Claim It Week 2017: There’s an App for That!

This week is Claim It Week at King’s; helping you to stretch your money that little bit further by making sure you claim everything you’re entitled to.  In this spirit, our thrifty Student Money Mentors Claire and Stefani were only too happy to contribute to the blog this week, with a review of money saving apps for everything from the best supermarket deals to making the most of the leftovers in your fridge!  Check back this time next week for part 2. 

There’s an App for That

Apps, apps everywhere, click them here, click them there. On your phone, on the go, where they’ll stop, no one knows!

Modern technology has brought us contactless so we can pay with the tap of a card, or even Apple pay, where we can spend money with the tap of a phone! It seems that modern technology is out to get us to spend spend spend rather than save.

But, do not fear, some apps are designed to help us save a penny here and there.

We have filled up all the memory space on our phones with multiple apps and tested them, so you don’t have to:

1. MY SUPERMARKET

supermarketYou may have heard of the MySupermarket.com which compares the price groceries across different supermarkets, but you don’t really want to bring your laptop to Tesco with you while you are scanning the shelves. Luckily, they have developed an app!

If you create your weekly shopping list on your phone, they will immediately tell you which supermarket is cheapest and if there is a special offer going on. You can even scan barcodes in store and the app will tell you if it is cheaper somewhere else instead. Sneaky I know. It almost feels like cheating… But with less of the drama and more of the discounts.

2. OLIO

olio2This is a personal favourite of mine. It is an app whose aim is to reduce waste and enhance community spirit. Cafes who would usually throw away perfectly good food at the end of the day instead donate it to Olio volunteers who advertise it on the app. You can then collect the food at a time arranged between you and the volunteer, and thus reduce food waste.

There is also a non-food section where anything from sofas to candles are donated and you can agree to pick it up. If you are in need of something, you can post it on the ‘Wanted’ list and if someone else has that item, they can contact you.

3. HAPPIHOUR and DRINKI
DrinkiEvery hour is happy when you know you are getting a bargain so download these apps to maximise discounts. The former gives 50% discounts off food and the second *free* or half price drinks.
HappiHour is available at several cafes and restaurants and the deals vary depending on the day and time. Sometimes they will throw in a free meal if a new branch has joined the app, but mainly it is a buy-one-get-one free app.

Drinki2Drinki gives you a free drink if you share your location on social media to advertise the lucky venue and you can claim one every night. Again, check before you head out as the offers are valid at specific time on specific days, but if they don’t give you a free drink, they will usually give you an offer instead

4. SPENDING TRACKER

This is a budgeting app that allows you to input your expenditure and income daily. It also has a budget mode where it allows you to input how much you plan to spend and track how much you have left of that budget. There is the option of carrying over the unused budget to the following month. The expenditure portion is broken down into common categories (e.g. holidays, shopping, books, etc.) and it allows you to create your own categories.

The picture below  left shows the display of the accumulative balance (income and expenditure broken down to categories) and the balance per month. The picture below right is how to input an expense or income.

spending tracker1  spendingtracker2

It does require dedication and discipline, as you do have to input everything manually. However, it is very flexible, as it does not limit you to merely cash or card spending and you are able to change the dates of the transaction meaning if you forget to input expenditure from last week, you are still able to do so.

There is also a summary view of your current spending and it creates a report by charts of your income and expenditure, allowing easy visualization of where your money goes.

The picture on the left below is the overall summary of the month. The pictures on the right and below are more visual representations of expenses in a pie chart according to categories and a graph visualizing your cash flow across the different months.

spendingtracker4 spendingtracker5 apps graph

Another feature that would be worth pointing out is that the app can be password protected.

The Student Money Mentors are available on campus to give guidance on budgeting, discounts and deals to help you to get the most out of your money.  For more complex queries that require specialist and detailed advice, you can contact the Student Advice team for support. 

Anti Bullying Week 2017: Interview with a KCL Harassment Advisor

Jack-KilkerAs you probably know by now, this week is Anti Bullying Week 2017.  Throughout the week, we’re focusing on the importance of recognising, respecting and celebrating our diverse identities and experiences and empowering ourselves and others. It’s also crucial to know how to seek out support when we need it. Earlier in the week, we sat down with Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator and Harassment Advisor Jack Kilker, who explained to us how he and his fellow advisors can support KCL students on campus.

Can you explain to us what a Harassment Advisor does?

As a Harassment Advisor, it’s my role, as part of the Harassment Advisor Network, to provide information and guidance to students who make contact with us through the It Stops Here portal. Our aim is to be supportive and non-directive, and we work to provide a confidential service, meaning that we do not share the details of anything discussed with us with anyone else, unless we have to for the safety of others. We are there to listen, to understand, and to provide students with a number of options which they can follow in order for them to choose what they feel is most appropriate for them.

What type of issues can a student come to a Harassment Advisor with and how can they reach out?

Anything! It’s not a Harassment Advisors job to tell a student what does or does not constitute harassment or bullying, or to tell a student how to feel. If you feel that you’ve been in any way harassed or  bullied, (if you don’t know what those terms mean, here’s a handy guide) then please do speak to an Advisor, even if you decide that you don’t want to take your report any further.

You can speak to us by making an appointment through the It Stops Here portal.

Help, support, advice, guidance signpost.What can students expect when they meet with a HA?

We have a service users agreement which we all work to, and this sets our clearly what a student can expect from us, but also what we expect from a student using our service. We’re not a professional support service, nor are we the people you make a formal report to, and we cannot advocate on your behalf. We’re a first point of call, and someone with a lot of information to provide, who can help you work out what it is that you want to happen next for you, and how to go about it. At our most basic, we’re also just someone to listen and to help you decide what to do next

 What made you want to become a Harassment Advisor?

When I was at university, Harassment Advisors weren’t a thing. Even in just a few years, higher education has started to make so much progress and become so much more proactive about educating students and staff on what harassment is, and what we can do to try to stop it happening. Being a Harassment Advisor really appealed because I’ve been working in roles like this for a few years now, and I’ve collected a bit of knowledge about harassment along the way, and I think it’s important to use that and give it back, to try to make sure that we’re all working towards a society where harassment doesn’t exist anymore.

I also think it’s important that students who want to speak to an Advisor have as many options of people to speak to as they can, and can always be seen promptly. As a gay man, it’s important to me that if a student should specifically want to speak to someone like them about what they’ve experienced, that I can provide that for them. I’m also a Harassment Advisor for staff in the School of Law.

The theme of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week is ‘All Different, All Equal’.  What does this mean to you and how can we best ensure an inclusive campus?

alldiffallequalThis is such an important theme. Difference has always historically been seen as a bad thing, a reason to divide, a reason to other. Thankfully, in some parts of society, this is very much starting to change – difference has become, or is becoming, something to recognise, something to celebrate, something which can make us powerful. The idea of equality should not be far behind this. It’s something which is central to my work, to my politics and to my identity, and it’s something which we should all have a shared interest in working towards.

I think education is central to inclusivity. That could be through having a diverse curriculum and a diverse range of perspectives presented, so that individuals can learn about their own history and identity, but also about those of others, and recognise how the two differ and interact. It could be education in terms of naming harassment, bullying and discrimination, naming differences and naming our own experiences. If we understand systems of power and oppression, and if we have ways of naming, identifying and recognising this oppression, as well as our broader experiences, then we can start to call these out, to educate others, and to dismantle these systems. Education can give all people the power to recognise inequality, and understand the reasons behind it, and then enable them with the tools to work against this inequality. This is why education, in its many different forms, is so important.

Last year’s theme was ‘Power for Good’.  What is yours and how do you use it?

I love the idea of ‘power for good’, and the ownership that places on each individual to use their skills and experience to try to make a positive change. I think my power for good could be that I’m a good listener, I like learning from others and hearing what they have to say, challenging them, and using their knowledge to develop my own.

Any diversity and inclusion-related book recommendations?

Oh, I could go on, I have quite a few favourites at the moment!

To read, I have to say two. Fiction-wise, I would recommend ‘Call Me By Your Name’ written by André Aciman. It’s a love story between two men in 1980s Italy, one in his mid-twenties and the other in his late-teens. It explores romance, maturity, bisexuality, coming out, acceptance, and eroticism, and is absolutely beautifully written. It also doesn’t focus around some sort of ‘shock-horror he’s gay’ narrative or moment, it exists in world in which the characters understand themselves and their sexuality and work within that, rather than focussing on the reactions of those around them, which is really refreshing for anyone who’s read a lot of queer literature.

In terms of non-fiction, it has to be ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge. This is a powerful, challenging and incredibly honest account of Eddo-Lodge’s experience of race as a black woman and feminist. With an understanding of intersectionality at its core, this book accounts for the several years since Eddo-Lodge wrote a blogpost of the same name (‘Why I’m No Longer…’), and the responses she’s received to this from people of all races across that time period. It also builds on the original blogpost and discusses the emotional labour placed on people of colour, and especially on women of colour, when justifying and explaining racism to those who do not experience it.

Thank you Jack!

Remember, if you feel that you are experiencing bullying or harassment in any form, you do not have to tolerate it and there is a wealth of support on campus, both practical and emotional.

Anti Bullying Week 2017: Diversity and Inclusion at KCL

nicole walshTo kick off Anti-Bullying Week 2017, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Nicole Walsh helps us to reflect on this year’s theme of ‘All Different, All Equal’.   In this interview, Nicole considers how her role intersects with the aims of Anti Bullying Week, the value of diversity on campus and things that we can do to build a safe and inclusive community at KCL.  

Can you tell us a little about your role, Nicole?

I am a Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and work as part of the central Diversity & Inclusion team which sits in HR. As part of this, I lead on the It Stops Here project, which is King’s campaign to promote King’s as a space that is free from sexual violence, bullying and harassment, and am further reviewing and developing our work on BME Student Success. My role primarily involves collaborating with various faculties and departments across King’s to support them in their work on diversity and inclusion for students and staff, which includes providing technical expertise around our legal compliance to the Equality Act 2010 but also supporting them to embed the values of diversity and inclusion into everyday practice.

alldiffallequal

How do you think this year’s theme relates to diversity and inclusion and your role in particular?

Anti-Bullying Week is directly related to my work on It Stops Here. It Stops Here is a collaborative campaign by King’s College London and KCLSU to build an environment for all of our community so that they feel welcome, supported and safe regardless of who they are. This means ensuring that our staff and students have a shared understanding of consent and are adequately equipped to respond and intervene safely in situations where they see someone experiencing sexual violence, bullying or harassment.

As we know that bullying is often related to an intolerance of difference, particularly in regards to individuals who possess some of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, it is important to understand the relationship between diversity, difference and bullying. As an institution, we need to ensure every member of the King’s community is treated with respect, and their whole, authentic self can contribute fully to the university.

What are our responsibilities as members of the KCL community in creating a campus free from bullying and harassment?

I think we all have the responsibility to take the educational opportunities provided, and create our own, to challenge our own views and perspectives, and become aware of our own behaviours. We should intervene when we see peers or colleagues experiencing unwanted behaviour or attention and ensure to interrupt conversations or jokes that promote a culture of bullying and harassment. One way to get involved at King’s is to take the It Stops Here Pledge and undertaking some of the training we offer.

Why is it so important to celebrate difference and diversity within the university community?

As a global university, difference and diversity is a heart of King’s and the work that we do. Celebrating difference allows us to challenge preconceived ideas of who gets to go to university, and who gets to succeed at a university such as King’s. The more we are able to celebrate and centre difference, the better we will become at creating an environment where people feel they can bring their whole selves to our community.

How can we do this as an institution?

As an institution embedding diversity and inclusion into all of our work and decision making is key to being able to celebrate difference as well as to regularly challenge not only ourselves as individuals, but our institutional structures and processes. The way we work, sometimes just by unquestioned routine, can perpetuate institutional bias and disadvantage or marginalise certain staff or students that we work with.

We need to question how we’ve come to the decisions we have and where something doesn’t work- we need to have the courage to speak up and challenge it, in order to create an environment that enables everybody to not only be themselves but also allows them to thrive.

Last year’s theme was ‘power for good’.  What is yours and how to you use it?

Working in the D&I team is my power for good. It allows me to partner with teams and departments across the university and access the wealth of knowledge that we have available here at King’s, both in the research that is developed here and the brilliant professional services we have behind the scenes. Our team, with the support of the King’s community, is taking action to prevent bullying, harassment and sexual violence, creating a safe environment for staff and students which is something that I am incredibly proud to be a part of.   

 Do you have any top tips for reading around the theme of D&I?

As someone who is a huge fan of audio books, The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla is a book I would highly recommend. In the audio version, each essay is read by the respective author which brings the struggle and humour to life in a personal and powerful way.

Thank you Nicole!

Anti Bullying Week is a national campaign run each year by the Anti Bullying Alliance.  Please see the King’s Wellbeing website for a summary of Anti Bullying Week 2017 at King’s and sources of support if you  are concerned about bullying and harassment. 

Four Ways to Boost Wellbeing during Placement

Managing competing priorities is certainly something that all university students can identify with.  As the semester gains momentum, with academic work, social events, extra-curricular commitments and everyday tasks such as laundry and financial management, it can feel like a lot of plates are spinning in the air!  When we’re busy, especially with deadlines and placements, it can be so tempting to let some of our self-care activities drop to recoup some time for time-sensitive commitments.  However, if we want to be at our best, perform at our best and stay well in the long-term, it’s wise to prioritise our self-care.  This week, one of our Positive Peers share their four tips for wellbeing on placement.

As a disclaimer: I’m not a wellbeing expert, I’m a fourth year medical student who is making it up as I go along. . . but bear with me here, because in this blog I want to show you (and reassure myself!) that that’s okay, because maintaining wellbeing is something to be continually striving for and adapting in order to cope with what’s thrown at you.

When I began clinical medicine last year, being on placement myself and having conversations with friends about our experiences made me realise that although we were mostly enjoying ourselves and loved sharing anecdotes, it is also a strange and often difficult time. I became involved with Positive Peers because I wondered if anyone else felt the same way, and because I firmly believe that it makes no sense to follow a career aiming to improve other people’s wellbeing if you don’t think about how to maintain your own. As I enter my fourth year, the distance from the hospital I’m on placement at from the central London campuses means I am having to adapt how I am involved. . . welcome to this blog!

The reality is that being on placement has changed how much I can be involved in things that I love doing and has affected my wellbeing. As well as being a Positive Peer, all the other clubs, sports team, societies and events which provided such a well- needed break from medicine for me (and were a big part of what I enjoyed about university in the first three years!) are also more difficult to get to and commit to being involved with regularly. Long travel times and long days (hello, waking up at 6am, 45 minute journey and 7.45am start!), as well as the usual nasty transition back to university, learning things after a lovely lazy summer, the shortening days and cold weather have left me feeling exhausted, and really needing to focus on things I do to look after myself. Here are just a few:

download1. Reading! I would love this whole blog post to be about what I’ve been reading and recommending books I love and why*… suffice to say reading is something that always makes me feel better and there’s nothing better than having a good book to look forward to finishing at home.

images2. Good food cheers me up, and experimenting with new dishes and ingredients always feels like an accomplishment. Dedicating some time to cooking a meal is relaxing, as it requires your entire focus and gives you a tangible end result! Meal prep is an over-discussed phenomenon on the internet… but it cannot be denied that pulling out yummy, pre-made lunches out of the fridge is so satisfying!!

mloda-kobieta-cwiczenia-fitness3. I never fail to be amazed how much better going for a run or a gym class makes me feel…even if finding the motivation to do it is a huge struggle, it is worth it every single time!     (If you’re interested in the benefits of exercise, this is a great read: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/03/exercise-depression-disease-death-sit-less-move-more)

people-2567915_960_7204. Last and most important: get things in perspective! When I’m feeling overwhelmed I find that it’s nearly always helpful to talk to someone else. I’m incredibly lucky to have an amazing group of friends; one friend in particular never fails to cheer me up over a good phone chat. I can moan a little about my day, but conclude that it’s really just “all the usual stuff”, and reassuring her that actually I’m fine made me realise I’m fine too.

Do you find any of these things helpful? What changes have placement made to you, and how have these affected your wellbeing? I would love to know whether any of this strikes a chord with you; questions, comments, thoughts and suggestions are all so welcome! Maybe one of your comments will even inspire my next blog post J

*Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 10/10

 This post was written by a Positive Peer. The Positive Peers are health students who support other health students through wellbeing initiatives. Find out more about them here!