Fantastic Sh*t for Learning


Picture by NASA :) (via Unsplash)

It has been a long time since I penned a post on the blog.

I did actually write a full long-winded entry back in October – that in the haze of pre-7am commute to work got deleted. My patience wore thin pretty quickly in trying to recover it. Then I go distracted by How to Get Away with Murder & The Apprentice.

Yes I really am embodying being 23 to its fullest!

In the same theme of pretending I have my shit together (which I definitely don’t!) I’m going to pretend that because it’s been a year since I graduated university I have some words of wisdom to pass on.

Although this post is nothing to do with graduation. Or advice. But I’ve started writing this on a Sunday night and I think my brain has finally given up! So ignoring my inability to coherently explain what this post is about – this is a post highlighting some COOL learning SH*T that I am obsessed with!

Now before you roll you eyes & click away to watch some more cat videos on YouTube, this ‘ain’t anything like ‘learning’ at Uni!

These are 4 things that I have been reading/listening/playing around with which have made me really engage and appreciated some of the incredible things people are doing.

The problem you sometimes face, both whilst at university & once graduated, is that you only take in content that is directly involved with what you are doing at that moment in time. So when writing an essay about Health and Safety at Festivals, you’re really only going to be looking at articles or books that explore H&S or Festivals. BUT if you took a step back and looked at H&S  within the context of live motor racing or even further afield into a manufacturing plant – you will start to notice processes and areas that have not yet been adapted or understood by those in festival H&S.

Looking outside of the bubble of one topic area or interest can hold great value in enhancing and developing your own thinking, and that’s why I want to share these 4 fantastic resources with you!

Wired mags

First things first – WIRED Magazine UK

The only resource on my list that cost money (but their website is 100% free!) I started reading Wired Magazine on a regular basis back in September. Prior to that it had been a website which had often came up when I was researching for pitches, but it is really amazing because it looking into many different industries and topic. The magazine, for me, encompasses everything I am interested in – technology, innovation, science, businesses, lifestyle! For example I’ve learnt about the company BioMASON & how Ginger Doisier (CEO) is created bricks that are grown from micro-organisms, a process that could dramatically reduce carbon omissions.

I have always been interested in hearing what other people do, both in terms of their work and interests, because I love to hear about things people are passionate about. I love hearing about things I just don’t have the knowledge or experience in. I wish I understood more about science and computing, I wish I was innovative enough to come up with some of the incredible and impressive things people are creating and changing about the world! And whilst I might not have the skills or knowledge in these areas, that great thing is that Wired enables me to understand a little more than I did before.

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Now onto my FAVOURITE podcast Distraction Pieces Podcast with Scroobius Pip

I’m not even exaggerating when I say this is a FANTASTIC podcast. It is literally amazing!

I would say this is more entertainment focused than the other three things, but fundamentally Pip interviews a different person each week from people like Simon Pegg through to Greenpeace! He includes quite a range of people, many who I’ve personally not heard of before, or never previously had a big interest in BUT that is what makes this podcast so great.

His interviews are in-depth, interesting and bring forward a lot of things you might not previously have known! One of my favourites was the Frank Carter interview – a musician I hadn’t heard of before, who doesn’t fit my normal musical tastes, but who’s interview was really interesting! So I hands down recommend that you go and give a few of these a listen!!

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And a close second – From Scratch

On the same theme with Podcasts I am a massive MASSIVE fan of Jessica Harris’s From Scratch. Whilst a ton more business orientated than Distraction Pieces, this offers an insight into how successful businesses are created! The amazing and interesting people/companies I have found via this is astronomical, and at 30 minutes they are a great one for short journeys.

If you are entrepreneurial or just want to hear about how cool things are created – then this podcast is well worth a listen!!


Picture by Markus Spiske (via Unsplash)

and finally Codecademy 

This one is a personal favourite! It is also site that came highly recommended by loads & loads of people when I first expressed an interested in learning Code!

If the name didn’t give it away this is a free website that teaches you how to code – I’m currently learning HTML & CSS but there are so many different Coding languages you can learn via the site! And did I mention it is FREE and incredibly EASY to use!?

I had tried a few different apps and online courses before I started using Codecademy and this trumps all of them by a mile! The simple customer journey and ease of learning makes it one of the best and because it is broken down into simple manageable chunks – you can easily spend as little as 10 minutes a day on it!

So there you have it,  just a few cool things to get you thinking (& learning!)

I kinda feel like I have a duty to share these resources, because whilst I’m happy to use them all on my own it only seems right to let you guys in on the secret! So please let me know if you check any of these out, or even better if you have a few suggestions of things I should be using/listening too –  I’m a big fan of podcasts (especially Serial) and websites/blogs!

Feel free to either leave suggestions in the comments or drop me a tweet (@imdamnstudent). And because it might be a while till you next see an update on the blog, a reminder that you can find me on Instagram and occasionally blogging over on The Olive Fox!


Is University a chance to work hard or play hard?


Picture by Chiara Pinna (Via Unsplash)

As we move closer to the start of the academic year I bet there are a small handful of you who are about to be starting your first year as an Events Management University Student.

To you I say GOOD LUCK & why yes, this blog does cover a ton of topics that will help you navigate the next four years! In fact I’ve gone as far as to create a simple navigation system at the top which splits all the hundred and hundreds of blog posts into simple areas. For example as a first year student all you need to do it click the University header, and head down to Freshers & there you will find all the posts written specifically for you – such as today’s topic! It’s because I’m considerate like that (plus I’ve been in the same position as you – be it a few years ago now)

I’m looking to help answer a question that gets a fair amount of attention. It was a question that I remember asking when I started way back in 2010, and one I continue get asked for students year after year.

How much focus you should have on the academic side of your degree in first year?

Let’s clear up a very important point first – whilst first years doesn’t SPECIFICALLY count towards your overall degree classification it is a vital aspect of your degree. Hence why you are required to spend 3 years studying at Uni instead of just 2.

It is a building block opportunity. A time where you are able to experiment, learn and develop the skills needed to write the academic essays, understand the industry & explore your options!

The simple answer is that YES you should work hard in this first stage, but in saying that it also depends on what is important to you.

If you’re heading to university because you’re wanting to gain a high degree classification, go on to land your dream job & subsequently dominate the industry once you graduate – then you’re automatically going to be more work focused.

Alternatively if the social side of establishing friendships, adapting to living away from home and getting to experience the other perks of Uni is of high importance – then that’s where your focus is going to be.

However there might be a fair few of you who are a split of the two. Wanting to get a good grade but also enjoy the social side. If that’s you then we’ve got a tricky balancing act on our hands. Because the real question is can you really work and play hard? Or is one always going to have to take priority?

I have the great benefit of being able to look at this scenario knowing what I know now. Which is the experience of studying Events Management for four years, working in the Events Industry for the last 14 months & being slightly self-indulgent in thinking this makes me an semi-expert.

Yes you can definitely do both & I think it is important to value both sides of what university can offer in your first year. When we talk about ‘working’ hard at uni it doesn’t just mean focusing on the essays and academic side, but rather it encompasses the focus on gaining invaluable experience. Because the thing is – and this news shouldn’t really surprise is you’ve looked in to or spoken to anyone in the events industry – that experience is of equal importance to your academic development.

Whilst a lot of people might preach that the academic side holds the most value & concentrating on your studies should be your number 1 priority, my view-point is a tiny bit different.

While you are spending a tiny fortune on this part of your life, you need to understand and learn about what is important to you. You don’t just go to university to gain a degree, you also go there to grow and develop as a person. The skills you will learn are going to cover many different areas from research, time management through to taking criticism and working within teams. And that doesn’t just come from concentrating on what your lecturers give you, but also from everything your campus and uni has to offer. Becoming a member of a society or sports team, working at the student bar, meeting people with like-minded interests and experiencing the whole package of what University offers is going to teach you as much as the academic side!

So in answer to the question Is University a chance to Work hard or Play hard? it is a chance for BOTH.

Of course if you wanted me to recommend ONE THING that you should concentrate more on in first year, it would be – build you connections and experience through volunteering, internships and networking. Doesn’t matter how small; from stewarding at a festival right through to office administration for an events company. Each thing you do will help build you own confidence, understanding and development within this exciting and vast industry!



@imdamnstudent@blogbykobrakFacebook & Instagram

This post is part of the Bullish Blog Network 


Let me explain…


Photograph by Garrett Carroll (via Unsplash)

You might remember a few months ago I wrote this post on why I take breaks from the blog, and the reasons as to why I have become disengaged with elements of blogging.

It has been over two months since that entry & it might be apparent from the lack of posts that my feeling on this topic are much the same. I know there are many people within the confines of the blogging/vlogging community – regardless of the subject of content they produce – who have very similar feelings to me.

Personally as a reader of many blogs, I’ve found myself consolidating what I read and spending more time going back to blogs where the content is really strong. I don’t have the patience to read posts that hold no originality or aren’t telling me something new.

Because I’ve been writing this blog for over 4 years, I feel a sense on obligation to explain where my feelings on blogging are right now & how that’s been effecting this blog.

I left University over a year ago, and I’ve been working at GPJ for just over 10 months. I’m not in the same environment as when I started this blog, and alongside the continuous learning, my priorities have changed.

The piece of information/knowledge below is the main reason I’ve made the decision to take a drastic look at this blog and my place within this area.

Content shouldn’t be produced for the sake of having content.

I believe that the value of content comes from saying something that needs to be said.

Creating content that will lead somewhere.

Content that is different, innovative and is not just repeating information others have said before.

Sure, I’ve been guilty of writing posts that are just duplicates of pieces I had written in the past. Posts that hold no value, all because I have been focused on putting up regular content at least once a week. However this becomes tiring, unfulfilling and quickly begins to feel like a chore.

That mentality means what is being produced doesn’t reflect what could be written.

I feel like the worst thing I could do is try to force ideas and posts. And I don’t want to write inadequate content, or worse make you read pointless posts.

Maybe now is the point to state quite boldly that I WILL CONTINUE TO WRITE THIS BLOG.

However I won’t be:

Writing on any set days

Posting weekly (or making any promises about when things might appear)

Apologising if there are long periods of time where nothing is uploaded

I want to be excited about sharing a piece of content. I also want the posts to add value. To be writing about topics that are interesting, that spark conversation and create a discussion.

But more than anything I want it to help students.

The other reason I’ve pushed blogging to the back seat, is because I’ve taken on some other responsibilities. I am a member of ISES UK, the International Special Events Society, and am sitting on the Education Committee. Which means I am still continuing to work with students but am getting to work with fantastic event professionals who have greater contacts, experience & understanding of how to help bridge the gap between what students get taught & what the industry is looking for!

I love writing this blog, it’s led me to some great places and giving me a platform I never thought I would have. But I don’t want to feel pressurised or overwhelmed about having to keep it updated.

Writing this blog is a hobby, separate from work, but something I do because more than anything I want to help make sure we continue to develop and enhance this industry.

And like a lot of things that starts with education!

So in summary:

I am still here, just won’t be pretending to stick to a schedule. Instead posts will appear sporadically when something interesting needs to be shared.

The content is going to be more focused, and more detailed. I want to start conversations (or at least make you think!)

But in true I’m a Damn Student style everything is still going to continue to focus on you guys, Event Management Students!


As always you can find me personally on Twitter @blogbykobrak & Instagram blogbykobrak – both of which are places I spend too much time!!

You can keep updated with the blog on both Twitter  @imdamnstudent & Facebook!

And if you are an Events Student – either about to start, currently at Uni, or just Graduated (Congratulations!) – I highly recommend joining #EventStudents Facebook Page & following @EventStudents1 (and the hashtag #EventStudents) on Twitter!