7 things I’ve learnt about group work


For some people, group work is an absolute godsend. If you need a slight grade boost but you just don’t have the time or the motivation then groups have the perks of a good grade with minimal effort on your part. For the rest of us however, working in groups doesn’t seem to hold the same benefits. Unfortunately however, teamwork is an admired trait in the working world and from what it looks like, university is only the beginning when it comes to group work.
Whilst trying to understand my new found hatred for this concept, I’ve compiled a list of things that group work has taught me over my 14 years of schooling.

1. Democracy does not exist in group projects
I knew this before I even understood what democracy was. In order for the group to function properly, there must be a leader. This person will basically act as the dictator, telling everyone what to do and when to do it and controlling any hostility that arises within the group. Without a leader, the group will ultimately fall into disrepair.

2.Your idea will never be better than the leaders
Once the leader is chosen, good luck gaining any control over the project. No matter how brilliant your story board suggestion is for literacy or how amazing your poster idea is for history, it will never beat the idea of the leader. He/she is the boss and that is something you will just have to accept.

3. If you want something done right, you really need to do it yourself
I learnt this from a very young age; if I want something to be done properly then the only person for the job is myself (and maybe my mum). This means that I have to be the leader of the group, no matter what. Because in mind, if we want any hope of getting the top grade, I need to be at the helm, no question.

4. More people = more work
This one is kind of a given, but the problem with group work is that the vast amount of work isn’t exactly distributed among the group fairly, with the group leader taking on the majority in order to ensure it is done right. And even if the work is distributed evenly, there is a very high chance of you having to rewrite most of it so that it is actually legible.

5. You will end up hating the people you work with
Don’t try and fight this. As the deadline draws nearer and the stress piles on like a stack of bricks, you will inevitably begin to despise the people who put you into this position. Accept it now, by the end of this project, you will never want to speak to these people again.

6. Never work In a group with friends
Not only will you begin to dislike them, but you will find yourself letting them slack. Taking over Amy’s section because she broke up with her boyfriend last week, or helping jack complete his part because his dog is sick. Whilst this sounds like the kind of things a good would do, you’re not helping yourself along the path to a better grade. So sometimes friends don’t necessarily make a bad thing better.

7. People will always tell you that you’ve done it wrong
No matter how many hours you put in, or however much you work at it, people in your group will always try and look for faults. Whilst they may be right in some circumstances, most of the time their “constructive criticism” is part of an ulterior motive. After having read your work, they feel guilty about how little they have done and begin to worry about what they will look like when it comes to the evaluation. So in an attempt to look as though they are taking part, they throw in a couple of points and criticisms to give the impression that they are playing an active role in the process. Watch out for these people.

Of course, there are circumstances where group work can be a rather pleasant affair. But from my own experience these cases are rare and it’s best to just suck it up, power through and hope for the best in the end. I wish you luck!

S x

Why my personality is not a reflection of my chosen degree.

Having completed my first term at university, I’ve noticed a number of changes in myself since I’ve been home. Firstly, I definitely feel like I have grown as a person, I’m much more independent when it comes to looking after myself (which I suppose is to be expected) but I also feel as though I have more understanding and empathy for my parents in regards to things such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Meeting lots of different people at uni has also made me a lot more open minded and less judgmental when it comes to stereotypes. 
My family have mentioned this to me, how I seem like a different person, and I understand why they think that. What I don’t understand is why some of them seem to think that this change is not due to my drastically different lifestyle, but because of the subject that I am studying. 

This was bought to my attention Christmas day. We were in the post dinner phase, where everyone was happily full of food and the conversation was flowing nicely. I can’t remember what the conversation was about but I know that I was fully engaged, arguing my point (very persuasively I must add) and using my new found confidence to develop what I thought was a very mature discussion. Everything was going well until my Nanny interrupted us with “When I spoke to my friend at work and told her that my granddaughter was studying psychology she said “be careful, she’s going to start having an answer for everything now” and I can see what she means now.” 
Immediately, my bubble was burst and my confidence was replaced by confusion and a little bit of annoyance. She wasn’t joking, my nanny. She was trying to make a point that she didn’t like the fact that I was arguing back, regardless of whether my arguments were valid or not. My Nanny isn’t that old fashioned, but in that moment I felt like she was telling me that I couldn’t have an opinion and the only reason I did was because I’d decided to study psychology at university.

The next day, the topic of my chosen degree was bought up again when I went with my boyfriend to visit his Grandpa who I’d never met before. I was on my best behaviour (as always) and everything seemed to be going fine until I wandered into the kitchen to get myself a drink. My boyfriend’s grandpa was in there and we immediately engaged in polite conversation in regards to wellbeing, Christmas, uni, etc. Mid-way through this discussion he questioned me as to what I studied. “You seem like a very logical person, I’m going to guess law?” I smiled and said that I had indeed studied law at A-level, but right now I’m studying psychology. His expression went from interest, to surprise, to sceptical almost instantly, yet it was slow enough for me to distinctly notice all three. He then nodded, smiled politely and left the room.

I’ve tried to Google it but still have no answer to why I seem to get this sort of reaction when I tell people (particularly old people) that I study psychology. My only guess is that they immediately assume that I’m going to start psychoanalyzing them in secret and discover things about them that even they don’t know! Maybe they think that I’m going to conduct some weird social experiment on them in which I conclude that are suffering from a superiority complex or that the reason for their aching back or numb big toe is actually due to a severe emotional trauma and the physical pain or paralysis is actually psychosomatic. 
Truthfully, if anyone had bothered to ask me in detail what I learned about then I’m sure they would be disappointed to find out that it is all just based upon the biology of the brain and how our behaviour can differ in regards to the social situation. 

I have no reason at all to believe that my slight change in character is due to the fact that I now know the names of every artery in the brain and how each one will lead to different stroke symptoms. Nor do I believe that my new found confidence is the result of the 1500 word essay I wrote on the relationship between intelligence and life expectancy. 

That is all.

S x

Regarding the woman doing her make up on the tube…

I’m sure it’s the same in every major city, but if you’ve ever been to London, you would have noticed the very diverse population it has. The place just seems to attract people from all walks of life. It does tend to be the case, therefore, that you often come across the occasional… “Odd” person wandering the streets. In my many trips to the capitol I’ve seen things that have made me question the sanity of our race. A grown man in a very expensive looking business suit searching through rubbish bins in Hyde Park for example. Or, one time I was unfortunate enough to bump into a guy who was taking his rather large house plant home on the tube. I’ve seen people trying to walk up the down escalator and enough stupid haircuts to last me pretty much forever. 

I have a nice long list of weird things I’ve seen people do, say, or wear, but one thing which does NOT make the list is women applying (or reapplying) make up on the tube. 
I bring this up because the other day, on the Hammersmith and city line train from St Pancras to Paddington, I happened to be standing next to a woman who was doing just this. 

Yes, when she first took her make up out of her bag I thought “Really, Now?” There are, of course many other times and locations where this would have been maybe a little more practical, but did I let it bother me? Of course not! 
I’m a bit of a nosy person, a people watcher, so I do the thing of looking in the blackened window opposite so that I can “watch people” without causing an awkward situation. In the whole 13 minutes that I was on that train, the makeup woman applied eye shadow, foundation, blusher, eyeliner, mascara, lip-liner, lipstick and finally lip gloss. 

Also, during this 13 minutes, I watched through the window as almost every guy I could see rolled their eyes or shook their head at what she was doing. A few of them actually had the audacity to ask her why she was putting on makeup whilst sitting on the train and one of them decided to point out to her that she will probably poke herself in the eye.
She responded calmly, smiling and saying that she’s fine, she’s used to it and as she said it I thought, yeah, she probably is! Because if that was me, surrounded by people making me uncomfortable like that I would have thrown myself out of the train at the next station and hid under the stairs somewhere.

I’ll be honest, the whole situation annoyed me. There are so many different people in big cities like London, tourists, locals, commuters, families on a trip to London Zoo, couples going for a walk in Regents Park or a fish and chips in “Holmes” chip shop in Baker Street (the chips are stupidly good by the way). Those guys on the train don’t know anything about this girl, she could be on her way to a very important interview but she’s running late and didn’t have time to do her make up before she left. She could be on her way to meet her boyfriend (or girlfriend) who she hasn’t seen in 3 weeks and so wants to look nice for them. Or, she could have problems with self-esteem, and putting on some eyeliner and lip gloss makes her feel more confident. It shouldn’t really matter. It’s not like she was waving the mascara wand around threatening to cover everyone in black goop. And as for the comments and looks that she was receiving, they weren’t going to make her stop what she was doing, If anything they were going to make her want to cover her face up even more and perhaps want to curl up in a ball or disappear… So well done 9pm commuters, well done. 

But you know the two things that frustrated me the most about the whole situation? a) The fact that she looked absolutely stunning already and I envied the skill with which she applied her eyeliner WITHOUT, may I add, poking herself in the eye. And b) I had one of those horrible under the skin spot things forming on my chin, I could feel it (ew, I know, gross). And the only reason I hadn’t whipped my mirror and foundation out of my bag was because she’d grabbed the last seat in the carriage before I could.

So in conclusion, please don’t feel the need to voice your opinions to someone who is just minding their own business, no matter how “odd” you find the behaviour. That is all.

Sophie x

Roommates; why they make you feel like you’re going insane

A few weeks ago I came to write this with a clear idea on what I wanted to say. Living in halls at university, you are very open to the possibility of getting stuck sharing a flat with at least one person who has a “thing” which annoys you to the extreme. I understood this when I came here so I wasn’t surprised when I found myself becoming a little ticked off at certain things around the house. What did surprise me however was how many “little things” there were and how my fellow housemates didn’t seem to find all of these same things equally as annoying as I did.

I’m now beginning to think that rather than there being something mentally wrong with everyone I live with, maybe it’s just me?

But I still don’t understand! First of all, a common problem with university halls is obviously dirty plates and cutlery. But does this make it OK? Just because it happens a lot does it mean I’m supposed to accept it and move on? Don’t jump to hasty conclusions here, I’m not neurotic about cleanliness but it’s when I come to sit down at the table only to find it covered with dirty plates which still contain remnants of two day old food, or when I go to wash up my own plate (so as not to be an inconvenience obviously), only to have to abandon the whole task when I realize that I’m not going to be able to get to the tap with the coffee mug mountain that has appeared!
If I’m feeling determined, I might try and fight my disgust and attempt to wash my things up around this obstacle but it only takes a second for your mind to wander and… *ow* you’ve been stabbed by a knife, a sharp one, covered in what looks like chutney but you really can’t be sure. So you abandon ship and instead wash your cutlery in the bathroom (yes… I have done this). 

I personally think that I am within my rights to find this annoying, and I do, immensely. But there are other things too, for example, there is a girl in my house who is ALWAYS talking to someone. And don’t think I’m exaggerating here because I’m being genuine. She is either talking to a friend who she has invited round or she is on the phone. And whichever one it is, she is always sure she lets us all know by doing it extremely loudly. I honestly, in all my life have never met someone who speaks so loud every waking moment of the day. I’m absolutely convinced that the only time she isn’t speaking is when she is asleep, and even then I’m sure she talks to herself… loudly.
Oh, and on a similar note, do people REALLY have to have a notification sound on their phone for EVERYTHING? And if they do, does it REALLY have to be that loud? And if it does have to be that loud then can you please answer it rather than let it go on and on repeating itself over and over again? I don’t want to know that you’ve got 2 texts, 5 Snapchats’, 4 Facebook messages and a new email. I don’t need to know that you obviously have a more exciting social life than me so stop shoving it in my face.

Another thing is visitors. Now, I know that sounds grumpy, but imagine if every single time you walked into your kitchen there was someone there you’d never even seen before, sitting at your table scoffing down a bacon sandwich. Sometimes there’s been at least 4 or 5 people in there on a Saturday morning eating breakfast. I’ve wandered in in my pyjamas ready to great my fellow housemates only to run out again having been forced, by rules of class, to put on proper clothes because I don’t feel like anyone should see me in my pyjamas if I’ve known them less than 10 seconds.

Last night, I found myself getting annoyed at one of my housemates because they’d decided to cook burgers at 4 o’clock in the morning. I may have let this slide but since there was absolutely no alcohol involved, I feel as though they should have known better. especially since they managed to burn the damn things, meaning, not only was I woken up at stupid o’clock but I also then had to try and ignore the fire alarm and the horrific smell that lingered for a good few hours after. 
To top it all off, because I’d washed my underwear yesterday afternoon and it was drying in my bathroom, it now all smells like burnt burgers.

I can’t express this enough, but these few things only seem to tip the iceberg regarding what seems to tick me off. I’m happy with my housemates, don’t get me wrong, but that’s why I’m beginning to think that I’m the issue here, maybe I’m too intolerant? Maybe it’s ME who’s the worst housemate?

I’ll keep you posted 

S x

Freshers flu

bl20303I feel like I’m supposed to apologize for having neglected my blog for the past 3 months or so, but then I remember that it’s MY blog and I can post as and when I feel like it so… yeah.

Well, I guess I should start by announcing that since my last post I have become an official Undergraduate student at the University of Kent (woop!). So yeah, that’s pretty exciting, a lot of other stuff has happened obviously but I’ll be honest that is pretty much the most interesting thing that has happened in my entire life so everything else since august has been placed in the “not important” pile of life events.
Anyway, I’ve been living at Uni for 2 weeks now, and so far, so good, I managed to survive freshers week without too much trouble (the events of last weekend not included and shall not be discussed), and I managed to tick off plenty of freshers week goals such as: meet housemates, make a friend, cook a meal, burn a meal, drink too much etc.

So all in all I’d say it was a very productive week minus a few hiccups of course, and it was certainly a lot of fun. However, as the laws of physics and life dictate, what goes up, must come down. Hence why I am now sitting in my bed back home in Essex in an attempt to sleep off/sweat  out this horrible sickness that has consumed me for the past few days. Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single person I have told about my misfortune has nodded very gravely and said in hushed undertones “Ahh yes, freshers flu.”

Am I weird for not knowing anything about this until literally 3 days ago?

As the freshers week drew to a close, I heard the phrase being used more and more and formed the assumption that it was a reference used to describe people who are fed up of freshers week and want it to end. I think most of you would be able to see how I came to this conclusion.
flu = sick
freshers = freshers week
But it wasn’t until one of my housemates declared that he had freshers flu after he came home from town laden with bags full of medicines that I considered the idea that maybe freshers flu is actually an illness!

You can see here how exciting my life has become.

I turned to trusty Google at this point and found out that freshers flu was simply a flu or general sickness that is caused by multiple factors that are enhanced by university freshers week, e.g eating less fruit and more junk food, less sleep and more alcohol and most importantly, you are interacting with people from areas all around the world, therefore you’re bound to catch something!

So there you have it! Freshers flu IS in fact a real thing (woop!)

I apologize for the dullness of this topic, please don’t judge, I’m sick.

Liebster Award

LiebsterAward_3lilapplesSo, obviously, me being relatively new to blogging, I’d never heard of this award. I decided to give it a google because it felt odd being nominated for something which I knew nothing about and it turns out, it’s an award that is given to bloggers by their fellow bloggers to kind of help them be discovered or promote their blogs. I was nominated by Sincerely Sammy which was quite nice since she was the first person to ever comment on one of my posts… ever. So thanks Sammy!

Anyway, whilst googling, I came across the “official rules” for the award which are as follows:

1. Thank the person who is nominating you and post a link to their blog (done)

2. Display the award on your blog (done)

3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, provided by the blogger who nominated you (below)

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself (It doesn’t say they have to be interesting which is good)

5. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve an award with less than 1000 followers

6. Create a new list of questions for your nominees

7. Post these rules in your blog (done!)

So, here are my answers to Sammy’s questions

1) What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who talk on the phone in public, but rather than holding their phone up to their ear, they hold it in front of their mouth like they are on a covert operation recording everything that happens. On top of this, I find it irritating when people listen to music on their phone in public without using headphones… If you want to listen to that rubbish then fine, but don’t make the rest of us suffer as well please, thank you.

2) Who are you closest to? 

My Best friend/Boyfriend, Jordan. He’s the person I feel most comfortable around and we spend the majority of our time together so we’ve come to know each other pretty well.

3) What is something that people don’t know about you that you wish they did?

There are only a handful of people in my life that actually know how much I love writing and that I have a blog, sometimes I wish the people close to me knew because I feel like it would give me more confidence to maybe pursue my hobby further, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.

4) What song do you claim to hate but will find yourself singing when you’re in the car? 

Justin Bieber “One Time”…

5) Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m going to have to say morning person, because I’m normally alseep by 11… yeah I know, wild one over here.

6) What is the best gift you’ve ever been given

It’s not really a “gift” like a present or anything. But I’m going to say my puppy. I’ve wanted a dog since I was about 4 but there was always a reason why we couldn’t get one. Then last November, be bought home Riley and he’s probably one of the best gift’s I’ve ever had, even if it was 14 years late!

7) If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?


8) Do you collect anything or what do you wish you collected?

I don’t collect anything but I kind of like the idea of collecting different patterns, like fabrics. And then I’d stitch them all together and make a big bed throw or something…

9) If you could live in a different time period, which one would you pick?

I really want to say late BC/early AD, ancient Rome. But considering all of the lack in hygiene and medical care I don’t think I’d like it all that much. I think I’d have to go for 1950’s (America) because everyone dressed smartly and it was all so… classy.

10) What is your happy place?

My bedroom (when it’s tidy) laying on my bed with either a good book and a bar of galaxy chocolate, or with my best friend and a really cute movie.

11) What is the longest you’ve gone without sleep?

This one is quite disappointing, I think I’ve gone about 24 hours, but that’s only because I literally CANNOT sleep on planes.


My Random Facts:

Note: I give you permission to skip this next bit because I doubt it is going to be very interesting.

1) I am one of the handful of people in the world who doesn’t like bacon.

2) I tell everyone that my favourite colour is green but when it comes to picking things, I always choose purple over green.

3) I have two freckles on my nose and one of my friends used to tell everyone that it was because I’d been bitten by a vampire bat.

4) When I was younger I desperately wanted to be Ariel from the little mermaid, so I used to practice holding my breath under the water in the bath.

5) I like Marmite

6) For the past month, the only things I have watched on TV are cartoons (Looney Tunes in particular).

7) Christmas is my most favourite time of the whole entire year, I love everything; the build up, the chocolate, the general pleasantness, the decorations… I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.

8) My biggest fear at the moment, is that when it comes to August and I recieve my exam results, I haven’t done enough to get into university.

9) I really want to be good at painting/ drawing, but I’m not and it annoys me frequently.

10) I have to inform people who is the oldest out of my sister and myself because even though she is nearly 4 years younger than me, she is significantly taller.

11) My lifetime goal is to write and publish the novel that is basically complete inside my head… I’m struggling with a serious issue of self criticism.


My Nominations:

I realised today that I am VERY behind when it comes to following blogs on WordPress. Mainly because I will search a particular tag or key word when I feel like reading something about that topic, so I found I wasn’t really following many people, so I spent a good couple of hours this morning trawling through tag after tag and post after post to try and find some good up and coming bloggers, most of these have less than 200 followers I think.

The Melodrama Effect – I found this blog this morning and the post made me laugh so I decided I had to include it in here.

The Nameless Blogger – I remember finding this blog a couple of weeks ago and it was a pretty good read. Funnily enough, this person actually commented on one of my post’s yesterday so… it’s meant to be.

Saturday Night’s Alright for Writing – As a passionate Harry potter fan, I was immediately won over by a post I read on this blog today.

Fangirl Feels  – I like this blog simply because it’s interesting to see a fellow readers opinions on books.

Matt Cresswell – Another fellow reader, also the guy who managed to blog through June with #BookadayUK rather than giving up on day 8 like myself.

Global Whispers – Because I like travelling. I found this blog a couple of weeks ago when I went to Ireland because I was in a travelling mood.

Pebbles on the Road – Because I like reading people’s thoughts, and she calls her OCD “Louis”, which I think is pretty cool.

Garfieldhug’s Blog – I like the fact that this guy blogs a lot, and they’re interesting too! At least I think so, I find people’s thoughts interesting.

Ok well, I’m going to have to stop there because like I said, I’m quite behind on following people.

Questions for my Nominees:

1) If you could have any super power, what would it be?

2) Where would you go on your dream holiday?

3) What is your biggest fear?

4) What is your favourite Disney Movie?

5) Marmite, love or hate?

6) If you could spend a whole day with ANYONE, who would it be?

7) Describe an awkward moment you’ve had.

8) If you had to be an animal, what animal would you be?

9) What would your “Perfect Day” consist of?

10) What is your earliest memory?

11) If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

And there you go. I really hope I haven’t chosen boring people who wont do this! And obviously anyone is welcome to answer these questions, I would really love to know if you like Marmite or not!

I gave daily blogging a go

I tried, I really did, but I felt like it took the fun away! I was practically MAKING myself write something, and even then it didn’t work most of the time. I tried that #BookadayUK thing, but once again I just felt like I was forcing myself. So, new plan, I’m just going to blog whenever I God damn feel like it!
That’s always been an issue for me, being told what to do and when to do it. I’m not saying I’m a rebellious teenager who “don’t take no crap from no one”, I just mean that I’ve never been very good when it comes to doing things I’m told to do… and I mean this literally.

Let me give you an example. When I was younger, my parents would tell me every weekend to tidy my room. I would, but only for about 30 minutes and the outcome would sometimes look even worse (this is because I’d pick everything up off the floor and put it on my bed ready for me to put away, but in the end, the remaining stuff on the bed would all get thrown on the floor when I had to go to sleep). Another example would be cooking dinner. I’ll give it a good go, but in the end I’ll end up burning something or needing mum to do it for me because I can’t remember how to tell weather sausages are cooked properly or if the rice is done or not.
However, if I find; whilst laying on my bed on a Saturday morning, that I would like to spend the day tidying my room and making it all clean and dust free, you can bet that at the end of the day it will be spotless. Likewise if I offer to cook dinner, everything will be cooked to perfection, no mummy aid needed.

So that is what I mean, when it comes to being told what to do, regardless of what it is, I’m just literally not very good at it.
This type of motivation dictated my revision timetable during my exams. I’d basically spend the day doing odd bits and bobs, waiting for the moment where I suddenly think “I want to revise now”. I only did this because revising when I simply had no want to, was a complete waste of time since nothing went in and I only ended up confusing myself since my mind was focused on all of the other things I could be doing.

More than anything, I wish I had a different way of thinking. My best friend is amazing, he’ll write a list of things he needs to do that day or that week and every single one of those things WILL get done. He’s the kind of person sets himself daily goals and sticks to them as if his life depended on it. One time for lent, he gave up caffeine, so this meant no energy drinks, coffee or tea and no medicines that contained caffeine (background info: he was a bit of an energy drink junky… now he’s a coffee junky but that’s not as bad right?). He lasted the whole 40 days, despite coming down with Glandular Fever and being ill for 2 weeks, partly due to caffeine withdrawal and also due to the sudden drop in his vitamin D levels. Another time, I had to talk him out of doing this weird detox thing where all he consumed was this weird drink which included grass and fish, because I knew that (unlike me) he’d keep going with it even if his body seriously didn’t like it.
Me on the other hand, I couldn’t even last 2 days with my lent. I found myself “getting round the rules” a lot of the time, using things like “technically white chocolate isn’t chocolate is it because it doesn’t have cocoa in it, so I’m allowed this milky bar”, “Hot chocolate doesn’t count because it’s a liquid” and “things which have chocolate chips don’t count if chocolate isn’t in the name, so this fudge is OK because it’s mostly fudge and not chocolate anyway”

I guess I’m just worried that I’m not going to be able to achieve the things that I want to achive because even though I want it, I don’t seem to always have the motivation to get it. This, is something I am really struggling to understand.