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

It’s okay if…

You don’t know anyone on your course

Those worries of eating lunch alone or being picked last are a thing of the past! It can be really daunting to start university, no matter how old you are, but those social worries of high school and sixth form and can be left behind. Everyone at uni is here to learn and progress so the cliques don’t form in quite the same way. If you do find yourself alone one day – noone would even notice! Grab some treats, find a comfy spot in The Hub and settle in with your headphones or knuckle down in the Catalyst.

You don’t feel ready

Do we ever really feel ready? That niggling doubt that you’re not ready just means you’re about to do something really big and exciting. You’re all in the same boat on that first day on campus, so rest assured that those doubts are just excitement in disguise.

Academia isn’t your strong point

I won’t lie and say that reading, writing and comprehension skills aren’t important for a degree. However, you definitely don’t need to have been top of your class or an A+ student to come to university. Especially not Edge Hill. Student Services and the academic support team in the Catalyst have countless workshops to help you hone your skills and lecturers are on hand for extra support outside of lessons. If you are dedicated and passionate then come on over and join us at Edge Hill – you deserve your dream career and your calling is waiting for you!

Sam x

Accommodation Prep: Kitchen

When thinking about what to bring for a student kitchen, IKEA is honestly your saviour. I think when I shopped, I got all of my kitchen essentials from IKEA. It’s affordable and everything you need is there. Here’s a few things you may need, whether you’re a basic cook or an excellent chef.

Kitchen Equipment


What you might not know is that some of the accommodation blocks will have induction hobs. This is quite important as you’ll need to bring induction saucepans and frying pans with you, otherwise nothing will cook. Also it will be worth saying that depending on your flatmates, they may use you utensils without asking. If you don’t want this to happen, politely say. For me personally, I talked to my flat once I moved in and expressed that I have an allergy, so no one touched or used my stuff without asking.

  1. Mugs: There will be times when you just want some biscuits and a cup of coffee/tea. You can go to so many different places and find cute and quirky mugs to suit your taste.
  2. Cutlery: This is a bit of a given. As a rule, I would try and get a set of 4 for each piece. For plates and bowls, I would go for 2. If your flat does a flat meal, you can all use your own so it works out nicely. Also, a flat dinner is a great way to get to know each other.
  3. Chopping boards/Knives: If you tend to cook a lot, this is a must really. You’ll also need some cutting knives with this.
  4. Oven gloves/Tea Towels: Most people wouldn’t think about this, but this is an essential. Especially if you cook using the oven a lot.
  5. Plastic boxes or freezable bags: Cooking in big batches will save you time and money. Make sure you bring some of these and put the leftovers in here ready for another dinner or lunch.
Microsoft Customer Story-BBC Good Food serves up personalized ...

One of my tips is to start learning the basics of cooking whilst you can at home before coming to University. This will help you feel more comfortable coming to Uni. And maybe you can try new foods, try and experiment with different recipes. One of my favourite apps for this is BBC good-food.

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Ellis x

Accommodation Prep: Bedroom

Exterior of Palatine Court.

I wish I knew more about the accommodation that Edge Hill offered before going to University. It was mainly just simple things like: how much storage do I have? What do I need to bring? How many people are in a flat? etc. When I got my accommodation, I was given Palatine Court, Pankhurst as my halls, so I do apologise as my pictures will be from that accommodation. But if you have questions about any others, either follow the link down below or drop me a question in the comment section.


Mini-fridge in a wardrobe in Palatine Court.

You get a lot of storage in Edge Hill’s accommodation. Most of the accommodation blocks will supply a wardrobe, draws under a desk, shelving and under-bed storage. The under-bed storage is perfect for those of you who overpack. Trust me, a lot of you will, but this is something you will learn from in the future. The wardrobe is spacious and has a few shelves inside for extra space. This is useful if you don’t bring hangers or don’t have enough. For a little extra, I know that in Palatine’s accommodation, we were also equipped with a small mini fridge inside of the wardrobe.

What do I bring?

I’m going to do a bit more of a breakdown in a separate blog for what you need to bring, but here are a few essentials.

  1. Bedding: Try to bring a thick enough duvet and 2 pillows. You can add accessories to your bed later.
  2. Clothing: I know in my first year I packed so many clothes but honestly, you won’t need many. Just some basics and then then some going out outfits will do.
  3. Fairy-lights/Lamp: Not many people think about bringing a lamp, but I found it was quite useful. Fairy-lights are almost an essential for quite a lot of people, but it’s totally fine if you don’t bring any.
  4. ID: For any nights out or getting drinks, you will need your ID. Although you will have your Uni ID, most places still require proof of age.
  5. Pictures: This is for those of you who like to look back on memories. Plus they are a nice touch to your room.
  6. Games Console: Just something to do when you have a bit of free time.
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Ellis x

Essential Primary Education Books!

Hey everyone! I thought that I would share some of the educational books I use for the majority of my assignments and classes for Primary Education at Edge Hill University!

How Children Learn – Sean Macblain

I use this book for almost all of my subjects and assignments as it contains a lot information about educational theories that you can apply to all your assignments. The information in the book is brief but is a great starting point for information and just to learn the theories is come depth.

Primary Science: Knowledge and Understanding – Peacock et al

I really like the layout of this book as it very easy to read and the information is straight to the point. I used this book a lot in first year as we had to read and answer some questions from a chapter each week.

Teaching the Primary Foundation Subjects – Maggie Webster and Sarah Misra

I use this book for my foundation subject assignments especially when looking for the benefits of teaching the foundation subjects in primary education. The layout of the books is very easy to read and has some really nice ideas to teach music, history and geography etc.

Primary English for Trainee Teachers – David Waugh

This book is more suited to English but can be read for other subjects like APD. I like this book because it has a lot of definitions that are useful to learn for teaching primary English and information on verbs etc to jog your memory.

Mathematics Explained for Primary Teacher – Haylock and Manning

Again, as this is a mathematics books I use this for my maths assignments and classes. For someone who very much struggled with mathematics I found this book very useful for explaining the misconceptions in maths and how to overcome them!

I hope that you found this useful! You can find these books on Amazon which was where mine were bought but you also do not have to buy these books as they will be available in the library and online! I found it useful having my own copies so that I could highlight etc so if you are also like this maybe look into second hand books which you can also find on Amazon.

Thanks for reading, Lauren x

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”

Annie Dillard

Course Prep Part 3: Necessities

Coming to University can be stressful enough with choosing the course, accommodation etc. But a part of that stress can come from not knowing exactly what to bring, not just for the accommodation, but also for your course.


Best Laptops For Students in 2019 | College & High-School - 10BestOnes

is pretty much a necessity for all courses. Having a laptop is crucial to taking notes whilst in lectures and seminars. It will save you a lot of time rather than writing your notes and typing them up after class – trust me with this one. However, don’t worry if you don’t have one or can’t get one due to circumstances. At Edge Hill, the catalyst provides a laptop borrowing system (situated on the ground floor). This allows you to take out a laptop, and you can use it for your lectures and seminars.

Click here to find the best student laptops:

Notepad and Pens

Although for me personally a laptop is better at taking notes, I do like to also have a notepad and pen. This is kind of my back up in case I forgot to charge up my laptop before a lecture, or I only need to take ‘simple’ notes.

Coloured Pens/Highlighters

Stabilo Highlighters Pastel Pk6 | eBay

Having these save so much energy when it comes to revision. For me, I find it extremely helpful colour coding specific topics and highlighting in different colours. I tend to use the highlighters when doing readings and I need to pick out quotes for an upcoming assignment. I use the coloured pens for mind-maps, revision cards and other forms of study methods. I completely get that this method may or may not work for you, but I highly recommend investing in a few highlighters at least. (Stabilo pastel highlighters are my favourite).

Display Book/Ring Binder

These items are to help organise all of my resources that I’ve printed out. I like to print out my readings, highlight them and place them into some kind of folder. This helps me to stay organised and I know where my readings are for each module if I need them for references or any other research.

These are just my few necessities for starting University. Don’t feel like you need to get everything, but these items will definitely help you along your journey.

Ellis x

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Course Prep Part 2: TV and Film Production

When I made Edge Hill my top choice for University, I was constantly on the look out for how to prepare for my course. Here’s a few things I did before coming to Edge Hill to help settle my nerves, and make me more organised.

Course Information

Extra, extra! How to become an extra on TV - Saga

This is probably a bit of an obvious tip but, It’s a good idea to look into the course information that’s on the Edge Hill website. This will help give you an overview of what modules to expect, and also what ones you’re interested in at the moment. Reading this information will help calm your nerves as you wont be diving into the ‘unknown’, and it allows you a bit of time to research into that topic too. If you want to of course.

Blog Posts

Most Universities will have a blogging site, like Inside Edge. This is a great way to get an insight from a current students perspective about their life at University, their course, the location etc. The blog posts also allow you to comment on them and ask any questions you may have. For example, if you would like more information about TV and Film Production, you can leave a comment down below and I would be happy to answer any questions you have.


Plato's reading suggestions, episode 68 | Footnotes to Plato

When you start University, you’ll begin to realise that a lot of your lectures and seminars will want you to do readings. If you would like to get ahead before first year, you may be able to contact some course leaders to see what readings you’ll be looking into. This will help so much in the long run, and is a great way to get organised and prepared before University.

I hope this has given you guys a bit of inspiration to get prepared before coming to University. Hope you’re all staying well and safe.

Ellis x

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What To Do During the Summer – Trainee Teacher Style!

Hey everyone, I hope you all are well and staying safe! As we approach a long break from university and start to forget everything we have known for the past 6 months, I thought I would share a few ideas on what you could do over the summer as a trainee teacher!

Teaching Standards Folders!

This is something that I have been trying really hard to keep up with the past couple of weeks so that I don’t drown in it later on in life. I like to sit and collect all my evidence I have picked up over my past two placements and work out where they fit into each standard.

At the beginning of the process, I thought that creating the teaching standards folder was going to be a little boring but once I saw all my evidence in front of me I really enjoyed looking through and remembering my placements which made it a lot easier to do.


As you will have quite a lot of free time, there is no better time than to squeeze in a little time to keep up with academic reading that relates to education and the subjects you will be teaching. You can find many articles on Google scholar and Discover More that would be great to keep you up-to-date with current educational affairs etc.

Reflect on Placements!

You will be doing a lot of reflection on placements whilst working on your Teaching Standards folder but it can be equally as beneficial to reflect on other areas of your placements such as; how your mentor taught the class compared to how you taught the class, things you would like to work on in the next placement or things that your course mates have shared about their placements!

I hope that some people found this useful! Time off from university and deadlines is really important for mental health reasons and sometimes physical reasons as it can be tiring but I think it is equally as important to keep your mind active and learning from time to time!

Thank you for reading, Lauren x



Course Prep Part 1: TV and Film Production

When coming to University, most of you don’t really know how to prepare, or what to expect from your course. From my own experience, I didn’t really prepare much, but this is what I did do.

Look into Scholarships

I knew that Edge Hill offered a few scholarships. I entered in my details to the scholarship calculator and found that I was eligible for the Excellence and High Achievers scholarships. Once I found this out, I clicked on the link for the Excellence scholarship and put in an application.

REMINDER: Scholarship applications are until 1st June 2020 for academic year 2020/2021.

Get on Facebook Groups for Edge Hill

This definitely helped me to feel more settled coming to Edge Hill. Here I was able to ask about whether there was a group chat for Media or Film and TV. I got put in it soon after and got talking to people. Also, once you find out your accommodation, you can say what building and number you are. The likely-hood is that you’ll find someone in the same block quite quickly. This also helped and settled my nerves a lot as it already felt I had met people.

Attend an Open Day

I know that at the moment, undergraduate students starting this year are going to attend Open Day events virtually, but when I came it was physical. This is probably one of the best ways to prepare yourself. You can see whether you can envision yourself within the University. Also, you get to go around campus and see the types of accommodation you want to live in, as well as where your course will be held.

The faces of Edge Hill University - Unsung Heros - Inside Edge


For me specifically, I had a look to see whether there were any production companies nearby that I could contact about getting some experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear from many of them that I did contact. And when I did hear back from them, they weren’t taking on anyone at that moment in time. I wish I had stuck at it, but luckily, I managed to get some more experience through my own contacts.

Ellis x

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