The Building Blocks of a Medicine Personal Statement

Although the UCAS deadline for Medicine applications is six months away, you may be considering writing yours now. Most Medicine Personal Statements have a big focus on your skills and personal qualities, but how do you do this? I’ll be detailing my experiences in writing my Personal Statement below!

Planning

You have 4000 characters/47 lines to sell yourself (approximately 500 words). That’s not a lot! Jot down what experiences you want to include, the skills you learnt, and how they relate to becoming a medic. Use this plan as a rough guide, it’s okay if you think of something better to use when writing it!

Support your Skills

If you write that you’re a compassionate person, no matter how true it is, Universities will dismiss it. You’ll need to use experiences as ‘proof’. Did you become more compassionate by seeing something on placement? If so, how? Was it something you saw? When you write about it, respect patient confidentiality, and keep the description to a minimum. Every word counts, you just need to set the scene.

After you’ve said the skill and how you got it, link it to the job. For example, a medic will need to show compassion for a patient and their family when discussing sensitive issues. Show you understand the importance of these qualities.

Some Universities actively list the qualities they look for on the course page, which can remind you of some qualities you have. As long as you don’t lie, you’ll be fine! (Remember: interviewers could ask you to explain some of your Personal Statement).

Re-Drafting

This is a rule of thumb for any piece of writing, but your Personal Statement especially. Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s important to proofread. Having your Personal Tutor or a Medicine co-ordinator in college read will help too. If someone can proofread it, make sure to (politely) ask them!

Closing Words

Your Personal Statement should be about what you’ve learnt and who you are. It can be difficult and it’s okay if you struggle! Ask your tutors for help and ideas (but remember, don’t have someone else write it for you!) The Medic Portal and other resources can be a big help, too.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment. There’s so much more I could talk about when it comes to writing Personal Statements.

-Tony

Working From Home: How to be the most productive

Hey everyone, I thought that since a lot of people will be working from home from now on that I would dedicate this month’s blogs to doing just that. I know that there are many reasons why people need to work from home due to sickness or perhaps not being able to get into university because of weather etc.

A Quiet Place

By this I don’t mean watch the movie. Now that I am working from home and continuing my course online due to recent events it is crucial for me to find a place that is silent because unfortunately, I do not have the pleasure of working in the silent study at the catalyst building. Luckily for me, I live in the quiet of the countryside so I don’t have to worry about loud neighbours but, I do like my own place to study and get in the zone as I find that I am more productive this way.

Study Cartoon clipart - Student, Education, School, transparent ...

I highly recommend finding a place where you live that is quiet and peaceful. However, I would try and separate your uni work from your bedroom as this can sometimes cause sleep issues due to stress being present in the environment.

Take Breaks

The biggest and most useful piece of advice I was given whilst studying at home for my A-Levels was to take breaks that are completely different from what I was doing which was mostly reading or writing. I would therefore go for a walk (big surprise), pet my dog or just talk to whoever is in my house. I would then go back to my work and be refreshed, ready to start again. I still use this tip today when I am writing or reading for a long assignment and it helps to keep my mind at ease.

Set Yourself Some Time

So, I think that we can all agree that you cannot work all day and if you can teach me your ways! That’s why I like to set myself time in the day to dedicate myself to university work and then plan out what I need to do in that time frame I have given myself. 

I usually give myself at least three hours in the morning before I do anything because that is when I am most productive and the rest of the day I have to do what I like. Before I start my work I always have a timetable next to me that is sectioned into hours of the day. For example, from 9am to 10:45am I read and plan for an assignment, tick that off and then I have a quick break until 11am when I usually have a lecture. I then plan for the next couple of hours and make sure that my day is broken down so that I don’t get too overwhelmed.

I hope that you found this useful and I hope that you are all keeping safe. I am really thankful that I can still continue my lectures online to keep from going insane, they really help all I need to do is perfect my working from home routine!

Thank you, Lauren x

“It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.”

-John Steinbeck-

WRH: Working From Home.

The world is a crazy place at the moment. However there’s humor to be found, especially in how it affects our university life. Across the country Edge Hill students are logging into Blackboard collaborate, Microsoft Teams and possibly even Zoom, and asking the most important questions…

“Can you hear me?” A few seconds pause. “Can you see me?”

A realistic Teams experience.

Homeworking is upon us and in my blog today I plan to discuss how I’ve been adapting to this over the past three weeks, I think it’s three, everything has somewhat blurred into one. Week one I remember being quite on the ball, remoting into my Monday morning lecture through teams as I drank my coffee, I must admit it was a lot more relaxed than a regular lecture. That’s where the emphasis on this blog is going to lie, viewing home working as a relaxing method of study rather than something stressful.

Books I purchased myself

So far I’ve successfully written and uploaded one assignment out of three. Using journal articles and online textbooks, alongside those I bought myself, gathering my references wasn’t overly difficult. Writing my reflection for the assignment on my home setup was also quite relaxing. I was able to put music on as loud as I pleased or have complete silence, I could take a break whenever and nothing was looming over me like a timetabled activity later that day or a university exclusive chore. Homeworking has greatly changed my uni life as I’ve said, and while it is temporary, I’m quite enjoying it. All of the current circumstances are, for me as a first-year student, an exercise in working almost completely independently. However, I do have regular contact with my lecturers if I need help or have a question.

Another relaxing aspect to home working is, no flatmates causing noise. Sure, I have the sound of my family but three people are a lot quieter than seven. I’m finding without the background noise of the kitchen or people walking around in the hall, or even the halls below me as I was on the second floor, I can work for longer periods uninterrupted. Overall, I much more of a flow in my work.

There is still a month and a half left of my academic year, and seeing we’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, my opinions over the learning method may change, but for now I’m enjoying it. Working from home is much more challenging as I don’t have the catalyst, but it’s something extremely useful to experience for my chosen subject area of business.

Alice.

Mini Mood Boosters

The world is in a time of real crisis and it has been a tough, confusing week in the UK. I have been sharing some mini mood boosters on my personal social media channels and in various WhatsApp conversations with friends in order to help us all through this. This weekend, it dawned on me that these would be perfect for overwhelmed students at exam/assignment submission time! Take the phrase ‘Exam Season’ out of each one and replace it with whatever tough, overwhelming situation you find yourself in.

Write an ‘Exam Season Bucket List’

It’s a tough and stressful time but you can still find some joy in it and ensure you stay organised. For example, you may now be sat down indoors a lot to study and read. Why not vow to take your skincare more seriously by doing regular face masks and forgoing makeup? Other things could be: creating a brilliant playlist, gathering some good reading on XYZ topic as you study, making a list of XYZ resources for future assignments, getting into the habit of drinking more water, finally mastering Harvard referencing…

Write an ‘I can’t wait to…’ list

I have done this since I did my A-Levels 7 years ago! You know the scene, you are sat revising or typing an essay and you notice it is a gorgeous day. Your mind fills with all of the things you would rather be doing. You think about how much you miss going out for cocktails or having lazy days on the grass with a picnic. How much you miss reading for pleasure and not for research. Write all of these things down! Having a list of things I am going to do when I come out of assignment season makes all of the difference to my motivation.

Find your Small Joys

Have a little collection of small things that bring you joy at these times. This could be photos, quotes and poems that inspire or motivate you or it could be websites or social media accounts that you can always go back to for a pick-me-up. For example, I love watching the 24 hour live streams that zoos like Chester, Edinburgh and Melbourne broadcast for free online. Instant mood boosts that are tailored to you!

Sam xo

The Essential Non-Essentials of University Living

Around this time, you should have heard back from all your University choices. In that case, congratulations on your offers! The UCAS application process is the most difficult part of the University journey, but the next worry for most students is living independently. My main worry was not knowing what I should bring. I knew the essentials: plates, cutlery, bedding, and cleaning products (to name a few) – but I didn’t know what else to bring. Here, I’ll discuss the essential non-essentials I decided to bring University.

Tupperware

Most nights I prepare my lunch for the next day. Having the food ready in Tupperware means you can eat wherever on campus and with friends. It also saves you time during your breaks – so you’re not spending ten-fifteen minutes preparing lunch. As a bonus, you’re less likely to spend money at the canteen (while it is reasonably priced, I prefer to exhaust my food supply at home before buying food around campus).

Decorations

I love the University rooms, but they walls are empty, so make sure to personalise them! I hung up photos from home and some posters I bought during Freshers week to personalise my room and make it feel more homely. You can get tens of photo prints online for free from websites such as SnapFish. Fairy lights are allowed, but they must be battery operated!

Clothes Hangers

There are rails in wardrobes to hang clothes on, but you yourself will need to bring the hangers for them. Being able to hang clothes on rails makes picking clothes out easier, will stop them creasing (saving you time from ironing them), and saves space. While there is space to put some clothing that you don’t have a hanger for, there’s not enough for you to put your entire wardrobe there and not on the rack. As a bonus, you can use a hanger or two to dry some clothes!

Closing Words

All the things I’ve listed have made life at University easier for me. One more thing I can recommend (that I could write an entire blog about) are slippers; bring some. Most showers are wet-rooms and wearing slippers will keep your feet dry and warm when you go into your bathroom after a shower. They’re also very comfortable.

If you want more ideas as to what to bring, drop a comment below!

-Tony

Finding Part-time Work…On Campus!

Before I started my degree, I was working full-time. As I live with my boyfriend and not with family I have to support myself independently, so at an absolute minimum, I knew one part-time job would be necessary to get me through my degree.

I now work as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities and the shifts fit around my studies perfectly, not to mention the fact that it’s one of the most rewarding roles in the world! However, from time to time I find myself missing the creativity of my old career in marketing and I often find myself needing an extra injection of cash when the student loan runs low. So, I work for Edge Hill!

That’s right, there are opportunities for students to work in all kinds of roles all over our beautiful campus – even if you don’t live in halls. I work as Digital Content Assistant, covering events and creating content such as Instagram stories for the university, as well as writing for this blog every month. These little creative outlets bring me so much joy and give me peace of mind that some extra money is coming in when times get tough.

You can check out the latest jobs on campus here or look further afield for work off-campus and around Ormskirk or the surrounding areas here. If you need support with your application forms, cover letters or CV then you will find instructions on how to access all of that here. Good luck!

Sam xo

Productivity for Procrastinators

I have several part-time jobs outside of my full-time degree so I often have a lot going on. My grades are good and my performance at work doesn’t slip, so people assume I must be really organised and productive. I am not.

Naturally, I am infuriatingly prone to procrastination and have a horrible habit of leaving things until time is running out as a result of this. So, in today’s post, I will let you in on my secrets to getting stuff done and looking productive when really you are a procrastinator.

  1. Pomodoro Technique

In this technique, you choose a task you are going to focus on, set a timer for 25 minutes and then solidly work on that task and nothing else. After 25 minutes, you stop and take a five-minute break before setting the timer again. After four blocks of 25 minutes, you take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes. Then you start again. The permission to get distracted in small bursts and the promise of a decent break gets you right into ‘the zone’! Just make sure you stick to the timings no matter what.

If you type ‘pomodoro’ into your app store, you will find lots of apps that will do the timings for you.

2. Get specific

I’m not going to tell you that writing lists is helpful because we all know that by now, but HOW we write these lists can be the difference between making progress and giving up and watching TV all day. Break big tasks into small, specific parts e.g. instead of ‘write research module essay’ you would have ‘read research module handbook, decide on points to make in research essay, write essay plan and send to tutor’ or perhaps even more specific tasks.

3. Star Tasks

You’ve got your specific list with really clear achievable tasks, so now pick your star tasks. Being really specific will actually make your to-do lists LONGER, so picking three to five star tasks per day to highlight or have on a separate list. These should be the things you need to get done as a priority. Get them crossed off first and you will often feel spurred on to crack on with the rest of the list. If you don’t feel that way? That’s fine, the most important stuff is done for the day! Take a break and see how you feel after.

Sam xo

Am I too old to go to uni?

When I decided I wanted to study Counselling and Psychotherapy at university, I was 22. I had just missed admission so I knew that it was going to be over a year until I could begin my course, making me 23 at the point of enrollment. I did the (very basic) maths. Graduating at the age of 26.

Being a serial planner and born worrier, I began to spiral into thoughts of how my future might now go “I want a Master’s, so that would take me to the age of 28…”

A frantic Google search into the possible career paths of a counsellor and how long they can take to become established in fuelled this fire “1 year to find the perfect role, 1 year to train and settle in…I would be 30. What if I want a PhD?! Where do I fit in family or travelling?”

My personal statement sat waiting to be submitted to UCAS and the glossy brochures landed on my doormat. Pictures of young people laughing and joking, advice for school leavers on getting good A-Levels, tips for moving away from home…my heart sank. Another thing to worry about. Not only was I completely overhauling my life and routine, putting my future on hold…I was going to be in a room full of 18-year-olds for three years.

Of course, I was wrong. I was wrong about all of those things.

I am not the oldest on my course and we rarely consider each other’s ages when we learn and spend time together, even when we socialise. My life is not hold – I have moved house, changed (part-time) careers and began a work placement in my dream role of a psychotherapist all whilst studying full-time at Edge Hill. When I graduate, I know I won’t be ‘starting again’, I will simply be continuing my journey.

You are never too old to go to university. Some of my peers came from sixth form, some were parents ready to build a career now their children were in education, some came from professional careers like I did and some came back into education from retirement, having discovered a new calling in life. You are never too old. It is never too late.

Sam xo

SU: Their Services

Image result for su edge hill

The Students Union at Edge Hill is a student-lead team which bring you events, activities, social spaces, as well as offering support through advice and representation.

Advice and Representation

The SU provides students with the opportunity to reach out to them if they’re struggling. Whether this be for student finance, academic issues or accommodation queries, a team advisor will help you to discuss these problems. If you have anything you wish to discuss with them, just drop them an email at:

suadvice@edgehill.ac.uk 

Or if that’s not possible for any reason, give them a call on: 01695 657301, or drop into their office on the first floor of the HUB.

SU Shop/Bar

On Campus, there’s an SU bar where you can socialise with your mates and get some delicious pizza too at Stone Willy’s Kitchen! You can hang out here, play pool or come to one of the SU nights such as: Quiz Night (Mondays), Social (Wednesday’s), or Strangled Cats Karaoke (Fridays). There’s also an SU shop on campus where you can get kitted out with new gear such as an Edge Hill hoodie or t-shirts. As well as a gift range where you can buy jewellery and mugs too. You can also access their shop via their website too at: 

www.edgehillsu.org.uk/eshop

Events and Activites

The SU is the main port of call when organising different events and activities to hold for the students. They have a range of activities from campaigns to welcome week and many more. The SU have just held a campus election for new officers for the next academic year 2020-2021, and there are now new individuals in each position.

Overall the Student’s Union at Edge Hill is a great asset to the University and not many people use them to their advantage or even know about them. They’re a great team of individuals and are there to help anyone and everyone.

Ellis x

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Expectation VS Reality: Uni Life

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When first starting University, I didn’t have many expectations of what it would be like. Being one of the only family members that actually went to University (living at Uni), I didn’t have anyone to talk about it with. That being said, a couple of my friends went before I did, and these were my expectations.

Expectations

  1. Lecturer’s are tough – When talking to my friends, they said that most of their lecturer’s were quite strict, and made a point about it when people didn’t turn up to class, or if they were late.
  2. Everyone loves to drink – Majority of students on campus are younger, and it looked like everyone was going out a lot and having fun.
  3. Your free time is your free time. Do what you want! – Most of my mates went out and explored in their free time, especially during first year.
  4. Flat Mates – Your flat mates will probably be your close friends and you’ll do a lot together.

Reality

When actually coming to University myself, I soon realised that these expectations weren’t the case.

  1. Yes lecturer’s can be tough, but only a few of them. The rest are pretty relaxed and understand if you have something that’s come up or if you’ve slept through your alarm by accident. Just drop them an email to let them know, and catch up on the work that you’ve missed.
  2. Not everyone drinks. Quite a few people I know don’t really drink alcohol, nor do they go out that much. Although a lot of people do go out when they’re at University, you’ll find your own flow in things, and learn to socialise in different ways.
  3. Free time is good, but also for independent study. University isn’t like college or Sixth form, where you have a full day of lectures. For example I’ve only had around 10-12 hours of contact time a week, meaning I have 4 days off (including weekends). Lecturer’s will be expecting you to do studying in your spare time, including reading’s etc.
  4. Your flat mates are going to be (most likely) the first group of people you make friends with. However, once you start your course, go to societies etc., you’ll meet a lot of different people. If you’re worried about meeting new people, there are different workshops and societies that you can go to to help deal with the anxiety.

Ellis x

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