BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide to Becoming a Good Student: The Final Week

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student has been specifically designed for those of you who are venturing to university/college, or those of you who are already students and want to become a bit more organised.

This week’s topic is: Using Social Media to Your Advantage

Social Media is a massive part of everyone’s lives now, I mean, even my Nan is on Facebook! It comes in handy all the time; staying up to date with the news, latest celebrity gossip and knowing what your friends are up to at the weekend. We even use social media to write and read each other’s blogs!

When it comes to going to university, you will find that your institution will have several Facebook pages, Twitter and Pinterest accounts and blogs that tell you what current students are working on. There are so many ways you can connect with future and current students and your lecturers through social networks. See my tips below on how you can use these sites to your advantage:


  • Utilise this to stay up to date- The main university Facebook page will have Open Day dates published, with links to places you can get more information, and allows you to ask questions to current students about life at the university.
  • Look for more- A university will never just have a singular page for the whole uni. For example, mine has a main page, a Fresher’s page, a Student’s Union page AND a page dedicated to my course!
  • Communicating with future classmates- Through the use of the course page, I have managed to connect with people I’m going to be learning with next year. It’s great to know what different backgrounds everyone has come from, what experience they have and making friends before you arrive so you don’t feel as nervous!
  • Student’s Union- This page will publish events happening during Fresher’s Week and throughout your years at the university. Use this to stay updated so you don’t miss out on anything.
  • Fresher’s Page- This will allow you to meet other’s who aren’t necessarily on your course but you can connect with a wider community.


  • 140 characters can hold a lot of information- You university will use Twitter tooter you short bursts of information throughout the year. They can include links to competitions to get involved in and pages with a lot more information. Twitter can be quite irritating when you don’t get a lot of space to write, but short bursts of information can be handy.


  • Check out other student’s work- Pinterest accounts give the university the chance to showcase other students work from your future course, so you can get some inspiration and see the standard of work produced.
  • Gather stimuli- You can find a load of inspiration on Pinterest! Use it to gather photos and videos to help you with your work and find ideas for future projects

I hope this blog series has really helped you all and good luck with your time at college/university!

Happy Friday and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide to Becoming a Good Student: Week 4

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student has been specifically designed for those of you who are venturing to university/college, or those of you who are already students and want to become a bit more organised.

This week’s topic is: Moving In and Organizing you Dorm Room

So whether you are in halls or in private rented accommodation, you will be starting a life away from the safety of your own bedroom. You will be cooking, cleaning and having to tidy your room off your own back, with no one telling you what to do. The freedom may sound very appealing, but you will want to make sure you are disciplined and actually get things done, not just with class work, but eating properly, clearing out rubbish and tidying up after yourself.

This blog post will be about the best way to move in to your dorm on that all important day and organise your belongings to cause minimal mess.

Moving in can be quite stressful! You need to make sure you pack absolutely everything you will need (but don’t pack absolutely everything if you see where I’m coming from!), and make sure you have plenty of space for it all. The following tips will help you move in with ease:

  • Make a packing list- Whether hand written or electronic, write down everything you need twice. You’ll need one to check off as you pack it up and then the other as you unpack. An electronic one is very helpful, because you can then restart it when you come to pack up at the end of the school year. ( there is a link on the Week 1 post to the packing list that I use!)
  • Think you have everything? Check again!- I can guarantee you that you will miss something off! Don’t get too caught up in making sure you have plenty of stuff to make your new room look pretty, and make sue you have all of the essentials first.
  • Don’t take a suitcase- Unless you are going abroad to college/university, you will not need to pack everything up into a suitcase! You can use bin bags, storage boxes and bags for life, which can also be re-used once you get there! Use your bin bags for the kitchen bin if they are not too stretched or ripped (heavy duty ones are good!), storage boxes are great for keeping things clean and dust-free under your bed (which will maximize the rest of your space and keep everything hidden, making it look a lot cleaner!), and bags for life are strong enough to use as laundry bins, which saves you buying them at your local supermarket.

Once you’ve unpacked, you will need to find spaces to put everything. Follow these tips to maximize you space for ultimate storage:

  • Invest in some bed risers- These are four sturdy posts, usually wooden or heavy duty plastic, that you put under your bed posts to raise the bed; therefore creating more space underneath to store more stuff.
  • Use under bed storage- I’ve already briefly mentioned this, but get a few flat boxes to put things in and keep them under your bed. You’ll always have easy access to them, and it will make everything a lot tidier.
  • Don’t take your whole wardrobe!- If you are planning on going home to visit in the holidays, you can stock up on clothes then. If you think about it, September to December will be too cold for words, so you won’t be needing vest tops and shorts, you’ll be needing coats, jeans and hoodies. Just like in the summer, you can take away the big hoodie/coat bulk and replace it with cooler garments.
  • Take a selection of books (or invest in a Kindle)- We are all book lovers here, but unfortunately it will be impossible for us to take our whole bookcase with us! My plan is always to take a selection of genres, maybe a few thrillers, a couple of YA novels and some classics to keep me going. A kindle could also be very handy, as it will not take up a lot of room like books do, and, on a student budget, it is a lot more economical. We all know that physical books are so much better though, so if in doubt, pack the 7 Harry Potter books, because if you have nothing else to read, there is no harm in re-reading them, EVER!

I hope this proves helpful to your packing! It is now just over 2 weeks until I start university, and it’s really starting to get real now. If you are in the same situation, stay focused and clear on why you are going, don’t panic and have a good time!

Next weeks post will be the last installment, and will contain information about how to connect with you uni and future classmates on social media!

Happy Thursday and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide to Becoming a Good Student: Week 3

Just to start off today by saying a big CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who received GCSE results todaY! I’m sure you all did brilliantly and are ready to take the next step in your academic careers as A-Level students 🙂

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student has been specifically designed for those of you who are venturing to university/college, or those of you who are already students and want to become a bit more organised.

This week’s topic is: Organizing your Free Time

So I thought I should focus my topic on all round student today, whether you are GCSE, A-Level or University. Organisation is very important in every aspect of life, whether it’s organising school, home, work life or even just organising a birthday party. With anything, you need to know how to use your free time wisely to get the perfect balance in your lifestyle.

Personally, I will be drawing on my A-Level experiences, as well as talking about how I plan to use my time at university, as well as good and points to what I have already tried and tested.

When studying GCSEs, you don’t get a lot of free periods, because you are doing so many courses and have to fit a lot of work into one day. With GCSEs, I tended to do a lot of work at home, because that was my only free time, but I also had to make sure I had plenty of time to myself as well. My recommendations for this situation would be:

  • Go to school- I know this seems like a pretty obvious one, but make sure you turn up to all of your classes, take down all of your notes and do all of the homework set. It may seem like a bit of a drag, but you will thank me in the end!
  • Do you homework- Another given really! With me, I tended to use lunch break to get a bit of work done. I know that may be time to catch up with your friends, but you will have more time in the evening if it gets done early. I used to have the first 15 minutes of my lunch break to eat and chill a bit after morning classes, then use the library to get a small bit of homework done. you may not make a huge dent in your workload, but at least it’s something! Hint: being a librarian helped me, because I was allowed to eat in the library and do my duty while I was working!
  • Use your evening time. You finish school at 3:30-4:00pm, and then have dinner at 6? That’s about an hour and a half to be catching up on things you didn’t manage to finish. You may even be able to complete everything and have time to yourself for the rest of the day until bed. If you do end up working for the rest of the night, make sure you give yourself a break at some point! Get into bed at 8:00 and read a book or watch Netflix. You can’t work al the time and you have to have some downtime to yourself at some point. Don’t overload yourself!

In college, you may find yourself saying that, because you have less courses to do, you will have more free time… Wrong! I hate to break it to you, but you will have a lot of work to do at A-Level! Here is what I did whilst struggling through my A-Levels:

  • Use free periods- You won’t have lessons all the time, and you should use your free time throughout the day to make sure you get your work done. The day won’t be much longer than your school day, and if you manage to get your work done during these times, you will have the whole evening to yourself. How nice is that?!
  • Don’t stray- What I mean by this is, don’t think, because you don’t have classes until 2pm, you can roll out of bed at 1pm and still make it on time. Keep a steady waking schedule, so you get up and you are ready at the same time everyday (maybe you could treat yourself on a Friday if you have a meeting slot for Student Council you don’t plan on attending!) If you know you have work to do, get into college and do it, no matter what time your classes start. At my college, we had the top floor dedicated to silent work, and you not realise the wonders of that until you need somewhere really quiet to work! You will get so much done, and have that all important time in the evening to yourself.
  • Stay in college- Once you have started the day in college at 9am or whatever, don’t leave the campus unless you have to get lunch or visit you grandma. If your friends are going to town to sit around and do nothing, and you know you have work to do, say ‘no’. That is such an important word! If you have bucket loads to do, don’t think it is ok to go for a wonder and waste time. Chances are you will spend unnecessary money in town anyway, soothes tactic saves you that as well. If you need to stretch your legs, you can always walk to the canteen and grab a water or a cup of tea. Sometimes a change of scenery works well, and if people are in class, there will be less people around to distract you.

University will be a bit harder to write about because I haven’t officially started, but I will try my best to break down what I plan on doing, and I’ll let you know if I stick to it!!:

  • Wake up at the same time everyday- I said this about college, but it’s always good to stick to a good sleeping routine, because you will feel a lot less tired if you know you are getting the right amount of sleep. Don’t wake up too late tough, because you have just wasted half the day when you could have been doing something productive!
  • Exercise- Wake yourself up by going for a jog or doing some sit ups (if you can’t afford a gym membership on a student budget) Your brain will be awake and so will your body, and you will probably be less tempted to go back to bed!
  • Start uni day at the same time- Again, if your class/lecture isn’t until 2pm, make sure you use that valuable time in the morning to go over some notes for your upcoming seminar or get some personal reading in. Reading will help to wake your brain up and get it running before class. The library is a priceless place to spend your time (and as bookworms, why would you want to be anywhere else!) and is there for a reason, so use it wisely!!
  • After classes- Take notes during classes and workshops and go over them briefly after class to make sure they are in your mind. Even if it’s just half an hour, have a read over them, make sure you understand everything. If you don’t, highlight it and talk to your teacher at an appropriate time, which leads me onto…
  • Use workshop and office time- Your teachers will have times when they are open to students asking them questions about work, whether it’s just to clarify something or go over something you didn’t understand, they are always there during those times to help you, so use and abuse them (not your teachers, office hours!) Workshop times are more for creative students, they will be used as a space to complete coursework and portfolio work. You will have access to facilities that you won’ have in your dorm room, so take advantage of this time too!

I hope this has been helpful and you are able to use your time wisely! Don’t forget, all work and no play makes for an unhappy person, so make sure you get that free time in for yourself, as long as you get your work done as well!

Good luck, happy Thursday and happy blogging!

Jade 🙂

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student: Week 2

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student has been specifically designed for those of you who are venturing to university/college, or those of you who are already students and want to become a bit more organised.

This week’s topic is: Managing Your Money Before You Start Spending It

I have seen a lot of posts on how to manage money once you start university, but not necessarily a lot on how to manage it before you go. Making sure you have plenty of money to get the supplies you need beforehand is imperative, because you WILL NOT get your student loan until you are fully enrolled in your university!

There are a lot of expenses involved in uni, besides tuition fees, accommodation and course costs, you will also have to get things for your room (e.g bedding, storage, etc.), kitchen supplies, bathroom essentials and, the best bit of all, stationary. I love a good stationary shop, but the prices rack up eventually. Here are some things to think about when shopping for the essentials:

  • Shop on offers- a lot of places have Back to School ranges that will be discounted or on a 2-4-1 offer that you should take advantage of
  • Don’t buy too expensive- you can maybe treat yourself to a nice notebook, but don’t go too mad! make sure the paper quality is good enough, but you don’t have to get a really pretty Pukka Pad for everything. Besides, you can always DIY a front cover to make it look nicer!
  • Keep it cheap… but not too cheap- Don’t buy Value/Basic everything, because it will just break/be useless within the first week of using it, but don’t buy high end products either. Go simple, but effective, and make sure it works!
  • Check out your local supermarket- for things like saucepans, cutlery and all of your bathroom supplies, your local supermarket can be amazing! Also, UK readers can pop into Wilko for super cheap, well, everything, and the US have Target for things that you don’t necessarily have to splurge out on.
  • As I mentioned with keeping it cheap, but not too cheap, make sure your pans are non-stick, so they don’t ruin the first time you use them!!

Only buy what you need! It may be tempting to see something and think it will make your room look nice, or spend money on things you might need, but probably won’t use. DON’T DO THIS! As I mentioned, everything adds up, so keep to the bare essentials at first, then, if you have some money left over, you can treat yourself. Have a look at the following tips and tricks:

  • Chat with your roommates- If you know who you are living with and have them on Facebook/have a phone number, you can easily get in contact with them around the clock (if you haven’t done this, I recommend getting to know the people you are living with- it will help a lot when moving it!) See what they are bringing along with them, because if everyone is planning on bringing a toaster, you might not have too!
  • Don’t worry if you forget something- If you get there and realise you have forgotten something, you will probably still have a bit of money left over or your student loan will have come in. Don’t panic and just go and find what you need (this is also a good way to explore the surrounding area a bit more too!)

Another thing to think of is, it’s not just you! There are plenty of people around you who I am sure are more than willing to help you out. As my mum has always said to me, ‘I will never sit and watch you starve’ If you do need something urgently and don’t have the money for it, simply ask! This is a big step in your life and your parents will want to help you out as much as possible before you leave. Just remember to ask nicely!

My final tip is quite a big decision to make, and will depend entirely on personal preference, but I found this step incredibly beneficial…

Take a gap year!

I know, those dreaded words ‘gap year’ may make your head spin, and I know there are a lot of things to think about when it comes to making the decision. Have a look and see how I have found my gap year beneficial to me in terms of managing my money (sticking with the topic of the post!) :

  • Get a full-time job- If you do decide a gap year may be beneficial for you to find your feet, get a full-time job and earn some money!! A lot of people decided to go travelling and spend some time at home, but I cannot stress enough how much a job has helped me save for university. I’ve putting away half of my pay check each month and managed to save more than what I will be receiving in student loan!
  • Be strict with your spending- After putting money away in savings, you will have to be strict with what you spend still. I know that may be tough, and sometimes you will need to spend some money on food, clothes, presents, etc. but try and keep personal spending to a minimum. This way, you will have plenty when it comes to buying all of your uni things.
  • Start buying early-taking a gap year and earning money will allow you to spread the cost of everything. You can buy your saucepans and toasters in January sales for half the price and store them away until you need them. If you don’t take a gap year, you will be working overtime during the summer for extra money and trying to buy everything the weekend before you go.

I do understand that taking a year out is a big decision, and it should not be taken lightly. I also understand that it is a whole year, but you can also think of it as ‘it’s only a year!’ My year out has flown by, and I feel a lot more ready financially than I every was last year (I had £300 to my name last year, now I have 20x that amount saved up and ready to go). Financially speaking, a gap year is the most beneficial thing I have ever done!

Before I go, I want to share one more thing. Below there is a link to my Google Drive, where you will find a checklist template. You can print it off or fill it in on the computer with everything you think you will need in each section. have a look online to see the places you can get it from for the best value and for how much. You can then use the final column to jot down how much you actually spent. You may find you never bought it because it wasn’t absolutely imperative that you bought it there and then! I hope this will be useful for you all.

Another link will take you to my Packing board on Trello (a really handy place to store to-do lists and just about everything else!) You can see what is on my list and decide for yourself whether you think it would be handy to have, or whether you can live without it!

Checklist Template

Trello Packing board

Happy Thursday and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student: Week 1

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student has been specifically designed for those of you who are venturing to university/college, or those of you who are already students and want to become a bit more organised.

This week’s topic is: Plan Your Life With a Bullet Journal

In simple terms, a Bullet Journal is a way to plan your daily goings on without being restricted to the space inside a pre-made planner. You have to freedom to use as much or as little space as you want, and you can colour code and design it however you may choose. I use mine to organise my personal life, uni life, and work life, but you can use it for anything you feel needs a bit of organisation!

Steps for making and using Bullet Journal-

  1. Choose a notebook- You can go all out and treat yourself to a gorgeous Moleskine, but you’ll most likely be on a student budget by the time you start your Bullet Journal venture, so I picked up a normal notebook for £1. You can choose graph, lined or plain paper, depending on your preferences.
  2. Design a from cover (optional)- you can design your front cover or the inside page of your Bullet Journal if you want to make it a bit more personal!
  3. Decide on a key- This is where you can start getting really creative. You can see my key below, but what you put here is how you are going to organise your journal, what colours are you going to use for different categories. You then have sub-categories, depending on what you are writing down; I have things like Do It for things I need to do, Remember It for things I need to remember, Search It for things I have found that I want to do some more research into, and Enjoy It for notes on books I want to read, films I want to see, etc. These are my most used categories, but you can decide whether to use them or not (although I recommend having a To Do category, as it has been my most helpful one so far)
  4. You can use a Priority key as well if you like- Just decide on symbols to use to show what things are more important to do than others.
  5. The Progress Key- Use the Progress key to show yourself how far you are into a task. I also like to have a symbol for whether a plan has been cancelled or migrated to a different day…


6. Monthly Page- Have a page which gives you a monthly overview of the main things happening that month. I have a section at the bottom for general notes as well.


7. Expenses- This is an optional page, but it’s especially good if you are not amazing at managing money and/or worried you will spend too much and want to keep track. I like to write the date, item and price, and colour code it depending on whether I absolutely had to buy it, I had to buy it but it would have been cheaper somewhere else, and impulse buys. You can then add it all up at the end!

8. Weekly/Daily View- Set up the next few pages to write your daily tasks in. You are completely free in how you do this; you could do a page a day which is really detailed, you could pre-set a certain space for each day (although I don’t recommend this because you may run out of space on some days and have a load of space left for others) or write the days in as you go, which is what I have chosen to do. I also use post-it notes to add details if I need to. The picture below was taken when I had first started out, so mine looks a lot more full now, but I thought I would show you how it will look when it first gets going.


At the end of the month, if you wanted to, you could write a quick summary of the things you managed to complete, and things that still need to be completed next month if you have a page or two to spare.

The Bullet Journal is designed for every aspect of your life and is personal to you, so design if however you want, categorize it however you feel comfortable, and just write EVERYTHING (because you will regret not planning it later!)

I wish you all the best of luck with your journals, and would love to see them when you get started, and next weeks post will be on Thursday, and will be about how to budget and stop worrying so much about money when you get to university.

Happy Friday and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂