Relax and De-Stress

Hey everyone! I know that many of you will have already sent your university applications away and are now working hard to ensure that you meet the grades or criteria to be accepted to your chosen university.

I know from experience that this can be a very stressful time especially with exam preparation and coursework deadlines. Over the years I have managed to deal with the stress of these situations with a few simple tips and tricks, some I still use to this day.


  • Make yourself a nice, wholesome meal – I know it can be very easy to quickly put some frozen chips in the oven or order a takeaway when you are in the middle of a hard-core study session. However, I found that I felt worse and more stressed when I did this and so I changed those less healthy meals to something more nutritious.  For example, a homemade, vegan pizza using a seeded wrap, some tomato sauce and loads of vegetables with a pinch of salt. It took less that 20 minutes to make and tasted AMAZING! Also, far cheaper than a dominoes.

 

 

 

 

  • Listen to a podcast – this is one that I have only recently started to do and it has changed my de-stress and relax game. Put on a gripping podcast that steals your attention, put earphones in and start walking or lie on your bed and just let the chatter and conversation distract you from the stress of studying and exams. I find that I am listening to podcasts more than I am listening to music because of how relaxing and distracting I find them. My favourite podcast to listen to at the minute is ‘Happy Place’ by Fearne Cotton. The conversations are so meaningful and gripping that I just completely zone out. 

 

  • Exercise – I feel like this is a pretty generic solution to de-stress but that means that it actually works! I used to sit for hours and hours at my desk in my room and not even think about moving except for when I was getting food. However, when I was doing my A-levels, I started going to the gym during the winter and doing small sessions 4-5 times a week and when the warmer weather came (as warm as Ireland could get), I would take a short walk over the fields every hour just to give my mind a rest. I found that whenever I came back from a little exercise, I was much more focused and didn’t dread the thought of going back to study.  Here is a picture I took whilst on one of my study break walks around the campus!

 

 


And that was some short and simple tips on how I relax and de-stress during exam  times or heavy essay writing. I really hope that some of these help you during the coming months!

I used to always say that I never had ‘time’ to relax but this is NEVER the case. Always give yourself time to relax and chill out because your body and mind will thank you for it in the long run.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

– Jim Goodwin –

 

What is the Primary Education course all about?

Hey everyone, I hope you all had an amazing weekend and are ready for the week ahead! I cannot believe that it is February already. This made me realise that a lot of you may have already had your interview for Edge Hill University as I had mine around a year ago!

This post will hopefully offer some more information about the Primary Education with QTS course that I am currently studying here and loving every minute of it. Enjoy!


What is the timetable like?

Personally, I find that the timetable for Primary Education is very good as it keeps me busy. Others would say that the timetable is rather ‘jam-packed,’ which is true but, in my opinion , the more classes, the better. 

My timetable looks something like this;

  • Monday – Independent Study
  • Tuesday – Minor Specialism
  • Wednesday – Foundation subject seminars which are sometimes followed by a curriculum lecture
  • Thursday – Core subjects such as; computing, maths and English
  • Friday – APD lecture followed by science then an APD seminar.

This timetable varies between the year group and over the years. As I said, some people may find this timetable rather busy but I love it because it keeps me busy, occupied and you appreciate the weekend more. Don’t worry, you still have time for socializing and going to any societies which makes the timetable much better.

 

Any exams?

Nope! Thankfully we have no written exams and so our grade is based on  assignments and our professional practice. This is good if you are better at writing essays with no looming time limit in a large hall but you need to have some self-discipline! Those assignments are not going to write and reference themselves, start them early so that there is no rush before the dreaded deadline.

I am currently on my professional practice and I am loving every single minute of it! A visiting tutor comes in to assess you against the Teacher Standards which means you must work very hard to involve yourself in every aspect of school life. Luckily for me, I am in an amazing school that has given me so many great opportunities for learning.

 

Duration?

The course that I am studying is a 3 year course. Each year you have a block placement that gets longer each year. For example, in first year currently, we are all on a 7 week block placement and then next year it will be longer.

First year has seriously gone by so fast so I have no idea how quickly the next couple of years of my life are going to go!

 

What are the staff and lectures like?

I am so happy that I chose Edge Hill University as my place to study to become a teacher. The staff and lecturers are amazing in terms of support and advice they give you, even during placement! 

All the lectures and seminars are really interactive and interesting so there is no need to worry about falling asleep at a 9am lecture because you will not want to miss it. You can tell that so much thought has been put in to each presentation and seminar which makes them so worth while coming to.

If you do happen to miss a lecture due to illness, some lectures are recorded and put up on Blackboard, a place we can all access work materials and assignment guidance. However, a recorded lecture is never the same as the real deal, trust me.


I hope that this post has been helpful to those of you who have applied to study Primary Education with QTS. It really is an amazing course, offering so many opportunities to expand your learning and experiences. I cannot wait for the next two years!

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”

– Brad Henry – 

Homesickness and how to tackle it!

Hey everyone!

As I come from Northern Ireland, the feeling of homesickness is very familiar and I especially felt it more when I returned to university after the holidays.

After feeling sorry for myself for a few days and texting my mum every 5 minutes throughout the day, I decided that I would try and do something about it. Read on to find out how I deal with homesickness!


What I Remind Myself…

I think that the first hurdle to overcome when you are feeling sad about being away from home is to remind yourself constantly that it is COMPLETELY normal. I sat in my room thinking that I was the only person that could be feeling like this at the moment but it wasn’t until I talked to a friend of mine that I realised, everyone goes through this. 

And so, after reminding myself of this everyday, the feeling started to ease as I knew that the feeling would come and go and when it does, it is okay to feel that way.

 

Talk to someone

As well as talking to your friends about what you are feeling, there are so many other people in the University that would be more than happy to talk to you and offer any advice.

When I was feeling the way I was about being away from home, I reached out to CampusLife with an email and they responded within minutes with so much advice on what I could do to help me overcome how I was feeling. They told me about ‘That Thursday Thing’ which is where a group of people meet up and just chat or take part in activities. They were so helpful and they will even offer to send out their student connectors to your halls to check up on you and to have a chat about how you are feeling.

 

Stay connected to family and friends from home

When I first felt homesick back in September, the last thing that I wanted to do was phone my mum, dad or anyone from home because I thought it would only make me feel worse. I even declined any pictures that my mum tried to send to me of my dog which, if anyone knows me, I would have NEVER done.

I quickly found that talking to my family and friends from home on a regular basis, whether that be through text or FaceTime, really helped me through the tougher times and made me appreciate them more. Till this day, I still ring, text and FaceTime home just for a catch up but, mostly for pictures of my dog…

Rosie really takes the whole ‘even my dog is prettier than I am’ statement to a whole new level…


I really hope that this post will remind people that feeling homesick is so normal and there are so many things that can be done to tackle it but these are the three main tips that I follow when I start to feel a million miles away from home.

“When you feel homesick,’ he said, ‘just look up. Because the moon is the same wherever you go.”

-The Goldfinch-

Top Tips for Meeting New People!

Hey everyone!

Moving from Northern Ireland to Ormskirk came as a bit of a shock to the system. I had left all my family and friends behind in the small ‘wee’ town of Saul, my forever home.

Coming to university and not knowing anyone around me was something that made my nerves bubble up inside me and fill me with all types of emotions. However, I luckily was very quick to find people who I connected with and can now call my friends.

Here are some of my tips and tricks on meeting new people!


Go out on the first night of freshers!

I remember my first day arriving at university and feeling so deflated after unpacking all day then having to say goodbye to my parents. The last thing I wanted to do was go out and socialize. However, I am so glad that I made the decision to do so! I was able to connect with my new flat mates and get to know them a little better which was such a good ice-breaker. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and let people see you for who you are. 

 

Join a society!

Here at Edge Hill, there are so many societies to choose from that you will have no problem finding one that tickles your fancy. It is such a great way to meet new people who have the same interests as you and a great way to socialize outside of your flat. Here is a helpful link that will allow you to browse some of the clubs and societies at Edge Hill – https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/study/student-experience/clubs-and-societies/

Give It A Go!

I was so thankful for the students union setting this up for first years. Before I arrived at Edge Hill, I was sent an information booklet from the students union with a timetable of all the Give It A Go sessions that would be happening when I arrive. There were trips to Ikea, Crafternoon sessions, nightclubs and lots of other activities that allowed me to meet people from other courses and to go to with my flat mates! They also organise these sessions throughout the year so take advantage of them when you can! Check out the Student Union website – https://www.edgehillsu.org.uk/

 

Do not isolate yourself!

Believe me, I know the feeling. Moving to a completely new environment can be overwhelming and your flat room seems like the only safe haven away from the unfamiliarity around you. In my opinion, staying in your room and not allowing yourself to step out of your comfort zone is not the way to meet new people. On my first night, I was barely in my room because I was hanging out with my flat mates, getting to know them and creating memories that we still talk about till this day! 


And that is all the tips that helped me meet new people and make new friends. I really hope that this helps someone and do not hesitate to ask me anything about moving away from home and settling in to new environments because I know exactly how it feels.

This quote is a little different from my normal ones because my dad said this before I left for university and I have remembered it every single day. Allow people to get to know you because, more than likely, they are just as interested to get to know you as you are them.

“Everyone is curious about everyone” 

-My Dad-

Getting Settled Into Your Course!

Hey everyone! I thought that it would be a good idea to write a post all about getting settled into your course.

When I found out I was accepted into the Primary Education course, I wish I would have had someone to tell me how I could prepare for my course or how I could feel relaxed when starting the course. I hope that this helps people whether you are applying for a course or just want to know what to do before getting started!


  • Use the Edge Hill Website – when I first applied for the Primary Education Course, the first thing I did was try to find out as much as I could about the course. I found that this offered me a lot more information about the course at Edge Hill, separately from all the other similar courses elsewhere. The website is really well structured, allowing applicants to look at an overview of the course, reading comments from current students and what modules are involved.  
  • Talk to people on the same course – talking to people who are doing the same course as you is always comforting because they are on the same boat as you. When I got accepted to the course, I downloaded the ‘Campus Society’ app which allowed me to connect with people who also had been accepted to the course. I then felt better about starting my course after talking to people who also had got accepted because I knew they were feeling the exact same way as me, excited and nervous!
  • Talk to someone who has already gone through the course – I was lucky enough to know quite a few people who had already completed a teaching course or were in the middle of one and so after speaking to them, settling into my course seemed easier. They were able to give me advice if I needed it or if I just wanted to talk about the course. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and has helped you prepare for your course. Do not hesitate to reach out and ask for advice or help from anyone about the course you have applied for through social media, the Edge Hill website or me!

Here are some helpful links;


“The strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.”

-Rona Barrett-

A Sense of Normality

I know the feeling. Coming back from a break from school and university can be hard. All sense of normality seems miles away.

Today’s blog is hopefully going to help you get back to normal! I hope you enjoy.


Get a diary! – This has honestly changed how I organise my day. Every morning, I sit for 5 minutes or less and write out what I need to get done that day and what classes I have. At the very end of the day, it is very (strangely) satisfying to tick off all I have achieved. Plus, if you get a really aesthetically pleasing diary you will be more likely to use it. Amazon have loads!

Start something new – I know this contradicts the point of getting back to normal but starting something new after a break might be a good way to get you looking forward to the work life. For example, my new ‘something’ for getting back to normal is meal prepping. I have never had to do this before but, now that I am starting placement I need to bring my healthy lunches with me and be prepared. I’m not ashamed to say that I am looking forward to it. 

Ease back in slowly – Sometimes the thought of going back to school or university can be quite daunting and so you try to get everything organised as soon as possible. Instead of rushing to get things organised at the last-minute, take some time before starting back to organise yourself and the work you have done over the break. This way, you will feel more relaxed about going back to school or university as you are prepared. 

Be happy – Don’t think of going back to work and assignments as a bad thing. It’s an opportunity to learn new things and broaden your mind! Mindset is everything (something I have learned this past year) and so, if you think positively about getting back to the normal school/life balance, it won’t seem as bad. 


I hope you enjoyed these tips of how to get back to normal after having a break. I myself practice these tips and find them very helpful to get me back on track.

“I think anything is possible if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in.”

– Roger Clemens-

Reflecting on My First Term at Edge Hill University!

Hey everyone, Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a lovely winter break and are ready to face 2019!

Over the Christmas holidays, I took a little bit of time to reflect on my first term of university and I thought I would share my experience with you.


I remember the first week of university thinking, “this is so different to what I expected.” In high school, I didn’t have to attend huge lectures with over 300 people and to be honest, the first couple of lectures were very nerve-wracking. Walking into a huge hall in front of A LOT of people was a daunting experience and took a bit of getting used to. However, by the third week, it was like second nature to me and it will be for you too!

My first seminar classes for Primary Education were also very different to what I expected them to be. I remember listening to everyone else’s experiences with primary teaching and thinking that I hadn’t enough which was silly of me because I soon figured out that everyone’s experiences are different.

We did a session in one of our Academic Personal Development (APD) seminars called ‘This is Me,’ whereby we each had the opportunity to share why we wanted to be a teaching and any experiences we had in the past. Sharing my own practices with my class felt really amazing as I was able to talk about what teaching meant to me and what inspired me to pursue the career. After hearing everyone else talk about why they wanted to be a teacher and what had inspired them, I felt closer to them and knew that I would get along very well with them.

My course also involved three exemplars visit days over the course of three months. This was a way to allow us, as trainee teachers, to observe the teachers in the school and make any notes on what we thought was useful or effective in the classroom. We had a topic for each of the exemplars which we needed to be aware of when observing. For example, the third exemplar visit theme was SEN and safeguarding and so, that was our focus for that particular visit.

I found these visits very informative because, coming from Northern Ireland, I felt that there were a lot of differences which made me feel slightly more out-of-place. However, during the visits, I was able to talk to teachers and ask any questions about what I was unsure about which they were more than happy to answer. I now feel better about starting my professional practice on the 14th of January!

The last part of my first term I would like to talk about isn’t all about the assignments, granted, they did come as a surprise to me, but I managed them fine. The last part is about how much more independent I am as a person. Having to move away from home and fend for myself, and by that I mean cook, I now feel more grown up and ready to face to ‘big bad world’ which, doesn’t seem so bad when I have the support from my lecturers and tutors at Edge Hill University, guiding and supporting me in whatever way they can.

I am so happy with how my first term at University played out and how fast it went by. Seriously, it only feels like yesterday that I unpacked my overloaded car. Sorry for the cliché, but it is true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun.

If you are interested in my journey as a trainee teacher at Edge Hill University, make sure to check out my ‘Digital Journey’ blog! – https://mydigitaljourney45482930.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/get-to-know-me/

P.s, good luck in this new year!


“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

– P.T Barnum – 

Staying Healthy at University

When I first arrived at university, I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to keep up my healthy lifestyle because of the temptations of take-outs, not having time to go to the gym or not being able to cook for myself.

However, I quickly found that there were many things that I could incorporate into my daily routine that has helped me maintain this lifestyle and still be able to enjoy the university experience with my friends. In this blog, I aim to share with you some of my healthy tips that I have picked up over the past couple of months in university.


  • Do a weekly shop! – For me, this one is so important. Not only does it save so much time it also ensures that you are not buying foods for your dinner and lunch out of convenience which may not be the best choice. By doing a weekly shop, you can plan out what you are going to make in advance and pick foods that are healthy but also what you will enjoy. Ormskirk has many supermarkets to shop in that are cheap and provide good quality foods.

 

  • Go for a walk when you can – I think that this is my favourite tip. I find that if I have been working for a long period in the library, I start to get stiff, lack concentration and become unfocused. This is how I know that I need some time to stretch my legs and clear my mind with a refreshing walk around campus before starting work again. I also do this every morning before breakfast as a way to wake myself up, start thinking about what I need to do that day and just to feel fresh. And yes, it is freezing this time of year but it is so worth it when you go back inside for a cup of tea! It also helps that the university campus is quite scenic!

 

  • Drink more water – I am really not trying to sound like your mother here, but I cannot stress this point more. I carry a water bottle around with me everywhere I go and consciously take sips of water throughout the day and then fill it up again using the water fountains around campus. It saves you having to buy an energy or fizzy drink everyday. Drinking more water helps your concentration levels and keeps your skin nice and hydrated through the day even during the winter months.

 

  • Eat Breakfast – I do apologise for sounding like a parent, but I can’t help it, I live by these tips! I know it can be hard sometimes to make something to eat before going to class or school as you are rushing out the door buttrust me, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. If you wake up a little earlier and make yourself some toast or porridge (my favourite), it will do wonders not only for your hunger but also your concentration in class. You will then be less likely to buy something from the shop like a chocolate bar or energy drink because you will already have been satisfied by breakfast.

 

  • Take a break when you need to – This is one tip that I find has been the most helpful these past couple of months. It is easy to get caught up in all the work and assignments and even social life of university that you often forget that the body and mind need time to relax and re-charge. I love coming back from a long day of classes, making a good fulfilling dinner, finishing off any homework and then chilling out with a good book. Whatever way you like to relax, do it! It is so important to have time to yourself and don’t be afraid to do so. Look after your body and mind.

And those were my five top tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in university which have really worked for me. I will admit, there has been times that I have caved and ordered a pizza with the flat but that is totally okay because that is part of the university experience.  Enjoy your time at Edge Hill if you decide to come which, I think you should, and I hope that some of these tips help!

See ya next time,

Lauren.

Also, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas!

“Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle.”

-Pinterest- 

Ormskirk!

Hey everyone and congratulations if you were offered a place at Edge Hill University, you deserve it!


As I have mentioned before in my blogs, Edge Hill campus has everything you need in the one place, from a food shop, café’s to launderette. However, you may find that you would like to discover what is outside the walls of Edge Hill, and that is where Ormskirk comes in.

Getting into Ormskirk could not be easier as there is a free running bus to and from the town every 20 minutes, picking up passengers in front of the main building and also outside the Creative Edge. Did I mention that it was free?

Just as the bus leaves you at the bus station, you are literally only a couple of steps away from the town centre where you can find café’s, bars, book shops and drugstores like Boots and Superdrug.

I got very excited about the range of coffee shops available, especially the little independent shops that look so cute and, this is going to sound cringe, ‘Instagram worthy.’ So, go ahead and take those latte art pictures, nobody will judge you.

As well as the coffee shops, you also have your selection of supermarkets such as Morrison’s, Aldi and M&S. I find that I do my weekly food shop here for a variety of options to make healthy lunches, dinners and maybe pick up a couple of snacks on the way…maybe more than a couple…

Because of how close everything is in the town, you won’t have to walk that far with a huge shopping bag to get  back to campus as the bus picks up students just across the road from where they get dropped off and if you miss the bus, don’t worry! Like I said, there will be another one to save the day shortly.

Finally, the part you may have been waiting to know about. The takeaways. Such a Saturday night staple after a long hard day of studying. Why not treat yourself to a Chinese, a pizza or maybe some McDonald’s? You have such a great selection in Ormskirk, some even have the option to deliver to the campus which makes a night in with the flat, watching a movie so much better, believe me.

However, if you fancy something a little more home cooked, there are restaurants dotted all over the town that you can choose from. Apologies to anyone who struggles with decision-making, I am not making it easy for you. Although, at least you have a reason to try more food!

Ormskirk really is a lovely place away from the University. I often find that instead of availing from the free bus transport, I walk into town which only takes about 15 minutes and only another 5-minute walk to get to the train station which has trains going to Liverpool and Preston very frequently.


Thank you all for reading and again I would like to congratulate all you have gotten an offer to Edge Hill. I hope that any examinations or course work go well and that you receive the result you deserve.

See ya next time,

Lauren Fitzsimons.


“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.”

-Robert Brault-

Accommodation!

Hey everyone!

Here in Edge Hill, you surely will not be short of choice when it comes to accommodation. You have Forest Court, Palatine Court, Chancellors Court, Chancellors South, Founders East, Founders West and that’s just a few you can choose from.


My favourite part about living on-campus is that it is only a small walk away from anything you need. The Catalyst building, the Hub, McColls and the student union (aka Subway) are only a few of the places that are easy to get to from any of the halls of residence.

In addition, the (free) bus to and from Ormskirk is easily accessible as there are two pick up and drop off points on the campus, making it easier for students to get into town and back to university without having to walk miles. Even though it is a very scenic 15 minute walk, you can never trust the English weather!

Moving from Ireland to a completely new environment was so daunting, however, moving into my halls was the first part of helping me overcome my nerves. I found that I settled in much quicker than I expected and this was partly due to the fact I was able to personalise my room and make it more homely by adding pictures, books and other personal items around the room.

The safety of the halls also made settling in to my new home much easier.  If, at any point, you have any concerns, the rooms have a contact sheet at the back of every door with numbers and guidance on who to call if you have any problems. However, with the 24 hour security team, there is nothing to worry about.


I feel like it is also important to add how much easier living in the accommodation on campus made making friends. Moving into a flat with 8 strangers was rather nerve-wracking to start with however, on the first night of moving in, I new I made really great friends and would fit right in.

Do not be afraid to move into accommodation here at Edge Hill University because I can easily say that it is one of the best experiences of my university life so far as it has allowed me to grow more independent and helps waking up early for lectures even more worth it.

I love my accommodation and living on-campus and I am sure you will love the experience as much as I do.

If you want any further information about accommodation here at Edge Hill University please feel free to ask me anything or follow this link to the accommodation home page – https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/study/accommodation/

Thanks for reading!


“Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling”

-Cecelia Ahern-