Preparing for your first semester…

If you’re counting down to your first semester of university, whether you’re living on campus or at home, it may feel like you have a lot to do. You may even feel a little lost and unsure of what you should do. So, I’ve thought of some quick and easy things that you can get done in your first semester to make uni life smooth sailing.

  1. Sign up for the main discount schemes

Get your NUS card and sign up to UNiDAYS and Student Beans with your Edge Hill email address so that you don’t miss a thing. Everything from fast food and groceries to clothes and holidays will be discounted – sometimes even free!

2. Streamline your expenses

Now you’ve got your discount cards, it’s time to get savvy. Spotify Premium is only £4.99 for students and you can add Headspace Premium on for free. Stop shelling out big money for your music and get access to mental health boosting guides and meditations for no extra cost.

Amazon Prime is just £3.99 for students and includes Prime Video, the popular TV and film streaming service. This and Netflix will have you covered not only for those last minute text book and stationery deliveries but also all of your entertainment needs. Bargain! Amazon Prime also tend to offer discounts on text books for student members a few times a year.

Once you’ve done that, set up a spreadsheet of your monthly costs and when they need paying. Then work out what student finance you have left and what that is equivalent to monthly (plus any wages you earn). From there, you’ll know what you have to live off.


Gather all of your module handbooks and write down all the draft and submission deadlines in your diary or phone calendar with reminders beforehand. Start a document or sheet of paper for each assignment and add reading you have done or need to do and any other relevant guidance down as you proceed through the semester. This will make sitting down to plan and start your assignments SO much easier, trust me!

4. Book some UniSkills workshops or help from Student Services if needed If you’re struggling with Blackboard, academic reading or writing, referencing, budgeting or ANYTHING else – book in an appointment for some help. Edge Hill run workshops on most of these things and if they don’t there will be a service within Student Services that can help you. Don’t suffer in silence, get confident and comfortable now so that you can focus on enjoying uni life!

Good luck and, most of all, have fun!

Sam xo

A letter to my first year self…

Dear first year me,

In just a couple of weeks you will start your first year of university. And you’re scared. I want you to know that you really don’t have to worry about not coming from sixth form or being the ‘class granny’. You are about to join a group of fantastic future counsellors who come from all backgrounds, ages, career paths and walks of life. You are about to meet some incredible friends who will be with you throughout your studies (and hopefully beyond).

But I’m not just here to reassure you! You don’t need to be scared or feel lonely but you really could do with learning a few lessons. Get organised – an assignment 12 weeks away is really not that far away so start reading and researching. Those books you have piled up actually need reading, just having them in your house is not going to be enough. Whilst we’re learning lessons, stop wasting money on treats on campus! Read your money saving blog posts and be realistic with your budget. It’s going to be hard running a home and working multiple jobs whilst doing a full-time degree so don’t make it harder for yourself.

My final note to you…enjoy this journey. As I write this it’s nearly over. Our final year is about to start and in two short semesters this journey will end. Make every semester count, you’re very lucky to be a part of Edge Hill.

Sam xo

Stages of Moving Out…

Hey everyone, I thought it would be fun to share with you the stages I went through when I was moving out my home into university!

Stage 1 – Excitement

I am not going to lie, it wasn’t a strong sense of excitement but there was definitely a time before I starting packing that I got excited about setting up my new room, meeting new people and just finally moving out. It lasted long enough to get the next stage…

ross geller gifs Page 2 | WiffleGif

Stage 2 – Nerves and regret

As soon as I started packing, booking the flight over and planning when I was going to say goodbye to my friends/family, the nerves and regret set in BIG time. Reality kicked in really quickly and things were just very overwhelming but luckily I had people around me to talk me into packing again and actually move out…in a loving and caring way.

Stage 3 – Confusion and uncomfortable

I don’t know if it was the same for everyone but, when I arrived at uni and had set up my room, it took me a really long time to actually believe that I had moved out and I spent a long time trying to convince myself that I was now living here and not just visiting.

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Stage 4 – settling in

Once I got past the stage of meeting everyone in my flat and doing ice-breakers, I started finding a routine and began getting more comfortable with the idea that I was living away from home and starting a new life etc. Having to FaceTime friends instead of seeing them in person got easier and so did only seeing my dog over FaceTime. And my family too…

That is just a brief overview of the stages I went through when moving to Edge Hill University from Northern Ireland. I am glad that I had a few ups and downs when moving over and I can now safely say that I call my university and where I live my second home.

“Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.”

-Richard Bach-

Jobs For Full Time Students

As we’re getting closer to moving into Uni, you might be starting to think about money. Especially if your maintenance loan isn’t as great as you thought it may be. Here’s a few jobs you could look into whilst doing your studies.

Surveys Posts

Part-time jobs Archives - Inside Edge

If you search on the internet, there are quite a few survey websites that can earn you a bit of extra cash alongside studying. These can be surveys in exchange for vouchers, Paypal transfer and possibly points which you can then exchange for certain amounts of cash. YouGov surveys is a good one as you get £50 once you’ve completed 5000 points worth of surveys. The amount of points for each survey can differ, but it’s normally 50 points each survey.


Once the Uni year starts, keep an eye on the careers page for Edge Hill. There may be part-time opportunities that pop up. Whether that be in the catering team, or SU Bar work. This is great for new students as its another way of meeting new people and earning money at the same time.


In Ormskirk, there are a few little independent shops as well as chains such as Starbucks or Costa. You could have a look into these stores to see whether they are in need of hiring anyone.


If you’ve got a knack for teaching or helping other people with work, tutoring is another route to go down to earn a little bit of extra money. You can sign up to a few websites that allows students to tutor, and you can choose your preferred subject plus age group to teach. Obviously depending on your experience will determine the rate you set for each student per hour of tutoring.

Getting a job alongside studying also helps with job applications after you graduate as it shows commitment on your CV. So it’s definitely worth a look.

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Ellis x

Ace Your Assignments: Undergraduate Essay Writing

Hello! I am back with another installment of my ‘Ace Your Assignments’ mini-series. Previously I have shared my top tips for presentations and handling assignment feedback, so today I will be revealing my advice for undergraduate essay writing. When I was waiting to start university, and during my first ever essay, I was really worried about how best to approach essays so here is what I wish I had known.

  1. Reference as you go
    PLEASE don’t worry about referencing, you will be shown what to do in your first semester and before long it will be second nature. However, get in the habit of referencing as you go or at least having your reference list ‘almost right’ as you go. Getting to the end of a 3,000 word essay and then realising you have a list of 20 articles and 10 books to go back and reference is soul-destroying.
  2. Make rough notes in another colour as you type
    As I start writing my essay based on my plan or draft, I will get new ideas or angles to use. I have learnt the hard way that you will not ‘remember that later’, so quickly switch to another colour and type your new idea next to the point it sparked from. Once you’ve typed the bulk of your essay, you can go back and add in those in.
  3. Get the nonsense out of the way first
    At college, I got away with never planning essays properly or doing drafts but my best work at university has stemmed from a solid plan that was talked through with a tutor followed by submitting a draft to check my style was a good fit for the assessment. Plans and drafts get the bad ideas out of your head and into the bin, leaving you with the good bits. Even after the drafting stage, I combat writer’s block by just typing all my thoughts onto a page and then deleting the nonsense.

If you have any pearls of wisdom to add, feel free to share them below!

Sam xo

Ace Your Assignments: How to Handle Feedback

Following on from my previous post, Ace Your Assignments: Tips for Presentations, I’m back with another installment! This time I will be giving my top tips on handling feedback, something I was really nervous about as a prospective student. This can be applied to assignments when you get to university but elements will also apply to feedback you might get on your personal statement, university applications, sixth form work etc. So, without further ado…

  1. Give it time to sink in
    Good or bad, when I check the marks for a piece of work at uni I always look at the marks/grade first and then lock my phone or laptop and go and process the news. I did the same at college. If I’m pleased, I take the time to be proud of myself and let my loved ones know. If I wish I had done better, I give myself a little bit of time to mope and maybe eat some comfort food. Once that is done, I settle in to read the notes/feedback that the assessor has left for me.
  2. Ask for a 1 to 1
    Once I have had time to process my grade and digest the feedback I was given, I prepare some notes of my own in response to the feedback and, if necessary, I book a 1 to 1 with the relevant tutor at uni to discuss the grade. I don’t do this every time, but if there are some elements of the feedback that I don’t understand or if I read the feedback a few times and still don’t grasp how I can implement it to do better next time, then I send the email and get a meeting booked.
  3. Comparison is the thief of joy! So…
    Don’t fall into the comparison trap! Congratulate your coursemates who are pleased with their grades and support those who are disappointed, but please don’t compare their grades to yours. We are all on our own university journeys and we all have different strengths, sit back, and focus on you.

What would you add to the list?

Sam xo

University and Balance!

Hey everyone, I thought that I would do little follow on from my last post and talk a little about balancing your university life with social/you time as it is very essential.

From my experience, when it comes to balance there are two ends to a scale; on one side, you have the people who spend the majority of their time in the library, writing notes, reading for assignments month in advance and never taking time off to hang out with flatmates or socialise. Then there are the people who avoid uni work at all costs until last minute and then panic at the last minute. It is hard to find a balance and I didn’t find mine until second year.

5 Reasons Why Maintaining a Work-life Balance Is So Important

Creating a schedule is really useful and also really satisfying to tick off at the end of the day (don’t even try and lie to me). I used to write my lists down on a random piece of paper and then throw it away once I was done but I realised how wasteful that was and so, moved to an app called “Lists To Do” which was created by a university student! It allows me to create to do lists and most importantly still allows me to tick them off with a really satisfying clicky sound. I can also go back and see my previous to do lists and use them as motivation to actually make one!

If you are someone that struggles on their own to get work done, perhaps try going to on study sessions with your friends. I could never do this in first because I was so comfortable with working on my own but in second year, I found that group sessions were SO beneficial in terms of bouncing ideas off each other and also keeping each other motivated. It is also nice to be able to take breaks with them if you are someone like me who really did not take advantage of study breaks and then burnt out.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog post and found it somewhat useful. Be sure to look at my last post for some similar advice!

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

-Albert Einstein-

Best Student Discounts

As a student, you get access to loads of student discount. One of the best things to do is to have a look at what kinds of discount you can get before coming to University. There might be things on offer in home, tech, stationary etc, that will help you throughout your Uni journey. Here’s a few student discount deals that I think are worth it.

UNIdays, Apple

UNiDAYS - Fast, free, exclusive discounts for students

At the moment, apple are doing an amazing deal where free Airpods are on offer. You need to be buying either a Mac, Macbook or IPad in order to receive this offer. Also, if you’re verified as a student through UNIdays, you’ll get a bit of extra discount off the overall price too. I’ve just bought myself this deal to go back to finish my third year, so for me a 10/10 offer.


With the tech, HP and UNIdays, you can get an offer of up to 35% off. This is an excellent deal if you need something new, and they tend to be slightly cheaper than the Apple Products too. So if you’re looking to try and save money for Uni, I definitely recommend going with this discount offer.

Student Beans, Thorpe Park

Student Beans (@studentbeans) | Twitter

If you’re wanting a bit of thrill or adventure before starting Uni, then this is the offer for you. At the moment, Thorpe Park have paired up with Student Beans to offer Students an exclusive £20 ticket for all dates in September and only £25 for other dates.

Student Beans, Mcdonalds

This is definite must! If you didn’t know about this deal already, students get a free Cheeseburger, Mayo Chicken or McFlurry Original by showing your Student ID. You will need to have ordered either an extra value or wrap meal however.

There are so many more discounts on offer. Also remember when you start Uni to keep your student card on you at all times just in case a store offers student discount without you knowing. Plus it will save time logging onto the different apps on your phone, especially if you don’t have data.

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Ellis x

Foundation Years: Taking the Road Less Traveled

Many courses may have foundation years to allow disadvantaged students’ to get onto the course. They have lower entry criteria and allow people who didn’t have as many opportunities as other students may have to get onto their course.

Grades Don’t Reflect Ability

This cannot be said enough. If you aren’t able to get the grades direct entry asks for, don’t think it means you aren’t capable. You’re assessed differently at University than at college, especially if you’re doing A Levels that are 100% exams. Universities recognise this, and offers a Foundation Year.

More Time to Yourself

Foundation Years are full-time courses but have fewer contact hours than the direct entry courses. While I did a lot of independent study outside of the three day week, I naturally had more spare time than I would’ve if I did direct entry.

This year, I’ve learnt how to be independent and form friendships without the pressure of the first year timetable. I’ve learnt a lot of life skills this year, so next month I won’t need to worry about learning how to cook when I’m in lessons five days a week.

There’s no Race in Life

If you take a Foundation Year or gap years, you’ll be getting experience direct entry students mightn’t have. You can use the spare time to travel, to reflect on yourself, or learn skills you mightn’t have time for in the full course.

If 18 year old me envisioned himself as a doctor 10 years later, I’d have so many routes. I could do another degree and then graduate entry Medicine, take 4 gap years and then Medicine with a Foundation Year, etc.

There were so many opportunities for me to complete my ten year plan. And even if people’s plans took twenty years, how would that be a bad thing for anyone?

Closing Words

A lot of people told me to ‘aim high’ and avoid ‘BBB’ for Foundation Year Medicine, and aim for AAA for direct entry, even though a Foundation Year would be better for me. There’s a stigma around Foundation Years that need to be challenged.


Move in Day Hacks

Edge Hill University | Reviews and Programs | Go Overseas

The move in day for Edge Hill is fast approaching and there is so much to think about. If you’re starting your first year at Edge Hill, there’s a few tips you should know before moving in.

Staggered Times

This is something that Edge Hill will organise. It’s most likely that they will keep the strategy or having people move in by surname to help with the flow and limit how many people move into each flat at one time. Be prepared that you’ll need to enrol first and collect your keys before moving your belongings in.

ID Picture

When you get your student cards for campus, Edge Hill will most likely give the opportunity to send in a photo of yourself so you can just pick it up on the day. I highly recommend doing this and make sure its good! Otherwise you’ll have to wait in the queue to get another picture taken.

Belongings Organisation

When moving in, its an idea to organise all of your belongings by room: kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. This will make it much easier for you to move in knowing where each item is. Also it means less boxes in the way when you’re doing your room decor.

On the move in day it’s likely that there will be trollies and carts that you can use. Also there will be loads of assistance round campus to make your move-in day as easy as possible. Also, if you’re wanting to go out for lunch with your parents on the day, I highly recommend either the Stanley Gate or the Sandpiper. It’s a nice way to say goodbye and they do lovely food!

If you have any questions, just comment down below. Hope this has helped!

Ellis x

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