The Path Less Travelled

In one of my first blog posts for Inside Edge, ‘Am I too old to go to uni?’, I wrote a little about my decision to come to uni at the age of 23 in an attempt to reassure everyone that it is never too late (and you are never too old) to pursue your dreams. Today, I want to really drive that point home and shed some light on the rather twisty, hilly path I took from sixth form to university. I guess, compared to the majority, it’s the path less traveled.

For most of my time in sixth form, I was preparing to go to university. I didn’t particularly want to and I didn’t feel remotely excited like my peers did, but it seemed like the right and most obvious thing to do. I didn’t even question it. As the application process came to an end and I stared at a UCAS Track inbox full of offers from brilliant universities…I realised that I didn’t want to accept a single one of them. I yearned to be out in the world working and I was desperate to start a creative career. I knew from the research I had done for my personal statement that I didn’t actually need a degree for my chosen career if I could get a solid portfolio so I had a blog throughout college and eventually secured an incredibly prestigious and competitive apprenticeship in social media and digital marketing for businesses. I worked for a fabulous agency in Manchester and was kept on to look after some big household brands after qualifying, living the good life, and drinking free cocktails in fancy bars after work!

Fast forward slightly and my Dad passed away suddenly, leaving me feeling lost and desperate to be with my family more to support them. I gave up my role in digital marketing and spent nearly two years working in foreign currency retail so that I had flexible shifts and never had to take work home with me so that my time with my Mum was undistracted. After 18 months of this, I felt more like ‘me’, and that yearn to be creative was biting at my heels once more. I returned to digital marketing and was delighted to be creating once more, but something was missing.

I had been struggling with my own mental health for years and struggled to find any support in my local area due to huge waiting lists and funding issues. One day, after a truly life-changing phone call with an NHS Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, I Googled his job title and added ‘how to qualify’. Straight away I came across my degree, Counselling and Psychotherapy, and fell in love with how Edge Hill in particular cover the subject in a person-centred way with a huge focus on professional practice and work experience. Throughout my first year and half of my second year, I continued working in my digital marketing role part-time to support myself before deciding to work as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities early in 2020.

As you can see, I’ve moved backwards and forwards through my digital marketing career with breaks to work in retail/foreign exchange in between before deciding to retrain as a psychotherapist by returning to full-time education as an adult. Even whilst studying I have moved jobs in order to better align with my long term goals and feel more fulfilled in my work. I came to Edge Hill aged 23 and will leave next summer at the age of 26 with a CV that would be about 5 pages long if I included everything! The message? Once again…it is NEVER too late and you are NEVER too old.

Sam xo

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

Finding Part-time Work…On Campus!

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!

Sam xo

Making the Most of Summer!

It’s the middle of summer now and most of you are probably getting ready for University. With all this preparation in mind, you need to take time out to relax and enjoy your summer before the lectures and seminars come around. I thought I’d share want I’ve been currently doing this summer.

As soon as I came back from University, I did my rounds visiting my family and friends, meeting up with them in coffee shops, going out for meals etc. I have non-stop been spending time with my friends as the majority of them are also at University too. So it’s hard to meet up in person, but we definitely try our best. One of our favourite things to do is to go on a drive and pick up a Starbucks along the way. Cliché I know…

I’ve been travelling quite a bit to see my boyfriend who is up near Edge Hill. As I live in MK, we made a plan that we would visit each other for a few days every 2 weeks, and the rest of the time, we keep in contact and face time when we can. Yes, it means 3 hours of train travel, which can be a bit of a pain, however, its definitely worth it going up to see him as we love the time we do spend together.

I also work part-time at a museum back in MK when I come home. It’s a good idea to try and get a seasonal job so that you are able to earn some money whilst you’re not studying at University. In my case, its money to put towards fuel and train tickets, in addition to the odd mugs of coffee I get when I see my friends.

Unfortunately, going on holiday isn’t on the cards for me this year during the summer. Although I would love to, the people that I would want to go with are all busy but, I am going to Cornwall just before I head back to Edge Hill in September. It will be nice to be able to get away and chill out for a few days, even though it isn’t abroad.

Let me know what you’ve got up to this summer!

Ellis x

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Next year!

Hello everyone, I thought seeing as I am starting to get really excited about getting back to university in September I could share some of the things that I have planned and some of the goals that I have for the upcoming year.

So probably one of the most exciting things for me next year is the fact that I’m getting the opportunity to be a part of a paid internship with the psychology department. At the end of my first year I applied for a couple of research internships that are available to 2nd years and was lucky enough to have been chosen. The research is about Autism and for the hours that I do I will get paid which is brilliant as a student because you get experience in things you’re interested in and get money to support yourself. I know this is going to be a great experience and I am really looking forward to it.

The next thing that I am looking forward to this next year is being more involved with Hill start, the dance society. I’m hoping to audition to be part of the competition team and also try out some more and new classes. Alongside this I do have some goals for the next year, due to being part of the dance society, my internship and also being the Vice President of WAP I am going to be very busy so one of my goals is to do more meal prep, so that I’m eating healthier food and its easy enough to cook when I get home. To follow on from this I do want to keep up with eating healthy and going to the gym as it is something that I really enjoy and it is nice break from uni work. When it comes to university work I want to try and stay on top of it due to my busy schedule but I also want to do more extra reading this year as I think it will really help me when it comes to exams at the end of the year . 

So that is some of my plans for the upcoming year, and I’m sure you can see why I am getting more and more excited to come back. I would advise everyone to set themselves goals for the new school year as it enables you to get a new focus and to constantly improve.

What to Do over the Summer

Hi everyone since we are properly into the summer holidays now I thought I would talk about what i’m doing with myself, and also things you might be thinking of doing if you have some extra free-time.

At the moment i’m in a bit of a limbo work wise having come home to Northern Ireland, this has meant putting my job in the students union on pause for the time being until i’m back in September which they are really cool about since campus is quiet over these months. I am looking for work experience although this is rather difficult for me as a film/TV student since there is much less industry here than in England but we will see what happens! If you can get experience over the summer I would definitely recommend it as it is a good way to enhance your CV. Part-time work is also obviously very handy to have over the summer to top up your account which you will definitely be thankful for if the student loan runs out mid term!

Since I have more free time I have taken to learning the piano, but i’m genuinely actually gonna do it this time because I have put off learning an instrument for far too long, but so far so good. Additionally since i’m studying film/TV i like to keep watching things all the time and what’s better than a good evening binge. At the moment i’m watching:

The Wire- HBO/Sky

The Crown- Netflix

Black Mirror- Netflix

All of which are great so far and I definitely recommend if you are unsure of what to watch. There are usually plenty of festivals and concerts on all across the UK as well if your a music fan, even Ireland has a fair bit going on in this department which is a change since there is usually sod all here! I went to see Stormzy in Belfast last week which was amazing and I would definitely recommend him if that’s your kind of thing.

The most important thing about the summer is that you do what you want to do, there’s no point going back to university feeling as tired as you left so just enjoy it, till next time.

Jordan

 

Budgeting Tips!

Hi guys, so with it coming to the end of the term and Easter fast approaching people are coming to the end of their student loans and so less money to live on. So I thought that now would be a good time to give you some tips on budgeting and living on a budget.

I think for a lot people end up breaking the bank when they go out a lot because it can end up getting expensive, however you can get it into your weekly budget. So that is the first tip…

  • Set yourself a weekly budget- for me the money I receive from the Government goes into my mums account as I know that I would just spend it straight away. So my mum and I have a system that she gives me £35 a week to cover my food, travel and sometimes treats as well depending on my plan for the week. This is really helpful because then I know how much I can spend on my food shop etc.

  • Plan your weeks meals- I have been doing this the last couple of weeks and it has really helped when doing my food shop. I have planned my whole day of food so that I don’t buy unnecessary food that is just going to go to waste. Once I plan my meals it means I know exactly what I need for the week and can create a shopping list and try not to veer away from it too much when I am shopping.
  • Looking for the best deals- I generally do all my shopping at Aldi, however sometimes when it comes down to a deal, I do shop around a bit. For example recently I have been buying my alcohol at B&M as they have had a good deal on that I couldn’t get anywhere else. However this is always changing and there are always lots of different deals, in either B&M, Aldi and Morrisons (which are the main places people shop).

Lastly, when it comes to things like Student Events in Liverpool… which generally take place in September and April (Tomorrow, 3rd April 2019), make sure you set yourself a budget and make a list of things that you want/need. It is nice to be able to save up a bit of money to go to these events because it is a good way to bond with your new friends. Also as a side note, there are lots of way to make money whilst being at uni and I would definitely recommend getting a part time job, whether that be with the University, or off Campus, it is a good idea.

 

The Careers Awards!

Hi everyone,

This Tuesday is Edge Hill’s annual careers awards! This event is the 10th anniversary of the awards which are organised by the Careers team here at Edge Hill. This event is to celebrate the achievements of students over the past year, as well as recognising the employers and organisations who have helped students through part time jobs, work experience and volunteering!

The night is a really lovely event, as alumni get to return to Edge Hill, see old tutors and see how the university has changed throughout the university.

There are lots of oppurtunities for students to win awards, The Student Employee of the Year Awards have been split into three categories; those who work for the Students’ Union, students who work on the University campus, and students who work for an external organisation. These awards are brilliant for adding to your cv.

If you were not aware of the awards this year then make sure you keep an eye out for nominations next year as you could nominate your employer for an award! Also, if you work for the university you can nominate the department you work for!

Ellie 🙂

The importance of a work- life balance

When coming to uni, a lot of the time you find that people are here for one of two things. One of them being a great social life and the other being to work really hard for your degree. Now personally I completely disagree with that, I believe that you need to have a good balance of both, getting your work done but also enjoying your time at university. Even when you are not at University it is really important to find a good balance.

What happens if you do too much socialising– well to put it plainly it is likely that you are not going to end up doing very well in your degree. Your work for university does take time and if you are going out all the time and doing lots of extra curricular, it is highly unlikely you are going to have a lot of time to do your work. You will also probably end up with very little, if not no, money in your bank and so you will end up living off plain pasta for breakfast lunch and dinner, which nobody wants. You do need to be able to have a break from studying, however you need to make sure you get the right amount. 

What happens if you do too much work- I mean this is probably not a good way to put it because I don’t think there is a way for you to do too much work, but what I mean is that you are not getting a break. It has actually been shown that if you don’t take breaks from your work you actually become less productive. Even if you don’t like going out there are lots of other things to do on campus other than just going out and drinking. One of my favourite things to do is go for a walk around the back of the sports fields, or going to classes at The Sports Centre. 

What I do to ensure a good balance- I try and set myself a time in the day where I am going to go and do something I want to do, a lot of the time I try for that to be first thing in the morning particularly if it is going to the gym. For example on days where I am not into university till later on or if I am not in at all, I will still try and get up at a decent time and go to the gym or go for a walk as it makes me much more productive throughout the day. I have also joined the dance society as this is something completely different from my course and is a chance for me to have a break from studying. 

Applying for Jobs

Hello everyone!

I hope you have been enjoying this lovely weather. It is unbelievable to think that the ‘Beast from the East’ was one year ago… and now look at us! For primary education, some jobs are beginning to become available so it is a time of applications and interviews! Whether you’re also applying to schools, or applying for part-time jobs whilst you’re at university, here are some tips that might be useful to you!

Work experience / Volunteering

If you get the chance, try to arrange some work experience if it is desirable for a job that you’re applying for. However, you might already have lots of experience to reflect on!

Edge Hill’s careers centre

Edge Hill have wonderful careers centre where you can arrange a meeting for advice and guidance. You can find out more about them here. There are also careers fairs that Edge Hill put on throughout the year  in the student hub!

 

Your Application Form

Keep it relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re wanting to work at a local youth centre, any experience working with children will be useful to speak about. For the jobs I have applied to in the past (like a children’s residential camp) there was guidance for filling out the application form on the website. This was really useful and reassuring, so make sure to keep an eye out for something similar!

Interview

I had my first interview for a NQT pool and I tried to think of it as a ‘practise interview,’ which really helped me to relax. I would also advise to take some kind of portfolio with you. Although it may not be completely necessary, it could be the thing that makes you stand out from the other candidates.

Whether you’re thinking of applying for a full-time or part-time job, I wish you the very best of luck!!!

Speak soon,