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INSPIRING WOMEN IN TECH…. AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM

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A recent “Women in Technology” study carried out for PwC concluded that females are not considering careers in technology because they do not have enough information about working in the sector and it is rarely proposed as an option for them.

A lack of female role models reinforces the perception that a technology career is not for them. Only 22% of students questioned could name a famous female working in technology. Two thirds named a famous man working in technology.

Having been inspired by several women over the years I think it is time to change that statistic. Here are five women who have made their mark in the world of technology, try to think of some yourself!

icon We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.

SHERYL SANDBERG
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1 – Martha Lane Fox – lastminute.com

We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.

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2 – Sarah Drinkwater – Google Campus London

Sarah has the top spot on the campus and has been well placed to actively push to make the role of women in technology stronger. Launching Campus for Mums, which is a project she feels passionately about has seen a baby friendly startup school relieve a huge burden for many women in her community. Her lesson to us all is to keep learning – stay curious as she puts it, and never be afraid to have a voice, even if that seems terrifying. Women need to be brave, challenge the stereotypes and ask for what they want.

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3 – Dr Sue Black – Savvify

With a massively intimidating list of accomplishments under her belt, Sue is the founder of Savvify and a leading campaigner for equality and support for women working in technology. Her advice to all women is to make some noise. Self-promotion is vital, so you need to spend time talking to people, sharing yourself and your skill set. Find out what is required to move up and work to that goal.

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4 – Nikki Cochrane – Digital Mums

Digital Mums is a project seeking to return mums to work by helping them work in social media. The company was founded by two strong women, Nikki’s business partner is Kathryn Tyler. Her advice to women looking to move up in technology is to form strong working partnerships with other women who have the same passion and vision. Using skills to complement each other will help you both rise higher.

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5 – Robyn Exton – HER

Digital Mums is a project seeking to return mums to work by helping them work in social media. The company was founded by two strong women, Nikki’s business partner is Kathryn Tyler. Her advice to women looking to move up in technology is to form strong working partnerships with other women who have the same passion and vision. Using skills to complement each other will help you both rise higher.

 

Amazing Right?!

In looking at these 5 women one major thing strikes me – they are all different! They have different backgrounds, different stories and different motivations. Choosing a career in technology is not about confirming to stereotypes, it is about being yourself. Girls and women owe it to the technology sector to move in – it is suffering without them!

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05 September 2017

SPEAKING UP: 7 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS

are full of comments from teachers saying that I should contribute more to classroom discussions. When I was 11, the headmaster at my new secondary school held weekly discussion lessons with every class. I used to get so worried that I was going to be asked to say something I told my mother. She asked what the next discussion subject was – testing on animals - and we researched it together and planned something for me to contribute. I repeated it, word for word in the lesson. It wasn’t earth-shattering or particularly profound, but I left that lesson on such a high. Many studies have concluded that it is common for girls and women to remain silent – in the classroom, lectures and the workplace. It has been suggested that if a female student does not speak up in the first couple of weeks on her university course she will never do it. There are many reasons cited as to what causes this unwillingness to speak up. Most studies conclude that it is simply a result of years of conditioning in a society that expects women to behave in a certain way. Rather than dwell on the causes here, I want to offer a few tips to girls and women on how to make this easier for themselves: 1. Be prepared – research the subject It is easier to speak up if you have something ready to say, like my cruelty-free make-up comment in that lesson when I was 11. Yes, my heart was beating so loud I am surprised anybody could hear me, but I just went into auto-pilot because I knew what I was going to say. I didn’t have to worry about the subject or the sentence composition. 2. Pick up on somebody else’s comment and add your own perspective There is no harm in saying ‘I agree with Lesley when she said that animal testing should be banned and ….’. Many women do not speak up because somebody else (usually a male colleague) has already said what they wanted to say. Whilst I hate people repeating themselves, making people aware of your opinion is great, and if you can elaborate a bit too all the better. Just because you took time to think about the subject before making your comment does not mean that it is not worth saying. 3. Encourage each other Ask for support from each other. There is a perceived ‘safety in numbers’ thing going on. It has been proved that women contribute more to discussions when they are in small groups. By saying something like ‘Sarah, I remember you said earlier, when we were talking that you always buy your makeup from a special shop because they have a cruelty free policy …’. That makes it feel more like a conversation between the two of you, that you are inviting the rest of the room to. 4. Build a relationship with the lecturer Lecturers are only human – their instinct is to keep the lecture moving and interesting. This means that they are more likely to accept the answers from the students who rush to raise their hands, or even just shout out. They will not necessarily seek input from the more reserved members of the class. Speak to the lecturer in private and let them get to know you. You could even explain how you need encouragement to get involved in discussions. Give them permission to call your name out in lectures. Speaking up will be easier if you know them a bit better and they know you. 5. Support each other It is common for girls to get interrupted by boys. If you see that happening in a lecture, try to bring the discussion back round to what they were saying like this ‘I think Hannah still has something to say …’ or ‘As Hannah was saying earlier ...’. Hopefully they will return the favour in the future if necessary. 6. Recognise role models Outspoken female students are often teased or regarded with contempt by other women. This often stems from one’s own fear of being unable to compete. This only encourages other females to remain silent. Remember the outspoken ones are probably conquering the same concerns you have. Watch them, learn from them, support them. 7. Guide the lecturer It is common for lecturers (even female ones) to give more attention to the male students. If you see that happening point it out to them after the lecture. They will probably not know that they are doing it – they have been subjected to the same societal influences as the rest of us. Encourage them to wait a little longer for responses to their questions in lectures. Going back to that discussion at school when I was 11, it is not an approach I used much in my school career, something I regret today. I spent my university career not talking in lectures, and avoiding seminars where I knew I was expected to speak. I know I missed out on a lot, and that I didn’t get the best of my time at university. I found my voice much later, but the longer you leave it the harder it becomes to speak-up. I want all those girls starting out on their university careers over the next few weeks to recognise that they do have something worthwhile to add to the discussions, and to force themselves to speak up. They will not regret it.

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01 September 2017

THINGS I WISH I HAD KNOWN AT 20

rn, and sometimes when we look back at our lives you wish you could go back and tell yourself things you haven't’ had time to work out yet. At 25 most of us have been out in the big wide world for many years, maybe with children of our own. But there are still gaps in our knowledge that can only come from more years on this big rock. Here are some things I wish I had known at 25. 1 – It’s OK to ask for help Whether we are struggling as a new parent, or just finding things difficult, asking for help is perfectly fine. It is a good idea as fighting on alone feeling stressed and fed up is more detrimental to our health and wellbeing than asking for help. It doesn't matter who you ask; there is no failing. Ask a friend, a relative or a professional counsellor; everyone needs help with certain things at some point in their lives. 2 – Try and Save Money doesn't ever seem important when you are younger. Living hand to mouth and spending the excess works for most young people but there comes a time when you really should think about saving something. It doesn't have to be loads; it just means you have a little bit of money when you need it most. The older you get, the more you will see the point of savings accounts. 3 – Change is good Remember when you were at school and teachers tried to convince you to pick a career path as if your life depended on it - they were wrong. Change is great; change is part of this road we call life. If you are not able to change your situation, then change your response to the situation. If you can change your job, where you live, or who you live with - then do it. Life is too short to be unhappy, the only bars we have in life are those we impose on ourselves. 4 – Learn to forgive Forgiving and letting go of things and people that have wronged us is hard. But if you carry grudges and bad feelings the only damage you are doing is to yourself. You cannot account for the behaviour and actions of other people so stop trying. Surround yourself with individuals who love being in your company and do their best never to hurt or upset you, and remember to keep conflict in perspective. There is a lot of wrong in the world as it is, don’t add to it by over inflating a squabble or cross word. Forgive and let go. 5 – Take care of yourself You only get one body so take care of it. Losing weight gets harder as you age trust me! It is easy to think it doesn't matter what you eat or how you treat your body because old is forever away, but not as far as you think! Embrace self-care and look after the skin you are in. Enjoy your life and try and surround yourself with as much positive as you can. You will still be learning when you are 60, 70 and even beyond, so accept advice and live your life.

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27 August 2017

IF SHE CAN SEE IT, SHE CAN BE IT

atable Role Models My first non Saturday job was actually a tech role, I realise now. At the time it was just a less boring way to make some cash than working in a shop, cleaning rooms in a hotel or the dreaded waitressing, all of which I tried, none of which I excelled at. I worked for my local council, creating content for and updating their YouthZone website – an online hub for council services, a youth services directory and a way for young adults to take pride in their individuality. I coded a little, I used a CMS a lot, I designed pages to generate traffic volume, and I sourced creative content ranging from “photo stories” (a bit like the 00s version of Instagram or Snapchat stories) to curating questions for our Agony Aunt, Ask Abi. The site – or platform, as it would be called now – was ahead of its time. This was 2004. There was no Facebook, no YouTube for videos and advice, no Buzzfeed, no Instagram stories, text messaging was still at the stage where you could save 10 max and the iPhone wasn’t invented. This was just 13 years ago. And I loved it. I had an unconditional offer from Warwick University to study Politics and International Relations. A top 5 uni, brilliant career prospects and a chance to study something I loved. But, one lunch break, I called up Hull University and arranged to go up to their Scarborough campus to meet the course tutor for the Digital Arts and New Media degree programme at the only Centre for Internet Computing in the UK. It was eye-opening. A room full of iMacs, coding labs named after different types of coffee and a course nobody had heard of. Even the course tutor told me I’d be nuts to turn down Warwick for a place where you could get in with Cs and Ds, but that’s what I did. With hindsight it was the best career decision I made. Everything was fast and crazy and I was caught up in a world where I felt anything was possible. The course opened my eyes to a world of endless creativity and importantly, constant change. Nothing stayed the same and I loved that. We explored new and emerging technologies. We learnt to write SMIL (anyone still use that? Nope?) HTML and CSS, studies web standards and accessibility, and the psychology of internet behaviour. We visited the University’s campus in Second Life. Everything was fast and crazy and I was caught up in a world where I felt anything was possible. Every lecturer and supervisor I had in my three years there was male. There were a few women, but they weren’t programmers or digital artists or designers, they were managing the courses, in the library, or doing the administration. I didn’t actually notice, not consciously anyway – I don’t think many girls do till it’s pointed out – but I did notice that girls on the courses were outnumbered 10:1 by the guys. I wasn’t alone – another techie-minded girl, Kit, was on a similar course to me. She was bright, ambitious and passionate about digital. We both spoke up in lectures, but I was a lot more vocal when Kit was there. I don’t think I realised that till later, either. It’s encouragement through presence, inspiration by simply being there. I think that’s still what’s missing. On the surface, there are more role models in technology for girls now. Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), Whitney Wolfe (Tinder), Susan Wojcicki (YouTube) are just a few. But they’re the “few” – the famous ones we’re told to look up to because if they can get there we can too. It doesn’t work like that. Role models have to be relatable. You have to be able to see yourself as them. In the words of someone much wiser than me, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. If you can’t see it, you can’t be itMARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN Kit inspired and encouraged me by simply being in the room. It wasn’t conscious. It wasn’t me thinking “wow, I have a mentor” or “I want to be like her”. It was a subconscious recognition of not being alone, and from this, being able to speak up. The future is digital. Many of today’s schoolgirls and university students will have jobs in technology. Some of their career paths won’t have been invented yet! Men will still dominate those careers, until things change. And they have to change. I want every girl to have a relatable role model. Someone she can look to, however unconsciously, and be reminded that she can be brave and she can be brilliant and she has a right to speak. Just like I had. That’s one small way the world will change.

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10 August 2017

10 FACTS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH IN TEENAGE GIRLS.

mental disorders start before the ag e of 14 and statistically girls are more at risk during the teenage years than boys. The good news is, as soon as a problem is identified, a plan can be put in place to help the p erson concerned. If you ’ re interested in mental health, or want to know some of the signs of men tal health issues in teenage girls, take a look at the fact below, and remember #ItsOkayToTal k. Anxiety and depression 1 in 3 teen 1 girls will suffer from anxiety and depression. This is a rise of 10% in the last decade. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/22/third-teenage-girls-depression-anxiety-survey-trend-truant Emotional maturity Girls mature emotionally more quickly than boys 2 . This could be what makes them more vulnerable to anxiety and depression at a younger age. How to spot anxiety and depression The key to overcoming anxiety and depression in teenage girls is to recognise the symptoms 3 and seek help as soon as possible. The first thing to n otice is withdrawal or if she stops doing the things she used to enjoy. Changes in habits As well as mood changes like sadness and irritability, qu estion changes in appetite, energy levels, sleep, problematic behaviour and academic performance as possible signs of mental illness. Internalised behaviour Anxiety and depression can be tricky to spot because someone suffering is experiencing a disturbed emotional state and can inter nalise this rather than playing it out externally as disruptive behaviour or similar. Th is withdrawal can have a Modern life Modern life offers a range of pressures for teenage girls 4. They are faced with school stress (both academic and peer related), body image, ear ly sexualisation, bullying on and off line and other stressors associated with social me dia. Be the best Girls often feel an expectation to be ‘the best’ 5 .They tend to be judged on results rather than skills which is a huge pressure. https://childmind.org/article/mood-disorders-and-teenage-girls/https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/parents-guide-to-teen-depression.htm https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/16/depression-mental-health-modern-life-young https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pressure-proof/201206/will-we-ever-let-girls-be-good-enough CBT/CAT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) can be hugely successful in treating mood disorders 6. They work by challenging negative thoughts. Arts Therapies Art, drama and music therapies take place in a therap eutic setting and encourage creative expression without using words 7. These therapies can be really helpful in communicating emotions, feelings and issues. This is a good starting point for treating mental illness. Mindfulness This is a popular word at the moment but has been shown to be very successful in treating anxiety and depression caused by stressful and b usy lives 8 . It allows people to reconnect with themselves and become more attuned to their emotions. Taking time to appreciate our physical surroundings and our own mental state is a balm against all the pressures of modern life, including th ose faced by teenage girls today. Although the statistics make for difficult reading, if we can raise awareness and remove the stigma of mental health, we have a good chance of tackl ing these uncomfortable emotions that teenage girls are experiencing. There is help out there that can help encourage good mental health well into adulthood. http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/young-people-stats.htmlhttps://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs--treatments/arts-therapies/#.WVomZsaZPq0http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/mindfulness.aspx

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05 August 2017

5 WAYS TO GET TO KNOW YOURSELF BETTER

rustrated with your life, but cannot quite put your finger on why? One of the most common stumbling blocks to not achieving the life you want is not knowing yourself. This might sound strange, but in the chaos of life, working, bringing up children, and making ends meet, we can lose track of who we are. These five helpful tips can help you get to know yourself better - which in turn will empower you to find your destiny. 1. Journal Keeping a journal is a tried and tested way of getting to know yourself. Using these prompts is a great way to start that journal, but the bottom line is you can write about anything that comes into your head. Sometimes we are so busy we cannot hear our voice over the internal chatter and are surprised by what comes out when we just allow ourselves to write. So pick a topic and have a go! What is your perfect day - describe it in detail What are your insecurities - this can be painful, but worthwhile What are your feelings about death, and what happens to people when they die What makes you angry and are there any people you are still angry with What do you like best about yourself - and what do you dislike 2. Learn a New Skill By undertaking a learning process, you will discover more about who you are, and what kind of learner you are. At school, we are all forced along the same path, no matter whether it fits our style of learning or not. There is a myriad of online courses available - some free, some not, and a range of colleges offering adult education. Try and step away from conventional subjects that you covered as a child and think about something that ignites your curiosity - astrophysics, crystal healing, the choices are endless! Pick one and see if you can learn more. If you can’t find a course, you can attend or afford - get a book on the subject and have a read. 3. Practice being grateful The gratitudes will always make an appearance when you read about self-discovery, and for a good reason. Most people sigh and roll their eyes when this comes up, but it is worth doing. It helps your to get a deeper understanding of what is important in your life. Writing down three things you are grateful for each day is an excellent way to start 4. Identifying strengths There are loads of online tools to help you identify your strengths, and your friends can be a great source of aid here. Ask a few close friends to list their top five qualities for you. This is not an exercise in feeling awesome but gives you an insight into the projection you are leaving on the world. 5. Take the Myers-Briggs test A widespread tool that can be found on the internet for free. It has been used by individuals and companies for decades and remains a favourite tool for learning more about yourself. You may be surprised about the result but it tends to hold true. Most people get the same result even after years of life changing experiences. There is also a wealth of information about your personality type once you have discovered it, to help you learn even more. Getting to know yourself is a valuable exercise that can help you if you feel that life has stalled and you are not making progress or meeting the people you believe you should. Acknowledging that we can be the block to our own life is painful, but less likely to happen if we take the time to get to know who we truly are.

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03 August 2017

FORGET PRINCESS, SHE WANTS TO BE A DEVELOPER!

cently where a heavily pregnant Ashley Asdourian introduced the main speaker. Emblazoned across her t-shirt were the words ‘Forget Princess, she wants to be a DEVELOPER!’ – it made me smile. There is a lot written concerning the low numbers of women going into STEM roles. Most articles I have read conclude that young girls need female role models to prove that it really isn’t such a bad career choice. Whenever I finish reading one of those articles I am left feeling a bit deflated, the whole ‘girls need role models’ thing always feels like an anti-climax. Today, after reading another one, it hit me why – I didn’t have any role models when I was a young girl. Maybe I was different – I still strive to do the opposite to what people expect me to do. I managed to make a career in IT without role models to aspire to. Or, maybe life is different today – young girls are exposed to role models for every aspect of their lives telling them what to wear, how to do their makeup etc. Perhaps they cannot make their own minds up without seeing somebody ‘famous’ doing it first? This seems a little too simplistic for such a complex issue. When I take a step back though, I find that I did have role models: my family. One of my earliest memories comes from my pre-school days. I was out with my mother at age 4 and we spotted a robin in the tree. That meant that I could put a sticky star on the chart when we got home. That ‘game’ included several scientific tasks – but it’s only now as I write this that it’s clear. There is the science of natural history and bird spotting; the data gathering and the visual representation of the data in the chart. A short leap to my current role as a BI developer, maybe that’s what sparked the interest. I have a father who loves maths (he still has his old maths log books and drawing tools). He jumped at the chance to help me with my homework at every opportunity. My maths homework was never a chore. I had a mother who encouraged me to use my logical brain – we used to sit working our way through books of logic problems and watching ‘Quincy’ on the television, talking about how I could be a forensic scientist – all before I was 10 years old. We moved on to cryptic crosswords when those logic problems got too easy! I spent my childhood playing with Lego and Meccano, both regarded as boys toys in the mid-1970s. Exciting Christmas presents included a calculator, a chemistry set and a microscope. I was lucky. The job I do today didn’t even exist when I was a young girl at school and that will always be the case in the fast-moving world we live in. More role models for girls would, I am sure, be a good thing. But I am convinced this starts at home. In the same way that you do not need to be an Olympic athlete to produce a young athlete you do not have to be a rocket scientist to encourage children to be curious. You just need to help them pursue their natural curiosity, whether that be in a STEM subject or not. One thing I will always be grateful for – my parents did not want a princess either.

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03 August 2017

5 WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS

some level of stress on a daily basis. Low levels of stress can motivate us and help improve our performance, but too much stress can have negative implications for our physical health and mental wellbeing. It can cause gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, anxiety and can even affect our memory. The great news is, however, that with a few lifestyle tweaks it is possible to banish the undesirable effects of stress from our lives. These five tips will help you rediscover your inner zen: 1. Jog your way to a runner's high In fact, any kind of exercise that raises your heart rate can work well to give you an endorphin rush. Endorphins are the body's natural painkiller and feel good chemical. A workout before a particularly stressful day or at the end of a tense day in the office can help raise your mood and help you sleep. The repetitive motion of exercise can put your mind into a meditative state and help you forgot your worries. Raising your heart rate can even reverse damage to your brain caused by too much stress. What have you got to lose? 2. Make a list If you have one or more big problems that you are worrying about why not try to break them down into smaller chunks. Making a list can help organise your thoughts and make the problems seem more manageable and less overwhelming 3. Be positive Try to laugh and be jolly. Humour reduces the stress response that your body has initiated. A good belly laugh stops stress in its tracks. Smiling and laughing also produces more of those feel-good endorphins as well as reducing stress hormones like cortisol. You could try meeting with friends who always make you laugh or watching your favourite comedy. This really doesn't feel like a chore, does it? 4. Appreciate the good things Just before bed at the end of each day, try writing a short list of good things that have happened that day, no matter how small. Showing gratitude for things that have gone well in this way can serve to improve your mood and help you sleep well. Doing this each night helps nurture a positive frame of mind. 5. Eat well The food you fuel your body with can dramatically influence your mood over time. Eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day has a direct link with increased happiness. Other food that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling include dark chocolate that can lower stress hormones, carbohydrates to increase serotonin production which boosts mood and decreases stress and omega 3 in oily fish which enables better connection between nerve cells. Warm drinks such as herbal teas and warm milk are soothing when you're having a stressful time. We can't always control the amount of stress that comes our way but we can learn to handle it better in order to improve our wellbeing and live a happier, healthier life.

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01 August 2017

HOW TO BE CREATIVE WHEN YOU FEEL SAD

an. Whether things are not going according to plan or whether you woke up feeling sad for no particular reason, the feeling can impact on your whole day and leave you in a negative place feel stuck. Being creative is an excellent way to release the sense of sadness, but many people believe that being sad is prohibitive to creativity. Here is a guide to getting your creative funk on when you are feeling blue. Acknowledge the Sadness It is perfectly acceptable to feel below par. It could be a one-off event or symptomatic of an underlying depression with life, and being creative can be therapeutic to both. Sometimes getting to the creativity stage enables you to see the answers to what might be a bigger issue. Be Kind to Yourself It is no big deal, so do not blame yourself. As mentioned above sadness happens, it is an absolutely valid emotion that stems from being human, so there is no reason to blame yourself at all. Creativity gives you a conduit to channel your feelings and release the emotions. Escape the World One of the things you need to guard against when you are overwhelmed by sadness is becoming a negative drain. If you are not careful, you will drag other people down with you so it is better to take some time out and self-heal - creativity is the perfect medium for this. So once you are in a better frame of mind, attempting creativity can be the perfect release. Here are some great ways to get started. Dancing There is an adage that claims you should dance like no-one it watching, and how true that is. Cranking up your favourite feel good music and have a dance, even if you are reluctant at first, can be a great release for creativity. Physical moment and the brain’s response to music will also release feel-good endorphins in the brain Writing Let it flow. It doesn't matter what form your witting takes, whether it is entirely off topic in the shape of fiction writing or releasing your emotions with a free flow passage or piece of poetry. Writing is the perfect outlet for clearing the brain and could lead you to some great ideas and inspiration. Penning a blog could also be a therapeutic read for someone else feeling down. Art Whether you like to draw or paint, getting your art attack on can be an intensely cleaning process. If you can, let your mood dictate the images and try and use a range of colours to explain in pictures how you have released the sadness. Cooking Many people turn to food when they are feeling below par. Our desire to nurture makes it a strong compulsion. Whether you use a time-tested recipe to make some tasty treats for friends and family, or whether you go rough and throw together ingredients to create a new culinary masterpiece you will find the sadness slipping away. This is in no way an exhaustive list of creativity, but it gives you great places to start. Learning to turn sadness into creativity can offer you the best self-therapy journey there is. Embrace your emotions and work with them.

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15 July 2017

WOMEN IN STEM (YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT) – PART 2

t for the pioneering women who helped to change the world, through their knowledge and application of STEM During times when women were marginalised, they didn’t always receive the credit they deserved, but we honour them here. Here is the second half of our list of 10 STEM superwomen: 1 – Maria Montessori First woman to enter medical school in Italy, qualified in 1896. Interested in psychology and child development, she realised that children could educate themselves through activities encouraging natural development and practical discovery. The Montessori Method revolutionised pre-school and primary education. Prince William’s son, George, attends a Montessori nursery. 2 – Lise Meitner Austrian-Swedish scientist who worked in radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner first discovered nuclear fission of uranium, which releases tremendous energy. This was of huge importance and impact, and is the basis of nuclear power and weapons. First woman in Germany to become a full professor in the 1930s. Ultimately, she fled to Sweden in the 30s, and then to the UK. 3 – Steve Shirley World’s first freelance programmer. ‘Stephanie’ started signing herself ‘Steve’ and found that people took her more seriously. She founded the software company F.I. Group in 1962. It was amongst the UK’s earliest start-ups, writing software only, run by women engineers who worked from home — all revolutionary at the time, and now, more commonplace. 4 – Rachel Carson Marine biologist and conservationist, is credited with initiating the global environmental movement and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Especially concerned with the dangerous ecological effects of pesticides like DDT, her book Silent Spring (1962) led to a ban on their use. The Green Party might not have existed without her influence. 5 – Ellen Stofan First female Chief Scientist at NASA (to Dec 2016) and She has researched the geology of Mars, Venue, Titan (Saturn’s moon) and Earth. She said we might be forming extra-terrestrial settlements within 10-20 years, starting on Mars. Of her women colleagues, she stated: "We are here, we are doing amazing science, and we are the role models for the next generation of STEM girls." Now you know their names, find out more about these amazing women. Take inspiration from them to do great things, yourself. Find 10 more!

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10 July 2017

STAYING MOTIVATED WHEN YOU WANT TO QUIT UNIVERSITY

a tough time in our lives. It is often a challenging period which is marked by studying, a job, and trying to maintain a social life all at once. Therefore, it can be very tempting when the going gets tough to drop out and seek another way forward in life. As university is no longer the only way for people to succeed and do well, a lot of individuals can drop out, and if they are of the right character and have a skill, can often build a life for themselves without the aid of a degree. However, there is a lot of merit to staying in university, and we’re going to look at how you can stay motivated. Be kind to yourself In the face of adversity and challenge, it is easy for us to look at ourselves with a more critical eye and be very harsh about our shortcomings. ‘I couldn’t do it’, or ‘it was my fault’ are often common thoughts, and can only serve to push you further and further down the path to dropping out and quitting. It is important to try and be kind to yourself wherever possible. You are after all at university to learn and progress. Therefore it is only logical that you will not be the best at everything. While recognising your shortcomings is a good way to grow as a person, you should also be realistic about your abilities. There will be enough pressure at university without you beating yourself up about what you have trouble with, and it is often said that you can be your own worst enemy. Keep your friends close You’re all in the same boat together. This means that other people are also trying to keep up with the work, trying to keep it all together, and trying to stay motivated. We know it can seem like everyone else is having a super rosy time and have everything together, but trust us, they don’t. By being open and honest about your struggles – whether you’re missing home or finding the work tough – you can help others in your friendship group to trust each other. It’s scary being vulnerable, but remembering you’re not alone is huge, and being brave enough to shout is important too. You can all lean on each other when times get tough. Whether it is taking a break from studying together, or doing your assignments together and having a friendly atmosphere, friends are a precious resource when it comes to staying motivated during university. Tell them how you feel, tell them why you think that you aren’t doing well; share all of your worries with them. You’ll feel better for having told someone, and they’ll be able to support you. Chances are they feel the same way. Avoid distractions Getting distracted during times when motivation is low is a terrible idea. Not only will you waste time surfing the internet or doing nothing, but you’ll still be unmotivated and possibly even have less time when it comes to assignments or coursework. The best way to try and bring back your motivation is to get rid of all the distractions that you may find yourself encountering, and instead focus on what you need to do. To do lists help some people (even if you include things you’ve already done to give yourself a head start!), and others will micro-schedule using their calendar. Take a break from your computer every 20 mins, just gaze into space for 20 seconds. Have a walk outside if you’re really struggling, this will help clear your head. We like aromatherapy diffusers with pure essential oils to help unfog the mind too. Think about where you want to go When you decide to do a degree, it is usually an indication that you know what you want to do with your life. You are working in a specialist field and aiming to become a professional at whatever it is that you want to do, be it a doctor, a teacher or an engineer. Try and visualise yourself at the end of your course. You’ve just graduated, you’re holding your degree in your hands, and everyone is so proud of you. This may help to serve as motivation to keep going. Overall, these are just a few of the ways that you can try and stay motivated at a university. It is a challenging time for students, as we have to juggle work, a personal life, and often some form of employment. However, staying motivated is critical to ensuring success, and there are lots of different ways that you can achieve this. One of the most important things that you can do is be honest with yourself and look at things realistically. You’re a student at university, and by no means, a professional in your field just yet, so beating yourself up for not being perfect in everything you do is silly. Relying on friends is also something which is very important, as it can sometimes be the first instinct of people to push their friends away and try and face challenges and difficult times alone. However, this is not a wise course of action, as you should instead lean on them to seek to get through the difficult times and stay motivated during your time at university.

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03 July 2017

THE TOP THINGS TO AVOID WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA P...

eat, isn’t it? You can connect with people who are in different parts of the world to you, old friends, new acquaintances. It brings people together in a way which has never previously been possible. However, it can also work against you when it comes to trying to get a job. This is because employers will often take a look at your social media profile to work out what kind of person you are when you’re not in an interview. It sounds like it shouldn’t be ok to do this, but it is. So, if you want to get ahead in your career, there are obviously going to be things that you shouldn’t include on your social media profile. This is to make sure that they don’t backfire on you when you’re trying to get employment. Today we’re taking a look at some of the things that you should avoid on your social media profile. Anything which could be considered offensive Humour, like most things, is a concept which is very much in the eye of the beholder. While you and your friends may find something on social media to be hilarious, there is every chance that a potential employer may not see in the same way. Anything which could be described as being in bad taste will reflect poorly on you, and mean that your employer will be making a judgement based on what they see. If it is sexual, heavily political or offensive to any culture or minority, then it should not be on there. Use the gran rule - If you wouldn’t want your gran to see it, chances are you don’t want your potential employer to see it either. Delete it. Anything which is rude to a current or past employer There’s nothing worse than having a bad day at work, and we all know it. Whether you work in an office or retail, it’s always a pain to come home and find yourself annoyed at the world. In those times, it can sometimes be very tempting to post on Facebook and have a real whinge about your boss or work colleagues and get it out of your system. However, our advice is, just don’t. Go to the pub, or for a coffee, or text your mates, but don’t post anything publically. Chances are, someone will see it and that’s a superfast road to trouble in your job. People have been sacked for less! Even if you’re not caught, anything posted publically about a previous boss will reflect poorly on you as a person. If someone sees that you’re prepared to say bad things about a company and potentially damage the reputation of the business, they’ll be less inclined to hire you and take that risk. If you do have to talk to someone about it, we suggest keeping it in the direct or private messages, and only then with someone you trust not to go shouting about it. Remember, pretty much anything can be screengrabbed. So what should I have on a social media profile? When it comes to your social media profile, the aim is to try and strike a balance between your personality and your professionalism. Talk about hobbies, interests and things which aren’t going to get you negative judgements. If you’re into Game of Thrones, then talk about that – that’s fine, but the world doesn’t want to know all the things you’d like to do to a naked Jon Snow, trust us. Again, the gran rule can help. Those pictures of you drunk on a night out? Delete them. Selfies in a bar with friends (pre-drinking sesh, obviously) they’re great, leave them. It’s all about making sure that there’s enough of your personality on there for it to be worthwhile but also making sure that you seem like a sensible and professional individual who can be hired. Overall, the social media profile you create – whichever platforms you use - is something you should exercise great care when posting on. Always make sure you review privacy settings – ensure it’s “Friends Only” on Facebook, and maybe consider a private Instagram or Twitter account. Don’t forget to review your profile and cover pics on Facebook too as they’re public. We know people who have been caught out by this. Most people post without considering the consequences of their words or pictures, and this can often work against them when it comes to seeking employment and seeming like a professional.It is so easy to get information about people, and employers know this full well and will often take advantage of the fact that people are using the internet to find out what they’re like behind closed doors. If you don’t make another account or restrict your profile with the privacy settings, then everything you post which may not be appropriate is at risk of working against you. It is really important that you think about what you post, and consider whether you would want a future employer to see it on your profile.

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01 July 2017

THINGS I WISH I HAD KNOWN AT 15

the more we learn - it stands to reason. However, when you are 15, you believed you knew everything and the world did function as you saw it then. Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to go back and tell your 15-year-old self what you know now! Here are just a few things I wish I had known at 15. It is OK to be different A lot of teen angst comes from the desire to fit, even if this means following trends or doing things we aren't really that struck on. At 15 most people don’t have the confidence to stand up and say, no I am different. But being different is awesome and perfectly fine. Try new things While life can seem big and scary, you need to get out there and try new things. Sometimes that means getting out of your comfort zone and going for it. New things are an excellent way to learn more and will help you be a more confident adult who is not scared to expand their horizons. 3 – Not knowing what you want to do is not the end of the world Despite the protestations from teachers that you must settle and plan your whole career before all the doors close in your face, this is simply just not true. Lots of adults still don't know what they want to do with their lives, and many of the most interesting people are those who continuously evolve and develop as they go. 4 – Mistakes are okay Never be afraid of making mistakes, it is how we learn. You will never stop making mistakes either, so you may as well get used to it now! Life is a constant stream of learning lessons, and that is the great thing about it. Learn to be graceful when you make a mistake, and you will go far. 5 – Enjoy your time It all changes so quickly. Once you are an adult, you will have loads of responsibilities and worries that you just don’t have at 15. You might thing your problems are the end of the world but trust me, when you are an adult you will long to be free and childlike again. 6 – School matters, but it is not everything We cannot all be good at everything so do not make yourself ill worrying about things that you cannot do. Some people have a talent for music; others are tone deaf. Some have a flair for art; some can barely draw a stick man. These individualities are what makes the world a colourful and bright place, so find your talents and enjoy them. 7 – Boys are ok, but not the most important thing At 15 many people feel if they have not found the one, they have failed. This is so wrong. As we grow, we evolve and change anyway. Many people do not meet the right person for years, and many people have more than one serious relationship over the course of their lives. There is no hurry! Chill and enjoy your youth. What things do you wish you could tell your 15-year-old self?

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01 July 2017

5 TRAITS OF EMOTIONALLY RESILIENT PEOPLE

l the challenges of life knock you harder than they seem to hurt your friends? Are you feeling drained or frustrated by life more than you are happy? Or maybe you have come across an emotionally resilient person and wondered how on earth they are managing to be so balanced and chilled in the face of adversity. Read on to discover five traits shared by emotionally resilient people. They Are Not Defined By Circumstances How often have you heard someone declare ‘My luck is awful’ or ‘Why do bad things keep happening to me?’. Well, emotionally resilient people know that life can just happen. It is not a personal attack, it is just a blip, and it will pass. We love to be creatures of control but there are things in this life that are not controllable so why get stressed and upset worrying about them. Rise above the situation and calmly look for a way to get back on track. They Accept Life is Not Perfect Acceptance is another big lesson we have to learn and goes hand in hand with the realisation that we cannot control everything. Despite our best efforts, life does not always turn out as we planned. This can either eat us up and become a massive weight on our shoulders, turning is into a negative ball of energy, or we can practice acceptance and move on. If you cannot change a situation then accepting it and working around it will give you a healthier outlook, and emotionally resilient people know this They Practice Gratitude Moaning is a modern day disease. Sometimes whole conversations between friends consist of a moan off about who had the worst day and why it was so awful. Gratitude is a huge part of being emotionally resilient. Instead of worrying about things that cannot be controlled and focus on what did not quite go according to plan, the ER crew focus on what they have to be grateful for. The fact you have got out of bed that morning and been given another day on earth is alway a good starting point, and after that - well, you decide. Keeping a journal of gratitudes is good mindfulness practice and something ER people do. They Have a Solid Network Some people are proper energy vampires. If you have friends, who do nothing but moan you are going to find yourself feeling very worn and negative very quickly. ER people have a network of individuals that are of the same mindset; their goal is to support each other positively. Yes, there are times we all need help, but you want to be looking to the practical and positive people for support and leaving the whinging downers behind. By all means, try and assist them at a later date, but they are not the circle to choose when you need support. They Have a Self-Care Regime To be emotionally resilient you need to practice self-care. It is all too easy to be swept along in everyone else’s dramas and forget to look after yourself. ER people understand that they must take the time to take care of themselves. Whether this is time to meditate or time to walk in the countryside. If you are always shelving your own needs for everyone else, you will lower your resilience and become vulnerable

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13 June 2017

WOMEN IN STEM (YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT) – PART 1

t for the pioneering women who helped to change the world, through their knowledge and application of STEM. During times when women were marginalised, they didn’t always receive the credit they deserved, but we honour them here. Here is the first half of our list of 10 STEM superwomen: 1 – Hypatia of Alexandria Greek mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and first female head of the Neoplatonic school in Roman Alexandria (Egypt). Her work with astrolabes helped to map the stars and she reputedly invented a hydroscopium – a water-powered clock with gears (like the Antikythera).She was murdered in AD 415 by a Christian mob for her ‘pagan’ beliefs in science’. 2 – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Introduced smallpox inoculation to Britain. After witnessing women in Turkey using pus from a smallpox blister in scratched skin to provoke immunity, she had her children inoculated and persuaded the Princess of Wales to protect her daughters, too. She published an article advocating it in 17 Without her work, Edward Jenner’s later vaccine wouldn’t have been possible. 3 – Laura Bassi Italian scientist and first woman chair of physics at a European university (1776). She was an early proponent of Newtonian physics and the only female member of a special group of 25 scientists appointed by Pope Benedict XIV: the Benedettini,. She introduced Newtonian physics and Franklinian electricity into European academia. 4 – Beatrix Potter (b. 1866) Aged 21, she was the first Briton (and amongst few in the world) to notice that lichens were two different organisms: alga and fungus, living together in symbiosis. Better known for her animal stories (like Pater Rabbit), she was a fierce campaigner for conservation, bought up 4000 acres of land in the Lake District, and left them to the National Trust. 5 – Grace Hopper Mathematician, Computer Programmer, Military Leader. The first woman Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University (1934). In 1952, she created the first compiler for computers – a precursor to the high-level language, COBOL. She became known as Grandma Cobol, and popularised programming languages independent of machines – enabling future coders. She was also a U.S. Navy rear admiral. Find out more about these amazing women, and try to guess who we picked for the next 5!

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12 June 2017

5 ENERGY VAMPIRES YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF

e everywhere, and if you are not aware of them and how to spot one, you could find yourself feeling utterly exhausted for no reason. Anyone has the capability to be an energy vampire, so we also have to guard against becoming one. No matter how well you get along with someone they could still be zapping your energy, as they feed of your empathy and sensitivity, traits which they lack themselves In many cases it is because you have natural desire to help and heal, and they are attracted to you as they see you as way to resolve their issues. Here are some of the vamps you need to be aware of. Social Vampires This is not found on many traditional lists, but it is becoming more and more of an issue. Facebook, in particular, can be a massive energy drain, playing host to numerous vampires in various guises. Whether they are your friends or strangers, you see in groups, if you are not aware you can find yourself the victim of a nasty vampire bite. Even the constant stream of bad news stories can take their toll on your psyche and leave you feeling battered and exhausted. Unfollow, Remove from Newsfeed and Block need to become your best friends. Judging Vampires Those people who struggle to find their self-worth can become bullies without even realising it. They are often found playing judge and jury to every decision made by their peers. It is a defence mechanism and a way for them to feel better - by proving that someone else is not doing so well. Limit your contact with these people and remember that only you can place a feeling of self-worth on your head. If you are happy with your decisions, do not let anyone else shake you. Drama Queen Vampires You will probably all know someone who cannot get enough of the drama. I call them the soapies - they live their lives as if it was a filmed episode of a high drama soap opera. There are no real issues here, but that doesn't stop them creating a bit of panic and drama. The phrase ‘Not my circus, not my monkey’s’ is paramount here. Do not allow yourself to be caught up in their crazies, smile and create distance. The Great I AM Vampire These folks just love themselves and love to talk about themselves. There is not an iota of recognition that other people might need sympathy or empathy - it is all about them and their world. They are seeking ego food, and you need to guard against depleting your resource to pander to them. Again try and spend less time around them, or let what they say bounce off and away. Innocent Vampires Not everyone is aware they are a vampire. There are some genuinely lovely souls out there that mean no harm they are just truly helpless and do not know how to help themselves. They are constantly looking for someone to pick them up and fix them. It reminds me of a childlike state where they need the nurture of a parent but cannot have it. Gentle and limited help is fine, but do not let your energy become the victim.

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06 June 2017

4 WAYS TO STAY POSITIVE WHEN YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY NEGATIVE PE...

n be challenging to deal with, partly because their constant complaining can cause your own mood to deteriorate. However, it's very hard to put any distance between you and them when you're in the same environment, whether it's school, college, or university – or perhaps even a housemate. It can feel as though the black cloud is following you around too. There are however a few things you can do to maintain your own happy mood and dodge the negativity. 1. Choose not to engage You can't change their behaviour but you can control the way you respond to it. Keep interactions short and efficient, don't stick around to listen to anything that isn't essential. Try not to show any sympathy for the negativity. Put as much distance as you can between them and you because it could affect you and your emotions, as well as the way other perceive you. If you do find you rself engaging then choose to step away and don't over analyse. You'll find it's a wast e of time and energy making sense of it. You're much too busy making a success of yoursel f to become involved! 2. Choose your battles If you engage in an argumentative way each time the person frustrates you, it will reflect badly on you. Avoid petty exchanges, control your emotions and walk away. Take the high road and seek out some positive people who make you feel upbeat and cheerful. 3. Surround yourself with supportive people Build up a network of people that you can talk to when things get tough. Have the emotional intelligence to recognise when you need to seek out some objectivity and a different perspective. This can be friends or mentors. Positive people who can help you to find humour in a situation are great to have around you. 4. Look after yourself Negativity can really affect your happiness and wellbeing. Work hard to maintain your positivity. The tone of your outlook affects your personal success. Setting your attitude is your choice, make it a positive one. Whilst you can’t always change someone else’s outlook on life, you can choose to not let it negatively affect your own. Use the tips above and you’re sure to rebuff any negatively sent your way.

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