Return to University – Post Placement

Hey everyone, as I have been at home for the past 8 weeks completing my second professional practice, I thought I would share with you how I am preparing to return to university after being away for so long.

After being away from university life for so long, I feel that it will be strange to adapt to living away from home again but, luckily I will be going back to some great friends and is the first step to help me prepare to go back to university.

I have already arranged to meet up with friends as soon as I get off the plane which I know will really help me calm the nerves. I always make sure that there is someone in the house or in the flat so that I am not coming back to an empty space. Having friends or someone to meet you when you come back from being away for so long can be calming and help you get right back on track again!

I know that last year when I was at home for Christmas, I left all my packing very last minute before I came back to university which led to even more stress and did not help the nerves of leaving home. I always found the packing element stressful anyway because I am a neat freak and NEED everything to fit into the case and when I left it all to last minute…well, you can imagine how that went…

Image result for packing struggles gifs

This time, I am packing little by little until I leave so that I don’t get overwhelmed and make the process harder and more stressful. It also allows me more time to pack everything nice and neatly and calm my frantic mind.

To soften the blow of going back to university, I have decided to get a start on some assignments I have due in a few weeks and so, I have started to read articles and make rough plans for my next, looming assignment. 

Reading articles with some sweet help!

I find that it is better to ease yourself into uni life again after being away for so long. For me, starting early lessens the stress of all the work that is ahead of me. I often find that working in a group together to get started on something always helps me get motivated and back on track with uni life and work.

I hope that this helps or some find it relatable. If you are like me and struggle to return back to university after being at home for a long period of time, just know that all it takes is a couple of days before you are back into the swing of things again and that there is a load of help and support at Edge Hill University.

“My body needs laughter as much as it needs tears. Both are cleansers of stress.”


Mahogany SilverRain

Staying Organised: Part 2

Another part of being at University, is not only trying to organise all of your studies, but everything else that’s in-between. This can be your social life, expenses, meals/food etc. So here are a few things I do to keep on track of everything.

Spend Budget (Weekly)

When my maintenance loan comes into my account, I like to work out how much money I would have weekly to spend on things I want/need like food, social events etc. With this, I do a spending budget plan and track my expenses so I know where my money is going, and if I’m spending too much, I can have a look and see what I need to cut down on. At the moment, for myself, I know I need to cut down my coffee consumption whilst at Uni because its not only (in moderation) unhealthy, but also doesn’t do wonders for my bank account either. Again, much like my diary, I colour code into different categories such as: food, entertainment, extra and other. Other being my monthly expenses I pay out for such as my phone, Spotify and gym membership.

Meal Planning

This is something I really want to start doing again at Uni as it saved quite a bit of money and I was eating healthy too. Try and think of dishes you know you would like to cook in a week: maybe about 3/4 and do big(ish) batches so that you can freeze them and have them later in the week. Personally, I like to do chicken curry, chilli con carne and fajitas as my staples and then anything else in between. Also, me and my boyfriend tend to cook for each other a lot throughout the weeks as well, so that in turn saves a little bit of money. By figuring out which dishes you want to cook, you’ll only go out and buy these ingredients and not be thinking about what you might need and overspend.

Savings

This kind of goes under the spending budget, but ultimately this helps keep you organised. If you’re lucky enough to have a decent maintenance loan, and are able to put some money away each week, two weeks or every month, you can keep that money for things you want at Uni, not what you need. For example, social events such as karaoke night, you would probably need a bit of money for drinks and entrance. Doing it this way can just help you keep a tab on things whilst necessities are being pulled out of your everyday account.

Ellis x

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Ways to Save Money on Campus (Part 2)

Welcome back to part 2 of this mini-series! In part 1 I gave you some tips for getting filling, affordable lunches that also earn you freebies and also explained how to make your coffee addiction work for you. This time, we’ll look at how you can eat and drink on campus when your finances are looking seriously frightful…without any lukewarm sandwiches being carted around in your rucksack!

Staying Hydrated

It’s easy to quickly rack up unnecessary spending at university by grabbing drinks from shops and vending machines, not to mention the excess plastic you can get through by doing this. Get yourself a water bottle and enjoy crisp, cool water from the filtered fountains all over campus!

Staying Full

Studying hard is hungry work and there’s nothing like a study session to get you craving snacks! So, having plenty of hearty food is key for a long day on campus. One way to do this on a tight budget is to cook warm, filling meals at home in bulk then bring a portion (or two, we don’t judge) to university with you. In the SU building, you will find some microwaves where you can heat up your pre-prepped meals to enjoy in between classes. This can save you £2-£6 a day minimum on-campus spending and potentially hundreds of pounds each month in groceries if you plan ahead and buy simple ingredients in bulk!

Cutting Costs on Caffeine

In part 1 I explained how to get discounts on coffee and how you can make the most of loyalty schemes, but I know that sometimes buying coffee on the go is just not an option. However, it’s an absolute staple drink in the average student’s day!

My advice is to grab a travel mug and keep plenty of your favourite tea bags or coffee sachets in your bag. Simply ask for hot water at one of the cafes or coffee shops on campus.

So, there we have it! A handful of ways to scrimp, save and spend wisely on campus. What advice would you add?

Sam xo

Staying Organised: Part 1

One of the biggest things about University is trying to stay organised and keep on top of all of your studies. Especially as a ‘fresher’ (1st year students), you may find it overwhelming with signing up to different societies, clubs, socialising and studying. Here are just some of the ways to keep you organised with everything that’s going on in your life whilst being at University.

Diary/Planner

I’ve started doing this since the start of first year, and I can honestly say that having a diary/planner keeps me organised and productive. In particular, I’ve only just started colour coding my diary notes with a key, so I know what’s happening when, and also, its easier on the eye to keep track of everything. I’ve colour coded my diary based off of 5 things: Birthdays/Anniversaries, Social, Personal/Important, Deadlines and other. Obviously, this is just my way of making my life a little bit easier whilst at Uni, and helps me to separate out my priorities when needed.

Schedule Your Study Time

With this, it might be a good idea to try and timetable in when you’re going to study for each independent module that you’re currently doing on your course. For example, if you had 3 modules this semester, break up your week into how much study time per module you would like to do. This will keep you on top of your readings and any other work that needs completing in that time.

Study Spot

Image result for starbucks ormskirk

a comfortable study spot is a great thing to do to keep you organised. Whether this be a place on campus like the catalyst, upstairs in the hub or even Starbucks in Ormskirk town centre; this will help keep your focus more on the work you need to do. Plus its some place outside of your flat where most of your time is spent, so it also gets you out with some fresh air.

Motivation

Maybe try and get a friend to go along with you to do some studying. If you’re on the same course, this will definitely help both of you to try and motivate each other to do the reading or the other work that’s been set. Having someone there at a specific time/place can help you to keep on top of things.

Ellis x

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Ways to Save Money on Campus (Part 1)

The student budget is an old cliche for a reason – pretty much every student is on a tight budget! Even if you’re not on the classic student budget, you’re probably still up for a freebie or a bargain if there’s one going. Well, you’re in luck. Now that I’m in my second year and on a tighter budget than ever, I have gathered some excellent ways to save money and find freebies on campus.

In this two-part mini-series, I’ll begin with how to make your spending work hard for you before sharing some more extreme penny-pinching tips in part 2.

Subway Points

Nestled within the SU building is our very own Subway, serving delicious sandwiches, salads, and snacks all day every day. You’re probably thinking “That’s not necessarily a cheap lunch, Sam” but hear me out. If you scan your Subcard when you make a purchase, you earn points and activate a ‘double points for 7 days’ incentive. Return again within those 7 days for their budget meal deal and scan your card again. The cycle starts again. Very quickly, you have enough points for a free 6-inch sub or salad bowl – I regularly purchase their budget meal deals and have a few free lunches a month!

Most Subway receipts also have the option to get a free cookie when you review your experience online. It takes 2 minutes, maximum.

Loyalty Cards for Coffee Lovers

The coffee shop I visit most on campus is 53.3 degrees within the Catalyst. Handily, they offer a loyalty card that earns you a free coffee when you collect enough stamps. If you’re a coffee lover you very quickly fill a card and get your freebie. The cookies in there are also delicious – highly recommend! Anyone else spotting a cookie theme here?

Discounted Coffee

Whilst we’re on the subject, bringing a reusable coffee mug will get you 20p off your drink. This in itself very quickly adds up to the equivalent of an extra coffee and also eliminates the amount of waste. Who doesn’t love helping the planet?

Now that I’ve helped you to make your lunch and coffees work for you, don’t forget to check back for part 2 of this mini-series where I will be digging a little deeper for those occasions where your purse or wallet is really looking dire. We’ll be talking leftovers, emergency tea bags and staying hydrated.

Sam xo

Daily Essentials for the Commuting Student

The internet is packed with lists of student essentials and survival tips but here are the top 3 genuinely helpful items to pack each morning for students who commute to campus – from one bleary-eyed commuter to another.

1. Passes, permits and parking

If you’re driving in, apply for a permit straight away to avoid getting a fine. It’s worth finding local alternative parking in Ormskirk and getting the free bus to and from campus during busier periods as spaces are very limited. Don’t forget to check out the Car Share scheme to see if you could save money and guarantee a parking space.

One way to avoid the parking wars and look after our planet is to use public transport. Look out for ‘hacks’ – sometimes you can save money by splitting your journey into two passes or tickets. Student railcards and passes are also available in most districts. A free bus service runs from the centre of Ormskirk directly to campus (and back) too!

2. A travel mug and water bottle

The early starts and long lectures can take their toll, especially as dark mornings set in. Invest in a good travel mug so that you can get discounted hot drinks from campus coffee shops and a water bottle to stay hydrated. There are water fountains around campus. This isn’t the place to scrimp, invest in cups and bottles that won’t spill all over your books and notes when you’re on the go!

Top tip: if money is tight, pack sachets of coffee and tea bags then simply ask for hot water in The Hub.

3. Chargers and earphones

Always have a power bank or plug and cables for your phone or tablet with you so that you can charge up in the Catalyst on your breaks. Earphones will make study sessions and commutes much more enjoyable, too. If you want to use a laptop on campus but don’t want to lug yours around, your Unicard will give you access to ‘Laptop Loans’ so that you can borrow one on campus. There are also hundreds of computers in the Catalyst that you can use 24/7. Yes, literally!

You may be expecting to see stationery and textbooks on the list, but the Catalyst has several floors of books and your Edge Hill account will give you access to thousands more on any computer. You can also purchase uni essentials such as stationery and snacks from the Catalyst’s vending machines and the Student’s Union shop. So, if you forget any of those things, you’re covered. Winner.

Let me know in the comments if there is anything you would add!

Sam xo

Making the most of Edge Hill’s Campus!

Hey everyone, hope you’re all well. This post will hopefully help you to kill some time while you’re on campus and waiting for your next class to start. I found that this year especially with living off campus, I cannot simply go back to my flat on campus like I used to do in first year and so, I have found ways to put the time in nicely.

The first thing you might want to do may be seem a little obvious but the Catalyst is a great place to put extra time in to. It never hurts to have a spare hour or two and smash out some studying or assignment writing or quickly complete some work for your next class which should obviously already be done…Don’t worry, we have all been there before.

The Catalyst has so many great facilities from countless computers, laptops, book and coffee you can definitely take advantage of this building on Edge Hills campus. To read more about the Catalyst I have post I did about my favourite things about it, https://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/insideedge/2018/12/02/why-the-catalyst-building-will-be-your-best-friend/

If you would rather be more social, there are loads of places around the campus that you can for a coffee with your friends. The Hub located at the centre of the university campus is a great meeting place for lunch and coffee catch ups with Starbucks and McColl’s you won’t be stuck for places to eat or drink.

Image result for starbucks logo

I like meeting friends there and sitting up at the top floor on the comfy seats and just chilling until it’s time to learn again, it’s nice to be able to switch off and the hub is a great place to do so.

One thing that I did a lot when I had an hour or two to kill was go on a walk. I literally walked everywhere around the campus from the running track at the back of the sports centre to around the lakeside between the education building and the health and social building. When that got too easy for me I stumbled upon Ruff Woods which is literally across the road from the university.

Ruff Woods is such a beautiful place to walk and a great way to escape any stress you may be feeling after class or to just get some fresh air and feel the benefits of nature. I cannot tell you how many times I would be sitting in the library for a couple of hours and then put my earphones in, played a podcast and took off for a walk to clear my head. I then came back to the library with a clearer head.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog and found it interesting. Edge Hill’s Campus is great for things to do when you have some spare time between classes and I fully recommend to take advantage of this!

“What you do to kill time is your real work.”

– Marty Rubin –

Your Essential Guide to Campus Coffee

A very well-known fact about me, known by all my friends and family, is I live for coffee. Latte, cappuccino, americano, flat white, or just plain coffee and milk, I’d drink it all day if I could!

Before starting at Edge Hill, I only knew about the coffee offered in the Catalyst from my open day and applicant visit day experiences, so to learn there was so much more on offer on campus was very exciting. If you don’t drink coffee before going to uni then there’s a chance it could become a big part of your uni life or you could still remain pure, if it’s the latter you’ll be happy to know there’s more than just coffee available at the places I’m going to discuss.

Listing the two most well-known chains, you can enjoy both Starbucks and Costa on Edge Hill’s campus. There are two Starbucks, one in the Hub and one in the Sports Centre! Learning about this made my accommodation location so much more enjoyable since I live next to the Sports Centre, so they’re always getting my money. You’ll find the two Costa machines in McColls, the campus convenience store within the Hub. Something I didn’t know until using it, but you’ll make your coffee or other drink at the machine, and then pay at the till.

Large chain coffee done and dusted, you can also purchase coffee from Sages, Café Rewind, The Red Bar, Staff Common Room and a new machine near the SU bar! Having tried coffee from two of these locations, I can say it is worth your time and money.

Another chain, that I mentioned at the very start of this guide, is the coffee provided at the Catalyst, 53.3 degrees. 53.3 is well-worth a look too, being an ethical coffee brand that tastes amazing. I’ve drank so much from there I could be a spokesperson. Another bonus of drinking there so often, they have a loyalty card system, to which I’m two coffees away from a free one as of writing this! Yep, completely free coffee or whatever drink I may crave.

My 53.3 Degrees Loyalty Card
My 53.3 Degrees Loyalty Card

All the places discussed serve hot chocolate and other hot drinks as well, and will you run a lot cheaper than going into Ormskirk for your caffeine hit or a sweet treat.

Alice

Why Moving Out to Uni Helped Me

Hey everyone, I hope your February is going well. I thought that today I would write a blog on how moving out of home to go to university helped me in many different ways. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Independence

I know that this is a big one that everyone hears about moving to university but it is so true. I would say I am lucky enough to already have been quite independent before university in many things but, as I soon found out, there is more to doing your own washing and food shop in terms of being independent.

Knowing when to finally turn off Youtube after an hour or to lock the door on your way out can be just as crucial to independence as washing and shopping. Do not underestimate the power of being able enough to turn off the TV or laptop when it is time to do some actual work.

2. Gaining experience

I did not know that when you gain independence you also gain a lot of experiences. This one may be hard to explain and maybe a little silly but hear me out. I remember one Sunday morning I was in the flat, on campus, very bored and so I decided to go out into town and amuse myself when I walked past a coffee shop and decided I would go in and try something. Luckily I brought a book and so 3 hours later I found myself very much not bored and ready to go back to the flat to make dinner.

It may sound silly but, being able to make that decision and not have anyone say no or have nobody to go with me was an experience I had not had before and what I felt was important for me to be able to do.

3. Social aspects

Before moving out of my own home and to an extent, my own social comfort zone, my social skills were kept to a minimum as I was not one for going out and therefore not giving myself the opportunity to socialise properly. Being at university has taught me so much about socialising and the wonders of it. I now can say that I can go out on a night out and talk away to anyone I run in to and hold a decent conversation with the workers at Morrisons.

I really hope that you have enjoyed the blog today and found it helpful or even relatable.

Thanks for reading, Lauren x

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt –

Placement at Home – my experience!

Hey everyone, hopefully your January didn’t feel too long! As my second professional practice is quickly coming to an end, I thought I would do a quick little overview on how it went and my experience being at home!

As some of you may, or may not know, I am from Northern Ireland and am studying Primary Teaching at Edge Hill. This meant that my first professional practice was completed close to the university last year which was a great experience and one I will not forget. For my second placement, I was able to come back to Northern Ireland which was amazing!

Some of you may be confused as to how the observations work and how my visiting tutors visit. This concerned me as well but the university had employed someone from home to come and be a visiting tutor, observe me twice and complete the interim and final evaluation forms for my second placement. The visiting tutor was in contact with the university and so there was no concern about getting the paperwork wrong as someone was always there to help.  The whole experience was very smooth and at not one point did I feel like I was too far away to ask my tutors for help.

This is what I felt was very helpful about the education team at Edge Hill University, even though I was not near the campus I could still reach out through email and ask for any help or clarification on paperwork etc. The team and anyone who I contacted were very quick to respond to my emails and alway more than happy to help me and ask how everything is going.

My second placement at home has been such an amazing experience and I really really do not want it to end but I am so thankful for the education team at Edge Hill University for making it happen and being so helpful throughout the whole process. 

I hope you enjoyed reading and found this somewhat helpful or insightful. Edge Hill University has given me a lot of opportunities to grow as a learner and as a teacher and I am very thankful.

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”

Tom Peters