Students Staff

21 November 2017

All I want for Christmas

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 2:06 pm

Heather’s daughter has now completed her studies at Essex, but here she remembers that first visit home.

Heather, left, and Manda, right, have both had children go off to university.

Heather, left, and Manda, right, have both had children go off to university.

Before you know it, it’s the middle of December and your offspring are on their way back from University for the winter break, one whole month of being together again.

Yes, that’s right ONE WHOLE MONTH. We had just about got used to our own company again, our home was beautifully tidy and we had even decorated our daughter’s bedroom.  The washing and ironing had reduced by a disproportionally large amount as had the food bill and now all that would change.

I had only instigated one rule for home visits from University – no laundry. I had never forgotten visiting a friend whose son was home for the holidays and her entire hallway was strewn with a term’s washing. She was very calm about it, while I was in inner turmoil.

So there we were all together again. While she had been away I had been in more contact with our daughter than my husband, so for the two of them, always the best of friends, it was valuable time to reconnect and get back to the important job of putting the world to rights.

Meanwhile I was biting my tongue as the dishes piled up, the ironing basket overflowed and the television seemed to be on a permanent loop of The Kardashians.

School friends were still a major part of our daughter’s life, of course, and there were plenty of catch-ups over the holidays. Most of them had gone to University so it was a great opportunity to exchange their varied experiences, different but often with the same pluses and minuses.  Every time she came home from a night out, I think she felt more reassured that her friends felt the same about being away from home and grappling with essays and presentations.

In a way it’s a funny time of year for the first big visit home. There are so many parties, celebrations and family gatherings that the winter break can make life at home seem like one big bundle of fun. The summer holidays before University, when, by the end, everything was ‘so boring’,  are instantly forgotten in a haze of presents.

Our daughter had had her ups and downs in her first term but there was never any doubt in her mind that she would be going back.  By now she was now thoroughly enjoying her course, had made friends and was looking forward to some Society events in the New Year. But of course, that isn’t the same for everyone and students can have second thoughts, particularly when they are home for a while. If, at any time, you have concerns about their wellbeing you can contact our colleagues in Student Support, using this form.

Before we knew it, the house was not only stripped of the Christmas decorations but also of the presence of our lovely daughter who had headed back to her student flat with supermarket bags full of food essentials for another ten weeks,  including washing powder of course.


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Life as a commuting student

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 1:28 pm


Ifra Qureshi

Ifra Qureshi

Ifra Qureshi is a second-year student studying a BSc in Marketing. She decided to commute, rather than go to a university further away, because she wanted to save money and at the same time be close to family and friends at home.

How long is your commute?

I commute from East London to the Southend Campus. It takes approximately an hour each way.

What are the benefits of commuting?

One of the many benefits of commuting is that I save money, and I don’t have to do all of my own cooking and cleaning! I decided not to get the maintenance loan which forced me to have a part-time job alongside my studies, and this experience made me feel very independent.  I decided to only use the money that I have generated myself for my expenses.

How have you found commuting?

Although some may believe that commuting would restrict a student’s experience at university, I personally feel that it has made me push myself out of my comfort zone to make the most out of my university experience. It has motivated me to do more and experience every corner of university.

 Apart from juggling my degree and job, the long commute was difficult. This forced me to construct an effective study plan for myself. I used my journeys to do additional reading or assignments and I stayed in the library for extra hours to make the most of the learning environment. I found it difficult to carry numerous books back and forth, so I use the lockers at university and try to use E-Resources for my assignments, including online books. Travelling from London to Southend can be very expensive. I have a railcard, which cost £30, but it gives me 30% off travel fares. Some banks provide the railcard free of charge if you open a new student bank account.

Attending evening events can be difficult, which is quite annoying! The Southend SU has collaborated with the university accommodation team to bring commuting students an amazing deal – a night’s accommodation for just £23.15! Also, treat the SU Lounge/Bar like your second home. Commuting students may find their class mates already know each other, because they possibly live in the same house. This means commuting students have to put in extra effort to build relationships. Facebook has helped me get more involved with the frequent updates on any upcoming events at university.

What advice do you have for other commuting students?

I would definitely encourage students that commute to not let this reason limit your options and experiences at university, make the most of it! Don’t feel as if you should come to university to only attend lectures. University of Essex has a lot to deliver, from Just Play to Societies to large cultural events. Aim to get as involved as possible!

What can friends and family do to support a commuting student?

Family and friends can help students with driving them to university or the nearest transport links. Generally, students need support for making this impactful decision of their life, otherwise it can be quite discouraging.  I prefer to study in the library, rather than at home, but if students are studying at home, they need space and some peace and quiet!

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17 November 2017

Glittering array of stars at East 15.

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 10:25 am

Stage and screen stars continue to pour out of the doors of the East 15 Acting School based at the Loughton and Southend campuses.

Melissa 3 weekly

Melissa Johns pictured centre

Disability campaigner and BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Melissa Johns hit the national headlines this autumn when she took on the role of Imogen, a love interest for Kate Connor in ITV’s Coronation Street.

In an interview in the Radio Times Melissa said: “There is a responsibility there – with soaps, you’re in people’s living rooms almost every night of the week, so it’s an amazing platform to make a social change. We still have huge barriers in society because people can be incredibly awkward around disability. And the more we see it on our screen, the more positive effect it has on society as a whole.”

Melissa has also been named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World, awarded by the global Junior Chamber International charitable organisation, for inspirational achievements in their chosen field.

Earlier in the year BA Acting’s graduate Katie Neil joined the cast of BBC One’s EastEnders playing Debra Hammond and Robert Gwyllim and Philip Hill Pearson both took on roles in the Saturday night drama Gunpowder.

The force is with Lily Newmark who is currently filming the Star Wars Han Solo Anthology feature directed by Ron Howard and she has been nominated in the British Independent Film Awards in the Most Promising Newcomer category for her work on Pin Cushion.

A trio of graduates are following in the footsteps of BA Acting alumnus Lee Armstrong, who had played the lead role of Albert in the last nationwide tour of National Theatre’s War Horse before having the honour of the opening lines in the blockbuster Dunkirk.  Sebastian Charles, Stephen Love and Tom Quinn have joined the cast of War Horse, scheduled to tour the UK until mid-2018.

Also on nationwide tour is BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Jo Ben Ayed who is playing the lead role of Hassan in The Kite Runner.

In London’s West End, BA Acting graduate April Hughes has joined the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child alongside fellow alumna Sandy McDade.  BA Acting graduate Ed Pinker is sharing the limelight with MA Acting graduate Harriet Leitch in the cast of The Mousetrap.

Behind the scenes, BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Jasmine Woodcock-Stewart is now Staff Director on Network at the National Theatre, featuring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) in the role of Howard Beale.

Having collected many accolades for her one-woman show Yvette at The Pleasance during the Edinburgh Fringe, BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre graduate Urielle Klein-Mekongo has been gathering prizes for her writing, including a place at the recent Lyric Theatre’s Lyric Fest where Jude Law performed a scene she wrote for him.

The success rolls out into 2018 when BA Acting graduates Dannie Pye and Blake Harrison will be sharing the small screen with Hugh Grant and Ben Wishaw in a new Russell T Davies production A Very English Scandal for BBC One directed by Stephen Frears.

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14 November 2017

Plug in for IT advice

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 6:09 pm

Buying electrical goods is an expensive exercise and can go wrong.  Matt Softly our IT Manager at the Southend Campus highlights some of the pitfalls and what to look out for.

IT team Weekly

The Southend Campus IT team – Matt Softly is pictured left.

Matt said: “We do recommend purchasing anything electrical from a reputable retailer. This way you ensure you have a decent warranty and it will be perfectly safe.

“The good news is we can help you save money!

“We appreciate there are some very good deals on auction sites and in second hand shops, but you have to watch out for the warranties, which can be reduced.

“Do check the storage capacity of any laptop.  Anything under 100 gb may be too small for Windows, Office and University work.

“ If you are ordering from outside the UK, check the power adaptors are the right ones. You can find some useful information on plug safety on our website 

“It may ruin the surprise, but you can often get a discount if you use a National Union of Students card,  or go through Student Beans or UNiDays, so it might be worth a chat with the student you are buying the gift for.

“The good news is we can help you save money! Every student can access a free copy of Microsoft  Office 365 and we can recommend good anti-virus software that you don’t have to pay for.

“It is also not essential that students have their own computers. We have more than 820 available in PC Labs in Colchester, 150 in Southend and 50 in Loughton and some of these are accessible 24/7. Digital screens around campus tell the students the current availability of the PCs, especially useful in the run-up to exam season.”


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10 November 2017

Meet the Essex Business School team in Southend

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 12:17 pm

There’s a new structure to the Essex Business School Academic Services team at Southend. Manager Emma Aldridge explains the changes.

The growing numbers of EBS Southend academic staff (which includes more senior level posts) has meant that the level of support needed to assist them has increased. This is particularly the case regarding support for research activities within the MSE group.

Additionally, changes in the organisation of recruitment and induction activities for students, including the introduction of Applicant Days and a bespoke Southend Welcome Week, has meant that the team requires a dedicated post to deliver non-academic services activities.

To meet this demand  we now have a Southend Manager providing senior level leadership and management to the Team and allowing for independent decision making and work planning that is necessary as EBS Southend grows.  The new post Academic Officer/Deputy Manager has been created to provide a clear hierarchy within the team.

EBS team photo daily

Left to right: Liz Frazer, Emma Aldridge, Alex Nicholas, George Goldhawk, Daniela Ivanova, Elaine Beattie and Deborah McColgan.

Can you please introduce the team?

Emma Aldridge – Southend EBS Manager

Alex Nicholas – Academic Officer/Deputy Manager

George Goldhawk – Academic Administrator

Deborah McColgan – Student Services Administrator

Liz Frazer – Student Services Administrator

Elaine Beattie – Operations Assistant

Daniela Ivanova – Project Worker

Aideen Sadler – Faculty Employability Officer

Are there any new team members?

George Goldhawk – Academic Administrator

How did Welcome Week go?

Welcome Week was a great success with departmental events involving all academic and Professional Services staff.  Students enjoyed taking part in various activities, particularly the ones where there were cupcakes! 

What have you got planned for this term?

More than 60 students have signed up for Career Insights, put together by Daniela, our Project Worker and Aideen,  our Employability Officer.

Various local employers will be in attendance providing an insight into their career path and achievements.

Daniela is also sorting out Christmas events for the undergraduates and postgraduates.

Does anyone in the team have any hidden talents?

Our Operations Assistant Elaine Beattie is a qualified day skipper and about to be Lady Captain at Ballards Gore Golf Club!

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UROP student wins prize at conference

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 11:00 am

UROP student Isabella Davis presented a poster on Mouth care in Acute Hospital Settings at the  British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy annual conference in Harrogate, earlier this month,  collecting a Student Prize for her work.

Isabella Davis at Harrogate daily

Isabella Davis

UROP, or the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme, is our placement scheme specifically for undergraduate students from the University of Essex to become research assistants and become part of our academic community.

Isabella worked with Dr Camille Cronin, senior lecturer, and academic and dental hygienist Tiffany Laybourne at the School of Health and Social Care on the Southend Campus, partnering with staff at two acute wards at Southend University Hospital to collect data.

Camille said:“Everyone in the School of Health and Social Care is very proud of Isabella. She was very active throughout the research programme.”

Isabella, who is from Stroud in Gloucestershire, has now graduated and is working as a dental hygienist in Brighton and Rustington. She said: ”The conference was really enjoyable and it was a great opportunity to network with a variety of people. It was interesting to attend lectures on the most up to date oral health to help enhance myself as a clinician.

“Presenting the poster provided a fantastic opportunity to give others insight into the research we have undertaken at Essex and allowed me to be aware of other areas of research that had been carried out elsewhere.

“Taking part in UROP was an invaluable experience giving me a more in depth knowledge and awareness about how research is conducted in real life and it was great to be involved in this.”


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