Update: Summer Break!

Hi guys!

Today I thought I’d just do a quick update to let you know my plans for the summer months!

Up until a couple of weeks ago I had been posting on here twice a week, and uploading one video a week.  However, with the school and university summer holidays about to commence, I figured that the months of June and July probably are not the best time to be publishing my student advice content! I have so many posts and videos planned that relate to things you’ll be dealing with during actual term time, and I don’t want to waste those posts by putting them up at a time you won’t be in need of them!

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So, The Student Switchboard is making like a university and taking a break for the summer! I’ll be back here in August posting weekly advice, and uploading new videos each Monday. The scary thing is, I know that will be here before I know it. Suddenly the new school term will be upon us – so make the most of your summer! Whether it’s a break from your hectic uni schedule, or time to prepare to start this new chapter of your life after finishing high school, enjoy a couple of months of no essays, no class time and just recharge the batteries!

Thanks so much for following along with my posts so far, and I can’t wait to bring you lots of new content and (hopefully!) useful advice come August and September!

Lynsey xxx

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So you want to study: Veterinary Science!

Happy Friday all – I’m so excited to bring you the first in my new series today! “So you want to study..?” is a series I mentioned a few weeks ago, where guest bloggers can create a post telling you all about their experience of studying a particular course!

First up, we have the lovely Emma from A Little Freckle.  Emma is studying Veterinary Science, and kindly took the time to give us a little insight into what it’s really like to study to be a vet.

So take it away Emma!

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First things first, if you want a job that will make you rich then stop reading here…Veterinary is not for you!!!

It is a common misconception that vets are rolling in the money. Their salaries are often compared to that of Medics and Doctors, which is just not how it is. If you want to be a Vet you have to have the passion to want to do it, otherwise you might be left very tired, stressed and disappointed.

I’m Emma and I’m passionate about Veterinary Science! I have wanted to be a vet ever since I can remember. Initially, it was because I used to watch Animal Hospital on TV and there was a vet on that called Emma, which I loved. As I got older, I looked into it a bit more and despite being told how hard it was, I was never put off. In fact, the more I learnt about it, the more I wanted to do it.

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Veterinary offers the chance to work with both people and animals! You can’t really say you want to be a vet because you don’t like working with people, because actually, you work with both sides of the lead and either one can be pretty aggressive at times haha!

You also get to play detective because ‘animals can’t talk can they?!’ – you would not believe the amount of times I have had this said to me! If you like problem solving, then maybe veterinary is something you’d enjoy as this is a skill you will need to use on a daily basis.

Before applying for the course, it is essential to have some work experience – my particular vet school ask for a minimum of ten weeks and it should include things like working in kennels, on a dairy farm, at a stable and in veterinary practices. As a five year course, it’s best to get an idea of what you’re getting into before you sign up! You will also be interviewed about these when applying so make sure you know your stuff!

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Having fun at the Vets Halfway Weekend in the Lake District!

The work load can be overwhelming at times but many of the vet schools have very active societies and organise lots of social events – work hard, play hard! It is like a big vetty family and it’s so lovely and supportive! You will have to give up more of your time in the holidays too in order to do compulsory placements, but these are usually really fun!

Getting into vet school is tough as there are only 8 in the country with limited places! It took me two goes and I was heartbroken not to get in the first time, but it’s so important not to give up on your dream – and this was mine!

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I have so much to say about this topic as it is without a doubt my biggest passion, so if anybody is thinking about being a vet, I would love for you to contact me to find out more!


Thanks so much to Emma for taking the time to write this post! You can find her blogging away over at A Little Freckle, or follow her on twitter at @alfreckle and instagram at @reils92!

I’m so pleased to have the first in this series live – keep your eyes peeled for the next post, which will go up two weeks from now!! And remember to check out my last post to find out how you could win a copy of the amazing book “How to be a Knowledge Ninja” by Graham Allcott!

If you would like to write a guest post for this series, please drop me an email at thestudentswitchboard@gmail.com, or contact me at any of the social media links below!

Thanks for reading – have a great weekend!

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Book Review and Giveaway! “How to be a Knowledge Ninja” by Graham Allcott

Hello all! Hope you’re having a great week! I know this is a seriously busy time of year!

I just wanted to let you know, if you’re not subscribed to my YouTube channel, that I have a super exciting video on there this week! I reviewed “How to be a Knowledge Ninja”, by Graham Allcott, a book which aims to help you “study smarter, focus better and achieve more”. It is packed full of amazing advice, but if you want to hear all my thoughts, check out the video!

What’s more, the lovely folks over at Icon Books, who published this gem of a productivity guide, have given me two copies of this book to give away to you guys! The giveaway is running on Twitter and on YouTube, and closes on Monday 6th April at 6pm. To enter, here’s what you have to do!

The knowledge ninja has nine characteristics, which are as follows:

Balance, zen-like calm, ruthlessness, being weapon savvy (using the right apps, planners etc to get organised!), stealth and camouflage, mindfulness, preparedness, focus and accepting that you are human, not superhuman (nobody is perfect!). So, with that in mind…

To enter on Twitter, follow me @studentswitch, and tweet me, using the hashtag #knowledgeninja telling me which ninja skill you’re keen to improve! Do you need more balance between study time and socialising? Or maybe you could do with improving your focus!

To enter on YouTube, subscribe to The Student Switchboard and leave me a comment, using the hashtag #knowledgeninja telling me which ninja skill you’re keen to improve. Could you do with learning to be more ruthless, and say no to extra time consuming projects?

Also, please feel free to share this video on Twitter – I was very kindly sent a copy of this book to read, but I can honestly say I think it is a brilliant resource.  There are chapters in there that have me rethinking the way I’ve done things all my life, and it is so well written!

Good luck!!

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PowerPoint 101 – Tips For Creating The Perfect Powerpoint Presentation

PowerPoint presentations are now a pretty standard part of work and student life.  Whether it’s at school, college, university, or even when you’re applying for a job (that’s right, a lot of interviews now include a presentation element!), knowing how to put together a few slides on PowerPoint* is something we all have to master.
Most of us are now taught the basics at school – how to add and delete slides, insert text or a picture and play the slideshow.  However, if you want your presentation to really pack a punch, and stand out from your classmates, I thought I’d give you a couple of tips that I’ve picked up,  to help you achieve just that!
*These screenshots were taken on PowerPoint 2010 – the setup may vary in different versions e.g. 2007, 2013.

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Inserting a Custom Background:

To insert a custom background on to your slides, you can do it the old fashioned way – inserting a picture and stretching it to fit the slide – but then you run the risk of it moving during your presentation! To set an image as the fixed background of your slide:
Step 1: Open up your presentation, and click the “Design” tab along the top of the screen.
Step 2: Click on “Background styles” at the right hand side of the screen.
Step 3: Select “Format Background”.
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Step 4: Select “Picture or texture fill” on the Fill tab.
Step 5: Select “Insert from File” and choose your image.

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Ta Da! Custom background!
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However, depending on the photo you upload (in this example I’m using one of my  Instagram photos of some makeup – let’s say I’m doing a presentation on the beauty industry!), you might find that when you try to insert your text, it becomes difficult to read.  Fear not, there is a quick and easy way to fix this!
Step 6: Jump back on to the format background tab you clicked on in step 3. At the bottom of this box, you’ll find a “Transparency” bar. Adjust this as much or as little as you need depending on how busy/dark your chosen image is!

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Now you can type as much text as you like and it should show up nice and clearly!

Editing A Text Box:

If you want to take it one step further, however, you can add an additional layer by editing the text box itself!
Step 7: When you click on your text box, the “Drawing Tools” bar should appear at the top of your screen. Click it.
Step 8: Click on the “Shape Fill” dropdown box and select “More Fill Colours”.
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Step 9: Choose from the standard colour tab (which provides all the standard set colour options on PowerPoint) or Custom. By choosing custom, you can change the RGB colour if you have a specific colour scheme in mind.
Step 10: This step only applies if you have chosen the custom colour option! Type in your RGB codes, or play around with the colour by clicking on the rainbow box on the tab!
Step 11: After all that effort getting your custom background uploaded, you might not want part of the image to be totally blocked out by your textbox.  Again, PowerPoint has a handy little Transparency bar for you to adjust, so that your image can shine through as much or as little as you’d like.

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And here’s another little tip… to repeat this background on every slide, if you make a design you are really happy with, just right click on the slide in the sidebar and hit “duplicate slide”!

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Transitions:

Finally for today, a quick word on transitions between slides! There is nothing wrong with the set transition, which just relies on you clicking the arrow on your keyboard to move to the next slide.  In fact, sometimes the simpler the better is a good rule to go by! However, if you are after something a bit fancier, PowerPoint has a few options!
Click on the “Transitions” tab along the top of the page.  Here you’ll find a number of options, from fading out of one slide and into another, to a checkerboard effect – just click the little arrow at the side of the bar to see more than the first few options!
Then, if you’d like to change the effect (from sliding left to right, to right to left etc), click on the “Effect Options” dropdown box.

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So that’s it for my PowerPoint 101 – just a few tips to help make your next presentation stand out from the crowd!
I have lots more of these (I spent A LOT of time using PowerPoint during my Masters), so if you’d like to see more of this sort of post, let me know in the comments! I might do a version on Prezi, which is a different presentation program online, so let me know if that would be of interest!
Hope you’re having a lovely week! What are some of your tips for creating a powerful presentation?
Lynsey x
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Study Playlist #1

Afternoon everyone! Hope your Monday has been going well so far!
During my Masters, I spent a lot of time seeking out the perfect study soundtrack, and I thought that I’d share some of the hidden gems I discovered along the way with you this afternoon!
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Some people study best in complete silence – I am not one of them.  Others find it comforting to have the television on for background noise, but that can become distracting if an episode of [insert-the-name-of-your-favourite-show-here] comes on! Music, then, is usually a happy medium! Different styles of music will work for different people, but for me, upbeat music with no words worked best.  I love piano music, but sometimes that just wasn’t energetic enough, and anything with words (hello Taylor Swift) just tempted me to sing along in my head.
So here, for your listening pleasure, are three of the albums that got me through my crazy assessment period last April…
1. Tycho – Dive

I’m listening to this as I type this post and I genuinely feel so relaxed and focused.  I love this album.  Wikipedia describes Tycho as an “American ambient music artist and producer”, and the tracks on this album are all soothing but upbeat enough that there’s zero chance it’s going to lull you to sleep over that jargon-filled journal article you’ve been trying to get through all day.
2. God Is An Astronaut – Origins

I found God Is An Astronaut through Tycho – this album appeared in the recommendations in the YouTube sidebar! They are known as a post-rock group, so their sound (particularly on this album) is a bit heavier than Tycho, but I found that it really motivated me.  Again, there are no words, so there’s no danger of finding yourself having a sing-along – check out track 11, “Red Moon Lagoon”, it’s my favourite!
3. Prince Avalanche – Full Soundtrack by Explosions in the Sky & David Wingo

I’m not sure I can put into words how much I adore this album.  I have to be honest – I haven’t watched the whole film (I watched half of it on Netflix late one night, but I will watch the whole thing at some point!), but the soundtrack is just incredible.  I’m a fan of Explosions in the Sky at the best of times, but this? Beautiful, soothing music, and the perfect backdrop to your next essay.  You’re welcome.
That concludes my first Study Playlist post, but I’m definitely planning more of these in the future. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope these lovely albums help you concentrate on the next task you have to tackle!
What songs have been on repeat on your study playlist lately?
Lynsey x
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