Packing Tips and Tricks!

Hey everyone! With Welcome Sunday just around the corner and some of you finishing off some packing and getting ready for your travels, I thought I would do a little post on some of the tips and tricks I picked up over my first year on how to pack more effectively. I am currently in the process of packing to move back over to university and I am using every single one of these tips. I hope you enjoy!

Quick Tip – do a quick wash before you pack, it helps to fold clothes smoother.
  1. Vacuum Bags – these were a life-saver for my suitcase when it came to moving back over to Ireland. I was able to condense all my clothes into smaller packages so I could fit more in my case!
  2. Rolling – rolling your clothes and socks etc saves so much room in your bag as they are in tighter little bundles. This does take slightly longer to pack but I promise it saves you having to sit on top of your suitcase to get it to close or worse…busting the zip.
  3. Packing within packing – by this I mean, if you have a handbag you need to take over with you, packing things in that before putting it in your suitcase. This way, the things inside your handbag are not taking up extra room in your case. 
  4. Pack only what you need – when I first moved over to university, I packed everything! And some of it, I didn’t even wear or use. Before you start to put things in your case, really think about whether you need it or are just packing it because you have to. If you find that you have clothes that you don’t wear, donate them to a charity shop where you know someone will love them.  
  5. Buy things when you arrive – I made the mistake of buying everything I needed for the flat over here in Ireland such as; pots and pans, plates, cutlery, bedding etc. What I should have done was just pack all my clothes and duvet covers and bought the rest of what I needed over in Ormskirk. This would have saved me a lot more room.
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My final tip caters more for my fellow Irish pals or anyone who has to fly or take the boat over: 

This year I used UniBaggage to help me move over my things which was way more convenient than I thought it would be. All I had to do was get a box, pack all the things that I needed into the box (including my vacuum bags), measure the dimensions of the box and then weigh it. A delivery man then just comes around to the house and sends it off. I was able to choose a date in which I wanted it collected and when I wanted it delivered to my new house in Ormskirk so that it is waiting for me when I arrive!

I hope you enjoy this quick little post and that it helps you in your future packing!

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

-Unknown-

Personalise YOUR Statement!

Hey everyone, as there has been a lot of focus on freshers and getting started on university, I thought I would write a post that appeals to the students going through their UCAS application for entering university next year (September 2020). This can be a little stressful and perhaps overwhelming but worry not, I am here to tell you that this is normal.

This post will focus on Personal Statements as I was told in high school that this was the most important part about your UCAS application and in my own personal experience, this statement turned out to be very true.


A little background…

Once upon a time, I wanted to be an author, a teacher, a chef, no, I wanted to be a teacher again and then no, I wanted to be a publisher. When it finally came to writing my personal statement I decided I wanted to be a speech therapist. I went and did one days work experience and some workshops and thought, “this is what I want to do.” Little did I know, that was a BIG lie I told myself.

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It wasn’t until I began to write my personal statement did I realise that what I truly wanted to do in university is train to be a teacher. I realised this when I my careers teacher told me to write about why I wanted to be a speech therapist and what inspired me to want to study this course and I got as far as, “I want to study to become a speech therapist because…” Big seller that would have been, am I right?

After thinking about what to write for a while (three days), I soon realised that what I could write passionately about was why I wanted to be a teacher and why I think I would be great for the course. I don’t think I have ever been able to write so easily about myself like I did in my personal statement. 


What my point here is that, writing your personal statement about what YOU want to do should not be hard. If you truly want to study the course that have picked to write your personal statement about then you shouldn’t need to sit for three days thinking about why you want to be a speech therapist for example. Once I started writing about why I wanted to be a teacher, and why I thought I would be suited to the course I couldn’t turn back to tricking myself into thinking I wanted to a speech therapist. 

Your personal statement should be about why YOU want to study the course YOU have picked and not what you THINK you should study. After all, it is called a Personal Statement for a reason…

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I hope you found this useful for when it comes to writing your personal statement. Remember to keep it concise and to the point about why you want to study the course and really make sure you sell your skills and qualities but most importantly, make sure it is about what YOU want to do.

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

-Marc Anthony-

Making Friends 101

It’s getting closer to the day you all move in and start your university experience! i hope you are all enjoying binge watching what do bring with you to university videos on YouTube (please tell me I was not the only one!)

As a girl who moved from Ireland to Edge Hill University, I thought that making friends would be the hardest part about university but low and behold I was very surprised…doing your own washing is the hardest part. However, although it is not the hardest part about starting university and I had a very good friend that I knew from home, it can be quite nerve-wracking especially if you are introverted like I was so, here are some of my tips on how I managed to get people to be in my company voluntarily.

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BE YOUR BEST SELF!

I’m sorry for how cliche this is but it is seriously so true. People have this weird ability to sense if people are being fake and this only heightens when you get to university. I will admit that I was very scared to be myself in front of my fellow classmates and flat mates but once I got comfortable, let’s just say that we are now very close and they know why I am not myself around everyone I meet…

Societies will be your first best friend!

I have heard that joining these at the very start of the year can be so useful when wanting to make friends in an environment that you are comfortable in. For example, there are musical theatre groups, dance groups, Doctor Who groups and many more that you would never think of. Don’t make the mistake I made and not join one of these!

Go on nights out!

This is another classic case of do as I say and not as I do. I made the mistake of not going out much with my flat mates and not being able to meet new people outside of my course. I now have learnt that while being an introvert is not a bad thing, it can be damaging when you want to meet new people. Take my advice and push yourself to socialise outside the confines of your flat because, while it might be hard and scary you won’t regret it!

Now that I read this blog again, I really should have titled it, ‘Mistakes I made whilst trying to make friends.’ I really hope that you find the friends you deserve because they really do make the difference to your university experience.

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you”

Rasheed Ogunlaru

Taking the pressure off…

Hey everyone, I hope you’re all getting excited about starting your course at Edge Hill University! Be sure to check out the social media sites so you can keep up to date on Q&A conversations, campus activities and fresher updates.

Take this blog as a piece of advice from a now second year university student where I talk about why it is important not to let your course dominate your whole university experience and why you should keep up with your hobbies and not abandon them to focus solely on your course.


When I first started university, I was so ready to dive straight in to work and be on top of my assignments, homework and reading. While I did do this through-out my first year, I now realised how much of the experience of university I missed out on. For example, having last minute, middle of the day movies with my flat, going shopping with my flat-mates, having dinner and lunch together and just missing out on moments because I was always in the library trying to be on top of everything.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing because you do end up being way ahead of everyone in terms of work and you should still try to do this but just remember that this can be done in a way that doesn’t mean you will miss out on a bunch of memories like I did. This is a classic case of do as I say and not as I do…

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My Advice for not letting your course consume you!

I don’t mean that you should completely abandon your lectures and never do your assignments just in case you thought that was what I was saying. If I were to give my first year self some advice I would tell her to go to lectures and do your assignments in a nice relaxed pace and don’t try and get things done and dusted as quickly as possible!

I would tell myself to hang out with my flat more rather than go to library for most of the day because you’re going to miss out on some really good times.

I would tell myself to put time and effort into my course and make sure that I am performing and achieving to the best of my ability but don’t let it take away from your overall experience.

I would finally tell myself to keep up with my hobbies! Luckily I still went to the gym and went for walks which was something I really loved but I also wished I kept doing photography and used my free time to play around with this hobby. This was the most important advice I could have given myself because I got a sense of freedom when I did take a break from my course and focused on my hobby.

My hobby, Photography!

I hope this helps someone who like me, likes to stay on top of work and feels the need to constantly work! Trust me, this quality is a great thing to have when work needs to be done but, when it doesn’t need to be done right away, live your university experience.

“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-

Dealing with the Nerves!

Hey everyone and CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who have been accepted into Edge Hill University! I am sure you are going to love every minute of it. However, I bet some of you are feeling slightly more anxious than excited to start this new journey particularly if you are travelling a long distance to attend like me. I thought I would share some things that I told myself to calm my nerves about starting university.

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First….

You are not the only one that is going through this! As you are all aware, there is thousands of people starting university for the first time and are probably feeling exactly the way you are right now. I don’t know how many times I told myself this on the weeks leading up to moving and how much my family told me this but, it really did help settle my nerves when I really thought about it. You are never really alone in anything.

Second…

This is not a life altering decision. Once you have accepted the course you are doing it does not mean that you are tied down to that decision for the rest of your life. The great thing about university and Edge Hill, is that it opens up so many windows of opportunities for you to explore. Take these opportunities and explore them!

Third…

This will be the best thing that will happen to you. I know this seems a little dramatic but, for me, starting university was a big deal because I never thought that it would happen to me. Telling myself that going to university would be the best thing I would do really helped with my nerves because I then really started to believe it and to be honest, it really has helped me in so many ways and I can guarantee it will do the same for you.

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Thank you for reading and I hope that this has helped at least someone who is starting to feel the nerves. Again, well done on getting into University, you deserve this!

Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.

Dalai Lama

Organisation for Your Course!

Hey everyone! Not long now until you find out if you have made it into Edge Hill University! I know the feeling of awaiting results all too well and trust me, try not to overthink it, what is for you won’t go by you!

If you have applied to study Primary Teaching at Edge Hill University, I thought I would write a post on how I organised myself before starting the course so that I would be prepared!


Pre-Course Tasks!

Before I started my course at Edge Hill, a couple of weeks after I was accepted into the course, the students were emailed a pre-course booklet that told us about the course, the teaching standards and some tasks for us to engage with before starting.

These tasks included; reading children’s novels, engaging with course reading, updating your subject knowledge and familiarising yourself with the curriculum. It really is not that much work if you start when you get it and just chip away at it each day. My favourite part was reading children’s books because what better excuse do you need to relive your childhood than for your future career?

Text Books!

You will usually have a list of required texts to have before starting the course and you don’t HAVE to buy them but, in my opinion, I found it a lot less stressful to have my own text books for assignments as I didn’t have to fight my way through the library to try and get a copy!

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Campus Society and Facebook Groups

The best thing that I did before starting the course in September was join Campus Society. It is an app that allows you to find people on your course and who live in your accommodations. This helped me feel more relaxed about starting the course as I was already talking to people who were also studying Primary Teaching and knew how I felt.

After being accepted on to the course, I was added into Facebook groups with other people from Primary Teaching. We then made an online group chat and were able to talk to each other about the pre-course task and any worries that we had. I really recommend joining these online platforms if you are worried about starting your course, it helped me a great deal.

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Experience!

This goes without saying that you need to have some sort of experience of primary teaching before starting the course. I was lucky that my mum is a Primary School teacher and I had loads of time in the classroom before starting which made me feel more prepared about starting practice in first year. I even was able to squeeze in a little more experience before starting the course which is never a bad idea!

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I hope that you enjoyed this blog and found it useful! Being more organised and prepared before starting my course really did settle my nerves and lesson the blow of starting university. Just remember that you are doing what you really want to do with your life and so you should enjoy this experience!

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

-Abraham Lincoln-

Being Vegan or Vegetarian at Edge Hill University!

Hey everyone! With the rise in veganism, vegetarianism and just the general rise in people eating less meat in their daily lives, I thought that I would put a simple post together on how this can be done at Edge Hill and in Ormskirk as it is a small area with a much more limited choice than you would get in a city. I myself don’t consider myself vegan or vegetarian as I still eat fish and eggs but no dairy, red meat, chicken, etc. When I moved into university and was living on my own, I began to make more plant based and vegetarian meals which were quite easy. I know that this lifestyle can be quite tricky for people but hopefully this post will help some of you!


Shopping!

This was what I found the easiest when I first started eating more plant based. I shop in Aldi and Iceland because they are cheap and I can get everything I need for a week for under £20! Iceland have a whole section of plant based foods such as pizza, sausages, meatballs, burgers, pies and chicken strips! Aldi have the most amazing beetroot burgers and sweet potato burgers that go amazing with some frozen and roasted veg and potatoes! I also bulk buy the cans of chickpeas and butter beans because these can be so amazing in a curry or in a salad. Leading a more plant-based lifestyle does not have to be expensive!

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I would also shop a little in Holland and Barrett for things I might not be able to get in the main food shops such as tofu, tempeh and Linda McCartney items (if you know, you know) and these items would usually last me a couple of weeks as they can be frozen. Morrisons is also a good place for vegan, vegetarian and free from options but if you want to stick to a cheaper option, I would opt for Aldi or Iceland.

Eating Out!

I thought that when I moved to Ormskirk I would never be able to find anywhere with vegan or dairy free options but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was way easier than it was in my own home town. I will compile a little list of all the places that have a vegan menu or that I find are really accommodating to this type of lifestyle;

  • The Fat Italian – has a full vegan menu
  • Cobble – really good carrot and hummus bagel, just saying
  • Nordico Lounge – vegan-friendly
  • The Bagel Deli – vegan bagels, need I say more?
  • Wetherspoons – vegan meals on a budget? Perfect.

You can also treat yourself to going into Liverpool if you want even more options but for Ormskirk being so small, it is amazing what you can get.

Take Outs!

This is what I have found to be the hardest part about living this lifestyle because there is cheese or milk in A LOT of takeaway places however, I did manage to get a vegetarian dominoes pizza delivered to my flat with the rest of my flat mates which was really really nice but not vegan. Also, in terms of getting a Chinese takeaway, there is no harm in asking what they have that you could eat. I got a black bean dish from a local Chinese takeaway which was dairy free and full of veggies!

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Ordering food to the flat and getting a takeaway is a lot harder on this lifestyle but if you know that your flat mates will be having food like this, be prepared and have a frozen pizza in the freezer just incase so that you don’t feel like you are being left out.


I hope that some of you found this useful and are not so worried about having difficulty with continuing your amazing vegan/vegetarian/dairy free lifestyle. It was only when I started university that I cut out a lot of meat products and started cooking plant based meals and I would not have been able to do that if Ormskirk had not made it as accessible as it has.

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

-Albert Einstein-

Self Care at University

Hey everyone and congratulations on being accepted into Edge Hill University! As you are preparing to make the move into university life and taking in all the new experiences that come with this, it is important to take the time to look after yourself and remember that self-care is just as important as bonding with friends and keeping up with the work-load. I have made the mistake of putting things before myself when I really should have been taking better care of me. I hope these tips on self-care help!


Connect With Nature 

It is no secret to anyone that knows me that I LOVE walking. Any chance I get to go outside and walk around with my Podcast playing in my ears, I will take it. When I am in the middle of writing an assignment or have had a stressful day, my first thought is to walk it out. I find that when I come back from a walk whether it be 10 minutes or an hour, I feel so much more relaxed and as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. There are some really nice places to walk around the Edge Hill Campus, one of my favourites is Ruff Woods!

Social Media Break

I am sure you have heard this all before but, taking a step away from social media really can do wonders for clearing your mind. Taking an hour or two out of your day to just leave your phone down, log off of your social media sites or just put it on silent will do you more good than harm. I find that when I am on my phone for too long I get a little bit irritated and somewhat upset if I am seeing pictures of home. Why not take this social media break as a chance to hang out and bond with your flat mates? Or maybe go for a walk?

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Do something that you really love 

Sometimes when we are getting caught up in university work, studying or doing assignments, we can lose track of what we really love doing and what makes us happy and therefore making us unhappy. When I feel like I need a break from university work life or in need of some me time, I love taking pictures and playing around with photography. It is something completely different from the course I am doing and works wonders for taking my mind off of my worries. I then can go back to work with a fresh outlook and work ethic!


These are just a few things I like to do when I practice self-care. Everyone has their different ways of doing this and that is totally fine! Just remember that it is okay to treat yourself and look after you before anything else.

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“Self-care is how you take your power back.”

-Lalah Delia-

Managing Work-Load

Hey everyone, I have seen a few people do posts about how to manage the work-load of university and I realised that people have their own ways in which they do this. I found that when I am stressed or drowning in work, I go to these steps and strategies to help me with my work and try to organise myself. 

Enjoy!


To Do List!

I have to admit that I am one of those people who actually write a to do list and put things on it just so that I have things to tick of i.e make breakfast. However, I found that lists are a great way of getting your priorities straight and decide on what you should focus on first. For example, if I have an assignment, I will want to prioritise reading for that instead of starting something else. Or when I have reading to do for the next lesson, that will be on the top of my list instead of my assignment reading. Not to mention, it is really satisfying ticking them all off at the end of the day.

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Cut off all distractions!

Trust me, your friends snapchat will still be there when you have tackled that workload. Getting rid of all possible distractions when dealing with a hefty work-load could probably be the best advice I could give. This means turning your WiFi off on your phone, putting it in a different room and forgetting about it until you have done some work. As much as I hate to admit this, I find that my phone is a huge distraction and so I really have to make sure that it is switched off completely and out of my sight. Also, I would advise finding a really quiet area to work in as noise around you can be equally as distracting. I find that the silent study in the catalyst is my favourite part of the building as it really is silent…and that I am too scared to take my phone out just in case it makes a noise. Great incentive to keep you off your phone!

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Study Buddy!

Personally, I can’t work with a study buddy because I get too distracted and just want to talk to them all the time and show them funny memes… However, if you are the type of person who can work with other people and not get distracted this can be a great way to stay motivated especially when you are all tackling the same work-load. Finding that good study group can be really great to help you through that to do list and it doesn’t seem like you are working at all.

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I hope that this helps when you find yourself drowning in the work-load! Having said that, university work does not have to be piled up. If you are organised enough and stay on top of the work, I guarantee you will be fine!

Thanks for reading, Lauren x

“What breaks you down is not the amount of pressure you feel at one time, but it’s the way you perceive and handle it.” 

-Ashish Patel-

Home Visits – Can they be hard?

Hey everyone, I hope you are all having an amazing summer so far! I thought I would talk a little more about how I find visiting home both comforting but also a source of discomfort as this is something I quickly realised while in my first year of university. 

Coming from a very family orientated family, I have always loved the thought of going back to Ireland to see everyone and spend some good, quality time with them (and to be fed). However, while this was exciting and relaxing, I found that when it came to coming back to university, I would become a little upset and find it hard to settle back into the routine of living away from my family. 


I found it particularly hard after the Christmas break because I was so used to being at home again and being around my family and so, when it came to moving back over to uni and back to the flat, I suddenly realised that I didn’t want to. This only lasted for a couple of weeks until I settled back again but during that time, I really needed help to make me feel comfortable with being away from my family again. 

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I realise that flying over every weekend or every two weekends isn’t very student budget friendly but, I found that when I had a trip planned to go home for a couple of days I didn’t feel as sad or anxious because I knew that I would be seeing my family and that kept me going until that time arrived. In my first year, I made the mistake of only visiting home if I had a prolonged period of time off university and so as I was home for longer, I was getting too comfortable with being away from university, making it harder to transition back. 

As much as my mum hated this, I made sure to text her or FaceTime her every day while I was away so that I was keeping in contact with her as much as I could while keeping updated with the rest of my family. However, I will say that I may have been a bit smothering about Face-timing back home and texting whenever I could but, at the end of the day, it made me feel better and kept the homesickness at bay.Image result for facetime

It can also be fun to try and plan trips to visit family members who live close by or friends from home that have moved to England for University. This may be quite pricey but, in my opinion, your feelings and mental health come first. If you feel that visiting someone close to you while you are in need of comfort will help you, do it. I was lucky enough to have my cousins live in Liverpool and so, I could visit them when I wanted to or needed to be with family. I also made a couple of trips down to Bath to visit my sister who lives there. Yes, it was pricey but it made me happy. 


I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it helped my fellow Irish students coming to Edge Hill University. I can say truthfully that moving away was the best thing I did for my independence and it really made me appreciate my family more. 

Thank you for reading, Lauren 

 “Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

-Stitch-