Summer Plans

Over these summer months where the sun is shining, the weather is beautiful, Pokemon Go has been released (which I’m already super addicted to!) and everyone is having some time away from college/uni before the new academic year, you might be struggling to prepare for the new year. So what things can you do to prepare?

First it may be a good idea for you to look on the website and see what modules you’ll be studying next year. This applies for all years, as there’s a nice description of the areas that will be covered throughout the module. For example, in first year programming you get the chance to learn drag-and-drop coding, before moving on to hand coding and producing software applications/games and finally moving on to robots using Lego NXT.

If you are up to date with your modules, then have a look at extra curricular things that you could do. Maybe try looking up something that would make you stand out a bit in your class – you could teach other students new things too which can benefit both you and others!

Another thing to look into could be societies! If you haven’t got involved in anything, maybe try finding something that you can get involved in and that could be a great way to meet new people! There’s societies such as climbing and mountaineering, LGBT, Harry Potter – I’m pretty sure soon there will also be a Pokemon Go society! It would be great fun!

Thinking outside of studying, make sure you’re prepared for the move to uni! You might need to go on a shopping spree, maybe look at things like kitchen equipment and bedroom items like bedding and pillows. Make sure you’re prepared – if you’re not then it’s fine because there’s also plenty of shops around that you can buy things, but maybe you can get it cheaper before moving in!

Exploring Campus

This week I took my partner to explore the campus as they have never been, and it was really nice to see some of the features in the sun!

We started by Ruff Lane entrance and walked through the gate, looking at the new building for Computing (which I’m so excited to be moving in to for September!) before walking towards the centre of campus.

At the centre of the campus, we went into the hub which has McColl’s and some small coffee shops with lots of seating. There’s also plenty of room to grab a computer to do some studying as well as areas to just relax and chill out.

Next we walked to the east wing of campus where Chancellors accommodation and Creative Edge are placed. There’s lots of nice places to relax around this area, especially with the small beach in summer and the grass patches!

Then heading round the front of campus past the main entrance where the garden looks so nice when in summer, towards the Arts centre and founders court. This accommodation was the halls that I stayed in during first year, so it was nice to go and see my old home!

Finally, we headed to the lake by the health and social/education buildings. The area around these buildings is so nice and the ducks are incredibly lucky with their home!

Campus is incredibly nice no matter the weather, as there’s lots of places to go when it’s raining as well as in the summer sun!

Accommodation

This time of year, many students will be at home with their parents and enjoying the summer holidays away from university. But for some, like myself, you’ll still be living around near university because of your new independent life with friends, partners and work. I’m currently working in Liverpool which means I need somewhere to stay for the summer while university has finished.

As my current contract runs out next week, I’m looking for some temporary accommodation until my new flat is ready to be moved in to. When I was looking at finding somewhere to stay, I went to EHU and spoke to the accommodation team from the Student Information Centre. They were incredibly helpful and gave me lots of advice, support and lists of places to stay or contact, as well as some free popcorn!

The staff from the SIC are very helpful and friendly, they’ll help with any concerns that you might have about pretty much anything!

Preparing For Your Uni House

Soon enough you’ll be moving into your new house/accommodation with friends and you’ll want to think of a few things to make your new house a home. So what kinds of things do you think you might need?

Kitchen

For your kitchen, you’ll definitely need a few basics like baking trays, saucepan, frying pan, plate and cutlery. If you’re feeling adventurous, maybe try bringing along a few extra things like measuring jugs and scales for cake baking, or a wok and pans for stir fry. You’ll probably need some glasses too (especially for pre-drinks!) and the nice hot chocolate in winter for film nights.

Bathroom

In the bathroom you probably won’t need to worry about as much, especially if you’ve got a shared one. You’ll end up needing some towels, toothbrush, soap and washing stuff. But if you have an en-suite, remember your toilet roll! Nothing worse than going and being stuck!

Bedroom

You’ll need some pillows, sheets and duvet for the bedding. You might also want some other cushions, decorative items like rugs or picture frames. Maybe bring a games console or speakers to help pass time when you’re not in lessons. Make your room, your room!

Studies

In terms of studies, you might need to think ahead. If you’re studying a literature course, you might need paper/pens to make notes. If you’re on a practical course like sport, make sure you have the correct kit and equipment. For Computing, it’s highly recommended you have a hard drive (or at least a memory stick) as not backing up can’t be used as an excuse if it fails! You might need a printer but that’s not a problem since the uni has a lot of places to print on campus. Also you might need a laptop/computer to help with your work if you need it.

Attending Open Days… What Should I Ask?

Today there was an open day at Edge Hill for those who intend to either apply or attend the university. I’ve worked on open days in the Computing department for the majority of the time I’ve been at university, so I know what kinds of questions parents and students often ask. But if you’ve never been, what information should you try and find out?

The first and biggest point: Is the course right for you? Many students apply for courses based on what they enjoy at high school/college and want to further their knowledge, but don’t realise how much work it might be. I remember going from GCSE Maths to A-Level and the jump was insane! I struggled a lot and previously had the intention of studying Maths at university, but I’m glad I had this realisation so that I chose the right course! As well as the course material, make sure you look into modules/tutors – the overall course might be what you want, but are the specifics what you will enjoy? Do you get choice or is it a set programme?

Another big factor is the accommodation and campus – do they have useful facilities? Does the accommodation contain what you need? Most importantly, do you like it? If you don’t, you probably won’t have as much of a positive attitude and be willing to attend, but if you’re like me and fall in love with the place then you’re going to want to spend every minute of every day there!

Something else to consider is the night life. Does the uni have good opportunities for social events? Edge Hill is near Liverpool, and I’ve had many amazing nights out in Liverpool that I’d love to go and do all over again! There’s also many clubs and societies, so you definitely will not get bored!

After this, if you have any other questions then speak to students/tutors and get a bit of an insight into the depth of university teaching. Open days are an incredibly useful way of finding out information from people that are studying/have studied there and it’s so inspiring to meet people doing what you aspire to do. Believe me, you won’t be missing out!

First Year Computing: What Should I Expect?

With September rapidly approaching, summer quickly heating up and time flying by, you’ll be starting university before you even know it. Welcome Sunday will be a blur of moving in, meeting new people, making friends and most likely getting drunk throughout Fresher’s week. But once all of the partying has settled down and your lectures start, what should you expect and be expected to do in Computing?

When you start, you’ll be given a set programme for the first year where everyone studies the same modules before you all split off into pathways and module choices in second and third year. The modules that you’ll do will include learning programming, web, foundations of computer science and digital world which covers topics like operating systems and networking.

In programming, you’ll start off using the Alice drag-and-drop software (which is free to download so you can practice over summer before starting!) before moving on to using Java hand-coding to make some software and then using Lego robots to program for different challenges.

For the web module, you’ll learn HTML code, Javascript and some other basics that will help you be able to build a website. Over the course of the year, it will build up and by the end you’ll be able to make some pretty impressive stuff!

Foundations of Computer Science is a new module which covers more of the decision making and maths involved with Computing.

Finally, digital world covers a wide range of computing including databases, networking, operating systems and physical components like taking the PC to pieces and understanding the components.

If you’d like more information, everything is listed on the website here and you can find out some of the things you’ll be involved in with your modules next September.

In terms of what you are expected to do, you should be attending all of your sessions to get the most out of the experience and to meet your friends who can also help, but also undertake some outside study. You should be aiming to spend roughly the same amount of time outside of lessons as you are in lessons, for example if you have 4hours contact time a week with tutors, you should aim to do 4hours outside of class as well.

Good luck with your first year!

Employment In A Tough World

Over summer before university starts and your A-levels have finished, you might be struggling to find things to do. As nice as it might be to enjoy the sun, go to festivals and party the summer days away, sometimes you need to think of the future and how you can help yourself in the long run.

When you finish your exams, I’d strongly recommend taking a couple of weeks to yourself to finally have a break – it’s been a long and stressful time with exams, coursework and assignments so you don’t want to burn out. I know that all too well, as I never seem to stop and actually have a break! Go out with friends, go for a pint, travel out somewhere for a day and just have some fun doing what you want!

However after you’ve taken some time to yourself, think about where you want to be in 3/5/10 years time. Do you have plans for the future, or are you going with the flow? A lot of my friends go to university as it’s a three year block that can be filled before making the next decision, but I have planned the future to know that I want to be teaching after university in a secondary school. Obviously you don’t need to have all plans set in stone, but it’s a nice idea to know what you want to achieve and where you want to be.

Once you’ve decided where you’d like to end up, think about what you could do to help yourself. If you’ve not done any work experience in an area you’d like, see if you can find somewhere and just volunteer for a couple of weeks or even a day would be useful. It would be even better if you could get a temporary job in your chosen area as that would be something really good to put on your CV and talk about in job interviews.

If you’re not sure where you’d like to go, why not try experimenting? Go to some places and volunteer, then if you don’t like it you’ll know in the future not to try again, but you never know – you might actually enjoy it!

Touring Campus… Where Should I Visit First?

When you come up to uni in September, there’s going to be so much going on and you won’t quite know where to start. There’s your new flatmates moving into halls, new friends on your course, the events and societies being run throughout campus as well as the excitement of fresher’s week – so when you get a moment to yourself, what should you get up to?

If I was to recommend something, I’d take some time to explore the campus when you have a spare bit of time. Take your flatmates out and have a coffee in the hub, or a pint in the SU, or even a pizza in the Arts Centre – they have amazing pizzas!

Some of the important places to visit might include:

  • The Hub
  • Library
  • Your course building
  • Sports centre
  • SU/Bar and Quad
  • Accommodation

Even though you probably will end up like I was and just want to get to know people as soon as you can, don’t forget to take some time and just settle in – I needed my own space and time to do this so took a nice walk around the campus after fresher’s week to get to know places. It took me a long time to even work out where Ruff Lane entrance was, so it might be an idea to explore towards town too!

Moving Home For Summer

Uni is over for summer… Friends are slowly starting to move out… What do I do? I’m not ready to leave yet!

A lot of students have the same problem when it comes to summer – you start moving out of halls, leaving your uni friends for the majority of the summer which could be up to four months and it’s surprising how quickly this year has gone by!

When you’re deciding on travelling home for summer, don’t forget that new friends means new places to travel – it gives you excuses to go and travel all over the country to go and see people which is great instead of sitting around bored!

If you go home though, you might decide to get a job – as good as the money will be, don’t forget to take some time off for yourself because uni can be quite mentally exhausting especially during exam/submission time so you don’t want to suffer from burnout before September comes!

Also if you’re bored over summer, see if there are any opportunities to volunteer – it’s good experience and can be something to keep you busy too!

Have fun and enjoy the sun!

University Social Life: How Do I Make Friends?

One of the biggest concerns of students before university is making friends: I helped out in classes for the first year computing students and I’ve watched them progress throughout the year which has given me an insight into fresher’s behaviour. So, how do you go about making friends?

If you can, try and get on sites like The Student Room or Edge Hill Student Union where you can contact people. Sometimes there are blog posts and forums that can be used to talk to people who have applied for the same course or halls as you, and that way you can email/chat to get to know someone. I actually met my best friend on The Student Room and we got talking a bit, now we’re living together! If there’s nobody already there, try making a post in the forum; someone will respond eventually, but maybe they’re not as prepared yet!

When you get your results, there will be accommodation emailed to you to confirm where you’re going. Once you find out this, go on Facebook and there’s groups which you can join that people will be in and you can talk to – there’s people there in halls, courses and just people there you can talk to. If you want to talk to people, put a post up and see if anyone responds – it doesn’t have to be anything specific, even just a message about finding someone to talk to!

If all else fails, you’ll be able to meet people on fresher’s week – you’ve got people in halls, people on your course and also societies so there’s loads of people to talk to!