Tips for writing your personal statement 📝

I can remember, even now, the stress and panic that had built up inside me when writing my personal statement. Being five years out of school, I didn’t remember any of the advice they gave to me, probably because I wasn’t interested in university then and so didn’t exactly listen. I ended up scanning the internet, as I’m sure you’re doing now, looking for tips and tricks, dos and don’ts and basically how to get through it. Everything I read was complicated and wordy so I want to make this short and sweet, but as helpful as possible.

Structure:

My personal statement is sectioned into five paragraphs.

The first is where I briefly told the reader what I am currently doing and I made sure to link this to the course I am interested in and why I am wanting to apply for this particular course. The first line is always the hardest for me, even with assignments now it’s a big hurdle. Some say to start with a quote, others say don’t start with a quote. Personally, I think quotes are cheesy and it’s a waste of your words. Use your words, not somebody else’s. I began, simply, with ‘I am currently…’

In the second paragraph I went into more detail about the job I am doing, the responsibilities I have, the skills I am obtaining and the experiences I am collating. This is where you sell yourself and this is where the hardest part lies as you need to be confident but remain cautious of a boastful tone.

My third paragraph is similar to the second but here I talked about previous experiences/jobs/events/volunteering, anything that makes you stand out and look good. Remember that everything you say must be important and have reason to be there. For example, I discussed my acting experience and I did this because it allowed me to talk about being confident in speaking to crowds, how it enhanced my creativity and how it taught me a lot about teamwork, initiative and inventiveness.

The fourth paragraph is less work and schooling, but more interests and hobbies, but make them meaningful. ‘I like reading’ isn’t going to cut it. I had written about my love of travelling, where I’ve been and where I plan to go next. I talked about my interest in the Endometriosis charity and the Stroke Association and what I have done regarding this. I talked about my love of golf that I share with my father and a tournament we had coming up in Dubai and lastly I mentioned why I had taken several gap years and how this was the best decision for me. This may not be the case for you, but if it was, ensure you make it a positive reason. Keep the whole statement positive.

The final ‘paragraph’ (it’s only four lines) is a summary of what my next steps are and why I chose Edge hill. Try to mention something about the University you are applying for, showing you have researched them – it’s a nice, personal touch.

My biggest tip for you is to read as many personal statements as you can. Read around and you will find structures you like, you will be inspired by what others have included and you will feel more confident when you get around to writing it. It’s tough, but it’s worth it. The best of luck, I’m sure you’ll smash it. Thanks for reading, leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Amy

Shopping for University on a budget!

Hello!

I know shopping for University can be exciting, at least it was for me! However, it is so easy to spend money on things you don’t need or too much money on things you could get cheaper. Keep reading for some tips and ideas on how to save as much as you can while you shop for the things you will need a university!

The Range

The Range is a really great place to get your bedding, towels, any decor you may need for your room like lamps, blankets etc. The prices here too are absolutely amazing. I didn’t know about this place until a few weeks before uni started and my friend took me there and I kicked myself because I could have saved so much money on the things I had already bought so make sure this is one of the first places you go!

b&m Bargains or Home Bargains

I love the treasures you can find in these shops and the prices are incredible too. Both B&M and Home Bargains are great shops to find things like laundry baskets or duvet and pillows and everything you could possibly need in the kitchen!

UniKitOut

Unikitout is an online store that puts together packs of the absolute esstentials that you will need. They provide a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom one that comes as it’s own kit and then if you need anything else you can shop for extras. This is a little more pricey but may end up costing you less in the long run as the packs are pretty stocked. Check them out here.

Thanks so much for reading today’s blog. I hope you’re getting as excited as I was, it’s going to be amazing! See you next time.

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What I’m up to over the summer! ☀️

Summer is finally here!

I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally get some time to myself and rest. The first year of university has been absolutely amazing but also incredibly tiring and it’s nice to take a breather and relax for a bit. I flew back out to Saudi Arabia to spend some time with my Dad. Although I’m waking up at 2pm some days I am also still working and doing things that will support my course.

While I am out in Saudi I have set up a tutoring service for primary level. This is really nice to do as it’s flexible to you and your plans but you are gaining vital experience while you are out of training.

If you are studying Primary Education with QTS it may be a good idea to volunteer at primary schools or try and if there are any summer schools on near you. Head over to this website to see if there are any around your area. It’s not a requirement but it will help you enormous amounts to continue working with children and learning more about great teaching. It also gets you away from Netflix for a bit.

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I am also finally getting to read what I want to read. No more journal articles, textbooks or children’s books. Well, I’m still reading a  few children’s books to add to my reading journal (which again, you should do if you are joining Primary Ed in September) but I’m finally getting to read my own books! Yay!

I am working out here and I’m working a lot because my student loan doesn’t cover the fees for the house I’m living in so I’m saving up to make sure I make my payments and hopefully I can save a little more for myself. I’m hoping to do some driving lessons and my test this year so there may be a post on that too if that is something you’re interested in doing too.

Most importantly, I am chilling out. I am binge watching everything I’ve been wanting too and enjoying the lie-ins. It’s really great spending time with family and friends. I’m going to give myself 6-7 more weeks of me time and then I’m going to slowly get back into Uni-mode.  I hope you’re all really excited for September – you should be!

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Some things I discovered in the first term…

Hey! 

 I’m going to share with you some things I realised in the first term/year at university and hopefully it can help you get into the swing of things a little easier.

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Paper or paperless?
I am a huge stationery addict and I’m constantly buying new notebooks and pens for no reason other than ‘it’s pretttttty‘. So when I came to Edge Hill I packed all my notebooks and pens ready to finally use it all. A month in and I realised that I can’t write fast enough in lectures and there is nothing worse than ruining a nice notebook with torn out pages and scribbles. I moved over to my laptop and started to type up notes on here instead and it saved me so much time. Plus, less paper is fewer trees being chopped down – hooray!

Printing:
I took my own printer with me to university. I ended up using the printers at the Catalyst out laziness and also because it was easier than me constantly buying ink. However, I stumbled across something called HP Instant Ink which is a subscription that is much cheaper than buying the cartridges and they send it straight to your door monthly so you don’t have to worry about it at all. This will definitely come in handy in second year when you no longer have the Catalyst on your doorstep.

 

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My favourite places to eat in Ormskirk!

Hello!

I’m going to share with you my favourite places around Ormskirk for grabbing some grub, be it nice restaurants or greasy takeaways!

We’ll start with my top 3 favourite restaurants:

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My all-time favourite place to go is The Cricketers. A traditional but elegant pub that serves the most delicious food. The menu is updated regularly with new dishes but you must come here on Sundays for their roast, it’s divine. I came here for lunch with my family when I’d moved into my halls room and I always recommend this place to people when they come and visit!

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Barnyard is a favourite spot for many people around Ormskirk. Their menu is packed full of the most delicious dishes and they have a ‘Mac Shak’ where you can order a side of Mac and Cheese with different toppings… amazing! They serve grill, pizzas, burgers and some chicken classics. My recommendation is the skin-on garlic parmesan fries and the surf-and-turf steak. I’m hungry.

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I don’t know about you but I love a good Italian meal and The Fat Italian does not disappoint. They have a great wine selection too. I’m unfortunately a bit boring when it comes to Italian restaurants because I will only order a carbonara so I can’t recommend any other dish – but their carbonara is right up there with the best I’ve ever had!

On to the takeaways:

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My go-to takeaway after a night out is chicken lovers. There’s so much to choose from but their cheesy garlic bread and chicken wings are a definite favourite from me… and it’s cheap.

The other takeaway I love it Wan’s Chinese. Again, their menu is packed full of good food and there is so much to choose from. There is great food all around Ormskirk and I’m sure you’ll find your favourites but definitely give these a try!

Thanks for reading!

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How to prepare for Primary Education with QTS at Edge Hill 👩🏽‍🎓

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Hello!

September is edging closer and closer, and while I urge you to enjoy this time off as much as possible it is important to keep in mind that you are soon going to be a university student and organisation is absolutely paramount. If you are going into the Primary Ed course then look out for summer tasks as last year we had a pre-course summer booklet to work through. I am unsure if this is the case this year but do check. We did use them in our first few weeks – especially the reading.

Read read read:
Whether or not you have a pre-course booklet or whether or not it is included in any task you receive, you must read some children’s books over the summer.  It was part of our summer task but then ended up being part of a requirement for the English subject: to read 10 children’s books. If you can get a head start during the summer then do that, you will thank yourself later – trust me!
These are some great ones to start with:

Books

Get onto Pinterest and start looking at teaching ideas:
If you haven’t heard of Pinterest then I may be about to change your life. Pinterest is a sort of social network where you can find inspiration and ideas for hobbies and stuff, however, if you just type in ‘teaching’ you will be bombarded by hundreds and thousands of teaching ideas. It is important not to become a ‘Pinterest teacher’ where you can’t make anything up from your own creativity but it’s great to go on and find some inspiration.  I would have a look before you come on the course and before your first placement!

Click the image below to have a quick look at some ideas ☺️

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Social Media and EduTwitter:
When you arrive in September the tutors will talk to you about your social media presence and how it all needs to be privatised and carefully checked to ensure you aren’t being unprofessional. I can’t stress how important this is because teachers from your placement will absolutely check your social media before you arrive so making a good impression is important.

Tutors will also direct you to Twitter, EduTwitter to be precise. This is kind of like Pinterest but on a different format. It’s teachers helping other teachers. There is a lovely welcoming atmosphere to trainees, which to be honest with you I didn’t expect, but they all want to help. So set yourself up a new professional account and get involved in teacher twitter. Follow me on Twitter if you are interested and I will contact you with more advice in this area!
https://twitter.com/EHUMissWindross

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Thanks for reading! Hope to see you in September ☺️

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Advice for starting University in September 👩🏽‍🎓

I had now officially finished my first year and it’s so strange to me that I’m technically no longer a first-year student. I was reflecting on everything that has happened over the past year and I’d like to offer some advice if you are starting out this September…

Be prepared, but don’t burn yourself out:
I came to University as a 22-year-old, so the course and everything I was doing was something I was and am desperately passionate about. This meant that the run-up to Septemeber I was doing all  I could to make sure I had everything ready and even the freshers week I was in the library trying to get ahead. As conscientious as this was, you will burn out quickly. Pace yourself.

Get involved:
The wonderful thing about moving to university is that you basically get a fresh slate. All those things you said you’d do at the start of the year you can start again now! I started doing Yoga again and went to the gym and I got involved with a network of students looking to tackle sustainability in schools. There are so many amazing opportunities here at Edge Hill and I really urge you to get involved as much as you can at the start of the year. Your timetable may get busy and you may not be able to do everything you want but at least you can find what fits right with you.

Don’t bring too much:

I made this mistake. I brought so much with me to Uni, but it was unavoidable for me, if I had a choice I would have left half of it at home. It’s nice to bring some things from home to keep things cosy but too much just makes the room feel small and you may start to feel a little cramped. Also, in term of the communal area: get onto Facebook groups. They were so helpful before starting University. Our flat were communicating through Facebook Messenger before we started and we all talked about what we were going to bring. Nobody needs 8 bottles of Fairy Liquid in the first week, do they!

Lastly…
When people said to me: ‘You will have the time of your life and meet friends for life’ I always rolled my eyes but now, I can’t agree more. I definitely have met people that I’ll have for life and that first year, as fast as it was, will be once I cherish forever. My point here is to enjoy yourself as much as you can. Some days may be more stressful than others but those days just make you appreciate the good even more.

I hope, if you’re coming to Edge Hill in Septemeber, that you are as excited as I was because trust me, it is everything I imagined and more! Hope to see you soon!

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Packing for the first year of University 🏫💼

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Hello!

Summer is approaching at an insane rate, and the fact that I am nearly no longer a first year is dawning on me. It honestly feels like I’ve been here for a couple of months – time really does fly when you’re having fun. I remember googling and search on Youtube for what I need to pack and what the rooms are like.

My tip? Don’t do this:

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Honestly, the car was so full, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was nearly touching the ground. I packed too much, and it’s understandable but really, it’s not necessary. I’ve started to move my stuff, a suitcase at a time, back home already just to make moving out easier than it was moving in – and I’m on the bottom floor!

Here’s what you need to bring on move in day:

Pillows, a duvet and bedding to go with it
Toilet roll, even if it’s just one roll for the night
Toiletries – Body wash, hand soap, tooth brush and paste
Phones, laptops, chargers – all the tech stuff
A notebook, pens and pencils – things for lectures and seminars
All your clothes that you will need, don’t forget pyjamas and socks!
Shoes, comfy ones and going out ones
Washing basket, coat hangers, an airer, towels
Plates/bowls, cutlery and mugs, pots and pans if not provided
Bring all your university paperwork, any summer work that has been tasked and your passport
Food!

I would say that these are the absolute essentials that you will need to bring for move in day. Of course you may want to bring other things like pictures and blankets and other nice decorative things to make it feel cosy.

Side note: post-it notes may be a good idea:

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First week can be daunting if you’re not a party-goer or drinker of alcohol. I don’t mind a nice drink with friends but I’m not a big club person. However, it’s nice to get out and about in that first week and meet people who are like you. I found a nice group of people who preferred the low-key thing too. Just get out there, your people are out there too!

Good luck, and I hope to see you at Edge Hill in September! ☺️

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