Author Archives: Tooba Haq

The University of Westminster talks about Mental Health and Exam Season

In a study done by ChildLine, it was found that 68% of students are anxious about their grades and exams and the effect it has on their future.

The study also said that 65% of children who had to do referrals were suicide related – this only emphasises the stress students face to get the best grades in their class, not taking into consideration their mental health.

Petsa Kaffens, a lecturer and personal tutor at the University, says that “People take on too much. They have lots of hopes and dreams and raise them too high to get work done in time. At least that’s my opinion”

For the first time, in a ChildLine study school and education problems appeared in the top ten concerns with a 200 per cent increase in counselling about exam stress. Counselling services can be found at the University of Westminster, either with personal tutors or the mental health team.

Some students like Lucy Tonge, had this to say about the de-stress week at Westminster and why it shouldn’t only be once a year.

The University of Westminster prides itself in helping the mental health and well-being of students. You can email the University for help at, or call them at +44 (0)20 7911 5000 ext 68229 if you need professional help.



What to eat in between revising for Exams

With over 3 million students around the UK giving exams during the May-June exam period, it is no surprise that the highest cause of concern is exam stress and anxiety.

In an Exam Survey Study conducted by ChildLine, 96% of the 1300 who completed the survey felt anxious about exams and revision. 63% of all students felt anxious about not getting a good job, or getting into a university due to doing badly in their exams.

One of the biggest factors is unhealthy eating and junk food that could decrease productivity in students. By eating well, even if its just an extra glass of water every day, can help your productivity.

Dr Mark Gardner, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, together with Dr Caroline Edmonds at the University of East London carried out a series of attention and memory tests on young adults before drinking water, after consuming 25ml and then 300ml. The results were that both groups were satisfied at 300ml with also reporting an increase in ‘good mood’ by almost 20 per cent after drinking the same amount.

Some foods to help with Exam stress and how to use your brain to full capacity are:

  • Bananas: They are known to boost serotonin in the brain, which helps elevate and stabilize mood. They also have a lot of potassium which leads to a stable blood pressure.
  • Fish: Known as ‘brain-foods’ are high in omega 3s and protein that keeps your brain working all day long. The best type of fish are oily such as mackerel, salmon and sardines. But, if you’re on a budget, Herring and trout work just as well.
  • Milk: A natural stabilizer of nervous system due to the amount of calcium in it. When a person is stressed, higher amounts of calcium is discharged through the body. Fix that intake with a glass of cold milk.
  • Citrus Fruits: Any type of fresh fruit is good for the brain. Citrus foods in particular are full of vitamin C. They’re a good source of folic acid which enables physical growth as well.
  • Water: Water helps with digestion, as well as hydration. When stressed, people forget to drink water which can lead to body aches and fatigue.
  • Spinach: Iron in spinach helps in developing a strong immunity and helps in developing social and aids in the formation of haemoglobin and essential enzymes.
  • Green Tea: A good source of caffeine, that isn’t energy drinks. Not only will the green tea clean your system from all the foods and binge-drinking you’re doing to cope with exam stress, they are filled with antioxidants and helps boost concentration.

De-stress with The University of Westminster

Kicking off exam season, the Student Union at the University of Westminster has organised a de-stress week that includes a nap room, free yoga classes and a handful of fluffy animals to deal with the stress of examinations.

According to a study by ChildLine in 2014, 58 per cent of counselling sessions in relation to school and education problems were about exam stress, a 200 per cent rise from the previous year. Now in 2017, It seems that the number is still rising as teens take to twitter to complain about their overbearing amount of work.

The Nap Room runs from May 8th to May 12th, and its Facebook event page can be found here. The Union started taking action due to the overwhelming amount of work students are facing with final year assessments and exam revision. One of the most famous and sold-out events of de-stress week is the puppy and bunny room, that allows students to play with adorable animals to calm them down from dissertations and final projects.

Pictures: University of Westminster Facebook Page


The University began the idea of bunny and puppy day last year and kept it this year due to the high demands. You can see the video of the day below.

Video: Smoke TV

With rising concern for exam stress and its effect on students, there is also a concern about eating disorders and self-harm being at a combined total of 34,000 people who use ChildLine yearly.

A press release from the University Health Awareness Day 2017 claims that, undergraduate students appear to have a lower sense of personal wellbeing than the rest of the population with 21% of students experiencing ‘low anxiety’ compared to 41% of the total population and 43% of the equivalent age group. [The 2016 Student Academic Experience Survey, HEPI]

De-stress week at the University of Westminster will help with students mental health and focus on student successes during exam season.

What London transport prices are doing for Mother Nature

Its annual average for last year was 125 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre, over three times the limit of 40µg/m3. Brixton Road recorded 117µg/m3 and Marylebone Road was more than double the limit.

London has been named the most expensive city to commute in. With an average of £135 per month, it beats Dublin and New York City in terms of travel.

With rising prices of travel in Central London, it is no surprise that people are investing in cars. The fuels and emissions of the cars, especially in parts with heavy traffic, have become a threat to living in this city.

These cars pollute areas: (from highest to lowest)

  1. Wandsworth – Putney High Street
  2. Lambeth – Brixton Road
  3. Westminster – Strand (Northbank BID)
  4. Wandsworth – Putney High Street Facade
  5. City of London – Walbrook Wharf
  6. Westminster – Marylebone Road
  7. Camden – Euston Road
  8. Westminster – Oxford Street
  9. City of London – Beech Street
  10. Kensington and Chelsea – Earls Court Rd
 The Mayor has set a target to reduce London’s carbon dioxide emissions by 60% of their 1990 level by 2025. Most of London’s emissions (about 80 per cent) come from burning fossil fuels to power and heat buildings, and the rest from transport. The Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy explains what we’re doing to meet this target

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infographic: Tooba Haq

Find the whole story at the link below.

Travel for free in London

London has been named the most expensive city to commute in. With an average of £135 per month, it beats Dublin and New York City in terms of travel.

Do you want to travel in the most expensive city in the world without breaking the bank? Here are a few tips and tricks about how to get the most out of your travel.



  1. Do the London Shuffle: The london shuffle, also known as the commuter dance is when a person takes advantage of the busy tube stations and they shimmy their way behind you without having to pay a penny. For the more courageous people out there, you could go under the barriers and get in contact with disgusting London floors. I don’t know whats worse, paying £5 for a trip or crawling on Oxford Street Station to get out of it.
  2. Jump Jump Jump!: If you’re lucky and there is no tfl staff around, you could jump over the barrier and make your way to the promised land of sweaty arm pits and awful body odor without having your wallet feel lighter.

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  3. ‘Forget’ Your Ticket: This tip is for the extroverts out there. This easy hack includes talking to someone at the station and saying you forgot your card on the tube. Extra points if you bat your eyelashes and look frazzled as you search through your bag for your ‘lost’ card swearing you had it a second ago.

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  4. The 2-for-1: Being a student in London should classify as some sort of disability and thus, you can apply for the two for one. This means that a handicapped barrier could aid you in the fight of exorbitant prices in London. Just ask your friend to tap in as you dash through, just don’t get your bag, hand or leg caught in it if it closes.

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  5. The Bunker: A cliché, but a cliché for a reason. While on the rail, whenever you see a ticket conductor making their way down, you can slide your way into the nearest bathroom and hide like the hermit you are. This rule is slightly outdated as it is not 1995 anymore, but what is the harm in trying?
  6. The Lucky One: Some times, and only sometimes, the barriers at Tube stations are open without a soul in sight. This gives you full access to the tubes. Now all you need is a lot of confidence in what you’re doing, don’t stop or hesitate. You got this.

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  7. The Slip In: At a busy bus stop, whenever the bus driver opens the doors to exit from, you can easily enter without tapping in your oyster card. Extra points if you have a friend to distract the driver at the front of the bus, but it can easily be done without it.

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    Go out and live your cheapest life! Who knew living the life of rebellion is so rewarding?

Travelling in London will cost you an arm and a leg – literally

Living in one of the most expensive places in the world truly has its downsides. London has been named as number one in the world for highest travel costs. Coming in first in a new survey, travel cards have been named the most expensive in the world right after Dublin as second.

In a comparison of 45 countries, London was found to have an average cost of £135 per month according to a Deutsche Bank report. This is 50% more expensive than New York City.

With exorbitant prices and congestion found on all forms of London travel, especially during rush hour, this is becoming an issue for commuters. More and more people are spending money on travel every month, especially students. With discounted offers for University students, the average prices still range from £80-110 per month, making students fed up with their piling costs with tuition fees and student debt.

Earlier last year, Mayor Sadiq Khan had promised to scrape travel costs for Londoners as one of his biggest promises. There also have been promises for flatter fares by 2025 by the TFL, as well as having a one ticket policy for all forms of travel.

London’s taxis fared slightly better, ranked 20th in a list of 47 cities, with Zurich topping the list for the most expensive fares.

But at what cost is this the most expensive? Is it because London is the biggest network of rail, tube and bus in Europe or is it because of rising prices?

60 Second breakdown of the ban towards letting agencies

60 second breakdown

You can have your say by looking at the survey about the ban. Additionally, you can also email to

Written responses should be sent to: Housing Standards Team, Better Rented and Leasehold Sector Division, 3rd Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF

When you reply please indicate whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include: – your name, – your position (if applicable), – the name of organisation (if applicable), – an address (including post-code), – an email address, and – a contact telephone number

Government sets a ban on letting agent fees

The UK Government is imposing a ban on unfair letting agent fees. This is to stop people from falling into the trap of hidden costs, and stops agents from exploiting their role between renters and landlords. 

In the past 30 years, there has been an increase in rent and buying houses since the 80s. The chart below starts at just under £50,000, and in some years this has spiked up to above £300,000.

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Infographic: Tooba Haq

We spoke to some students living in London about their experience with hidden costs and estate agents. Fay Cross, who has been hit with hidden agent fees. “We signed the contract and were given fees from the estate agent that they previously didn’t tell us about, we also had mice which the landlord and estate agent both refused to help sort out.”

Melissa Cowern, who lives in Harrow, a location populated heavily by students said “We were told originally that it was a £500 deposit each, but then we were told that we had to pay guarantor fees, agency fees and tenancy fees which were around £100-£200 each which we won’t get back, he said that all agencies did it so we had no hope of finding anywhere cheaper.”

The conversation has been blowing up on social media after it was announced yesterday,  many letting agents claim that the ban of fees could harm the security of the landlords. This is what people on twitter had to say:

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