Thursday, 5 April 2012

Issues with the tax line!


I’m not going to lie to you all, not a great deal has happened to me recently. Life is continuing at its ever present speed, with me just floating along in my own little bubble. March held 4 family birthday’s and Mother’s Day, so a tad more expensive then I was expecting...although I did randomly get paid by my old employer...very confusing. But yeah, otherwise, not a lot really!!

Ah. One thing that I will mention, both because it has riled me, and also as I think it is something people should be aware of, is this: THE COUNCIL’S ARE EVIL!!! Council Tax, one of life’s staple payments through life is something that we just have to get used to. But not yet. No, my fellow student’s/prospective’s thereof, that time is not yet upon us. For the student is EXEMPT from this particular drain on our finances!! Cue cheering and confetti cannons. However, the Council (or at the very least Lewisham Council) seem to have difficulty with this, so I thought I’d quickly post about it.

Firstly – if you are going to be living in halls, do will not need to do any of this as the university will sort this out for you. If you are going to be living off-campus though, whether in a house or a flat, or even at home with your parents, you will need to sort this yourself otherwise you or your family will be paying more council tax then they need to.

Secondly – Go online to the university website and order a Council Tax Exemption Letter from the University. This is an official document from the University of Greenwich proving that you are a full time student and therefore exempt from paying the tax. Collect this from your campus Student Centre. You may find (like we did) that your exemption letter doesn’t cover the entire time that you’ve been living in your property and as such be entitled to pay for that time. If you are a returning student within their 2nd or 3rd year, you will need to go to the Student Centre and ask for a Council Tax Exemption letter spanning the entirety of your course, proving you’re exempt.

Thirdly – take a photocopy for your own records, and then send the originals to your local council tax office, who will then action this and remove any fee’s from your account. If this is not done properly you may find that they send you letter’s threatening you will legal action/extra charges/bailiffs (can you tell I’ve got experience of this?) at which point ring them up and annoy them until FINALLY they get the message and exempt you. Simples.

So yeah, just another bit of university life advice from your friendly, neighbourhood student-man.

P.S. This one is a little short, but with exam’s coming up I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about in the instalment!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Blogging Responsibilities

Ok, so I have been seeeeeeeeeriously neglecting my blogging responsibilities and haven’t written one in about a month (I just’s been well over a month :S) – not good by anyone’s standards. I mean, how can I give any advice or info regarding University if I don’t write anything? So, here goes, blog number 4.

I think I’ve finally come up with a format for these blogs to work. If you’ve read my extensive back-catalogue of literary works online you may remember I wrote about the awkwardness of writing about my life for absolutely anyone to see. Well, because of this seemingly innate inability to “big-up” myself as all the cool kids are saying, I’m going to give myself a structure to make this work. And what is this I hear you cry? It’s this – from now on I’ll give a (somewhat) brief update on life in general, then one on my course/university in general. Finally, I would like to mention a couple of things from the world at large that has either piqued my interest or, for lack of an eloquent phrase, really (*$#%!)  me off. This could range over a wide range of subjects, so be ready.
And so, in the spirit of this new format, ME!!! So what’s happened to me recently, quite a few things actually. Yesterday I went to my first gig of 2012!! My girlfriend bought tickets to go see Scroobius Pip, one of the very few Hip Hop act’s that I actually enjoy – mainly as the lyrics are about more than “Bling and (*$#%!)”, which could end up being the focus of the end of this blog, because I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY? I digress. It was really good and surprising as I had only heard his collaboration with Dan Le Sac, who gives the songs a dancey/more mainstream Hip Hop feel. Turns out, his own work has a much rockier/harder sound to right up my street! Bought the album, met the man – again – good night all round really!

In other news...I met my Dad’s girlfriend this weekend. Funny thing is that I didn’t even know he had one! Nor was I expecting to meet this mysterious woman, so when my dad rang me Saturday morning asking to meet up at some point this weekend I thought nothing of it and agreed to meet him Sunday lunchtime. So there I am, Sunday morning, waking up on a friend’s sofa bed, hanging soooooooooo far out of my proverbial rear-end from the previous nights’ frivolities, preparing to start the hour+ journey past my flat to the ExCel Centre, East London. Here I find myself suddenly lost in the midst of Comic Con-esq dress-up characters and Zumba enthusiasts, wading through the sea of people (and superheroes) to find my father. 

Upon finally finding him sitting at one of the many caf├ęs, he springs this fairly large bombshell on me. What’s worse is that I am still SO hung-over. She seemed really nice, friendly and took an interest etc. I did my best to be polite, still reeling. So yeah...good times :P The funniest thing about it was my dad’s apprehension, it was a complete role-reversal, me the judging parent, him the child bringing his first girlfriend back for (although we don’t like to say it, it’s what it is) appraisal. Another amusing thing is the fact that his new ladyfriend is also his Zumba Instructor...from Venezuela...and 9 years younger...anyone else smell (continuing) mid-life crisis? :P

In other news...MAAAAAHHHH!! When did uni work catch up with me?! And yes my punctuation in this blog is terrible, but it’s a blog, nothing academic about it. For the past few weeks I’ve been living in an ignorant bliss to the amount of work that was creeping up on me, leaving me in the sticky situation of having a research design and 2 presentations to do all for a single week. This week! But seriously, 2nd year is HARD. If you don’t put in the work and do your readings you will fail. At the moment we have a serious issue in our seminar’s as it seems that most people aren’t doing the readings, which means that when we come to having discussions within the seminars, only a handful of people, if that, can actually get involved, really lowering the insight offered by debate.

...I think that’s all for me this time, and I’ll be back soon =]

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Holidays are over :(

Hi all. So, first blog back after the holiday’s... I’m feeling the need for a somewhat subdued article rather than the usual manic-ness (you can tell I study at University can’t you? :P) I'm gonna go and blame it on those January Blues, first couple of weeks back, that sort of thing.

Everyone have a good holiday? If you’ve been reading my other (all 2 of them!) blogs you’ll have seen that I was having a fair amount of difficulty with presents, the purchasing thereof in any case. Well, you may be pleased to know that I was actually able to pretty much hit the nail on the head with that one in the end, although if I’d managed it without quite so much of a hit to the wallet I’d have been a bit happier, but we can’t have everything. There was however a sliiiiiiiiiiiight issue with their location when it came to the actual day :P. The thing is, we were supposed to be moving the Thursday before Christmas – unfortunately it fell through, which is a whole different story entirely. This meant that all our stuff had been packed, and my Mum kind of...forgot which box my presents for everyone were in. As you can probably imagine, this lead to a few hilariously frantic hours spent rummaging through them all trying to find them – especially my girlfriend’s as (as I mentioned last time) she helped me with all the rest! Luckily I found them so crisis averted!

In other news...back to lectures last week, somewhat of a shock to the system after 3 weeks of lazing around. It’s amazing how everything just goes right back into full swing, like there wasn’t a break at all. It would be fine if it weren’t for the sudden cold snap! BRRRRRRR! Not liking that at all, my flat gets so cold!!

...It always feel’s surreal writing one of these...I swear I just sound egotistical talking to so many people about my life, it’s kinda like “I’m 21, how much can there be to write about?” Actually, that’s a topic for discussion I’d quite like to open. How many of you guy’s write blogs? What is it do you think that has attracted so many people – young and old – to the bloggersphere? Do you think it’s down to the optional anonymity of writing online? Since the birth of the Internet in 1982, the amount of “bloggers” has multiplied exponentially – has the ability to write about ourselves in an (more often than not) incredibly personal way led us express ourselves more intimately with others, without the real-world backlash of social segregation...

Anyway, just rambling now...until next time!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

What do I buy??!

Hellooooooooooooooo Reader’s!! Excited for Christmas? As of writing this I have done absolutely none of my Christmas shopping, which I’m starting to worry about. I keep telling myself it’s because I haven’t had the time, what with the final few weeks of term and all the coursework that entails...but if I’m really honest, it’s because I have NO IDEA what to get. I mean, the pressure! I don’t know what it is about present-buying, but as soon as I try to think of things to get people, my mind does a runner and all I get left with is the part that thinks other people like malteasers as much as I do – which I can assure you, no one does. To be fair to myself, I can think of things they may like, you know, nick-nacks, gizmo’s etc. But they’re not really presents are they. I want to get presents that mean something to those they’re for, that they, or we, have a connection to. I dream big, I know :P Unfortunately, it’s these things that I can just never think of!

So I think it’s time to admit defeat and call in the big guns...I’ll just ask my girlfriend :P

Student Finance!! AAAAHH!! We finally had a breakthrough, only took 3 months! For those of you who aren’t yet attending University, whether that be this one or any other you decide suits you better, this is the biggest most important piece of advice I could possibly give, and I can’t stress it enough. Student Finance is a hassle. Like THE hassle in terms of getting to uni, worse than writing your UCAS application. Obviously this is a generalisation, there are those who will breeze through the process, but in my experience and that of the majority of my peers, it’s a nightmare. Oh! Something you should all have, while I remember, is the (free?) number for them, as otherwise you’ll spend a fortune calling them like I did. So, that number is:

·         01412 433 600

Anyway, as I was saying, please do apply as quickly as you can to Student Finance, the forms are a little confusing and they seem to take ages to look at them, but do stick with it and try to get it sorted and in place for when you start your course, otherwise you might find yourself worrying about having no money, and trust me that’s a massive distraction from your studies.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

My First Blog!

So, here it is...Blog number one! Should reaaaaaaaally have done this a while ago but you know how things get on top of you and all that. Anywho’s, here goes. Firstly, I’d like to quickly brag about my group presentation on Monday. I think we did really well, even in adverse conditions – mainly the complete lack of contact with one of the members. I mean, I like group work, don’t get me wrong, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and a good way to get to know people outside of your social groups. However, when one member doesn’t pull their weight it becomes a real issue, especially when they turn up on the day having “done their bit”, which wasn’t the part they were actually supposed to do!! Even more so when that part is pivotal to the understanding of the topic. Thus the mad rush to cover it! At the same time, a solid presentation on the Armenian Genocide is pretty heavy going.
What shocked me the most regarding my presentation is the fact that I had never even heard of it until I started this course. Everyone knows of the Nazi attack on the Jewish population during the Second World War, but as Hitler himself said in 1939, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” The sheer scale of it alone (1-1.5 million killed) should make it one of the most important events in the 20th century, yet we never even hear a mention of it at school, not even when learning about The Great War that it was a part of.
Secondly, even more coursework?! (You can probably see the theme of this one...) A presentation, an article review and 3 essays all due in within 4 weeks of each other. I understand the need for assessment, and I even relish the chance to prove myself (mostly :P), but really? Too much!!
Ok, rant over for this week.
In other news, it’s my 21st birthday in less than a month...scary stuff. Trying to sort out a party or gathering of some kind, but finding time in my busy schedule for a real night out is getting harder and harder the more into the year it gets, but do not fear, it shall be done!