Before I started my degree, I was working full-time. As I live with my boyfriend and not with family I have to support myself independently, so at an absolute minimum, I knew one part-time job would be necessary to get me through my degree.
I now work as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities and the shifts fit around my studies perfectly, not to mention the fact that it’s one of the most rewarding roles in the world! However, from time to time I find myself missing the creativity of my old career in marketing and I often find myself needing an extra injection of cash when the student loan runs low. So, I work for Edge Hill!
That’s right, there are opportunities for students to work in all kinds of roles all over our beautiful campus – even if you don’t live in halls. I work as Digital Content Assistant, covering events and creating content such as Instagram stories for the university, as well as writing for this blog every month. These little creative outlets bring me so much joy and give me peace of mind that some extra money is coming in when times get tough.
You can check out the latest jobs on campus here or look further afield for work off-campus and around Ormskirk or the surrounding areas here. If you need support with your application forms, cover letters or CV then you will find instructions on how to access all of that here. Good luck!
Hey everyone, it is coming to that time in your university journey that you have to start thinking about your finances to support you throughout the academic year and beyond. Coming from Northern Ireland, my experience with student finance was slightly different but not that scary at all.
Applying for your student finance well in advance before the closing date is so essential as sometimes, the application forms do not get approved straight away due to a small mistake or the incorrect information being given.
The first thing I did when applying to student finance was talk to someone who had already been through it. I spoke to my cousin who had been through it a couple of times and she was the one who told me to look online before I started. She also told me that it was easier if I applied for student finance online rather than through the document that was given to me at school. This was because if there was a mistake in the hard copy of the application it would take longer to send back and then have to post it away again once it was corrected. The student finance Northern Ireland website actually advises this as well.
As you probably already know, you need to be careful about what application form you download and so, there are a couple of things you need to check before you start to fill in the application form. Firstly make sure that you are applying for the correct academic year, that you chose the undergraduate or postgraduate form and if you are a full time or part time student. This information is essential to check before beginning the form.
The application form is quite long but as I said there is a lot of guidance on the website that you can download. I found these really helpful as the process can be quite overwhelming and some of the questions can be confusing. Just remember to keep checking over what you have done to minimise the chances of it being sent back again.
Also, when it comes to the part in the application that requires you to fill in household income, it might be useful to have your parents/guardians around you to ensure that you get the correct information as this will affect how much money you recieve. On the student finance NI website there is a guide that parents and guardians can read/download if they need any additional support or clarification about what information is needed.
As I am in my second year of university, when I get my finance is different from my first year but they are usually around the same time. I get my first instalment of student finance in September (around the 15th/16th mark) just in time before I start classes (and freshers!). My second instalment usually drops right after Christmas time when school starts back again (mine came on the 6th of January 2020). My final instalment usually comes in after Easter just in time for the end of the academic year for me.
Like I said, the website is very useful and full of information if you need it but do not be afraid to give them a call for anything at all. I rang when I didn’t understand what I needed to do when applying for my second year student finance and the person on the phone was very calm and talked me through what I needed to do.
I hope that you found this useful and are excited to start your university journey, Lauren Fitzsimons.
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
Hey everyone! I hope you are all well during this time. As we go through this difficult period in the UK and all over the world, I want to share some advice that I have learnt over the years about staying mentally healthy at university and at home from university.
I know I may sound like a broken record at this stage but by biggest piece of advice for staying mentally healthy is to GO OUTSIDE! Having a separation from the place you feel stressed or overwhelmed is so important for your well-being.
My house-mates know that when I say I am going for a walk that it is code for “time for me time,” and I let them know when I will be back and keep my phone on me at all times. I find that when I am outside, I can try and forget about how I felt within the four walls of the house and let my mind relax. Honestly, try it next time you get stressed over an assignment and come back to it with a fresher mind.
Another piece of advice that I would give you is to TALK to someone. This could be anyone from your friends, family, personal tutor or even your dog. Just as long as you are communicating your thoughts and feelings to someone who will know how to help, give advice or provide some form of comfort.
Last year when I got overwhelmed I went to talk to someone at the Catalyst help-desk and they were able to set up an appointment with a member of the team who had a chat with me and was able to set me up with an online help-course. This really helped but mostly because I had the chance to talk to someone about my feelings at the time.
I know that university can get lonely at times especially when self-isolation and social distancing is a must at the minute. Edge Hill University really helped me last year when I was feeling overwhelmed and lonely and so, do not hesitate to reach out to them and ask for help because at the end of the day, that is all we need to do to get to the next step in being mentally healthy.
I hope that this is useful for people who may be struggling around these times. Just know that Edge Hill always has the means to help you if you reach out and ask for help, I am really glad I did.
Thanks for reading, Lauren Fitzsimons.
“The more you talk about them, the more important they will feel. The more you listen to them, the more important you will make them feel.”
Living alone for the first time, or at least away from your parents and family can feel lonely, there’s no disputing that fact. However, you don’t have to give into that feeling of loneliness at Edge Hill, since there’s literally so much to do beyond your studies.
In a prior blog I’ve spoken a lot about coffee, probably too much, so I’ll spare you from another piece about that. Though, getting a coffee either alone as a treat or with a friend who is also on campus in order to catch up is an option to combat that lonely feeling.
Another aspect of campus I spoke about was the Red Bar, I have now been to the Red Bar and could easily classify myself as its number one fan. Amazing food and staff make it a great experience with friends or solo. The food is super cheap but super good, I was shocked at the quality. Pizzas, Nachos, Paninis, the list goes on and on in regard to what you can get there. If you’re visiting in the evening, there is also a selection of alcohol, though perhaps save that one for when you’re there with friends, solo drinking could make you feel more lonely.
Side stepping from activities on campus, there’s an array of things you can do at Edge Hill that requires no spending. When feeling a tad down, I’ve taken my phone, found a podcast, and just wandered into Ormskirk. A slow walk to decompress, accompanied by audio that isn’t music can be extremely relaxing or a good method to decompress. If time isn’t on your side, kill two birds with one stone and do your weekly food shop at the same time. Morrisons is a lot more tolerable when accompanied by a good podcast of your choice. The Daily is a very good podcast to listen to, 30 minutes long usually about different topics.
There are so many other ways to combat loneliness at Edge Hill that all my future blogs could approach each subject, but I think we’d all get bored of reading that. I could go on and on but in the interest of wrapping things up, my parting statement in this blog would be to find something that makes you happy beyond your studies, and tailor it to combat that loneliness, for me it’s my Video Game consoles, for you it could be something very different.
Hey everyone! the topic for today’s post is something that I haven’t seen much about or talked about that often and so it is why I want to talk about it today. For me, university can seem like one big academic competition within your course group or even sometimes among your peer group which can then lead to comparing your own success against someone else. Since beginning my second year of university, this has become less of a struggle because I now know what to do to try and avoid catching these feelings.
I know that this is not news for people but as we all know social media can be detrimental to the way in which we think of ourselves. Seeing people post stories or tweet things about your course or how much work they’re doing on a Friday night can start to make you feel guilty about how much work you have been doing.
I had a professional twitter account for my course but I had to delete it because of the stress and guilt it caused me anytime I saw something relating to my course assignments or people working. Since deleting my account I am much more relaxed about my own work ethic as I am no longer comparing myself to the people I followed. I have also made sure to lessen my usage of other social media apps by deleting the apps during the week and then if I want to, re-downloading them at the weekend.
I have found that when I work alone on assignments I am a lot happier with the work I have done because there is no one around me to compare myself to. I can often work with some people but at times, I like my own space to work hard and concentrate on my own success.
For this, I like to use the silent study on the Catalyst building on the Edge Hill campus. I know that I mention this space quite a lot on my blogs but it just goes to show how much I love it up there. There is no way that I can get distracted as you can literally hear a pin drop and that’s why I never fail to get work done.
Surround yourself with Positivity
My best piece of advice for this topic is to do things that make you happy. This can be anything from the people in your life, hobbies that you enjoy, food (my personal favourite) or simply just getting sucked into the TikTok hole until three in the morning…
Do whatever it takes to take your mind off all the comparisons that we are finding hard to escape from these days and know that how much work you have done that day is good for YOU and should not be dampened by the feelings of not doing enough.
I really hope that people found this post a little helpful or if you just needed this reminder to JUST DO YOU!
Thanks for reading, Lauren x
“Have more than you show, and speak less than you know.”
Hey everyone, as I have a quite a few assignments due in in these last two months, I thought I would share with you the process that I go through whilst writing an assignment for my course. The catalyst building at Edge Hill University is also a big part of my assignment writing routine so I will be sharing how I use it.
Step 1 – the title
The first step in my assignment routine is reading and understanding the title of the assignment so that I know what it is that I need to do and what books I will need to read in order to make sure that I am going to be hitting all the points.
Step 2 – reading
This is the part that I find the hardest as you need to make sure that you are reading enough but not reading too much that you get overwhelmed and then confused as to what the assignment is actually about.
When I am looking for things to read, I start with books as it means I can read them in the library (as much as I can) so that I don’t have to carry them all the way back to the house and break my back! For reading, I like to go up to the silent study because I know that I won’t get distracted and get a lot of reading done.
Once I have finished reading books I move on to journal articles and online resources as I know I don’t have to physically take something out of the catalyst. I still like to do this reading in the silent study just because I tend to get distracted easily and I like keeping my house, where I relax, separate from where I work as a way to keep my stress levels down.
I use discover more and google scholar to find my articles;
Step 3 – notes
Once I have read everything that I possibly could, it is time gather all those highlighted words and sentences and put them down on the one page so that they are easily accessed. Everyone is different when it comes to writing down their notes but, the way I like to do it is open a Google Docs page, write the reference (in Harvard style) for whatever book or journal I have read and then start writing my notes underneath that.
I like using google docs for this part of the assignment because I can easily attach a comment to the quote I have written down so that I can remember what I want to write about this quote or how I would incorporate it into my assignment. Google docs is also very safe to use in terms of saving your work as it does it automatically. I cannot tell you how many times I have lost internet connection or my laptop has died and I panic about losing all my work but it never has because the google docs saves it automatically.
Step 4 – Plan
After I have made sure that I have recorded all my notes on to the one document I can then start to break my assignment down into points and then add in the quotes that would be suitable for that point.
Step 5 – write!
Once I have the plan done and dusted, I feel that I am ready to start the writing process. I find that having a solid plan to base my assignment on makes this part so much easier because all I need to do is transfer the information I have on my plan into an academic piece of writing.
I hope that you enjoyed this and hopefully found it useful. I know that everyone has a different way that they like to write assignments and that is completely fine, you do you x
Thanks for reading, Lauren.
“It is nobody’s responsibility but yours to discover your assignment and to execute that very assignment.”
Spring is upon us and in three short months, my second year at Edge Hill will draw to a close, leaving me facing my third year and final year as an undergraduate. So, I’m feeling quite reflective. List time? List time.
My 5 Favourite Things About Edge Hill
1. The beach!
Studying full time and working in a demanding job, like I do, can get really overwhelming. So, I often take myself off for walks on campus on my breaks or choose the ‘scenic route’ back to my car to try and find some peace. Nestled by the water in Eastern Campus, ‘La Plage’ is a little slice of heaven that gives you the chance to sunbathe or feel sand under your feet and then be back inside for your 2pm lecture.
2. The Arts Centre
I’m a Counselling and Psychotherapy student and I have never lived on campus or even near campus, so I initially dismissed The Arts Centre as a place where art degrees must be taught and where students who lived on campus could watch films at night. Oh, how wrong I was! Everything from theatre to music can be found in The Arts Centre and there are regular live shows from comedians at bargain prices which would ordinarily cost £20-£70 per ticket on their arena tours.
On my course we sometimes have gaps of up to three hours between sessions so, rather than commuting home to turn around and come back, my coursemates and I like to head into Ormskirk and grab brunch. Hopping on the free bus with our Unicards and heading to Wetherspoons if the student finance has run out or getting a delicious brunch and a milkshake at Cobble if we’re feeling a little more ‘flush’ is a great way to catch up and relax.
More than just a library, Edge Hill’s Catalyst is open 24/7 and boasts millions of pounds worth of books, computers and digital resources. However, for me, it’s the additional student support you can access via the helpdesk that makes the difference. Money advice clinics, study skills sessions, 1:1 advice on everything from debt and weight loss to essay writing and housing…I could go on.
5. 53.3 Degrees
We’re blessed with an abundance of restaurants, cafes and coffee spots at Edge Hill, including our very own Starbucks, but my favourite is 53.3 Degrees in the Catalyst building. Delicious, fresh coffee with natural light flowing through and gorgeous views of campus…this little coffee shop has everything I need to gather my thoughts and find some headspace.
Have you visited campus yet? Or maybe you’re a current student? What would be on your list?
Continuing from the last blog, I’ll be discussing just a few of the things I’ve done in my first year. Although this blog is targeted towards future Foundation Year medical students, this blog’s applicable for anyone!
Go to as Many Events as Possible
Do you have a generous student loan? Then go on an organised shopping trip! (we’ve had trips to Chesire Oaks and the Trafford Centre this year) Do you want freebies? Check out some events in the “Give it a Go” booklet you’ll get before University. You could go to a Crafternoon, make something unique (like a dream-catcher), while enjoying free snacks. If you want to pursue an interest, then you should check out the societies available at the Welcome week fair! There were some giveaways when I went. Therefore, I left with a £5 gift voucher (as well as free noodles and toiletries!)
Go to the Pub Quiz
The Pub Quiz takes place in the SU Bar on Monday nights. There’s a £1 entry fee, and a cash prize up for grabs. As it is in the bar, you can get refreshments to soften the blow for when you incorrectly answer. However, the sweet waffles from the SU’s kitchen can’t get the bitter taste of defeat out your mouth.
Go to the Arts Centre
Through a free Arts Centre membership, you can watch musicals, dance, and comedy nights for free or a discounted price. However, if you prefer the big screen, you’re able to go to ‘Free Film Fridays’ in the Studio Theatre. I’ve enjoyed many nights here and I didn’t have to spend a single penny!
That’s just three parts of Uni life, and there’s so much more to do on campus and outside of it. If you’re curious, I recommend you check out the termly “Give it a Go” booklets to get an idea. Alternatively, ask what I get up to in the comments below!
Hey everyone, as I have been at home for the past 8 weeks completing my second professional practice, I thought I would share with you how I am preparing to return to university after being away for so long.
After being away from university life for so long, I feel that it will be strange to adapt to living away from home again but, luckily I will be going back to some great friends and is the first step to help me prepare to go back to university.
I have already arranged to meet up with friends as soon as I get off the plane which I know will really help me calm the nerves. I always make sure that there is someone in the house or in the flat so that I am not coming back to an empty space. Having friends or someone to meet you when you come back from being away for so long can be calming and help you get right back on track again!
I know that last year when I was at home for Christmas, I left all my packing very last minute before I came back to university which led to even more stress and did not help the nerves of leaving home. I always found the packing element stressful anyway because I am a neat freak and NEED everything to fit into the case and when I left it all to last minute…well, you can imagine how that went…
This time, I am packing little by little until I leave so that I don’t get overwhelmed and make the process harder and more stressful. It also allows me more time to pack everything nice and neatly and calm my frantic mind.
To soften the blow of going back to university, I have decided to get a start on some assignments I have due in a few weeks and so, I have started to read articles and make rough plans for my next, looming assignment.
I find that it is better to ease yourself into uni life again after being away for so long. For me, starting early lessens the stress of all the work that is ahead of me. I often find that working in a group together to get started on something always helps me get motivated and back on track with uni life and work.
I hope that this helps or some find it relatable. If you are like me and struggle to return back to university after being at home for a long period of time, just know that all it takes is a couple of days before you are back into the swing of things again and that there is a load of help and support at Edge Hill University.
“My body needs laughter as much as it needs tears. Both are cleansers of stress.”
Welcome back to part 2 of this mini-series! In part 1 I gave you some tips for getting filling, affordable lunches that also earn you freebies and also explained how to make your coffee addiction work for you. This time, we’ll look at how you can eat and drink on campus when your finances are looking seriously frightful…without any lukewarm sandwiches being carted around in your rucksack!
It’s easy to quickly rack up unnecessary spending at university by grabbing drinks from shops and vending machines, not to mention the excess plastic you can get through by doing this. Get yourself a water bottle and enjoy crisp, cool water from the filtered fountains all over campus!
Studying hard is hungry work and there’s nothing like a study session to get you craving snacks! So, having plenty of hearty food is key for a long day on campus. One way to do this on a tight budget is to cook warm, filling meals at home in bulk then bring a portion (or two, we don’t judge) to university with you. In the SU building, you will find some microwaves where you can heat up your pre-prepped meals to enjoy in between classes. This can save you £2-£6 a day minimum on-campus spending and potentially hundreds of pounds each month in groceries if you plan ahead and buy simple ingredients in bulk!
Cutting Costs on Caffeine
In part 1 I explained how to get discounts on coffee and how you can make the most of loyalty schemes, but I know that sometimes buying coffee on the go is just not an option. However, it’s an absolute staple drink in the average student’s day!
My advice is to grab a travel mug and keep plenty of your favourite tea bags or coffee sachets in your bag. Simply ask for hot water at one of the cafes or coffee shops on campus.
So, there we have it! A handful of ways to scrimp, save and spend wisely on campus. What advice would you add?