Dear Freshers

Hi followers,

I haven’t posted in a while – three months-. I am back!

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Last year at this time I’ve got an email saying ‘You have been accepted to study at Southampton Solent University‘. I am finished with my first year and I can tell you all that I have really enjoyed my time there. So I thought to write an article for the future students. Don’t be scared, everyone started as a Fresher.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to Southampton Solent University! You might be familiar with the Campus if you have been there for an Open Day, but in case you haven’t here some tips you might find useful to survive your first week:

  1. Don’t forget to bring a map. I know the feeling when you get lost; I’ve been in the same situation, unfortunately. But it’s easier than it actually looks like. Just remember that each acronym in your timetable stands for a specific building, for example, TS means The Spark or JM John Millais.
  2. Don’t mess up the JM building with the SJM. They are two different ones. SJM is the building across the park, in front of Mettricks.
  3. Don’t worry if it’s cold outside because it feels like to be in Florida when walking inside buildings. Although always bring a jacket with you if you are going to the Photo Studio because it’s actually cold there. Experience.
  4. Everyone around you speaks another language that you wonder whether you’re still in the United Kingdom or on an Erasmus program. Southampton Solent University is home to a diverse student community. International students come from over 100 countries, so here your opportunity to explore new cultures and learn a new language, for free.why not
  5. If you’re worried about making new friends, trust me this is not a problem. Everyone here – from students to lecturers – is friendly and keen to help you out. Classmates are like a second family, and your neighbours will become your new best friends. WARNING: they might be loud sometimes.
  6. Last but not least, take this advice from one of your peers. A car is not needed. Solent’s campus is located in the heart of Southampton city centre. The University is just 10 minutes walk from your residence, and so are the pubs and the shopping centre. Paying extra money for the car rent is literally unworthy. Plus your body definitely needs to benefit from a walk after eating junk food most every day.

So far these are the only tips I can think about, which I found to be essential for you to know. Hope you guys have the best years of your life here at Southampton Solent.

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Don’t leave your assessments for the last minute

Although the deadline is a month from now, it’s always better to start earlier for some reasons:

  • You can get feedback
  • You have time to make adjustments
  • You don’t need to struggle to meet the deadline

For my Multiplatform Fashion Journalism assessment I chose a topic not related to fashion. I thought that it would be a challenge for me to write about something else. So, I ended up writing about equality in sport.

The task required to choose a target publication, write an in-depth feature and an online version of the same feature, and audio/video element that complements my feature. Lots work, right? No, if you ‘don’t leave it for the last minute’, as my lecturer Danilo uses to say.

Don’t act surprised I’m all done! I’ve interviewed three people, two female (of a different age) and a male to have a different point of views regarding this matter. My article for The Guardian is ready, so is the online version, and the multi-media element. Fortunately, I had no problems with the word count this time.

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The vox pop was the toughest part in my opinion, because it requires a long time to edit it, concentration and a quiet environment.

Now I just need to submit it!

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The first impression is the best impression

Before I started this course I thought that a good blog post was a well-written one. Two months later I realized that although it’s important, it’s not enough.

When writing a blog post we must take into consideration few things. First, people get annoyed by long paragraphs. That’s why it’s important to be brief and keep the paragraph short. It wasn’t showed in one of the blog posts I’ve considered ‘How I Got 6.2 Million Pageviews and 144,920 followers’ by Ali Mese. Secondly, always keep in mind that your followers may read your blog post on the phone. As a follower, I wouldn’t bother too much to slide down the page. Indeed, to be honest I’ve just read half of the blog post.

Sincerity is another important element. It helps you to establish a good relationship with your followers. It’s essential to meet their expectations, and this blog post has definitely failed to meet mine. I felt disappointed as it starts with the sentence ‘I will get straight to the point’ but he actually doesn’t.

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Most important, never underestimate the importance of images, keywords and/or hyperlinks. Although it’s a quite long blog post, thanks to these elements Ali Mese managed to make his blog post more engaging for the readers.

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Make it last

People think that I’m obsessed with selfies and photos, and I fully recognize that I have plenty of pictures on my iPhone that I don’t even have any more space to keep them all, but the truth behind every shot is that I like keeping memories.

Every picture for me represents part of my life -the place I have visited, the people with whom I have shared the most exciting moments, and of course my growth. However, a photo shows you only how you have changed physically, not personally.

Yet, an image is a certificate of presence in this World; a way to attest that you were there, at that specific moment. It gives us the certainty that even if we won’t live longer, our memory will last forever.

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To improve is to change

“Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw said.

Before the beginning of this course I thought that ‘English’ could have been a barrier for me, that I wouldn’t be able to express myself in the same way I would have in my own language, Italian. Sometimes it happens I can’t find the right words in conversation, but fortunately writing always helps. 

I feel that through the blog posts I get to know my peers more deeply, and they get to know me. Receiving feedback from them has been so helpful because it has enabled me to make some improvements, particularly with grammar. 

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Although it wasn’t the only thing that I had to fix in my blog posts. My lecturer pointed out that neither my first or second post had hyperlinks, images or keywords, so I needed to make them more enjoyable for the readers. That’s what I did! 

But my biggest challenge was to adapt both my posts to fit the word count. At the end, I’ve managed to shorten one from 319 to 188 words.

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As a result, my blog posts are now more concise and interactive, thus I will definitely continue along this path.