Moving out of Campus Accommodation.

I’m writing this on Sunday 7th June 2020, and yesterday I moved out of my university accommodation, it was a lot easier than I expected.

So, background before I retell this story. I am a first-year student and I spent my first year in Chancellors Court accommodation, on campus. I took home my essentials (Which equated for about a half of my stuff) when my lectures were switched to online in light of the current pandemic in March. A week or so ago the university invited me to book a slot to collect the rest of my items, and my timeslot was this Saturday at 9 AM, exhausted was an understatement by the time I was done.

The view from my room on campus

I realise I jumped ahead of myself there, so in an effort to ensure whole experience it recapped for yourself, let’s go from the top. My quarantine sleep schedule is 2/3 AM to 11 AM, sometimes 12 PM.. I had to wake up at 7 AM for my car journey back up to uni. That car journey truly makes me wish I lived close to Edge Hill, every time I take it. My parents and I arrived at the university just before 9, but seemingly since no one else from my building was moving out, we could start early. It was only two people at a time in the building, so we created the system where one of my parents waited outside and took bags, boxes, anything we could put stuff into, to the car, and my other parent and myself packed my belongings. Like I said before, having packed up half my room in March, it was a lot easier of a process.

A candid shot of my desk just before I moved out in March.

In all it took about an hour to pack my remaining clothes, my kitchen stuff, all the things you wouldn’t really think you’d need back home. When all was packed into our car, I had to do the sombre walk of handing my keys in. It felt odd to be wandering through a very quiet campus, I wasn’t going to be staying in the room again and this would be the last time I saw Edge Hill until October, however it was good for me, I’ve gotten one of the last pieces of closure I needed for my first year.

Much like most things at the moment, I can’t say you’ll experience the same as myself, given the circumstances my move out took place in. If you’re a current student still waiting to do this task, maybe this will help. If you’re a prospective student reading this, I hope my recollection of how the university is handling things serves as interesting reading.

Alice.

Learning New Skills: Summer Edition.

At university, you learn many new skills. From cooking, to socialising, and then more academic skills like how to reference, cite, quote, work your way around different platforms like Blackboard. I know I certainly learnt lots of new skills in my first year. However, now as I’ve been relaxing for exactly a month since I finished my final assignment, my passion to learn something new had arisen, so in this blog post, I’m going to discuss exactly what I’m teaching myself at the moment, and provide some idea for yourself.

Photo editing is an important skill related to my chosen area, marketing, and therefore when I saw all my friends with great capability to do so, then looked at my skills, I did often feel like this was an area I was lacking in. Therefore over this summer, I’m going to self-teaching myself how to use a photo editing software called Affinity. Affinity is a cheaper alternative to higher-priced software on the market, and only charges you once, so it’s perfect for students. Affinity offers in house tutorials developed by themselves, and then beyond that, there are a plethora of YouTube offerings on how to get started. If you decide to give their free trial a whirl, I suggest this video as a good starting point on how to use their exciting editing tools.

A screenshot of my Affinity workspace

Beyond what I’m doing with photo editing, there are several other things you can do over stuff to either prepare to come to university, or strengthen your CV if your placement has been cancelled due to ongoing world events. Simply taking sometime a week to read relevant and up to date journal articles will bulk up your academic knowledge. Or perhaps you can take time to go through old pieces of work, and refine your reference style.

Learning Edge has the capability to easily find mountains of Journal Articles for yourself to read.

Ultimately as students, we have to identify our areas of weakness and improve upon them, beyond what a tutor may find in your coursework. I hope my account of what I’m doing over this summer to better my skillset has inspired you to consider doing something similar.

Alice

Business School Freshers Week 2019

I’ve spoken a fair bit about Freshers week in my blogs, but never intensely on the activities my department (The Business School) put on for my cohort. If you’re a new student reading this blog, beware everyone’s Freshers is different, and the next cohort’s Freshers week activities for the Business School may be very different. Disclaimers out the way, time to get into my first week at Edge Hill.

Day one of the week was arguably the most jam-packed. The entire Business School cohort converged on the Wilson lecture theatre for an introduction to the school, key members of the department, and other important things tied to being a Business School student at Edge Hill. From the introduction lecture, I had a smaller lecture focused on my specific degree in one of the rooms of the Business School. The smaller lecture had activities for people to mix and begin to create friendships. Yes there were icebreakers but they were enjoyable ones, well, as enjoyable as an icebreaker can be.

Introductions over with, the whole cohort came together again for the delivery of the week’s task. The entire cohort was split up into groups. Each team had the same task, create a new business for the Ormskirk area. Groups could talk, throw ideas around, get a basis on everything, before heading home for the night. It was a good way to meet new people, and I know several people who formed lasting friendships through the task.

Tuesday to Thursday was centred around working on our businesses, my group came up with an escape room. On the Thursday we presented the ideas to a panel of judges, this took place in the Business School foyer for about an hour, followed by a lunch break and big awards ceremony in the Wilson building one last time as a whole cohort. My team did not win any awards, but several of my friends I made prior to starting university did, so there were celebrations to be had following the ceremony.

The poster for my team’s business.

Finally, a big barbecue outside the Business School to commemorate the end of Freshers Week!

Like I said at the start of this blog, your activities may be different come Freshers week 2020, or beyond if you’re reading this much further down the line. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have as much fun as I did!

Alice.

Post and parcels – Wrapping your head around getting your Amazon delivery.

Getting my deliveries was something I was confused by when getting ready to go to Edge Hill. As an avid Amazon orderer I usually had some kind of delivery every week back home, but prior to starting in September I wasn’t sure how that was going to work. If you’re in the same position however, worry not, I’m going to break it all down in this blog.

Let me paint the picture; you’ve moved into campus, you’ve been here a few days, you’ve been taking part in your Freshers week activities. Perhaps your room in the morning while getting ready is a little too warm, or you need to buy some academic textbooks so you bookmark important sections and keep one for your entire academic studies. What you will want to do is head to the Edge Hill Website and find your unique postcode first!

Screenshot from the Edge Hill website.

Once you’ve formatted your address as Edge Hill request it, you’re good to go to input the address into Amazon and begin shopping.

Now let us paint a new picture; a day or so has passed and you’ve received an email from titled “Post Received at Durning Centre”, you will learn to love this email. Whenever you receive this email it’s a call to arms to head to the Durning Centre and collect your mail. Where is the Durning Centre? Just behind the Catalyst, near the sports fields, it’s pretty hard to miss.

The Durning Centre, situated behind the Catalyst.

As of writing this blog, the Durning Centre is open only during weekdays, 7AM to 7PM, so if you’re using this blog for guidance in September, remember those are your holy hours for collecting the tat you order online.

Of course you’re not limited to just Amazon deliveries, in my first year I ordered clothes, makeup, many more things and had them delivered to the Durning Centre. Another great thing about Edge Hill’s mail system is as long as you give your family back home the correct address, they can send you things if coming to give them to you yourself is a little tough due to work schedule. I got my family to send me my PS4 at one point, and it arrived perfectly with no damage, and was handled well by the Durning Centre staff.

Getting used to the post system can be a bit confusing, but after your first time it becomes second nature. Just make sure you always remember your Unicard when collecting something!

Alice

My mission to read over the summer.

First year is well and truly over for me now, last assignments are in, grades are coming back, I haven’t opened Blackboard for a little while now for anything other than checking said grades. I’m in my summer, whatever summer social distancing can offer, and have begun to think about goals, what do I want to achieve?

It’s something I don’t talk about often but I’m very bad at reading, I’ll start a new book, get a quarter way in, maybe half if I’m lucky, then put it down, not to be touched again. While I write this I’m imagining the Woody’s nightmare Toy Story clip. Humour aside, I’m bad at reading. My last victim was a memoir by Carole Radziwill called What Remains, I was gripped by it but found myself just not having the willpower to finish it. As I write this it’s sat in my bedside table, taunting me.

Not my copy of What Remains, but it’s in a similar condition.

So, my goal this summer, getting back on topic. My goal without a doubt is to read more, to finish books I have purchase. To do this, I’m considering alternative methods, first one being that I’ve stolen the family iPad to turn it into my new kindle. Following my acquisition, I also bought an eBook from Amazon to get stuck into, and so far, I’m about 100 pages or so in. Theft of the iPad aside, I’m so far succeeding in reading this book.

A big part of what I need to figure out is, what I enjoy reading. So far, I’m loving The Gatekeeper by Kate Fall, it’s a political read so be warned. Next up I really want to read Dune before the movie releases this Christmas (The day before my birthday for anyone interested).

A fanmade Dune poster – Sadly the official one isn’t out yet.

However, I feel drawn back to asking a key question; why am I so interested in reading more? To simply put it, I really want to improve these skills, so they’ll assist me better in second year. My summer is set to be long, I don’t have much lined up, so I certainly have the time to complete this goal, hopefully also turning it into an aspect of my lifestyle.

I’m sure my summer goals will alter and expand more as time goes on, and I intend to document them as much as I can in my journey to prepare for second year.

Alice

Freshers Week – Reflecting back.

I have finished all my university work for my first year here at Edge Hill, and while that fact hasn’t completely dawned upon me yet, I’ve been doing some reflection on when I started Edge Hill, bringing me back to Freshers week.

I look back to Freshers week and wonder who that person was? I feel I have personally changed so much since that frantic week in September, to the point I felt empowered to write this blog today, to tell my past self some things she really should have known, or done.

First and foremost, please stop worrying about your finances, you have an interest free overdraft and plenty of security net! Every purchase I made in Freshers, I was extremely nervous about, from textbooks to cookies from M&S (Obviously I hadn’t relegated myself to just Aldi and Morrisons just yet). The reality of the situation was I had little reason to worry, I’ve been smart about money and undertaken the needed tasks to ensure that.

Another issue I faced quite often in Freshers week was spending time with my ‘course friends’, if you’re at Edge Hill now you’ll understand this, but for anyone reading this who isn’t yet, you will have two groups of friends. The people you live with in your halls or elsewhere will be ‘flat friends’ or something similar, the people on your degree and who you will spend more time with are your ‘course friends’. As of writing I am very close with my course friends so for me everything did turn out ok, but in Freshers week I should have been more flexible, spent time with more people, broadened my social circle in a sense. My key advice on this topic ultimately would be to accept every invitation to do something during Freshers week, but also create your own.

There’s so much more I could go on about for things I wish I had done differently or acted differently about during Freshers. These are my glaring two, however. Everyone’s takes on this will be different, as everyone experiences Freshers differently. For me, it was a good week that I should have done more with, for yourself it could be an amazing week that you should’ve really done less in.  

Alice.

My Module Choices – Preparing for 2nd year.

My first year is in full wrap up mode with only one assignment left to finish, which leaves me beginning to cast my mind towards year two. A few weeks ago, I made my module options, and today I plan to discuss them a little more to explain the process, but also give insight to what I’ll be studying.

In the Business School we received a handbook of sorts on all the different modules available to us, their codes (Bus2###) and a little summary. The handbook however was designed to be a teaser for us to then do our own research on Blackboard. Made available to us were the module handbooks for each module, detailing assessment briefs, delivery schedules, and other important pieces of information. Overall, the process utilised by the Business School left me feeling very prepared since my module choices this year are much more important than the ones, I did last year.

Once I decided with my modules I went over to the Edge Hill website using a link emailed to me to access the selection form. Inputting my choices took no more than five minutes and I got a confirmation email to assure me it had been sent off. It’s important to know what you want to study before you open the website, and that you have researched the modules as closely as you can.

Next year I’ll be studying Research Methods for Business, Retail Marketing Planning and, Branding: Integrated Digital Campaigns as my compulsory three modules that the Business School selected for me. The three I, myself, got to select are Employability, Social Media Monitoring & Analytics and, Services & Experiential Marketing. Having worked in a salon when I was younger I’m particularly excited to study the Services module since it will tie into that.

I’m amazed first year is coming to an end, but I’m very excited for my second year.

Alice

Student Jobs – Extend Yourself!

Worried about your finances? Perhaps your student loan only stretches to cover your accommodation, or you’ve got the habit of buying luxury products like I do.

While there are jobs outside campus in Ormskirk, and if you can travel there, St Helens, Edge Hill have their own network of positions for students that’ll give you valuable experiences to put on your CV, but also let you make some cash on the side. In the first year, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for the student experience bank ran by Advantage, become a student guide for open days, become a student mentor, or try your hand at this job, student blogger. The jobs on offer are subject to change each year so ensure you check the relevant websites before committing yourself to the whole “I’m going to get this job!” mantra.

I myself currently hold three jobs on campus. This blogging position, student mentor for applicants, and the experience bank. I progressed to the interview phase of student guides but considering all I do I thought it wasn’t wise to pursue it. That ability to think critically about your time is needed if you want to excel in both your studies and a position during your time at Edge Hill. For myself during term time, Tuesday and Friday were earmarked as ‘work’ days, where I’d work on a blog, message mentee, or book myself onto a sounding board. Moving past just those offered by Edge Hill, balance is essential if you’re considering a job off-campus too, consider how long it’d take you to get there and back, if you’re working late how will that affect the next day. Balance is key.

Holding a job while at university is really part of the experience, in my opinion, it elevates that feeling of independence but also rewards you for your hard work beyond what your studies can offer. If you’re an applicant coming to Edge Hill in September, look at the website through this handy link. Good luck with whatever you decide to undertake.

Alice

My First Year – Living On Campus

My first year at Edge Hill is coming to a close, with only two pieces of coursework left, and living back at home now, it’s an apt time to take a look back on things, my chosen topic for today is living on campus. 

It’s very fair to say that living on campus agreed with me so much I’m doing it next year too, and most likely in my third year after my sandwich placement. Being able to be close to everything I could ever need removes the stress of moving away from home since I don’t live near Edge Hill at all out of term time. 

I chose Chancellors Court as my first choice, and got it! If you’re applying for accommodation right now, I suggest thinking critically about your first choice as there’s a chance you just might get it. Most of the Chancellors accommodation is near the Durning Centre (Where you get your post) and the Catalyst, but mine was situated higher up campus by the Sports Centre. Before you ask, yes my flat was the one the EHU Instagram, communicating with the gym through post-it notes. We wasted so many post-it notes doing that.

Chancellors Court – My building on the right.

In your first year, if you have Facebook, you’re in the relevant groups, and you’re pro-active, you’ll be able to find most, if not all of you the people in your hall. Finding mine prior to moving in made things a lot more relaxed on moving in day, and made me a lot more confident. 

Like you will evolve at university, your room shall too. My room started pretty minimalist and ended up becoming a bit of a mess by the end of the year. Don’t be afraid to make purchases like fans, other things for your room, if you feel like you need them, you need them. 

Everyone’s experiences living on campus will always differ, as no one person will have the same flatmates, accommodation building, prior life experiences, as someone else. For myself, living on campus was a fun and exciting challenge that I excelled at, for others it might be more challenging and they might need a little bit of support in places. Either path you feel you might go down, living on campus at least once is a must-do. 

Alice.

WFH: Working From Home.

The world is a crazy place at the moment. However there’s humor to be found, especially in how it affects our university life. Across the country Edge Hill students are logging into Blackboard collaborate, Microsoft Teams and possibly even Zoom, and asking the most important questions…

“Can you hear me?” A few seconds pause. “Can you see me?”

A realistic Teams experience.

Homeworking is upon us and in my blog today I plan to discuss how I’ve been adapting to this over the past three weeks, I think it’s three, everything has somewhat blurred into one. Week one I remember being quite on the ball, remoting into my Monday morning lecture through teams as I drank my coffee, I must admit it was a lot more relaxed than a regular lecture. That’s where the emphasis on this blog is going to lie, viewing home working as a relaxing method of study rather than something stressful.

Books I purchased myself

So far I’ve successfully written and uploaded one assignment out of three. Using journal articles and online textbooks, alongside those I bought myself, gathering my references wasn’t overly difficult. Writing my reflection for the assignment on my home setup was also quite relaxing. I was able to put music on as loud as I pleased or have complete silence, I could take a break whenever and nothing was looming over me like a timetabled activity later that day or a university exclusive chore. Homeworking has greatly changed my uni life as I’ve said, and while it is temporary, I’m quite enjoying it. All of the current circumstances are, for me as a first-year student, an exercise in working almost completely independently. However, I do have regular contact with my lecturers if I need help or have a question.

Another relaxing aspect to home working is, no flatmates causing noise. Sure, I have the sound of my family but three people are a lot quieter than seven. I’m finding without the background noise of the kitchen or people walking around in the hall, or even the halls below me as I was on the second floor, I can work for longer periods uninterrupted. Overall, I much more of a flow in my work.

There is still a month and a half left of my academic year, and seeing we’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, my opinions over the learning method may change, but for now I’m enjoying it. Working from home is much more challenging as I don’t have the catalyst, but it’s something extremely useful to experience for my chosen subject area of business.

Alice.