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-

Why The Catalyst Building Will Be Your Best Friend!

So, the new Catalyst building at Edge Hill University may be my favourite building on the campus. Seriously, ask anyone who knows me because they will tell you that I spend a lot of my study time there. Don’t worry though, I still manage a social life.

I thought that it would be a fun idea to talk a little about the Catalyst building and sing its praises through a list of why I believe it will be your best friend as a student of Edge Hill University.


  • The Top Floor – I was going to save this point until the last but as I am currently writing this on the top floor, I couldn’t wait. This floor is known as the quiet study space, with a computer suite and a separate space with tables for those with their own laptops or who just have a lot of highlighting to do. This is the perfect space for people who prefer to work in quieter environments like myself and enjoy a spectacular view over the campus!

 

  • The Café – We’ve all been there, you’re typing away and suddenly you get an overwhelming urge for something sweet and a hot beverage. Well, you are in luck because the 53.3 Degrees Coffee Shop has everything from brownies, tea-cakes, sandwiches (vegan options also) and a range of drinks to choose from. You can all guess where most of my money goes to…

 

  • The Staff – I don’t think the catalyst would be as great as it is without the amazing staff that keep it running from 8AM – 8PM every day! There is always somebody at the ‘help-desk’ ready to direct you anywhere you need to go or tell you information about the services available.

  • The services – This leads me nicely to my final point about what the catalyst has to offer. You didn’t think there were just books and a café, did you? You can talk to people regarding accommodation, money/jobs, transition difficulties or the well-being and counselling services. Make sure you follow the link provided below to find out more about the many services available to students.

I really could go on all day about why I love the Catalyst, but I thought I would leave you wanting more.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and please don’t hesitate to ask me anything about Edge Hill University, as I am more than happy to help you!

P.S, did I mention that the Catalyst is open 24/7 for all students? However, this does not mean that you leave assignments to last minute…

For lots more information please follow this link –  https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/location/catalyst/


And, as promised, here is my inspirational quote of the blog!

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m Possible!”

– Audrey Hepburn –

Home and Away!

Hey everyone!

For my first blog, I thought I would tell you about my journey from moving away from my home and into Edge Hill University as a first year student! I really hope you enjoy the read and feel free to contact me at any time for questions you have about me, my course or even my experience moving out!


Around two months ago, I packed up my life into a few (too many) boxes, packed the car until we had just enough room to fit three people and sailed across the sea to Liverpool to start my first year at Edge Hill University.

To say that I was nervous was the biggest understatement of the year! There were times on the boat when I thought, “what am I doing?” It wasn’t until I arrived in Liverpool and drove to the small, scenic town of Ormskirk where my university life would start, that I remembered why exactly I chose to leave everything I knew in Ireland and start my life across the waters!

All the reasons why I chose to leave home and move away came flooding back to me. For example, the campus of Edge Hill is so beautiful and still to this day, it never ceases to amaze me! Everything that I would need was all on the one campus and only a few minutes from the town centre. Could you ask for anything better?

I also remembered how extremely friendly and welcoming the staff were on my last visit back in January! I’m not just saying this, but the staff here do so much for their students, from showing you where to go when you get lost (which happens to me on many occasions), to ensuring that you have everything you need in order to start your course right!

Getting settled into my university was something I thought would be the hardest part of this journey, but I soon realised that I chose the best university in terms of making me feel comfortable. Welcome week was full of activities and social events to introduce me to as many people as possible, which at first, I found daunting but quickly forgot those feelings as I met my course mates and some good friends.

To be completely honest, I forgot about all my fears and doubts about not settling in because, before I knew it, I was a month into my course and living with complete ‘strangers’ who quickly became my favourite people.

Sure, Face-Timing my family wasn’t the same as seeing them in person, but it made visiting home so much more special and telling them about my experience so far as a first-year student in Edge Hill University is always a subject of great interest at the dinner table.


And that, my friends, was my short journey from home to away! I am so glad that I made the move and made the right decision in terms of university and I hope that you too, come to Edge Hill to experience all that there is to see and do.


At the end of every blog, I aim to sign off with a quote because, who doesn’t like an inspiring quote to make you feel unstoppable? Or maybe just to set as your Instagram bio.

The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step”

See ya next time!

Lauren Fitzsimons.