Getting ready…for exams

When I started my psychology course in the Autumn I chatted with my tutor saying how I had been putting off  beginning my course for one reason or another. After sharing for a while I soon realised that this was not the case as my work and life experiences had been preparing me to a certain degree to be in the right frame of mind, and, be better equipped to respond to what would be required of me.

I had great momentum going throughout the course returning each lesson promptly and starting reading and research for the next whilst my tutors marked my latest offerings. Then…suddenly the past few months when I should have been starting my exam I seem to have been distracted and whilst there is no time restraint (aside of those I impose) I feel I am starting it later than I intended.

The sunshine of the past few days and the welcoming blue sky brings us all out of the winter blues which I know a lot of my colleagues have found to be never-ending this year. I am now sitting in the garden re-visiting one of my reflective reading books and ready to resume my studies and face my exam. Maybe it is partly down to the fact that I will be invigilating exams the coming months and the student in me is coming back.

I am mindful that as I write my blog students all over the country are also starting to revise for exams. I will of course start to post blogs about exam stress…or should I say how to avoid it very shortly but for now here are a few quotes from ‘The things you can see only when you slow down’ by Haemin Sumin.

‘Wear confidence, It is the height of fashion’


‘Love, not righteous words, can change people’s lives’





Business housekeeping

Anyone that works freelance knows that finding time for business housekeeping can be difficult. So busy looking for new ventures, one’s accounts and websites get neglected. I put my hand up that even having spent many years working in business development and marketing it is far easier to promote others than one’s self.

I love writing other people’s CV and mine today is looking rather sad and was not a true reflection of what I have actually been doing the past few years. I am an old fashioned girl and still believe it’s the covering letter that gets you noticed. Many colleagues have been groaning to me recently about the online approach to job seeking where just uploading a CV may leave some of us at a disadvantage.  I am told a faceless agent is sifting through hundreds and it’s a secret what they are looking for and weeks go past without any contact. I am sure we are not alone in feeling this way.

To be honest most of my best projects have come from personal recommendation and in between…yes that’s right I get on with the business housekeeping. Yesterday the dreaded accounts and today I’m tweaking the websites… the months disappear and like me the websites are in need of a revamp and a serious update!!

To those followers who have already commented on my kissing blog posted earlier –  a huge thank you for confirming I am not always talking to myself though I am mindful some days I am!

The Michael Blake Foundation

In keeping with Oesophageal Cancer Awareness month I have been reminded by a family member that The Michael Blake Foundation’s website is worth visiting. Like so many charities this foundation was set up following the loss of a family member.

Sadly it is not until we experience a specific illness personally that we realise just how little support and information is available and all credit to those that then turn their own dificult situation into doing something really productive and help others.

Having worked within the not-for-profit sector for many years I have seen how little charities are doing really useful work in their local communities.  Their website is: should you wish to donate, volunteer or in need of advice.



Student wellbeing -The RVC

Our Prime Minister spoke this morning in support of awareness and assistance in terms of mental wellbeing within education. The move to train teachers to spot signs of mental health may be seen as a step in the right direction -however what we actually need is more funding within schools to employ more trained counsellors/pastoral staff to deal with the growing stress factors that face today’s students.

I sadly often hear how schools fail children in respect of not adhering to the anti-bullying processes they are meant to follow and/or taking individual cases as seriously as they should – much to the distress and frustration of both students and parents.

However, I must take this opportunity to congratulate The Royal Veterinary College who do take the wellbeing of their students seriously. This starts from day one aiding students considerately in preparation of their interview for a place. During a recent visit to the RVC’s Hawkshead Campus it was also good to see their new sports centre named as ‘The Sport and Wellbeing Centre’ which is free to all students.  I think this speaks volumes of how valued their students are and how the RVC recognise both education and preventing student stress need focus and investment.

Here’s hoping some of the stress can be reduced if our government address and implement some of the financial improvements being muted for students persuing a university education.

Personal statements

For many students this will be the time of year where they are considering their options and university choices. They will be required to write one of the most difficult documents they have probably encountered so far. I am mindful that this is created within 6th form/school and those within the education sector may enjoy and share my thoughts.

Please view my article on Innovate My School’s website which also includes some useful tips-



Looking for the best

I am a great believer in giving the other guy the benefit of the doubt and trying to look for the best, but appreciate that with some individuals this is not so easy.

As a child I remember my mother asking us to even make allowances for the bullies as after all they were basically unhappy children.  Some truth in that of course and my regular followers know that anti-bullying is a subject of frequent posts.

In life it is often about changing our own attitudes which makes us stronger.

To quote Mahatma Ghandi:-

‘Before we expect to see our desired qualities in others, we should assimilate them in ouselves. We are all wonderful and extremely beautiful from the inside and the more we see the same thing in others, we shall get the same in return.’

Even in business this is true and from an early age I was encouraged to ‘kill customers with kindness‘ backed up by great training films featuring John Cleese on how not to treat them!

Keep smiling.

Positive Monday

Mondays can be a bit of a drag some weeks even for the most positive soul. But isn’t it great when the week starts off with positive news? Over the past months I have had the privilege of helping a few friends, family and clients with keeping motivated after interviews have been non-productive.

Often the reasons we don’t get that brilliant job we felt we were made for are nothing whatsoever to do with us, our skills, or how we performed on interview…and sometimes it is because something better is out there with our name on it.

However, getting back on the job-seeking horse can be daunting when our self-esteem has taken a knocking, and would-be-employers or agents saying ‘you were over qualified’ is just simply unhelpful.

Sometimes we just have to be patient and that great opportunity will come along and have our name on it and all is perfect in the world. So for one talented young man, who may read my blog today well done…I am almost as thrilled as you.

As for me; well I had a surprisingly high mark on my first assignment on my  latest course. The first one is always the hardest… getting back into the swing of studying and trying to gauge whether one has ‘done enough’ to please the tutors is often daunting. We are never too old to accept positive feedback nor be excited to receive a great mark!

I am now in an excellent place, to a) start assignment number two and b) see what Tuesday holds.

Work experience and social skills

Many of the more sensible students will have secured volunteering positions for half term and for those of you that were not as proactive or unlucky in your endeavours don’t be disheartened.

Now is the time to start approaching charities and organisations for the forthcoming Easter break. I know parents and teachers alike will be encouraging students to get work experience and improve their social skills.

What students have to bear in mind is that being a great academic is not enough your future university will be looking for characters with a good and interesting CV. Showing personal skills and ability to contribute something of value.

Please read my article on Innovate My School’s website:-

Making the right choices

Sometimes in life we are faced with making a difficult decision and after a lot of soul searching and balancing up the negatives and positive we may still be left in a bit of a quandary as to what to do. Are we making the wrong choices for the right reasons and is our reason big enough?

Discussing weighing up the benefits of ‘getting experience’ with a colleague earlier today we touched on how certain sectors are quite unprofessional and small minded in their approach and maybe without realising can be quite offensive in questioning one’s skills and abilities.

We both agreed that the minute one starts to justify one’s skills the battle is lost, though of course we have to make allowance for ‘the other man’ maybe not fully understanding the high calibre of staff they are talking to nor respecting their CV and qualifications quite as much as they should do.

This situation and the question on being ‘ over qualified’ and whether one should dumb down one’s CV is one often run past me by colleagues wondering what to do for the best in searching for that dream job/project in their advancing years.

There are a lot of people who truly do not value self-development as much as those of us mature students who spend many hours gaining extra qualifications with a continual hunger for learning.

This week I am faced with making a few myself..and I am deliberating..time for cuppa and a choccy digestive – easy decision for me!


Working for experience

Over the past few weeks I have had several chats with fellow professionals about the value of experience and what to encourage our children to get on their CV.

I am still working on projects for experience for my own newly acquired skills and this never ends if you have a hunger for learning. Whilst we don’t want our children to be exploited there is no getting away from the fact that they do need to do voluntary/community work and preferable within the chosen field of their proposed career.

Recently I met and chatted to somebody from a national charity who agreed volunteers often go on to be offered permanent position. Reverting to the subject of students; they of course need to be able to impress their selected universities that they are right for their course and an excellent candidate for their university.. So that personal statement needs to demonstrate good social skills -remember it’s not just about the exam results.

Please visit Innovate My School’s website and view my articles on tips for writing personal statements and developing social skills:-