How to be organised IMO…

I have about five deadlines for Uni coursework on the same week in a couple of months, which means I have to organise my study time so that everything is completed to a high degree and submitted about a week before the deadline (I have worries that if I submit too near the final deadline then the upload system may crash for obvious reasons). Being organised is super important not only in Academia but in the real world, as both usually require you to juggle multiple projects – this is how I do it.

2014-03-09 15.51.48
My diary – I would be LOST without it!

– Plan Ahead

The obvious thing to do is have a diary and a weekly (if possible) timetable where everything can be tightly planned, especially when you are doing projects inside and outside Uni work. I printed my Semester timetable and filled in all the boxed around the ones already filled in with Lecture times in pencil – as you can imagine, this way of scheduling requires quite a lot of discipline because times are set, and honestly I don’t always stick to it but I really try to.

– Work out what works for you

This part refers to how you go about completing high quality work within a set amount of time. I never recommend leaving an essay or presentation until the week before the deadline of course, but it is up to you how much time you give yourself. The standard, I would say, is four full weeks to complete an assessment. Sometimes people prefer to leave work later so that the pressure causes them to work well, and sometimes people need as much time as possible. What should not be required is someone giving you a ‘kick’ to do your work – There should be more independent ways of motivating yourself!

– The “Emergency Mode” Technique

This is a technique that I use personally in order to get work done. I pretend that everything has to be done by tomorrow or the world will end, and it is very effective because it means I have to rush (creating a lot of fake pressure) to get everything done as soon as possible. I have managed to get lots of work done simply by using this technique, and I find that when I rush I don’t hesitate to move. That’s my secret to being organised! Although this does not mean do everything at once – I prioritise some work over others of course.

I’m not saying that organisation is the key to high quality work – Sometimes the work I spend lots of time on does not get me high marks, and sometimes the work I spend less time on does not get me low marks etc.. This post is here to help others make sure they get their jobs done without busy timetables forcing any dips in quality!

Choosing a University

Last weekend I took a trip to visit my friend Hannah who studies at the University of Lincoln. Lincoln was actually one of the universities that I was considering attending myself at one point, and being back there really reminded me of how difficult choosing a university can be.

If you’re struggling to make a decision about where to study, I would highly recommend attending an open day if you haven’t already. Open days are excellent opportunities to look round campuses and to get some more information about your chosen course. To book a place on an open day at Edge Hill, please click here.

If you can’t make it to an open day, a lot of universities conduct regular campus tours, which are a great alternative. Edge Hill runs monthly tours which you can learn more about here. The tour even includes a presentation on finance and accommodation, as well as a chance to chat to current students.

Applicant visit days are definitely really useful too. They allow you to experience what studying your chosen course would be like. I’ve written two blogs about the applicant visit day that I attended which you can read here and here.

If you’ve done the above but are still not sure, I found that reading reviews from students who attended the universities I was interested in really helpful. WhatUni is a website that I used a lot. It has reviews from students that focus on a range of different areas to do with life at the university, as well as lots of other useful information.

Another website that was recommended to me was Push . Push is an independent guide to UK universities. It provides a lot of helpful and interesting information (even the average price of a pint…) but I think it’s important to remember that the opinions expressed won’t be representative of everyone. It can also be a little bit outdated because universities are constantly changing and expanding.

I hope that some of you find the links above helpful in making a decision. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

The 86th Annual Academy Awards

I’ve been an avid fan of The Academy Awards, or ‘Oscars’ for the past few years and have always enjoyed staying up to watch the red carpet footage and the ceremony. This year I had not seen many of the films that were nominated, but still made my predictions of who would take home an award.

oscars blog- statue

My biggest disappointment was that Gravity was nominated in so many categories. Gravity was an ‘okay’ film, but I definitely didn’t find it to be Oscar worthy and thought that it was no better than the films Sunshine or Moon, neither of which were recognised at award ceremonies. I can’t deny that it looked fantastic, however, and was well deserving of all of the technical awards it received.


My favourite film of all the nominees was Inside Llewyn Davis, which details the life of a struggling musician. The acting and soundtrack are amazing and I was disappointed that it was not recognised at award shows for either. The film was nominated in two of the technical categories, neither of which it won.

Oscars blog- Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis

One of the many appeals of The Oscars is the humour of the presenter. This year Ellen Degeneres presented and, despite not being particularly familiar with her prior to The Oscars I really enjoyed her sense of humour and thought that she did a great job. A highlight was when she took a picture of herself surrounded by celebrities to see if she could get the most ‘re-tweeted’ photo on Twitter ever (which she did).

Oscars blog- selfie
Ellen’s ‘Selfie’

As a film student I am surrounded by people to discuss films with who are as passionate as me. Whilst I love this fact, it made it difficult to go a day without having the results spoiled for me as I couldn’t watch the ceremony live this year. I constantly found myself covering my ears before lectures when I heard people discussing who had won.

While the Academy Awards are over now for another year it is always interesting to keep them in mind when watching new films. Maybe next year will be Leo’s year…

oscars blog- leo
Poor Leo…

 Find a list of the 2014 winners HERE.

Year Two: Modules & Pathways

As first year is drawing to a close, the time has come for us to begin choosing our pathways and modules for next year. First year has gone by so quickly, and it’s a bit crazy to think that I’m going to be a second year student in just a few weeks!

For my course as Computing, the university offers a wide range of pathways and module choices. All first year students will study the same modules before separating into their pathways. The pathways include:

  • BSc Computing – this course is for the general computing degree. It covers a wide area of topics including programming, web design and development, the digital world and multimedia. In second year, the choices are much broader as you are able to select specific modules in which you are interested specifically, rather than studying for a specific pathway with limited choices.
  • BSc Computing (Application Development), BSc Computing (Games Programming) – this is where the programme specifies in programming languages and coding.
  • BSc Computing (Information Systems), BSc Computing (Systems & Software), BSc Computing (Mobile & Embedded Systems) – this pathway specifies in system development and the software that is used throughout computer systems.
  • BSc Computing (Network, Security & Forensics) – this programme focuses on the security and issues surrounding this in every day life.
  • BSc IT Management for Business – this is where students can specialise in project management and methods that IT is used in industry.
  • BSc Web Systems Development – this pathway specialises in web development and the production of websites in industry.
  • MComp Computing – this is a masters degree which carries on from the BSc Computing course. It is a new pathway which has only recently become available, and is a great way of getting into a masters program whilst also studying for the Bachelor degree at the same time. This is also funded by student finance, as usually masters degrees are not funded by student finance.

The university website has got more information about these course pathways and modules if you would like to check it out. Hope all the university choices are going well!

The wonderful world of referencing…

Seeing as I got my Social Psychology essay handed in a few days ago, I thought I’d write about what’s known as referencing. This is a key part of writing assignments and such at University and there are many different types of referencing style.

What is it?

Referencing is how you show your tutors where exactly you got your evidence from, that you use to back up your points in an assignment. Whether it be from a book, a journal article or a website.

Why is it important?

Referencing is important in order to avoid plagiarism. This is when you claim a piece of research evidence or an argument is your own, when in fact it isn’t. Plagiarism is a serious issue in academia and the consequences of practicing it are severe!

The different styles

There are number of different types of referencing. Examples of referencing style include

  • APA-American Psychological Association*
  • Harvard
  • Chicago manual of style
  • AMA-American medical association.

*This is the style used by all psychology students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and practicing psychologists/academics. It is used in journal articles, essays, lab reports, research posters and other forms of academic writing.

The difference between in text referencing and a reference list

In text referencing and a reference list aren’t the same thing. For instance a reference list is an alphabetically ordered list of the sources you’ve used to write a particular assignment. An in text reference is when you provide support for a point/argument you’ve made about something. It is important to mention the name(s) of the author(s) of the piece of evidence, as well as the year they argued that/found it via their own research. For example in a psychology essay about childhood attachments I would argue something along the lines off…

There are many different types of attachment style, such as secure, insecure avoidant and insecure resistant. This was found by Ainsworth (1970, 1978) who discovered this via the strange situation paradigm….

If you would like more information about referencing when you come to university, then feel free to visit learning services who are located in the library, or visit the link below 🙂

Contacts? What contacts?

Just wanted to clear up what is means by “it’s who you know” and how to get contacts (which may help you secure you a good career ect). I read of how graduates regret not using their time at University to build contacts – they look for work in the real world but they don’t know anyone that can offer employment or career building… This highlights ways on how to get (or at least how I get) contacts, and it’s up to you how you use them.

EH821 Alumni networking 2010  DSC_1583
Photo from here. I work as an events assistant so I regularly get to see the networking magic happen!

Personally, I see contacts as people that I know personally that can help me professionally. I have noticed in my years as a media student that the people that get cast as actors in student productions are friends or acquaintances, and not people that are simply interested in acting! It’s cool to be skilled, but even better when you know people who can benefit from your skills and give you experience simultaneously.

In terms of what University can offer, they often hold events with networking time before and / or after it which can be a good time to meet people – although, as someone who works as an events assistant, I find that guests usually stay within their own groups, so networking events are more of a place to get introduced to someone new through someone you know.

Jobs fairs are also handy, as I gained some very valuable contacts from talking to people (usually professionals with good networks of their own) behind the stands.

Societies are very handy also. I was a junior radio producer for in Edge Hill, which of course meant I met many other students. In particular, I met someone who was in (at the time) the third year of my course – Now she has graduated from Edge Hill and works for two radio stations in the North West which is very handy when you’re like me who runs a record label 🙂

Finally, let’s not forget the contacts from work (paid and voluntary). I try my best to get along with my colleagues and bosses, as I know that larger employers sometimes go on recommendations from their current staff if you know what I mean… In addition, fellow students can make great contacts; for example, my record label requires second opinions on songs, so who better to turn to than my fellow music students?

Neighbors count as contacts to – there have been times when people I know turn to the people they live with for casting choices whether they are actors or not.

I hope this has been helpful and do read up on how to use contacts to your advantage. To me, networking is quite an underrated skill for a student / graduate to possess, but used at the right time, it can seriously help you with your career!

Open Mic Night – An Event to enjoy!

On the ever recurring subject of what to do on an evening in edge hill, one of the many things I can recommend over and over again, and now even more so, an Open Mic Night.

If you just go as an audience member, you’ll be sure to be entertained by the finest talents of past and present Edge Hill members and talented individuals from nearby areas.
This talent can be Poetry, Acting, Circus/Mime arts and, quite obviously, singing.

Earlier in October I had the great pleasure of being able to work with a talented singer and guitarist named Simon, of which we did a fantastic set of songs, the first of which is here:

Simon is a very talented individual and I feel honored that he let me perform with him.
Anyway, Last night I was given the chance to perform once more for this Open Mic Night. We had a Harp/Ukulele player, many guitarists and singers, a comedy guitar duo, Poets, Simon returning on guitar as a solo act and I was given the opportunity to perform once more for everyone.
I managed to perform for everyone Michael Buble’s Cry me a River and Sweet Transvestite from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Audience were most responsive and the applause was lovely.
I can say that from a performer point of view, it was  exhilarating to be able to entertain and give joy to other peoples lives for a  few hours.
From an audience point of view I can imagine it would be a most entertaining and thrilling night, so when the next one pops up in a month or so time, I will be sure to return, and when you go to the university, I would advise not hesitating an Open Mic night, or indeed any show going on at the Art’s Centre, information for which is Everywhere in the Hub or at the Performing Arts department.
Fun for all the Family

— Thursday Thoughts —

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. he good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant”



Reading Week

Last week was reading week (or independent study week if you want to be official about it). There were no classes on during this week, I guess it’s kind of the university equivalent of a half term, although, to my knowledge, not all courses offer it. If you choose to study English Literature like I do, you’ll definitely get a reading week. This is because the course is (surprise surprise) extremely heavy on the reading side. As well as powering through books, reading week  also offers the chance to get through any essays that have deadlines looming.

I used my reading week as an opportunity to go home to Kent (accompanied by all my books, of course). It was great to see my family again because I haven’t seen them since the start of January.  As excited as I was to be home, I very quickly started missing Ormskirk. There’s nothing quite like living with friends and the freedom that moving out gives you. On the other hand, I was more than happy to go back to home-cooked meals and a fully stocked fridge.

This week has got me thinking about when I first moved out. As difficult as it can be initially settling in to life away from home, I have certainly become accustomed to university life. ‘Normal’ life seems really odd now. When I think back to all the fears I had about going to university, even the little ones like sharing a bathroom, I realise now that I was worrying for nothing. I’m not saying that it’s not scary at all, and everyone is different, but for me, adjusting to university living was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

If anyone has any questions about anything to do with university (even tiny, silly ones) please feel free to ask me in the comments below.

Why Independent Study Weeks Aren’t Just ‘Weeks Off’

Last week was an Independent Study Week. During and Independent Study Week no lectures or seminars are held and students are encouraged to spend their time catching up with work and spending time on essays and assignments.

At the beginning of the week I wrote a list of all the work that I needed to complete. The list included: A 1500 word critical appraisal, a first draft of a ten minute radio play, a first draft of a 750 word short story, and typing up all my notes from the past few weeks.

True to form I wasted the first couple of days, regularly reassuring myself I had plenty of time to get everything done. By the time I finally stopped being lazy and tried to do some work I was no longer confident that I could get all my work finished in time. Fortunately, I managed to put in some serious hours and eventually most of my work was finished, but I couldn’t help wishing that I’d started earlier and had time to step away from my writing and come back with a fresh pair of eyes.

Study Weeks can deceptively feel like breaks from the everyday hard work that attending lectures and seminars involves. When not used wisely they can seem like a holiday, but can just lead to an unbearable work load at the end of the week when everything needs to be done at once.

Time management is key; when assignments are worked on at set times it is much easier to find time for leisure.  As a reward for having finished all my work I went to visit my friend in Leicester for her birthday, as she lives in student accommodation and was having a house party. It was a great way to relax before starting back at university and a great way to finish off the Independent Study Week.

Campus Developments

As with most university campuses, Edge Hill is no different in the way that it is constantly improving the facilities it can offer to students. In the past couple of years, there have been a few developments that includes accommodation for students and the central hub.

In September 2012, the university introduced 384 new en-suite rooms under the name of Chancellors Court. The accommodation is self-catered (as in, you feed yourself) with a kitchen including all the essentials and a study bedroom with a computer provided. These are all the same facilities that are also provided in Founders Court. For students beginning in September 2013, there will be more new en-suite accommodation that is currently being built next to the Creative Edge building.

Also, the university developed the central building – The Hub. The hub is a great place which has a shop as well as a canteen and Starbucks coffee shop. Upstairs the Student Union is located, as well as work areas with computers and free printing – trust me, as a student you will need free printing!!

The Arts Centre is also a new development, which includes a bistro and theatre auditoriums for those in performance arts. On the occasional night there are performances for students to watch, as well as some nights being comedy or film nights. This building is located on the left of campus which is next to Founders Court.

Also, the Biology department has been extended with a whole floor of brand new lab space, which benefits those studying human biology. These labs add to the already excellent building which has excellent ICT facilities, laboratories, prep rooms and a lecture theatre.

Finally, the most recent is Creative Edge. Some of you may have seen me talk about this before as I study Computing, but this building is also for Media, Film, Animation and Advertising. The facilities include TV studios, recording studios, sound-editing suites, a radio station, animation studios, photographic studio, multimedia laboratory and networking, forensic and computer labs. These are updated with the latest technologies and has very good equipment for use in everyday life as well as studying.

Overall, Edge Hill has made some great investments and developments with more to come – soon there will be a new sports building with a 25m swimming pool and more facilities to go with the existing gym and sports facilities. Here’s a quick video to show you the campus, but it will be interesting to see what the university looks like by the time I graduate!!