5 tips for staying safe in the dark

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It’s that time of year, summer has been and gone, and winter is fast approaching. Students are thinking about Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas, and the dark nights are starting to draw in.

Undeniably it’s important to stay safe and be cautious at all times of the year, but it’s particularly true this time of year as the mornings stay darker for longer and the afternoons and evenings become darker much sooner. So, below are a few top tips on staying safe.

1. Stick together
Whether you’re leaving university late, going to a friend’s house or are heading home after a night out, avoid walking by yourself. Try to walk with others that you know; safety in numbers is key when it comes to walking in the dark.

2. Know your route
If you have to walk in the dark, especially if you’re on your own, be sure to know where you’re going. Stick to well used main roads and pedestrian areas, and ones that are well lit. And even if you know a short cut, don’t stray from the beaten path and avoid cutting through remote alleyways, parks, wasteland and canal towpaths.

3. Plan ahead
If you’re out for the night and know you need to get home at the end of the night, then be sure to plan ahead. Arrange with a friend or family member to pick you up or book a taxi. If you’re planning on getting a taxi, make sure you keep money aside to pay the fare and be sure to use a licensed taxi firm; never get in an unmarked taxi.

4. Stay in touch
Make sure someone knows where you’re going and what time they can expect you back. If you have to walk, or if you’re getting in a taxi, let someone know when you’re setting off, and then get back in touch with them when you’ve arrived at your destination. That way, they should know if something is wrong if you fail to contact them as expected. And remember, when going out for the night to have a fully charged phone.

5. Be alert
If you do have to walk alone in the dark, avoid things such as listening to music or talking on the phone for too long. It’s important to be fully alert and aware of your surroundings, without any distractions. It’s also a good idea to keep any valuables such as phones, headphones, money, keys etc hidden, as they will draw attention to you.

If you’re new to the city and aren’t sure of the safest routes back to your accommodation, or you need the number of a local taxi firm, speak to the team at The Curve and they’ll be happy to help.

If you would like to find out more about our student accommodation at The Curve, take a look at our website or contact us for more information.

7 tips to improve your health and well-being as a student

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It’s important to look after yourself at any time in your life, and being a student is no exception. With the pressures of living away from home, getting familiar with a new city, meeting new people, as well as coursework and university itself, both your physical and mental health should be a priority. Below are a few things you can do that will make a big difference to your overall health and well-being.

1. Sleep well
Pulling the odd all-nighter and having a late night out with your friends every now and then is fine, but not getting enough sleep affects chemicals in the brain which can make us feel low and anxious. So, make sure you get as many good night’s sleep as possible to feel refreshed and recharged – you’ll wake up with a more positive attitude ready to take on the day ahead.

2. Stay active
Regular activity and exercise is not only good for your waistline and physical health, but also for your mental health and wellbeing. When you exercise you’ll see an immediate boost in your overall mood because your body releases chemicals called endorphins and these endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. And you don’t need to run marathons to be active, even a brisk walk around the local park will help!

3. Help others
Whether it’s volunteering in the community, raising money for a good cause or a simple random act of kindness such as helping an elderly person with their shopping bags or giving up your seat on a train for a pregnant person, helping others can make us feel good and improve our self-esteem, whilst reducing stress and negative feelings.

4. Socialise with others
Long periods of being alone and isolated aren’t healthy, so interact with people regularly and grow your friendship network. Chat with others on your course, introduce yourself to fellow residents at your accommodation, join clubs and societies, get involved with any events at your university/college, accommodation or student’s union, volunteer in the community and embrace any work opportunities.

5. Enjoy yourself
University isn’t just about studying and deadlines. It’s important to have fun, laugh as much as possible and enjoy yourself. Whether it’s playing a team sport, watching the latest movie at the cinema, catching up with friends over dinner or getting lost in a novel, be sure to make time for doing the things that make you happy.

6. Maintain a balanced diet
Reaching for the convenience foods and sugary snacks might be an easy option as a student but they’re not the healthiest. These sugary foods are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream which may cause an initial ‘high’ or surge of energy, but it will soon wear off as the body increases its insulin production, leaving you feeling tired and low. However, a balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by eating a well-balanced diet containing adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.

7. Stay hydrated
Similar to your diet, you should maintain a health intake of fluids. Avoid drinks high in caffeine, or at least drink them in moderation, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, particularly if you are drinking alcohol. If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll become dehydrated which can cause headaches and make you feel tired and dizzy.

Following these simple tips will help to improve your health and well-being whilst at university. However, if you do experience any problems throughout your studies, no matter how big or small they may be, you should always speak to someone and seek advice. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a doctor, a support group, your university’s welfare department or a member of the Host team, they will be able to offer support, help and guidance.

 

3 top tips for living with others

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With results day just around the corner, and the new academic term starting next month, many of you will be packing up and flying the nest for the first time to head to university or college.

Part of the university experience is meeting people from different backgrounds, interests and cultures. And if you’re living in student accommodation such as The Curve, it’s likely that others living there have travelled from various countries around the world in order to pursue their academic goal.

Living with a new group of people is a great experience, but it goes without saying that everyone is different, and sometimes this can cause problems or misunderstandings. But these things can often be avoided and resolved. Below are some helpful tips to getting along with your flatmates.

1. Be open minded

When moving into your accommodation, you’ll be meeting lots of new people for the first time. It’s important not to judge a book by a cover or jump to conclusions about your flatmates based on information such as a profile photo, one conversation or what someone else has told you about them.

And although it can be easy to form opinions based on first impressions, remember that moving to university can be a stressful time for some people and they may feel overwhelmed, nervous or shy. So, spend some time getting to know your flatmates and make one another feel welcome and comfortable before making any judgements. Remember, you’re all in the same boat.

Of course, not all of your flatmates will become your best mates, but you can still get along and have a civilised flatmate relationship.

2. Respect one another

If you’re living in an en-suite bedroom in a shared flat with others, you should respect the other people in your flat and remember that your living space is also their living space.

You should consider and discuss with your flatmates any details that are important to you such as noise, cleanliness, guests, sharing of items and anything else you feel relevant.

Remember living with others works both ways and you should also listen to the things that are important to your flatmates and be considerate of these whilst living together.

And don’t forget to respect each other when using the common ares within the building too. For example, if you can see someone is trying to focus on their work in the study room, then perhaps having a catch up with your friends in the same room isn’t a good idea.

3. Talk to each other

We hope that you will enjoy the diversity of university life and living with others, however should you be unhappy it’s worth spending some time talking to your flatmates to try to come to some mutually agreeable solutions.

Talking to one another and a willingness to co-operate will help to build and maintain a good relationship with your flatmates.

It is important to remember that moving to university is a stressful time and initial teething problems are usually resolved within the first few weeks.

At Host we provide a friendly and welcoming environment for students to live whilst at university. If you would like to find out more about our student accommodation at The Curve, take a look at our rooms, or contact us directly and we’ll be happy to help.

Mental Health Awareness Week

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This week (14th – 20th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme of this year’s campaign – which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is stress. And although stress itself isn’t a mental health problem, it is linked to our mental health because too much stress, for too long, can make us ill. If unaddressed, stress can cause mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, which can lead to self-harm and suicide. Stress can also affect your physical health and cause problems such as cardiovascular disease and problems with your joints and muscles.

Mental Health Awareness Week

As a student, especially at this time of year when you’re trying to meet deadlines and revise for exams, you may feel stressed or overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to look after yourself and try to reduce your stress levels where possible. There are a few things that you should avoid doing that will help to reduce the chances of becoming too stressed. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Watch what you eat and drink: Avoid overdoing it on foods and drinks high in sugar, caffeine or alcohol. Although these are a quick fix and can temporarily make you feel better, that buzz will soon ware off and can make you feel down afterwards, which can increase stress levels in the long term.

2. Don’t overdo it: Yes, exams are important and of course you want to do well, but it’s no good overworking yourself and staying up all night to meet deadlines or revise. We all need time to relax and unwind.

3. Ditch the devices: Don’t feel pressurised to always be doing something. It’s OK to have some down time. So, step away from your computer desk, put down your phone and switch off for a short while. After a break away from your screens, you’ll feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the revision, research and assignments again.

4. Avoid chasing perfection: We all want to do well, especially when we’re putting so much time into what we’re doing, but the reality is, mistakes do happen. So, don’t beat yourself up if something goes wrong, just accept it and move on. Chasing perfection can create unrealistic expectations.

5. Don’t bottle up your feelings: If you’re feeling stressed about something, then speak to someone. Don’t keep things to yourself and assume it’s just a phase and they will go away, that can make things worse in the long run. It’s OK to ask for help and support, and sometimes, just sharing your feelings can make things a whole lot better.

If you are concerned about your stress levels, please pop to Reception and speak with our friendly team and we will be happy to help. You can also find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week here.

5 things to do before leaving The Curve for the Easter holidays

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The Easter holidays are finally here! It’s been a busy few weeks but it’s now time to take a break and of course, indulge in some chocolate goodness. And with a 4-day weekend approaching and the extended break from university, it’s likely many of you will be vacating your rooms for a few days or weeks and heading home to visit friends and family. If that’s the case, below are a few things you should remember to do before you leave.

1. Lock the door
It might seem obvious, but if you’re excited to be heading home and you’re struggling to juggle bags and Easter Eggs as you leave, it’s surprising how easy it can be to just let the door shut behind you without locking it. So, have your keys in easy reach and remember to double check everything is locked and secure on your way out.

2. Switch off your electrics
Whether you’re away from your accommodation just for the long Easter weekend, or the whole of the holidays, remember to switch off and unplug any electrical appliances such as laptops, TVs, and chargers before you leave. And don’t forget to turn off the lights in your room as you head out the door too.

3. Head for the bins
Before you leave, be sure to check your fridge and throw away any perishable food – the last thing you’ll want to come home to is a fridge full of mouldy food. And if you’re throwing it in the bin, don’t forget to empty the bins and take your rubbish out – unless you want to return to a stinking kitchen after the holidays. Plus, clearing the cupboards out will allow for plenty of room to fill them with all your Easter chocolate and confectionery when you return, (that’s if you’ve not already eaten it!)

4. Do your washing
Though you probably just want to pack your bags and head for the road so you can see your friends and family, don’t forget about that pile of dirty washing in the corner of your room. Pop a load of washing on and get it all cleaned and sorted before you leave. Trust me, the last thing you’ll want to be faced with after a lovely break is a stack of dirty, damp washing and a smelly room. You could always be cheeky and take it home with you?

5. Bon voyage!
Ok, so it’s not forever, and you’ll be back soon enough, but you should still let your flat mates and friends know when you’re heading home and when you’ll be back. You’ve spent the past few months together seeing each other day-in, day-out – so, it’ll probably be a little odd not seeing them there every day. And most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy your break and take time out to recoup, so you’re ready to take on the last few weeks of terms and those end of year deadlines and exams.

If you’re looking for student accommodation in London for September 2018, look no further than The Curve. For more information please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7377 5372 or email thecurve@host-students.com.

Staying in at The Curve

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Just because you’re a student, it doesn’t mean you have to go out every night of the week. You may feel obliged to go out on the town for a night out when there’s parties, student nights and good deals to be had, but what about having a night in? Staying in will not only be kind to your bank balance and your body, but you can also have some fun too! Here are just some of the things you and your friends can do if you’re staying in…

Workout
There’s no better way to unwind after a busy day than with a little exercise. Head to the on-site gym at The Curve and sweat it out on the cardio machines or pump some iron in the weights area. You’ll feel much better and more refreshed after working out, than you would after a night out!

Dig out the board games
Everything we seem to do these days is online. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but it can take away some of the fun. So, why not ditch the phones, laptops and the like for a couple of hours, grab your friends and go old school with some traditional board games? From Monopoly and Cluedo, to Pictionary and Scrabble, it’s a great way to keep you and your friends entertained for hours – whilst keeping those minds active too!

Come dine with me
You’ve probably seen the TV programme, but now it’s time to feature in your own series of Come Dine With Me! Get together with a group of friends and Host your very own dinner party. Whether you each take it in turns to cook a meal every night of the week, and then vote who’s was the best at the end of it, or you host one dinner party and each bring a different course, what can be better than a night of food and friends?

Challenge your friends
A bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone. And with a pool table, table tennis and air hockey tables available to play in the common areas at The Curve, it’s time to get your game head on. Compete with your friends and fellow residents to become champion of the tables!

Savour the moment
If staying in for the night doesn’t happen very often, you should simply savour the moment. Why have an agenda? Just take the evening as it comes. Pop down to the common room and see what’s going on. Catch up with friends, watch the latest TV series, get lost in a book, or merely sit back, relax and watch the world go by.

Catch up on some work
Of course, if you’re someone who can’t just sit back, and you like to constantly be doing something, you could always finish off that uni work? If you’ve got nothing else lined up for the evening, make the most of your free time now so you don’t have to do it at a later date when you really want to go out. After all, you don’t want to be the one rushing to get it finished the night before the deadline when all your friends are out partying.

Get an early night
And if all else fails, the best thing to do with your night in is to hit the sack and catch up on your sleep so you’re ready and raring to go for the rest of the week!

If you like the sound of student life at The Curve, we still have rooms available for September 2018. Contact us on +44 (0)20 7377 5372 or email us at thecurve@host-students.com for more information about our student accommodation in London.

Beat the January Blues by exercising

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January isn’t exactly the most favoured month of the year. Not only is it cold, dark and wet outside, but after all of the festive fun and excitement of December, coming back to reality and routine in January can be tough. The long lie-ins, excessive consumption of food and the joyous reunions and celebrations with your family and friends from back home over the holidays felt so good. But now instead, you’re sat facing reality which consists of 9am lectures, upcoming exams and a busy semester ahead – it’s no wonder you’re feeling fed up.

But January doesn’t have to be all bad. There’s lots you can do to take your mind off things and lift your spirits, such as exercising. Be it working out in the gym or heading outside for a walk or run around the city, we guarantee you’ll feel a whole lot better after exercising.

In fact, within just a few minutes of exercising your mood can improve for the better. How, you ask? Well, as you start to move and your heart rate increases, your brain reacts by releasing chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which all play a role in happiness and therefore will make you feel good!

And with this in mind, if you’re feeling stressed about assignment deadlines, upcoming exams or the like, a trip to the gym could be the solution. It’ll not only make you feel better because of the happy chemicals being released, but a break away from your computer or revision notes is sure to help too. Exercising will take your mind off your worries and when you return to your work, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to give it another go.

Still not convinced exercise will help beat the Blues? Surely feeling healthier and fitter will though? Lifting weights or sweating it out with some cardio will help to keep you in shape and you can even burn off any excess weight you may have put on after over indulging at Christmas. Exercising can transform your body, and in turn can help you feel stronger, more independent and confident – which is great way to start the year, right?

Although we’ve just suggested that exercising can make you feel more independent, it doesn’t mean it’s an activity you have to carry out on your own. Exercising is an activity that can be enjoyed with others. Whether you join a running club, workout with your friends or simply strike a conversation with other members in the gym, it’s a great way to socialise and meet new people – while keeping fit too!

And for those of you that are trying to save money after an excessive few weeks, you’ll be pleased to know that you won’t need to reach for your purse to exercise. Outdoor activities such as walking and running won’t cost you a penny, and if you’re a resident living with us here at The Curve, you gain free access to our on-site gym which features both weights and cardio machines.

So, no more excuses? Exercise your way through January and you’ll probably feel a whole lot better for it.

If you’re looking for student accommodation in London, stay with us here at The Curve. Contact us on +44 (0)20 7377 5372 or email us at thecurve@host-students.com for more information about our stylish en-suite rooms and studios and our comfortable and spacious communal areas.

5 revision techniques to help you remember

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Revision can be tough. What do you revise? Where do you start? When’s the best time to learn? How much do you need to know? And on top of all of that, once you have revised, you need to make sure you remember everything for the exams! But fear not. There are lots of tricks and techniques that you can try when revising which will help you remember more. Let’s take a look at some of them…

1. Write it down
From riding a bike to baking a cake, the more you do something, the easier it gets – and the better you become at it. Well, the same goes for revision. Write your notes repeatedly and you’ll soon find that a lot of the information begins to stick in your mind. The more times you write them down, the more likely you’ll be able to remember the information without even looking. And by the time you come to sit the exam, once you start writing, the information will all come flooding back to you!

2. Read out loud
As you read your revision notes, you might find you start to read on auto-pilot mode and you end up thinking about everything else other than the subject in hand– meaning you’re not actually taking in your notes (we’ve all been there). Instead, read them and then try to recite them – only glancing back at them when you can’t remember something. This method is a much better way to get it stuck in your mind as it forces your brain to remember the information.

3. Teach what you’ve learned
Written, read and recited your revision notes? Think you’re ready to be examined? Great! So why not try explaining what you’ve learnt to someone else. By explaining the topic in your own words, you’ll soon discover any aspects which you don’t fully understand or can’t quite remember, therefore, highlighting the areas that require further research and revision.

4. Use mnemonics
Trying to remember a lot of information can be difficult – especially if it’s a collection of facts or processes. Mnemonics are where you create a memorable phrase, which in turn prompts you to remember the information that is more difficult to remember. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘Never Eat Shredded Wheat’ – which refers to the points of the compass (North, East, South, West), or ‘Richard of York gave battle in vain’ – which refers to the colours of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). Try creating your own and see how much more you remember!

5. Visualise
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and for many, this is very true. Try combining images with text or creating mind maps (a diagram where you have a concept in the middle and branching off this concept are other key words associated to the concept). The idea being that when you need to recall information on a particular topic, you remember the images, key words or positioning of key words on the map and they will help trigger your memory about the finer details.

The above techniques are simply suggestions, everyone learns in a different way so choose the techniques which work best for you! On top of revision techniques, things such as drinking plenty of water, eating healthily, exercising and getting a good night sleep will all help to contribute to a more successful revision period!

If you would like to find out more about our London student accommodation and living with us here at The Curve, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7377 5372 or email thecurve@host-students.com.