I thought that it would be a good idea that you get to know a little about me before reading my blogs because everyone is a little curious about everyone (as my dad likes to say).
So, here it goes, prepare yourself for the word ‘I’ a lot, which I will apologise for in advance.
I am Lauren Fitzsimons, originally from Northern Ireland, I moved to Ormskirk to start my journey as a Primary school teacher in September 2018, specialising in Science and loving every minute of it! I have wanted to be a primary teacher since I can remember, and so I couldn’t wait to get started with my course at Edge Hill.
My hobbies include reading any form of writing I can find, going to the gym, hanging out with friends and family and now I guess I can add blogging to the list! Of course I have many other hobbies but I thought I would keep this short and sweet.
Thank you for reading and I really hope that you enjoy reading my blogs that will aim to provide you with all the information you need about Edge Hill University and all it has to offer!
PS. If you have read my first blog, you will know that I am a fan of inspirational quotes. Here is one of my all time favourites that I aim to live by;
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
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…
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
Hey everyone, I thought I would share some advice that I would have given my past first-year self! Hope you enjoy and that some find this helpful.
When I was completing my A-levels, all I knew for about 7 months was studying, writing notes, reading and learning notes over and over again. I took this mentality to university and continued to spend most of my free time in the library for all hours of the day which obviously meant that I missed out on some really good times with my friends.
So, what I would tell my past-self now is to set aside time to hang out at the flat and be around your flatmates more often, play monopoly until one in the morning and watch scary movies with them. Make a library schedule as to when you are going work and stick to it and if something comes up with your friends, don’t feel guilty about missing a studying session.
Be Yourself and HAVE FUN
This is probably the most cliche piece of advice I can give but it is very important and can make your uni experience far better. Being yourself around the new people that you meet will make things a lot easier for getting to know them and it you won’t get tired of trying to be this whole other person.
Make the most of the places around you!
Edge Hill University is a perfect location for exploring new places such as Liverpool city and Southport etc. They can be great places to do day trips with your friends and to take your family when they visit you. Even Ormskirk is a great place to spend the with parks and cute cafes to try.
Make the most out these places while you have the chance at uni!
I hope that you enjoyed this post and hopefully took something away from it. University is a time to enjoy and have new experiences. It is also a time to learn and work hard but one word that I wished I knew in first year was BALANCE and how to juggle both sides of university.
“Live a life that is well balanced; don’t do things in excess.”
Hey everyone, as the beginning of your Edge Hill journey is fast approaching, I thought I would share some tips on finding your tribe/that group of people that you want to share your journey with.
These people are more than likely going to be the first people that you meet when arriving at university and so, it is probably a good idea to take some time to get to know them as soon as possible. I know that it might be tempting to shy away in your room and wait for the opportunity to come and meet the flatmates but trust me when I say, pushing yourself to socialise is what is going to make university a whole lot easier.
I was really lucky that all my flatmates were so so nice and we had the best time ever in first year even though we were all different. I am still living with the people I met in first year and with the people I made friends with from downstairs and can safely say that they are now some of my very close friends.
2. Course friends
These are also one of the first people you will meet and most likely in a lecture setting which is not the most ideal place for socialising. However, I found that I got talking to my course mates by simply asking, “Hi, is anyone sitting here?” to which then leads on to a conversation about starting university or where you live or something a long those lines. As I do a primary teaching course, it means that I have smaller classes which I was able to talk easier to some of my classmates which then led to meeting up before lectures or going to classes together etc.
I have never personally joined a club or society in university aside from the gym but I have heard of other people who have and have made really great friends. I suppose this is because you join a club based on what your interests are and so there you will find other people who have similar interests as you.
I hope that this helps anyone or comforts anyone starting university as making new friends who have similar interests as you can be daunting a very scary. Never be afraid to push yourself to do things that will make you happy in the long run and that will help you through your journey.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
Hey everyone, I thought I would share with you a few things that I found I absolutely needed to bring with me to lectures and classes as I have learned from first year that some things are just not necessary…yeah five different types of folders, I’m talking to you…
First things first, you only really need to bring one folder with you (if any) if thats how you like to be organised and keep your notes but, bringing different folders for each module and lecture you have will literally weigh you down and cause an awful lot of back strain.
SMALL PENCIL CASE!! I cannot stress this enough. I had a massive pencil case with me in first year with too many pencils and too many pens and just too many rubbers for one person. I suggest getting a small, thin pencil case where you can keep maybe only two pencils and pens and then a ruler and rubber.
Umbrella. My best friend in second year. It is already hard enough walking to classes in the cold but when it starts raining and you are sitting in the class with wet hair and wet clothes it just adds a different level of stress to your day. I got a small pop up umbrella from B&M bargains and it lasted me a while and saved me from getting freshers flue all year round.
Snacks. No one can argue that these are not essential. I quickly realised that when my mood started to slip in lectures and classes it was because I was beginning to feel a little peckish and thus having the energy to take notes and participate was made very hard. I suggest bringing snacks with you to classes and eating them before so that you can have some energy before going in and smashing the lesson. It also lessens the chances of hearing whale noises from your stomach during a silent part of the lecture.
“He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.”
Hey everyone! It is possibly getting closer the time when we will be on our own independent journey as students again and that means cooking for yourself if you do not do so already. I thought I would share some quick, easy and healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that anyone can make and cook to their own preference!
Breakfast – Banana and Oat Pancakes!
What you will need;
1 cup of oats
100ml of dairy alternative milk (or water)
1tsp chia seeds – add 2/3 tsp of water with seeds to make a chia egg
pour the milk into a blender (I used a nutri-bullet – you can get cheaper alternatives)
add the chopped banana
after the chia seeds have soaked up the water for about 5 minutes add this to the mixture (this will work as the binding ingredient instead of an egg)
blend it all together and make sure the mixture is thick rather than watery.
if the mixture is too watery add more oats and if it is too thick, add more milk or water
2. Lunch – Roasted Chickpea Rice Salad with Sweet chilli
What you will need;
1 tin of chickpeas
spices of choice (salt and pepper, cumin etc)
rice of choice
sweet chilli sauce or hummus
pre-heat oven to 210c, fan – place the drained and rinsed chickpeas to a baking tray and add spices with a tbsp of oil – bake for 20 mins
roughly chop salad leaves and tomatoes and add to a bowl
cook rice of choice – this can be a microwave pack but buying a bag of rice is cheaper
place the salad leaves and veg to a bowl, adding the rice and roasted chickpeas
add sweet chilli sauce or some hummus
3. Dinner – Rice Noodles Veg Broth
What you will need;
rice noodles/noodle of choice
salt and pepper
chop the vegetables and place them on a frying pan with a tablespoon of oil
fry the vegetables (courgette and red onion) until the onion is cooked – don’t add the spring onion just yet!
boil water and add 350 ml to a jug with the veg stock – mix well and set aside
add the rice noodles to frying pan – if not rice noodles cook the noodles before adding to the frying pan
add the vegetable stock mixture to the frying pan and stir well
let the meal simmer on a low heat for at least 8 minutes and stir every so often
once the meal is plated add the chopped spring onion
These are only some of the meals that I would make when at home and at uni. The ingredients are quite cheap if you are smart about what you buy e.g try to buy a shops own brand food and when buying vegetables, try and buy them loose as they will be cheaper and you’re not buying more plastic!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy, Lauren x
“One to change a few. A few to change many. Many to change the world. Starts with one.”
Hey everyone! When it comes to the time we can all go back to university and continue with our courses, it always a good thing to find a place you can chill out and take your mind off things. I found these places very calming any time I needed to take a break from assignments or reading and I hope you get to enjoy them as well!
This is not really on the campus of Edge Hill but it very close. Literally across a road and your’re there. I find a lot of comfort in woods and being surrounded by things that aren’t buildings. My friends and I would walk around here and take A LOT of photos which is always really fun and comforting.
2. Running Track
A very snowy version of the track around the running track right next to the sports centre. I always walk around this track when I am at the library for a long period of time and need a break to clear my head of all the reading and articles. It can be very calming to do this every now and again and to even bring coffee and earphones to really chill out and restart your brain!
3. Top Floor (The Catalyst)
The silent study is pretty much the only place I can really get into the zone and not get stressed out with any noise. I have been there early enough to see the sunrise and late enough to see the sunset (a result of a very, very, very long day)and the view you have from the top floor makes you forget all your worries for a small time.
I hope that some people found this useful and hopefully you can use these places when we can come back to Edge Hill!
“Brilliant things happen in calm minds. Be calm. You’re brilliant.”
Hey everyone, since lockdown is still a thing (slightly less so now but still stay safe), I thought I would share some of the things I have been learning to improve some skills and learn new ones!
About a month into lockdown, I decided that I wanted to be more creative and ‘artsy’ as I have never been able to actually stick to anything that includes arts and crafts.I started to make my own scrapbook of my years in university so far and I was really surprised with how it turned out.
It gave me a lot of ideas of what kinds of art lessons I could be teaching in school when I eventually complete my third placement and definitely restored my faith in the fact that everyone can do some form of art!
I have also been using the website Skillshare to improve and learn some new skills which has really kept me busy over this time. One class that I love taking is creative writing classes as you can do so much with them and be as creative with words as you can. In primary school, I always loved creative writing and it is something I want to do more of with my own class as I think it is such an important skill for children to have from a young age.
I managed to get a two month free trial for Skillshare which was such a blessing but I would 100% invest in paying for this monthly as it can introduce you to so many skills that will benefit you in the future and the course you are studying! There are so many classes you can take from photography to business management and even some cooking classes which always come in very handy!
Taking the time to develop skills you already have is a great way to spend your lockdown (if you want to) and also a great way to keep the mind working. I really have tried to use this global pandemic to work on things that would help me in my final year of university and is why I have loved learning new skills and developing skills I already had.
“Without sharpening your weapon; standing on the battlefield would not increase your chance of winning.”
Hey everyone! I thought that I would share some of the educational books I use for the majority of my assignments and classes for Primary Education at Edge Hill University!
I use this book for almost all of my subjects and assignments as it contains a lot information about educational theories that you can apply to all your assignments. The information in the book is brief but is a great starting point for information and just to learn the theories is come depth.
I really like the layout of this book as it very easy to read and the information is straight to the point. I used this book a lot in first year as we had to read and answer some questions from a chapter each week.
I use this book for my foundation subject assignments especially when looking for the benefits of teaching the foundation subjects in primary education. The layout of the books is very easy to read and has some really nice ideas to teach music, history and geography etc.
This book is more suited to English but can be read for other subjects like APD. I like this book because it has a lot of definitions that are useful to learn for teaching primary English and information on verbs etc to jog your memory.
Again, as this is a mathematics books I use this for my maths assignments and classes. For someone who very much struggled with mathematics I found this book very useful for explaining the misconceptions in maths and how to overcome them!
I hope that you found this useful! You can find these books on Amazon which was where mine were bought but you also do not have to buy these books as they will be available in the library and online! I found it useful having my own copies so that I could highlight etc so if you are also like this maybe look into second hand books which you can also find on Amazon.
Thanks for reading, Lauren x
“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”
Hey everyone, since people are thinking about accommodation for the next academic year I thought I would share with you some of my experiences going from living on campus to living off-campus during my second year!
What is so different?
With the on-campus accommodation, the halls of residence usually have a cleaner that comes in daily to clean the communal areas of the accommodation (not the bedroom etc) which was really nice and helpful especially when cleaning and mopping the floor was sometimes the most forgotten task.
Living off-campus this obviously does not happen as the houses for rent are not owned by the university. This means that (in my case anyway) a rota is usually created so that people living in that house each have the responsibility to keep the kitchen and the sitting areas clean.
Living on campus also means that you are MUCH closer to your lectures and can easily get to them if you are running a little late whereas, living off-campus depending where you are, the walk can seemingly take far too long. I lived about 20 minute walking distance from the university and sometimes the thought of having to walk in the rain to a lecture can be quite daunting but luckily the faculty of education keeps me warm!
However, living off-campus meant that I did not have to walk so far to get my weekly shopping. In first year, when I lived on campus I usually liked to walk to the shops and then get the free edge link bus that comes every 20 mins back up to my flat.
How to settle in
I found that it took a lot less time for me to settle in to living off-campus than it did when I first moved into the flat in first year. This was maybe due to the fact that I already knew the people I was living with but I think it was also because we made it comfortable and set up a rota to help us stay on track of cleaning and shopping etc.
I also found that spending loads of time in the house before university and lectures actually started helped me to get used to the new surroundings and set my things up.
I hope that you found this useful and are staying safe and well during this time.
Thank you for reading, Lauren x
“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort”