I’m Amy, I’m 23 years old and I’m in my first year studying Primary Education! Although I, and my family, were born in the UK I have been raised abroad. I have travelled quite a lot up until now and I will continue to do so after university. I moved to Edge Hill from Saudi Arabia, so it’s been quite a daunting but exhilarating experience and I can’t wait to share it all with you.
Don’t forget to leave a comment if you have any questions…happy reading! 💕
I had my heart set on Edge Hill immediately. So much so, I didn’t actually apply for anywhere else. I don’t recommend this, you definitely need to have choices, but I like to think of it as a testament to how amazing this university is.
My initial experiences When I was in sixth form, Edge Hill had just won the 2014-2015 University of the Year in the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards, so my college really pushed this university and I remember thinking it was really nice but I just wasn’t interested in going at this point. Years later, when I realised I wanted to be a teacher, I looked up Edge Hill straight away as I remember the impression it left on me and I requested a prospectus. I was blown away by the course choice, the surroundings and just everything they had to offer. It was perfect and I didn’t look at anywhere else I applied straight away. I lived abroad at this time, so the first time I actually visited the campus was on my interview day and I fell in love with it immediately.
My favourite bits I love the Catalyst, the library, which luckily opened the year I started. It’s my favourite place on campus to grab a coffee, socialise, study in groups, study alone, take a lovely nature break (on the top floor roof garden). The Hub is also a great place to grab some food, as well as the Red Bar, Roots and the SU. Recently, I’ve dealt with the support and wellbeing team and they are just amazing, there is so much support for everyone and they truly care about you.
So, why Edge Hill? I didn’t know what to expect when coming to university, but I do know I didn’t think it would be this good. The quality of teaching and learning is up there with the best of the best, the tutors are also an absolute asset and very supportive. The accommodation is great value for money and there’s always so much to do. Being situated in Ormskirk is nice as you are in a lovely, quaint little town but Liverpool is a short train journey away.
Freshers flu is real. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I didn’t go out very much during freshers week and I still managed to end up with the flu – it will catch you, so be prepared. If you are looking to enrol on an education course, you will no doubt come into some nasty coughs and colds during your time on placement. It luckily fell over a weekend and I managed to fight it and although I wasn’t feeling 100% on the Monday, I felt well enough to go in and teach.
Taking precautions Make sure when you pack for university you hit up Home Bargains and stock up on paracetamol, cold and flu tabs, lemsips, cough medicine, lozenges and all that jazz. Do not overpay, supermarkets massively overcharge. The first sign of a tickly cough or a runny nose, I straight away start taking medicine – it acts fast and you will feel worse but only because the medicine is flushing it all away. I also start taking cold and flu tablets, eating fruit and drinking hot drinks straight away, don’t just wait until it becomes a problem, do it straight away.
What’s effective? I always have cold water, orange juice and lots of cups of tea. Lemsips are also really soothing for the throat but they’re not necessary, and they’re quite pricey. Orange, bananas and any other fruit really are effective at boosting your vitamins. Day and night, cold and flu tablets are the best ones, for me personally, and an Olbas nasal stick is the best thing if you have a cold. It completely unblocks your sinus and relieves that stuffy feeling. Cough medicine works wonders, like I said before it will make you feel worse but you’ll get better faster. The most important thing you can do is rest. Sleep. I spent the Saturday in bed, in and out of sleep and when I woke up on Sunday I felt miles better. Stay hydrated and fed, but sleep as much as you can.
We are all prone to procrastination. Finding motivation can be really difficult when you have a lot on your plate, especially if deadlines are looming. I definitely fall into Netflix trap now and again but I have my strategies to get back on track with my work and studies.
Take away the distractions Personally, my phone is the biggest hindrance to my concentration. If I get a notification, I’ll check it but then end up aimlessly scrolling through social media. At the start of this year, I downloaded an app called ‘Hold’. There are so many different study apps but this one is by far my favourite. When you press the Hold button, you earn points for every 20 minutes you stay off your phone and with the points you get you can claim different rewards, these are usually beauty, lifestyle, music travel offers and many more. Give it a try. The other big distraction I have is my surroundings, I either need a silent environment or a cosy environment. I love working in the library when nobody is there, but when it’s busy I just end up getting irritated – luckily the library at Edge Hill has little pods you can book so you can work in a quiet room on your own in a nice, productive environment.
Motivational playlist/music I have a playlist on Spotify titled ‘Should be studying’ and it’s a nice mix of motivation and chill. Some songs give your brain a break and others get you focused and dialled in. You need balance when you’re working so taking timely, regular breaks are also very beneficial to your motivation. The other music that really gets me in a study mood is the ‘lofi hip hop radio’ on the ‘ChilledCow‘ Youtube account. It’s not lyrical, so it sets a very chilled, productive ambience.
Break down tasks The first thing I do when I know I have a lot to do is make a to-do list and from this, make further to-do lists about how to achieve them. This helps to make them easier to tackle and achieve. With assignments, for example, I will start by evaluating the essay question, then get out the books I will need and read wider from those. Breaking it down into these segments helps to keep motivated as you are completing subtasks.
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.
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!
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 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!
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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:
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!