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Even though I am heading back up to Warwick this afternoon as a group leader for the Year 12 Sutton Trust summer school, to all inents and purposes, my time at Warwick has come to an end. Last Monday, I finally made it across the Butterworth Hall stage and graduated! Although a sweltering July day was not the ideal time to be swathed in a robe and mortar board, it was a fun way to mark the end of my time at Warwick and catch up with friends from my course. Here are a few snaps from the day:



HistPol year abroad survivors graduate...

Then it was back up to Warwick on Friday to gatecrash the languages graduation of my other four flatmates:


And so, I'm no longer a student but an alumni of Warwick and it comes time for me to write my final blogpost. I've been doing these since the end of my first year and so they provide a nostalgic record of my time both here and at Monash as well as reminding me of all the amazing opportunities I've had over the last four years. Even though I'm spending my next five weeks on Warwick programmes, at the summer school and then a month at the Laksh project in India, my time as the History blogger has come to an end. So, thanks for reading and best of luck!

Last week I closed up my room in Claycroft and headed off campus for the last time as a proper Warwick student. The final week was a strange mix of catching up with friends before everyone heads off home and the universally-felt final year stress as we waited for results... Happily though, just before getting on the train I found out I'll be graduating with a first in History and Politics which is a great ending after a few months of incredibly hard work and also a great relief as it secures my funding for next year! Even though Warwick can't quite get rid of me yet, as I'm back next week to work on a summer school, the week after for graduation and the week after that for another summer school, packing up my room and having a read back over my posts from three years of blogging about my university experience has left me with more than just a tinge of nostalgia. So, as I approach the end of my Warwick journey, here's a few of the things Warwick has given me over the past four years, prepare for cliches-abound...

Academically speaking, I've had the chance to study an incredible diversity of subjects, from early American social history, to African politics, to Indian history to political philosophy, my academic horizons have been well and truly stretched and my own political views challenged on more than one occasion. As I'm (embarrassingly) quoted on the history page of the prospectus, this is far beyond anything I did at A-level. I was also lucky to end up doing a dissertation on a topic I found really interesting. So on the degree front, tick.

When I first came to uni, a year abroad wasn't something I'd ever imagined myself doing. So it's perhaps a testament to the confidence I gained during my time here that I found myself on a plane to Australia at the end of second year. As cliched as it sounds, it genuinely was an unforgettable year of new experiences and amazing memories. And it hasn't ended there in terms of my Warwick global experience - in under a month I'll be off to India as part of the Warwick Laksh programme!

And last but not least, over my four years here I have made some lifelong friends and been fortunate enough to be part of the Warwick bubble, which having spoken to friends at other unis, is pretty unique. There's always been so much to do and get involved with on campus, be that societies, jobs, volunteering opportunities or more... And whilst, as we all graduate, some of my friends may be a train-ride away, some of them are even further afield. I've been lucky enough to make friends from all over the world and even be invited to visit them - cue an incredible trip to Sri Lanka last year (thanks STA for super cheap student flights and Warwick for all those part time jobs...)

So, as cliched as it sounds, even though I'm leaving Warwick, I'll take great friends and memories with me. But it's not time for my final emotional goodbye - pop back from my last ever post when I've hopefully managed to walk across the stage in the Butterworth Hall without falling flat on my face....

The past few weeks have been pretty fun, with everyone having finished exams it's been time to fit in everything we want to do before we leave Warwick. When we were in the depths of dissertation distress back in April, a few of my flatmates and I trawled the internet and booked some super cheap flights to Corfu so with a 4.30am start we headed off for some well deserved sun at the beginning of June...

After only a few hiccups in which we were left on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere by a taxi driver, we found our flat, in a secluded spot up a hill in a tiny village - just what the doctor ordered.

Happy 22nd Emily, corfu style!



After a week of lounging by the pool, hiking around Corfu town and swimming in the most astonishingly blue water on Antipaxos and Paxos islands as well as eating our own body weights in feta cheese, we headed back to Warwick for our final week and a half. The past few days have been pretty hectic with nights out, training for the Laksh project and final farewells.

We headed into Leam yesterday and battled the drizzle on the pedalos for old time's sake...

Two year throwback

Older and wiser, apparently...

We were also shown up for our hula hoop skills by a ten year old at Leamington Peace festival....

And then it was off for dinner with some of the Monash girls - hard to believe it's almost a year since we left!

This week also looks to be hectic with a trip to Cadbury's World today for my chocolate-obsessed flatmate Elliot's birthday, followed by grad ball tomorrow and a crazy few days working UCAS fairs and open days before it's the impending doom of results day and time to head home for a bit.

But Warwick can't keep me away for long, I'll be back for two weeks of summer schools and graduation in July so I can prolong my final farewell that bit longer...

3 hours, 3 essays and 3 answer booklets later, on May 21st I officially finished my degree here at Warwick. It's hard to believe that my four years are rapidly coming to an end and soon it'll be time time to don the gown and mortar board and try not to trip across the stage in the Butterworth Hall! However, I've always really enjoyed the last few weeks of term 3 when without the pressures of work, we're free to try and fit in all the things we don't have time for the rest of the year - and this year is no different as I try and make the most of my final few weeks at Warwick. As I nervously wait for results, here's a few of the things I've been up to so far!

After 3 hours of franctically scrawling on British feminism, I stepped out of exams for the last time (hopefully!) and took the obligatory end of degree photo:

It was tipping it down but I wasn't going to let a bit of drizzle rain on my parade....

Even for a final year, I finished pretty early so a few days later, having caught up on sleep, we celebrated the rest of my flat finishing in style!

Party favours were on sale in tesco, how could we resist?

We treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at Bistrot Pierre in Leamington to celebrate which was only appropriate as minus me, everyone had just finished a French degree followed by cocktails and brunch at Coffee Architects the next day because, well, why not when you have all this free time...

From freshers to finalists, four years of chai lattes.

It was then a flying visit up to Shropshire to celebrate the engagement of my friend Chris who I lived with in first year (madness I know!) and Megan...

Congrats you guys!

...before a quick turnaround and onto a Megabus down to London for a few days of city culture and cafes!

Flat 20 does the V and A museum

I've spent the last few days working for WWS on an A2 intensive revision bootcamp and learning about all things Tudor which should hopefully come in handy when I start my PGCE next year. And earning a few pounds will certainly be welcome next week when I head off to Corfu for a well-deserved week in the sun with my flat! And then it's back to Warwick for my final few weeks with open days, grad ball and lots of people to see before we all head off into the adult world...

With exams fast-approaching (just over two weeks until they're over!), the library has become something of a second home. One of the challenges of this time of year is how to keep up being productive and efficient so I thought I'd share a few of the things that I've found help keep me on track whilst in the library!

The library has a selection of different study areas so find the one that works for you - for me, floor 3 is where it's at.

Make sure to take breaks - I find my mind starts to wander after a couple of hours so meeting some friends for lunch or a coffee is always a good bet (just don't get space hogged!) The library cafe is going to make a fortune out of me over the next few weeks...

But, there is a good money saving tip I've discovered - the cafe will sell you hot water for 40p, down to 30p if you bring your own travel mug and 25p if you pay on eating at Warwick so if you bring your own teabags, your afternoon caffeine needn't break the bank!

I try to work two blocks out of the day - so if I have something on in the morning I'll work in the afternoon and evening or if I do my 9-7 in the library, I'll make sure I take the evening off and do something to relax!

But for now, on with revision!

With my dissertation and four essays submitted and exams approaching in just over two weeks, the end of the stressful part of term 3 is almost in sight! Whilst sitting in the library surrounded by notes on British feminist history, it's easy my mind to wander to thoughts of summer and it's nice to have some exciting plans in place to look forward to...

As my exams finish on May 21st and most finalists are finished pretty early in the exam season, we're lucky to have quite a few weeks of term left to enjoy our freedom after all the hard work and make the most of the end of our time here at Warwick. We can also make the most of the fact that the most we're spending on at the moment is a cup of tea in the library coffee bar and so last night my flatmates and I booked (what we think is) a well-deserved break to Corfu for a week in June. With cheap flights and accomodation to soften the blow to our bank balances, we're looking forward to relaxing by a pool, enjoying a beach and exploring Corfu without any worries!

Most excitingly, in August I'll be having an amazing final hurrah with Warwick as I'm going to India as part of a group of four students to volunteer at the Warwick Laksh Project.

My role will involve working with local teachers who serve schools in the surrounding area to introduce new, innovativeteaching and learning strategies. Many of the teachers are aged between 18 and 21 and have not been educated beyond Year 10.Our group aims to improve the teachers’ English language skills, bolster their confidencein the classroom and equip them tooffer creative, engaging and interactivelessons. We will offer support to the teachers in the design of the curriculum and resources for their classes.

The Laksh Foundation is founded on the belief thateducationis the most powerful tool to enable local youth to break the cycle of poverty.

Working with and focusing on teachers ensures that Laksh’s work is sustainable and effective. It creates meaningful, practical changeto education from which the teachers, students and wider community will continue to benefit in the long termthrough the delivery of knowledge and the use of interactive pedagogic styles.

Especially as I'm undertaking a PGCE next year, I'm really excited to use the skills I've picked up along the way to make a tangible, long term difference to education in the area.

And now for a small, cheeky plug:

I am fundraising£500which will contribute to thesustainabilityof the Warwick Laksh Programme. All of the money raised goes to providing the human resources necessary to work with the teachers on innovative pedagogical techniques. None of the money goes to the University of Warwick or administration costs.

Any donations, big or small, would be greatly appreciated.Have one less coffee in between lectures and donate the money to this fantastic cause!You’ll be enabling Laksh to make atangible, sustainable and meaningful difference to educationin the area.

https://www.justgiving.com/Joely-Axelrod/

Thanks!

From moments of jubilation when I've finally cut something down to the word limit to moments of despair when I realise my essay plan doesn't actually make sense, the last two and half weeks of holiday have been a hell of a ride. With two and a half weeks to go before deadline week and as a fourth year (and having therefore been in Easter essay mode a few times before!) I'm hoping I've finally cracked to how to manage the deadline period and thought I would share a few tips.

1) Work out the best space for you but don't be afraid to mix it up.

You know what works best for you, be that staying at Warwick or going home, spending your days in the library in splendid isolation or with friends. Find the work space you're most productive in. But, don't be afraid to switch things out every now and then which will keep you on your toes and focused. For example, I spent the first week working in the Rootes Learning Grid, went home for a few days and have been interchanging between the library and my room for the past few days.

2)Make a rough plan.

You don't have to plan every minute of your holiday but having a framework to keep you on track will help no end. Things may end up taking more or less time than you predicted but knowing what you have to do and by when will mean nothing is left to the last minute. I'm a bit of an organisational list freak so like to make a list for each day of what I have to get done...

3) Look after yourself.

It's really easy to burn out and feel lethargic in periods like this so it's important to make sure you put effort into your well-being as well as your essays. This means not only exercising and eating healthily but also making sure you take time away from your work. For me, I've found taking an hour long break each afternoon to go swimming helps me clear my mind and come back to my assignment more focused (I'm sure there must a more scientific explanation too!) Spending a couple of hours off campus or heading away for the weekend has also been helpful. It's also really easy at this time of the year to descend into a coffee and chocolate fuelled library binge so I've tried to stock my fridge with healthy snacks. It may look like I've bought the entire fruit and veg aisle in tesco and my flatmates may have come into the kitchen to find me coating rice cakes in dark chocolate and making kale pesto, but I've also found cooking to be a good way to relax at the end of a day of work...

I hope these few tips are helpful, but take it from a seasoned fourth year - it'll all be fine! For now, I'm off to practice what I preach and hoover my room...

We're almost at the halfway point of the Easter holiday so I thought now would be a good time to take a break from the essay-induced, paper-strewn, teacup-ridden life of finalist and update you on the end of term and holiday happenings so far.

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent week 10 of term doing Pound for Poverty with a team organised by my friend Gillian for Child.org in which we lived off £5 for the week, representing the global poverty line that 1.3 billion people live under. I was under no illusions going in and knew that it would be a hard week of hunger, boredom and general disillusionment. Coming out the other side, you really can appreicate how tough it is - it wasn't only the near constant nagging hunger, but the repetitiveness of relatively bland meals however much you planned, scrimped and saved and the constant planning and rationing that almost got the better of me. Especially when my flatmate made creme egg brownies and very kindly left me some temptingly on my shelf in the fridge for the end of the week! And you know what, it doesn't have to be like this. There is actually enough food to go around the world but the imbalance in global distribution means many go hungry whilst we in the West continue to be incredibly wasteful in our food consumption. Just some food for thought, literally...

This misery was compounded by the fact that there was some sort of virus sweeping round campus and so my whole flat descended into a flu-like delirium. Armed with several boxes of kleenex and every lempsip max product under the sun, I could've just about made it through, if.... I hadn't snapped the arm of my glasses! So I spent the rest of the week squinting at my laptop with my glasses balanced wonkily and precariously on my nose....

It's safe to say that come March 18th I was well as truly ready for a holiday!

It was a welcome pick me up to have some friends who have graudated come back and visit on the Saturday and eased me in to what is after all, crunch time for assignments and revision. Holiday, what holiday?! I hear finalists far and wide cry. As I prefer essays to exams, I've chosen to do 75% of my year assessed by essays and so have five deadlines in week one of term. The pressure's on now to get everything written and submitted but exam time should be slightly less stressful with only one exam.

Fortunately, I've managed to be relatively productive over the last few weeks and have a 9,000 word draft of my dissertation. It was originally 13,500 words so yes, I wrote an extra half a dissertation - such a keen historian (really I managed to write the same sentence with five different wordings...). I've also managed to do two and a half of my four essays so in these last few weeks of the holiday, it's onto the home stretch.

But, all work and no play makes Joely very sad indeed.

Whilst I've got to have 21,000 words written, referenced and perfected by April 28th, it's really easy to burn out and be left feeling lethargic and unmotivated for work. In my final meeting with my dissertation supervisor at the end of term, she impressed quite vociferously the need to take a break over the holiday and she knows what she's talking about. So, I've tried to mix things up a bit. I'm largely staying at Warwick (as have most of my flat) to try and avoid the distractions at home and hit the library like a good finalist. But, having a few days at home over the Easter weekend was a great way to relax, recharge and run around catching up with family and friends, even if work was on the backburner for a few days. I also spent three days last week working on the Unitracks GCSE intensive bootcamp with current year 11 students who came for a residential stay at Warwick to have some extra revision on a subject of their choosing and help with study skills. Whilst sitting in on 6 hour of Physics (which I haven't done in 6 years) was almost as draining for me as for the students, I had a really good time and actually ended up being much more productive in my short work slots.

A weekend in Liverpool with my family last weekend and working a few shifts for Warwick Welcome Service this week calling offer-holding students has also helped mix it up a bit and keep me focused and productive, as well as boosting my bank balance which I'll be grateful for in the summer!

But for now, it's time to pour myself another cup of tea, break out the highlighters and crack on with this essay...

It may be week 10 but that doesn't mean it's plain sailing through to the end of term! No, this week a group of brave yet committed students will be doing Five Pounds for Poverty for Child.org. It's been organised by my friend Gillian who is undertaking the Charity Apprentice programme with Child.Org and we're all part of her amazing fundraising team!

We'll be living of £1 a day which represent the poverty line that 1.3 billion people live under and are doing this to raise money for Child.org who do fantastic work in Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Sierra Leone for health, education and gender equality through grassroots, sustainable and community-led mechanisms.

Sponsor us here: http://child.org/me/joely-lives-below-line

Anyone who knows me well will know that I both love food and really enjoy cooking so whilst I'm excited for the culinary challenge, the repetitive rice dishes aren't look so appetising. It's made even more difficult by the fact that I'm vegetarian (my mum worries enough about my protein intake already!) and that for health reasons I can't have dairy and am not meant to have a lot of wheat either... Typically people try and avoid the hunger pangs through large amounts of rice and pasta but I've tried to use my £5 to buy a pretty balanced diet so here's what I'll be living off this week:



My plan is:

-porridge with some grapefruit and apple for breakfast

-some pasta with peas and tomato sauce for lunch

-a stew/curry type dish of passata, chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, carrot, potatoes and red lentils for dinner

-snacks of apples and carrots

And repeat for five days...

Here's what my friends Aimee and Gillian will be living off:

So, if you've got some change to spare, do dig deep and donate to this fantastic cause!

Child.org's Charity Apprentice scheme is also a great way to get that all important experience of the third/charity sector. Check it out here:

https://charityapprentice.org/

Even if the last few weeks have been a bit of a toil, working away on my dissertation and essays, this week certainly made up for it with a jam-packed few days of fun!

On Wednesday night I went to see "The Control Room" as part of WUDS's Freshfest 2016, directed by my friend Hannah. I haven't been to see a play for a while so it was great to see some of the stuff fellow students, who are infinitely more talented than me, can do!

Then Thursday night was the Literature and Languages Ball - even though I technically don't do either literature or a language, four of my flatmates do so I tagged along with them. Given that I spend 80% of my time in my pyjamas or trackies sat at my desk surrounded by cups of tea at various temperatures, it was really nice to get dressed up, get out of the flat and have a fun and classy evening out! And as elderly fourth years, we realised we didn't really know too many people so could go for it on the dancefloor and ignore any judging stares...

It was also my birthday on Friday and so my friends got the DJ to do a birthday shoutout at midnight which was cute if embarrassing

We don't scrub up too badly...

Friday was my 22nd birthday and so began a lovely weekend of celebrations including a birthday brunch at Bill's in Leamington, afternoon tea with my parents in Stratford upon Avon, dinner and drinks with friends and the receiving of a selection of excellent Parks and Rec/Beyonce/food and tea themed gifts



But after a few days of very little work, it's now back to my pyjamas and desk to knuckle down for my last ever week of lectures and seminars at Warwick. I'm even a little bit nostalgic...