Preparing for your first semester…

If you’re counting down to your first semester of university, whether you’re living on campus or at home, it may feel like you have a lot to do. You may even feel a little lost and unsure of what you should do. So, I’ve thought of some quick and easy things that you can get done in your first semester to make uni life smooth sailing.

  1. Sign up for the main discount schemes

Get your NUS card and sign up to UNiDAYS and Student Beans with your Edge Hill email address so that you don’t miss a thing. Everything from fast food and groceries to clothes and holidays will be discounted – sometimes even free!

2. Streamline your expenses

Now you’ve got your discount cards, it’s time to get savvy. Spotify Premium is only £4.99 for students and you can add Headspace Premium on for free. Stop shelling out big money for your music and get access to mental health boosting guides and meditations for no extra cost.

Amazon Prime is just £3.99 for students and includes Prime Video, the popular TV and film streaming service. This and Netflix will have you covered not only for those last minute text book and stationery deliveries but also all of your entertainment needs. Bargain! Amazon Prime also tend to offer discounts on text books for student members a few times a year.

Once you’ve done that, set up a spreadsheet of your monthly costs and when they need paying. Then work out what student finance you have left and what that is equivalent to monthly (plus any wages you earn). From there, you’ll know what you have to live off.


Gather all of your module handbooks and write down all the draft and submission deadlines in your diary or phone calendar with reminders beforehand. Start a document or sheet of paper for each assignment and add reading you have done or need to do and any other relevant guidance down as you proceed through the semester. This will make sitting down to plan and start your assignments SO much easier, trust me!

4. Book some UniSkills workshops or help from Student Services if needed If you’re struggling with Blackboard, academic reading or writing, referencing, budgeting or ANYTHING else – book in an appointment for some help. Edge Hill run workshops on most of these things and if they don’t there will be a service within Student Services that can help you. Don’t suffer in silence, get confident and comfortable now so that you can focus on enjoying uni life!

Good luck and, most of all, have fun!

Sam xo

A letter to my first year self…

Dear first year me,

In just a couple of weeks you will start your first year of university. And you’re scared. I want you to know that you really don’t have to worry about not coming from sixth form or being the ‘class granny’. You are about to join a group of fantastic future counsellors who come from all backgrounds, ages, career paths and walks of life. You are about to meet some incredible friends who will be with you throughout your studies (and hopefully beyond).

But I’m not just here to reassure you! You don’t need to be scared or feel lonely but you really could do with learning a few lessons. Get organised – an assignment 12 weeks away is really not that far away so start reading and researching. Those books you have piled up actually need reading, just having them in your house is not going to be enough. Whilst we’re learning lessons, stop wasting money on treats on campus! Read your money saving blog posts and be realistic with your budget. It’s going to be hard running a home and working multiple jobs whilst doing a full-time degree so don’t make it harder for yourself.

My final note to you…enjoy this journey. As I write this it’s nearly over. Our final year is about to start and in two short semesters this journey will end. Make every semester count, you’re very lucky to be a part of Edge Hill.

Sam xo

Stages of Moving Out…

Hey everyone, I thought it would be fun to share with you the stages I went through when I was moving out my home into university!

Stage 1 – Excitement

I am not going to lie, it wasn’t a strong sense of excitement but there was definitely a time before I starting packing that I got excited about setting up my new room, meeting new people and just finally moving out. It lasted long enough to get the next stage…

ross geller gifs Page 2 | WiffleGif

Stage 2 – Nerves and regret

As soon as I started packing, booking the flight over and planning when I was going to say goodbye to my friends/family, the nerves and regret set in BIG time. Reality kicked in really quickly and things were just very overwhelming but luckily I had people around me to talk me into packing again and actually move out…in a loving and caring way.

Stage 3 – Confusion and uncomfortable

I don’t know if it was the same for everyone but, when I arrived at uni and had set up my room, it took me a really long time to actually believe that I had moved out and I spent a long time trying to convince myself that I was now living here and not just visiting.

Question Mark Png - Transparent Background Question Marks, Png Download -  kindpng

Stage 4 – settling in

Once I got past the stage of meeting everyone in my flat and doing ice-breakers, I started finding a routine and began getting more comfortable with the idea that I was living away from home and starting a new life etc. Having to FaceTime friends instead of seeing them in person got easier and so did only seeing my dog over FaceTime. And my family too…

That is just a brief overview of the stages I went through when moving to Edge Hill University from Northern Ireland. I am glad that I had a few ups and downs when moving over and I can now safely say that I call my university and where I live my second home.

“Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.”

-Richard Bach-

Jobs For Full Time Students

As we’re getting closer to moving into Uni, you might be starting to think about money. Especially if your maintenance loan isn’t as great as you thought it may be. Here’s a few jobs you could look into whilst doing your studies.

Surveys Posts

Part-time jobs Archives - Inside Edge

If you search on the internet, there are quite a few survey websites that can earn you a bit of extra cash alongside studying. These can be surveys in exchange for vouchers, Paypal transfer and possibly points which you can then exchange for certain amounts of cash. YouGov surveys is a good one as you get £50 once you’ve completed 5000 points worth of surveys. The amount of points for each survey can differ, but it’s normally 50 points each survey.


Once the Uni year starts, keep an eye on the careers page for Edge Hill. There may be part-time opportunities that pop up. Whether that be in the catering team, or SU Bar work. This is great for new students as its another way of meeting new people and earning money at the same time.


In Ormskirk, there are a few little independent shops as well as chains such as Starbucks or Costa. You could have a look into these stores to see whether they are in need of hiring anyone.


If you’ve got a knack for teaching or helping other people with work, tutoring is another route to go down to earn a little bit of extra money. You can sign up to a few websites that allows students to tutor, and you can choose your preferred subject plus age group to teach. Obviously depending on your experience will determine the rate you set for each student per hour of tutoring.

Getting a job alongside studying also helps with job applications after you graduate as it shows commitment on your CV. So it’s definitely worth a look.

Signature for my posts. I end every post with a love heart

Ellis x

University and Balance!

Hey everyone, I thought that I would do little follow on from my last post and talk a little about balancing your university life with social/you time as it is very essential.

From my experience, when it comes to balance there are two ends to a scale; on one side, you have the people who spend the majority of their time in the library, writing notes, reading for assignments month in advance and never taking time off to hang out with flatmates or socialise. Then there are the people who avoid uni work at all costs until last minute and then panic at the last minute. It is hard to find a balance and I didn’t find mine until second year.

5 Reasons Why Maintaining a Work-life Balance Is So Important

Creating a schedule is really useful and also really satisfying to tick off at the end of the day (don’t even try and lie to me). I used to write my lists down on a random piece of paper and then throw it away once I was done but I realised how wasteful that was and so, moved to an app called “Lists To Do” which was created by a university student! It allows me to create to do lists and most importantly still allows me to tick them off with a really satisfying clicky sound. I can also go back and see my previous to do lists and use them as motivation to actually make one!

If you are someone that struggles on their own to get work done, perhaps try going to on study sessions with your friends. I could never do this in first because I was so comfortable with working on my own but in second year, I found that group sessions were SO beneficial in terms of bouncing ideas off each other and also keeping each other motivated. It is also nice to be able to take breaks with them if you are someone like me who really did not take advantage of study breaks and then burnt out.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog post and found it somewhat useful. Be sure to look at my last post for some similar advice!

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

-Albert Einstein-

Foundation Years: Taking the Road Less Traveled

Many courses may have foundation years to allow disadvantaged students’ to get onto the course. They have lower entry criteria and allow people who didn’t have as many opportunities as other students may have to get onto their course.

Grades Don’t Reflect Ability

This cannot be said enough. If you aren’t able to get the grades direct entry asks for, don’t think it means you aren’t capable. You’re assessed differently at University than at college, especially if you’re doing A Levels that are 100% exams. Universities recognise this, and offers a Foundation Year.

More Time to Yourself

Foundation Years are full-time courses but have fewer contact hours than the direct entry courses. While I did a lot of independent study outside of the three day week, I naturally had more spare time than I would’ve if I did direct entry.

This year, I’ve learnt how to be independent and form friendships without the pressure of the first year timetable. I’ve learnt a lot of life skills this year, so next month I won’t need to worry about learning how to cook when I’m in lessons five days a week.

There’s no Race in Life

If you take a Foundation Year or gap years, you’ll be getting experience direct entry students mightn’t have. You can use the spare time to travel, to reflect on yourself, or learn skills you mightn’t have time for in the full course.

If 18 year old me envisioned himself as a doctor 10 years later, I’d have so many routes. I could do another degree and then graduate entry Medicine, take 4 gap years and then Medicine with a Foundation Year, etc.

There were so many opportunities for me to complete my ten year plan. And even if people’s plans took twenty years, how would that be a bad thing for anyone?

Closing Words

A lot of people told me to ‘aim high’ and avoid ‘BBB’ for Foundation Year Medicine, and aim for AAA for direct entry, even though a Foundation Year would be better for me. There’s a stigma around Foundation Years that need to be challenged.


Textbooks – A Business School Guide.

Textbooks are essential if you’re a business student. More often than not, they are the key to completing your assignments due to the content being what the essay, or other assessment, is modelled around. Each module has a reading list with a plentiful array of books, some will be essential reading, some recommended reading. My blog this week is going to discuss my approach to acquiring textbooks as a Business School student at Edge Hill.

First and foremost, you will find your module reading lists on Blackboard. In these lists, by clicking on a book, it will tell you where that book is in the library, and if it is in stock. This tool is essential for being savvy about what you loan out or possibly buy yourself.

Snapshot of one of my reading lists for a module I completed in first year.

When presented with a new reading list for a new module, I would ALWAYS check Amazon for the essential book, then check the price of used or new copies. If the book isn’t expensive, I would always buy it. I am the type of learner who prefers to own all their materials rather than loan them out, so I can put tons of sticky notes in the book. If a book was not cheap enough to buy, some I saw racked up to almost £50 on Amazon, then I would loan the book out the library or look at an ebook option with my kindle.

My strategy for loaning books was always to get one out at the start of a module, then loan it out again when I was writing an assignment for those important references. Doing this system for a few modules saved me money, so I certainly recommend it.

My messy bookshelf from my room on campus. These were all the books I owned, which were either purchased or acquire when the library was getting rid of old stock for FREE.

Of course, an assignment can’t contain only one book in the references. So, to get around this, I would write some of the assignment in the library and grab a couple of books from the reading list that were in stock according to the Blackboard app. I would never loan these out, only using them while I was in the library at that time. This was a great way to build up my references and knowledge of the subject in a short period to complete the assignment.

This method and approach served me well in first-year and hopefully will do so again in second-year. Buying all your books might not be possible on other courses due to the amount needed to be read each semester, so bear that in mind and remember that my approach is tailored to the Business School reading list system. I hope this blog helps you either change your ways for the better or give you a snapshot of what it will be like when you start Edge Hill.


Open Day: What I Wish I Had Done Differently

When I was coming to Edge Hill for an Open Day I didn’t really know what to expect. It was the furthest University I had picked away from home, and I only found out about Edge Hill through a friend. I had no expectations of what it was going to be like, but I’m so lucky I did go as now I’m about to go into my third year and I love it here! Saying this though, within my University experience, there are some things I wish I did differently.

Check out the surrounding location

Time to give your views on the future of Ormskirk town centre ...

This is probably the thing I wish I did the most whilst choosing a University. It is important to check out the University first of course. But if you have some extra time, I do recommend seeing the surrounding location. This will give you a feel of what the place is going to be like living in. You’ll be able to see where the closest town centre is, if its near any cities, beaches, shopping centres etc. Edge Hill has a small town centre in Ormskirk, with a few shops including a few independent cafes. You can also get a train from Ormskirk straight into Liverpool in around 35 minutes.

Have a look all around Campus

Many people, myself included, go to to the main space, their course talk building, and one/two blocks of accommodation. Looking back on this now, I wished I had visited more of the space around campus as there is so much more to see.

Talk to more students

On the Open Days, there are so many students around to help you where you need to go. I would use them to your advantage and ask them about their lifestyle at the University, what they think is best etc. Just start to talk to as many people as you can to try and get a vibe of what other students think about the University.

I hope this will help in your upcoming open days!

Ellis x

Signature for my posts. I end every post with a love heart

Things Magazines Say You Need for University…That You Definitely Do Not (Part 1)

As we move closer to ‘back to school’ season each year, I see an influx of marketing to new students that tries to convince them of all the new and shiny things they will need to have with them when they start university. Some of these things are incredibly expensive and absolutely not necessary, which can put people off altogether. In this two-part series, I am busting some myths!

  1. State of the art computer

You will, of course, need access to a computer or laptop for your assignments but don’t be conned out of hundreds or thousands! Equally, if you are strapped for cash the Catalyst is packed with computers or even Laptop Loans to see you through. Don’t be deterred by financial difficulty and don’t get into debt for something you don’t need.

2. A printer

Similar to point one, you may find life a tad easier with your own printer but honestly? I don’t use mine. I realise what I need to print whilst on campus and pop over to The Hub or the Catalyst and have it in my hand minutes later. Nice to have, not need to have.

3. Expensive text books

The expense of university materials alone can genuinely stop people from applying, so please don’t be deterred. Hold on until you arrive and ask your lecturers which texts you will need constant access to, if any. Most books are only needed for one chapter or for a reference in a few essays. I own a couple that I scribble all over and the rest I borrow from the Catalyst or read online with my Edge Hill credentials!

Sam x

Final year feels…

Earlier this year I wrote a goodbye letter to my second year of university but now, a few months and a global pandemic later, the fears of final year are taking hold.

I now have the looming thoughts of final grades, full time jobs and further study. I know I want to do a Masters but I can never decide on what to study. Should I continue straight onto a Masters? Or should I take a break and get some professional experience?

Speaking of professional experience…will anyone employ me? Should I be doing more now to improve my CV? Should I be volunteering on top of my placement hours, getting mentored, doing more research?

These things all depend on good grades…I’ve done well so far but who knows how I’ll do in third year? How can I possibly manage a dissertation?!

The point of this post is not to actually force you to answer my questions, don’t worry! This is just me showing you that we all get scared. We all feel unsure. But a degree is such a fleeting experience and your university experience is over before you know it. So let’s step back, breathe and enjoy it together. We’ll be okay.

Sam x