. Sounds logical. Except the fact, I’m sure other people from Candour would find out, and know he was lying. Especially considering it later says that people from Candour are trained early on to tell when people are lying, I mean, they can tell when the main character Tris is lying. So, you would logically have to assume, that people from Candour knew he was lying about the fights. It’s also made a point of that people from Candour struggle to keep their mouth shut, they always say what they are thinking – honestly, too. She knows about the fights, so other Candour people must. Why did nobody from Candour ever say anything to the teachers or whoever stopped the fights about his lying? Especially considering they can’t keep their mouth shut. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Further more, you have to assume his parents know he’s lying – how could he keep his brutal, lying nature from them? Maybe he didn’t. But then, the plot falls apart again. Tris says numerous times that most parents don’t go to visit their kids on ‘visiting day’ if they transferred factions. Yet, on visiting day, nearly every Dauntless transfer’s parent is there? WHAT?! Even more shocking, Peter’s parents. Candour parents. People who believe being truthful is the most important thing, parents that aren’t supposed to like transfers. Considering most parents wouldn’t go an visit their children if they went completely against their faction, and were lying their arse off in candour, why do his come to visit him? It doesn’t really make sense to me. Unless they support their son. But, then they are going against their faction. Why is nobody bothered about this? I just find the whole thing a little unexplained and unbelievable.

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 21.20.15

Despite this, I still enjoyed it. Although I found it hard to let go of at times through reading it. I also had many cringe worthy moments when she starts to ‘fancy’ Tobias/Four. This part of it read to me as particularly teen-fiction and childish. To the point I found myself rolling my eyes, for such a strong and brave female character, she falls at the last hurdle – of course, she’s completely infatuated by a boy that she thinks is being totally cruel to her? I mean, he doesn’t turn out to be this way in the end, but thats what she thinks at the beginning. Her opinions of him, and relationships are utterly childish, and I found struggled sometimes with these parts of the book. I would say, well what more can I expect from ‘teen fiction’, I feel that the same childish opinions crop up in ‘Twilight’, but I think they can be avoided. I didn’t feel the same way reading ‘The Hunger Games’, for example. Totally not because I’m a die-hard fan. 

So anyway, why will I be reading the second book? Because despite this, parts of the book are very well written. Fight scenes, tense moments, Tobias’s past comes out just at the right time, and she does it in a clever way, showing Tris through the simulation. It works well, as he strikes me as the kind of character that wouldn’t just say. But the main point is, I want to know what happens. Despite all the faults, some part of me must care about what is happening because I want to read the second book. The first book finishes on a cliff hanger, and with everything up in the air, I just have to know what happens. What will the Erudite do next? Did the Abnegation members get safely to Amity? What’s in store for Dauntless now. My link is less with the characters and more with the story itself. I really didn’t want to like this book, but the truth is, I did enjoy it on some level. Personally, I would rate it at three stars, whether it will get better, or worse – I do not know. But, I will be reading on.


Caitlin x


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