Preparation for move in day (Chancellors court)

Hi, I thought as my first year is coming to a close and I am preparing for my second year, it was probably time to give some guidance about living in halls as you are all starting to prepare to move to university. What kind of things I would recommend buying? And the pros and cons of living in halls,

So firstly when buying things for your accommodation you don’t want to go too overboard straightaway as it will take you longer to move in and you want to save some money, there may be things that you realise you need along the way. So I though it would be helpful to collate a list of things that I have used over the year to help well you are buying and getting things ready for university.

Kitchen- 1 Saucepan (induction hob), sift, baking tray, chopping board, plates (small and big, I have 3 big and 1 small), bowl (I have 3), cutlery, mugs, glasses, wooden spoon, whisk, serving spoon, tongs, bottle opener, tin opener, a decent chopping knife, fairy liquid, plastic tubs, washing up cloths.

Bathroom- hand soap, cleaning products, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, face wash, small bin (a lot of this is just whatever your preference is).

Bedroom- Duvet, pillows, bed covers, mattress protecter, decorations, hangers, airer, blankets, mirror (again this is all up to your preference and how you want to make your room homely).

Extras- screwdriver, tape, sewing kit, anti-bacterial wipes, extension lead.

To follow on from this I’d like to reiterate that this is down to preference and what I have learnt whilst living in Chancellors court accommodation and a lot of the accommodations have slight differences. Living in halls is an amazing experience, some of the advantages to living on campus is that its very close to your lectures so you can leave 10 minutes before your 9am and still get there on time, there starts to be a real family feel about the flat as the year goes on. It makes it easier when you are going out because everyone is going to the same place so you always have someone to walk with or get a taxi with.

Things aren’t always plain sailing though, some flats find that because they are so close they do argue, also there may be times that you want an early night however everyone else is up making noise in the kitchen, although I have found that I have got used to the background noise now and so I can sleep through it.

This is just a small guide on living in on campus accommodation, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

Budgeting Tips!

Hi guys, so with it coming to the end of the term and Easter fast approaching people are coming to the end of their student loans and so less money to live on. So I thought that now would be a good time to give you some tips on budgeting and living on a budget.

I think for a lot people end up breaking the bank when they go out a lot because it can end up getting expensive, however you can get it into your weekly budget. So that is the first tip…

  • Set yourself a weekly budget- for me the money I receive from the Government goes into my mums account as I know that I would just spend it straight away. So my mum and I have a system that she gives me £35 a week to cover my food, travel and sometimes treats as well depending on my plan for the week. This is really helpful because then I know how much I can spend on my food shop etc.

  • Plan your weeks meals- I have been doing this the last couple of weeks and it has really helped when doing my food shop. I have planned my whole day of food so that I don’t buy unnecessary food that is just going to go to waste. Once I plan my meals it means I know exactly what I need for the week and can create a shopping list and try not to veer away from it too much when I am shopping.
  • Looking for the best deals- I generally do all my shopping at Aldi, however sometimes when it comes down to a deal, I do shop around a bit. For example recently I have been buying my alcohol at B&M as they have had a good deal on that I couldn’t get anywhere else. However this is always changing and there are always lots of different deals, in either B&M, Aldi and Morrisons (which are the main places people shop).

Lastly, when it comes to things like Student Events in Liverpool… which generally take place in September and April (Tomorrow, 3rd April 2019), make sure you set yourself a budget and make a list of things that you want/need. It is nice to be able to save up a bit of money to go to these events because it is a good way to bond with your new friends. Also as a side note, there are lots of way to make money whilst being at uni and I would definitely recommend getting a part time job, whether that be with the University, or off Campus, it is a good idea.

 

How to use your “days off” at University

I think there is a slight miss conception about university when it comes to having days off, a lot of people look at their timetable and think great I have all this time off to do nothing and sleep all day, when really that is not the case at all. Your “days off” are there for you to use as study days to get assignments done and to write up lecture notes or read around the subject you are studying that week. I currently have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off of any lectures or seminars and I thought it would be  good idea to share how I make these days productive.

So firstly I try and write myself a to-do list the night before of things that I want and need to complete in the day. I can then prioritise things I need to do in that day and have a plan of exactly what I am going to do. 

I also still try get up at a reasonable time usually around 8-8:30, so that I have a full day ahead to do things rather than being in bed till midday and then only having the afternoon to be productive. The first thing I do when I get up on a day off is go to the gym, when I go to the gym earlier in the morning it makes me feel so much better and like I am going to have a full and productive day. Alongside this when I come back I always try and have a healthy breakfast, and actually throughout the day I try to eat healthily because it really does affect my mood and how productive I am going to be.

Once I’ve done that and had a shower I feel like I can make the day really productive. I then like to decide where I am going to work, and I quite like doing it in my kitchen because it is very quiet and I can make myself a coffee whenever I need it. I use this time to work on my assignments, or catch up on lecture notes and read around my subject.

Sometimes in the evenings of these days or as a break, I might go and do my washing as I am living on campus and can’t just put my washing in at anytime. Also depending on what else is going on in the week I might pop into town for any essentials I might need, or I may even do my food shop. I would definitely recommend, at the start of the year, using one of your days off to meal prep some things to put in your freezer. For example I have batch made chilli and lasagne before which is really useful when you get increasingly busy throughout the semester.

I hope this was helpful for when you come to university and how you can make your days more productive. Even if its not at uni, it could help you make your weekends productive whilst you are at Sixth form or College. 

The importance of a work- life balance

When coming to uni, a lot of the time you find that people are here for one of two things. One of them being a great social life and the other being to work really hard for your degree. Now personally I completely disagree with that, I believe that you need to have a good balance of both, getting your work done but also enjoying your time at university. Even when you are not at University it is really important to find a good balance.

What happens if you do too much socialising– well to put it plainly it is likely that you are not going to end up doing very well in your degree. Your work for university does take time and if you are going out all the time and doing lots of extra curricular, it is highly unlikely you are going to have a lot of time to do your work. You will also probably end up with very little, if not no, money in your bank and so you will end up living off plain pasta for breakfast lunch and dinner, which nobody wants. You do need to be able to have a break from studying, however you need to make sure you get the right amount. 

What happens if you do too much work- I mean this is probably not a good way to put it because I don’t think there is a way for you to do too much work, but what I mean is that you are not getting a break. It has actually been shown that if you don’t take breaks from your work you actually become less productive. Even if you don’t like going out there are lots of other things to do on campus other than just going out and drinking. One of my favourite things to do is go for a walk around the back of the sports fields, or going to classes at The Sports Centre. 

What I do to ensure a good balance- I try and set myself a time in the day where I am going to go and do something I want to do, a lot of the time I try for that to be first thing in the morning particularly if it is going to the gym. For example on days where I am not into university till later on or if I am not in at all, I will still try and get up at a decent time and go to the gym or go for a walk as it makes me much more productive throughout the day. I have also joined the dance society as this is something completely different from my course and is a chance for me to have a break from studying. 

Hill Start- The dance society

Hi everyone, I came to the realisation the other day that the end of my first year is fast approaching, which is crazy and scary, and so I wanted to start reflecting on some of the things that I have done over the year as there may be things that you will be interested in doing next year.

One of the things that was a priority for me when coming to university was to carry on with my dancing. I have danced since the age of 4 and as much as I am not involved as much anymore I still enjoy it and it is also a good bit of exercise. Luckily for me a girl from home was one of the people that ran the society “Hillstart” so she was really helpful and answered any questions that I had. 

Hillstart offer a variety of classes such as, Broadway jazz , commercial, jazz technique, ballet and contemporary. I was lucky enough that one of my flatmates wanted to try some of the classes out as well so we went along together. I first tried out the Heels class, which is something I’ve never done before, but it was good because there was a variety of different capabilities there yet the girl made sure that everyone was happy and feeling confident. And no one is the class judged you and if you needed help I felt like I could’ve asked anyone, because at the end of the day you are all there to enjoy yourself and have a good time.

I also tried out the lyrical class, I had done lyrical before but it is not my strongest style of dance. I was quite apprehensive to attend this class, however it was a nice small class and there were a couple times I couldn’t do a move because I was incapable or had problems with my hips, however the girl taking the class made sure I was happy and gave me something different to do. And I have found that in every class, they just want to make sure you’re enjoying yourself.

And last but not least the tap class, I attended this a few times in semester 1 and really enjoyed it, and it is available to all capabilities. Tap has always been my strongest style of dance and the one that I have enjoyed the most so I definitely wanted to carry it on at uni. I have continued to attend this class and I am now going to be a part of the show piece that we will perform at the start of June. I am very much looking forward to it and can’t wait to try out more and different classes next year.

#feelgoodfestival

On Thursday 7th March, Edge Hill’s student services, campus life and the SU put on a Feel Good Festival in the main building for Uni mental health day. This is just one of the great events that the university runs for it’s students, and I thought I would share my experience of it.

There were a number of different stalls set up in the hub, which is generally what happens at these events, a few examples of these stalls are a free pick ‘n’ mix stand where you could get a cup full of the sweets you wanted, a ping pong table, a mini basketball hoop game, a face paint/glitter station, and this was all for free!!

My friends and I decided to get some fake tattoos, the man running the stall was really smiley and chatty, and everyone your saw or spoke to was really friendly. 

We also had the opportunity to plant our own flowers. They provided the pots and seeds, so we could take it away and grow our own plants. There were also a few competitions you could enter to win prizes. My friends and I also had a picture taken in a photo booth, there was a number of different props that we could choose from and it was nice to have a bit of fun after our lectures.

Finally a friend and I also took advantage of the free massages that were also on offer. We waited for only about 30 minutes but it was definitely worth it. The ladies that did our massages made us feel really comfortable and made a conversation where they could. I even almost fell asleep due to how good the massage was, it was about 10 minutes long and beforehand the lady asked me if I had any problems with my back and if there was anything in particular I wanted.

Overall this is just one of the many events that is put on in the hub, and the number of things that you can do at them. For this particular function, it was a happy and chilled environment with a nice message and meaning behind it. Lots of people struggle with mental health and this event just shows how much support the uni offers and how friendly everyone is around campus.

Making friends

Hello again, hope you are all doing well. I thought for todays blog I would talk about one of the things that I was most nervous about when coming to university. It is not something that people generally talk about, or they don’t like to admit. For me coming to this uni I was really worried about making friends, due to being from a small island when I knew no one from home was coming with me to this university, it was quite daunting.

However you must remember that everyone is in exactly the same boat. Everyone is trying to make friends, they may not admit that they are nervous about, but I’m pretty sure most people are. So I thought I would put together a small list of things that you should remember.

Be confident- You may find it difficult talking to new people, however you will probably be spending the next 3 years with the group of people you meet in the first couple of days. So be the one to try and make conversation, if you are able to start a conversation then that is great because you can find things you have in common. A great conversation starter is to ask where people come from, for me this was really easy because not many people know where Guernsey is and so I would have to try and describe it and how different it is from the U.K. 

Smile- It sounds cringe I know, but smiling at someone as you pass them or in the first class can really help you become friendly with them. Smiling at someone can really put them at ease if they are feeling nervous, and it is highly likely that they will smile back and so that will put you at ease. A simple smile can go a long way. Image result for smile

Try and go out and socialise- Even if you aren’t the biggest going out person, just coming out of your room and socialising with your flat in the kitchen can really help you become friends with them. I was not the biggest going out person at the start but I always tried and got out in the kitchen to make friends with my flat in welcome week.

Join a society- the many number of societies that is on offer at Edge Hill can really help you make friends and find people with similar interests. Joining a society gives you the opportunity to meet people outside of your flat and also outside of your course. 

Hope this is helpful, don’t worry everyone will be trying to make friends when coming to university.

Assessments

Hi everyone, I thought for todays blog I would share something a bit more specific to my course. I am studying Educational Psychology and I am in my first year, we have done and are doing a wide range of different assessments, which I’m sure are similar for most courses and thought it was something I could share so you know what kind of thing to expect.

Essays- This is a bit of a given I guess. Most, if not all courses will probably have to do an essay at some point. Some people love them, some people hate them. Edge Hill are really good in supporting you through the first year assessments, from referencing, to going over essay plans and personal tutor meetings, in my experience tutors and lecturers do all that they can to support you. A piece of advice for this is definitely take advantage of the support that they offer as once you get into second year, you will need to be more independent with your assessments. 

Exams- For some courses or modules you may have exams. For me, on my course, I have only had one exam so far and this was a multiple choice exam. There is a period of time at the start of January for exams and also in May. On my course for the rest of the year I know I am expecting another multiple choice exam and also an essay based exam. Alongside this, in psychology we do weekly Web Based Assessments that are based on the weeks topic and the grades from that go towards the end of module grade.

Image result for exam

Presentation-This is another love or hate for some people. I have recently done a group presentation as part of one of my modules and as much as some people may dislike them, they are such a useful thing to do and you will gain skills from. Working with others and having the confidence to stand up and present, are great skills to have and something that potential employers really like. 

Portfolio- As part of one of my modules I had to create a portfolio of a collection of work, to display a number of different skills. Some examples of these skills are referencing, finding appropriate sources and also creating a CV. These are all key skills that are needed for the course but also in the future when looking for a job, so I think its really good that the university offer that support now. 

When looking at Universities, the kinds of assessment is definitely something worth looking at, as different universities offer different types of assessment and different people prefer different types, for example I personally prefer presentations and and essays whereas others may prefer exams.

What to start thinking about

So it may seem a bit early to be thinking about starting University in September with it being almost 7 months away. However I know from my experience that I started getting very nervous that I didn’t know anyone and that I wasn’t ready. Things such as cooking for yourself and doing your own washing is something that most people are not used to, so I have a few tips of things that I did or wish I did before coming to University.

  1. Join facebook groups- I know that there is already a group that is set up to help 2019 freshers meet their course friends. For me the first girl that I met doing my course is now one of my best friends and it was really helpful to go in on the first day and have someone that I kind of knew. I was able to speak to her before coming and get to know her a bit which really helped when first meeting. Once I got to University I felt like I had already known her for years.
  2. Start cooking once a week- Leading up to going to University, my friend and I took it in turns to cook for one another. It wasn’t that we couldn’t cook but it was good for us to try out simple and cheap recipes in preparation for coming to University. This was very useful and actually really fun, we tried out a range of different things from stuffed peppers, to chickpea curry. 
  3. Start doing your own washing- This is something that I actually started doing in the summer but I wish I had started earlier. It is not the fact of how you use the washing machine because the ones at University are probably different, its more of the fact of getting into a routine and personally to know that just because I have worm something once, doesn’t mean that it needs a wash. It was good for me to be able to get into a routine of washing my own clothes and a set to being more independent.
  4. Go with whoever does thefood shop- Doing this can be helpful as it means you can have practice with budgeting. Knowing what to pick and trying to go with cheaper options rather than the highest brand, which you really don’t need. It may be really simple and maybe you already join whoever does the food shop, however try and take an active part, particularly if you are going to be cooking in the week because then you can take charge of what you need.

Although these may seem like very small and silly things, they can actually help with settling into University, but also means you can probably help others with things like their washing or cooking, if they need you to check something is definitely cooked.

What can you use with your gym membership?

When coming to university, one of the main things I wanted to do was join the gym. I have been fairly active since I was young and have been going to the gym on and off since I was 14. Personally I really enjoy the gym as a way to keep fit and healthy but also to have a bit of time to myself and not be thinking about school work or anything else. I was very impressed by all the facilities that were available at Edge Hill’s Sport Centre and I was very excited to get my membership.

In September I payed £80 for a years membership, due to living on campus (however this may change), and the amount of things that are included within the package I was astonished. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the things I get and use within my membership so that others have a rough idea for when they come to Edge Hill.

  1. Full use of the gym- this is a given but the gym is open 7am till 10pm Monday through Thursday, then on a Friday it is open 7am-9pm, and finally on a weekend the gym is open 9am-5pm. These opening times are very inclusive and seem to work well for everyone, because if you want to go to the gym before a lecture it is possible or if you want to go later in the evening after you have done your work for the day, then again that is possible.
  2. Full use of the classes- this is subject to availability, but there are a wide range of classes that go on throughout the week. You can book them from week to week very easily online. And again this is all included in the membership. I have been to classes such as Zumba, Spinning, HIIT, and abs express, all of which the instructors have been very helpful but they also try and push you to the best of your ability.
  3. Personal training sessions- Each week I have the opportunity to have a 30 minute personal training session, again subject to availability. I love these sessions as I am able to different things in my workouts other than just what I normally do and also I am definitely pushed to the best of my ability. Each week I can chose what I want to focus on in my workout, and it is always a good challenge. 
  4. A workout plan- with my membership I was able to get a plan made for me. I had a meeting with my personal trainer and I was able to tell him my goals and then a few days later I had a number of different workouts on my app, which is also very useful because it tells you how many reps and the weight and also a rest time. 

Finally there are other things included in the membership that I have, such as use of the pool when it is open, you can also use the sauna and steam room. However these are things that I have not got round to using yet. But this just shows that there are such a wide range of opportunities and facilities the Sports Centre to fit whatever you would like to get involved with. There is something for everyone.