Making Friends 101

It’s getting closer to the day you all move in and start your university experience! i hope you are all enjoying binge watching what do bring with you to university videos on YouTube (please tell me I was not the only one!)

As a girl who moved from Ireland to Edge Hill University, I thought that making friends would be the hardest part about university but low and behold I was very surprised…doing your own washing is the hardest part. However, although it is not the hardest part about starting university and I had a very good friend that I knew from home, it can be quite nerve-wracking especially if you are introverted like I was so, here are some of my tips on how I managed to get people to be in my company voluntarily.

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BE YOUR BEST SELF!

I’m sorry for how cliche this is but it is seriously so true. People have this weird ability to sense if people are being fake and this only heightens when you get to university. I will admit that I was very scared to be myself in front of my fellow classmates and flat mates but once I got comfortable, let’s just say that we are now very close and they know why I am not myself around everyone I meet…

Societies will be your first best friend!

I have heard that joining these at the very start of the year can be so useful when wanting to make friends in an environment that you are comfortable in. For example, there are musical theatre groups, dance groups, Doctor Who groups and many more that you would never think of. Don’t make the mistake I made and not join one of these!

Go on nights out!

This is another classic case of do as I say and not as I do. I made the mistake of not going out much with my flat mates and not being able to meet new people outside of my course. I now have learnt that while being an introvert is not a bad thing, it can be damaging when you want to meet new people. Take my advice and push yourself to socialise outside the confines of your flat because, while it might be hard and scary you won’t regret it!

Now that I read this blog again, I really should have titled it, ‘Mistakes I made whilst trying to make friends.’ I really hope that you find the friends you deserve because they really do make the difference to your university experience.

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you”

Rasheed Ogunlaru

Taking the pressure off…

Hey everyone, I hope you’re all getting excited about starting your course at Edge Hill University! Be sure to check out the social media sites so you can keep up to date on Q&A conversations, campus activities and fresher updates.

Take this blog as a piece of advice from a now second year university student where I talk about why it is important not to let your course dominate your whole university experience and why you should keep up with your hobbies and not abandon them to focus solely on your course.


When I first started university, I was so ready to dive straight in to work and be on top of my assignments, homework and reading. While I did do this through-out my first year, I now realised how much of the experience of university I missed out on. For example, having last minute, middle of the day movies with my flat, going shopping with my flat-mates, having dinner and lunch together and just missing out on moments because I was always in the library trying to be on top of everything.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing because you do end up being way ahead of everyone in terms of work and you should still try to do this but just remember that this can be done in a way that doesn’t mean you will miss out on a bunch of memories like I did. This is a classic case of do as I say and not as I do…

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My Advice for not letting your course consume you!

I don’t mean that you should completely abandon your lectures and never do your assignments just in case you thought that was what I was saying. If I were to give my first year self some advice I would tell her to go to lectures and do your assignments in a nice relaxed pace and don’t try and get things done and dusted as quickly as possible!

I would tell myself to hang out with my flat more rather than go to library for most of the day because you’re going to miss out on some really good times.

I would tell myself to put time and effort into my course and make sure that I am performing and achieving to the best of my ability but don’t let it take away from your overall experience.

I would finally tell myself to keep up with my hobbies! Luckily I still went to the gym and went for walks which was something I really loved but I also wished I kept doing photography and used my free time to play around with this hobby. This was the most important advice I could have given myself because I got a sense of freedom when I did take a break from my course and focused on my hobby.

My hobby, Photography!

I hope this helps someone who like me, likes to stay on top of work and feels the need to constantly work! Trust me, this quality is a great thing to have when work needs to be done but, when it doesn’t need to be done right away, live your university experience.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt-

Dealing with the Nerves!

Hey everyone and CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who have been accepted into Edge Hill University! I am sure you are going to love every minute of it. However, I bet some of you are feeling slightly more anxious than excited to start this new journey particularly if you are travelling a long distance to attend like me. I thought I would share some things that I told myself to calm my nerves about starting university.

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First….

You are not the only one that is going through this! As you are all aware, there is thousands of people starting university for the first time and are probably feeling exactly the way you are right now. I don’t know how many times I told myself this on the weeks leading up to moving and how much my family told me this but, it really did help settle my nerves when I really thought about it. You are never really alone in anything.

Second…

This is not a life altering decision. Once you have accepted the course you are doing it does not mean that you are tied down to that decision for the rest of your life. The great thing about university and Edge Hill, is that it opens up so many windows of opportunities for you to explore. Take these opportunities and explore them!

Third…

This will be the best thing that will happen to you. I know this seems a little dramatic but, for me, starting university was a big deal because I never thought that it would happen to me. Telling myself that going to university would be the best thing I would do really helped with my nerves because I then really started to believe it and to be honest, it really has helped me in so many ways and I can guarantee it will do the same for you.

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Thank you for reading and I hope that this has helped at least someone who is starting to feel the nerves. Again, well done on getting into University, you deserve this!

Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.

Dalai Lama

Organisation for Your Course!

Hey everyone! Not long now until you find out if you have made it into Edge Hill University! I know the feeling of awaiting results all too well and trust me, try not to overthink it, what is for you won’t go by you!

If you have applied to study Primary Teaching at Edge Hill University, I thought I would write a post on how I organised myself before starting the course so that I would be prepared!


Pre-Course Tasks!

Before I started my course at Edge Hill, a couple of weeks after I was accepted into the course, the students were emailed a pre-course booklet that told us about the course, the teaching standards and some tasks for us to engage with before starting.

These tasks included; reading children’s novels, engaging with course reading, updating your subject knowledge and familiarising yourself with the curriculum. It really is not that much work if you start when you get it and just chip away at it each day. My favourite part was reading children’s books because what better excuse do you need to relive your childhood than for your future career?

Text Books!

You will usually have a list of required texts to have before starting the course and you don’t HAVE to buy them but, in my opinion, I found it a lot less stressful to have my own text books for assignments as I didn’t have to fight my way through the library to try and get a copy!

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Campus Society and Facebook Groups

The best thing that I did before starting the course in September was join Campus Society. It is an app that allows you to find people on your course and who live in your accommodations. This helped me feel more relaxed about starting the course as I was already talking to people who were also studying Primary Teaching and knew how I felt.

After being accepted on to the course, I was added into Facebook groups with other people from Primary Teaching. We then made an online group chat and were able to talk to each other about the pre-course task and any worries that we had. I really recommend joining these online platforms if you are worried about starting your course, it helped me a great deal.

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Experience!

This goes without saying that you need to have some sort of experience of primary teaching before starting the course. I was lucky that my mum is a Primary School teacher and I had loads of time in the classroom before starting which made me feel more prepared about starting practice in first year. I even was able to squeeze in a little more experience before starting the course which is never a bad idea!

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I hope that you enjoyed this blog and found it useful! Being more organised and prepared before starting my course really did settle my nerves and lesson the blow of starting university. Just remember that you are doing what you really want to do with your life and so you should enjoy this experience!

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

-Abraham Lincoln-

Being Vegan or Vegetarian at Edge Hill University!

Hey everyone! With the rise in veganism, vegetarianism and just the general rise in people eating less meat in their daily lives, I thought that I would put a simple post together on how this can be done at Edge Hill and in Ormskirk as it is a small area with a much more limited choice than you would get in a city. I myself don’t consider myself vegan or vegetarian as I still eat fish and eggs but no dairy, red meat, chicken, etc. When I moved into university and was living on my own, I began to make more plant based and vegetarian meals which were quite easy. I know that this lifestyle can be quite tricky for people but hopefully this post will help some of you!


Shopping!

This was what I found the easiest when I first started eating more plant based. I shop in Aldi and Iceland because they are cheap and I can get everything I need for a week for under £20! Iceland have a whole section of plant based foods such as pizza, sausages, meatballs, burgers, pies and chicken strips! Aldi have the most amazing beetroot burgers and sweet potato burgers that go amazing with some frozen and roasted veg and potatoes! I also bulk buy the cans of chickpeas and butter beans because these can be so amazing in a curry or in a salad. Leading a more plant-based lifestyle does not have to be expensive!

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I would also shop a little in Holland and Barrett for things I might not be able to get in the main food shops such as tofu, tempeh and Linda McCartney items (if you know, you know) and these items would usually last me a couple of weeks as they can be frozen. Morrisons is also a good place for vegan, vegetarian and free from options but if you want to stick to a cheaper option, I would opt for Aldi or Iceland.

Eating Out!

I thought that when I moved to Ormskirk I would never be able to find anywhere with vegan or dairy free options but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was way easier than it was in my own home town. I will compile a little list of all the places that have a vegan menu or that I find are really accommodating to this type of lifestyle;

  • The Fat Italian – has a full vegan menu
  • Cobble – really good carrot and hummus bagel, just saying
  • Nordico Lounge – vegan-friendly
  • The Bagel Deli – vegan bagels, need I say more?
  • Wetherspoons – vegan meals on a budget? Perfect.

You can also treat yourself to going into Liverpool if you want even more options but for Ormskirk being so small, it is amazing what you can get.

Take Outs!

This is what I have found to be the hardest part about living this lifestyle because there is cheese or milk in A LOT of takeaway places however, I did manage to get a vegetarian dominoes pizza delivered to my flat with the rest of my flat mates which was really really nice but not vegan. Also, in terms of getting a Chinese takeaway, there is no harm in asking what they have that you could eat. I got a black bean dish from a local Chinese takeaway which was dairy free and full of veggies!

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Ordering food to the flat and getting a takeaway is a lot harder on this lifestyle but if you know that your flat mates will be having food like this, be prepared and have a frozen pizza in the freezer just incase so that you don’t feel like you are being left out.


I hope that some of you found this useful and are not so worried about having difficulty with continuing your amazing vegan/vegetarian/dairy free lifestyle. It was only when I started university that I cut out a lot of meat products and started cooking plant based meals and I would not have been able to do that if Ormskirk had not made it as accessible as it has.

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

-Albert Einstein-

Staying Fit, What Gym Options Are Available to You

While at uni eating takeouts might become more frequent or even just eating more junk food when you don’t want to cook, so maybe the possibility of going to the gym seems more reasonable now then at home, so I am going to give you a few pointers to what’s available and what you can expect to pay.

Edge Hill Sport: If your living on campus this should be the only place worth considering, as deals go there residency membership is a bargain. £80 for a full 40 weeks of premium membership which includes use of all facilities at any time of day, not bad eh? If you live off campus you will have to pay more but it’s still good value if you don’t mind commuting a bit with a standard yearly membership costing £170.00. The facilities are really nice and modern with handy green wristbands used to enter rooms and to use the lockers as opposed to keys, the fitness suite is one of the best I’ve used, the only slight downside being it can be pretty busy especially around 4/5 but that’s more applicable to weightlifters and can be avoided by going later or earlier in  the day.

Off Campus Options: If living within Ormskirk then it may be too much hassle to commute to and from Edge Hill but, there are options within the town. If you are interested in swimming then Park Pool, the council run leisure centre seems to be the main place to go, they also have a gym too.  If you are looking for just for fitness equipment then United Health and Fitness and Active Nation (formerly energie fitness) are both good options, Unite has a larger number of equipment in a larger space with a monthly membership costing £25 a month. Active Nation is the gym I use, it’s pretty small but is usually not too busy and is well maintained as well as having the cheapest membership fee I could find at £20 a month.

So there’s just a few options available to you if interested, also make sure you are paying for what you need, if you go a lot buy a longer membership, if your less consistent then maybe a pay as you go option is best, whatever you choose enjoy it and take it easy!

Jordan

Home Visits – Can they be hard?

Hey everyone, I hope you are all having an amazing summer so far! I thought I would talk a little more about how I find visiting home both comforting but also a source of discomfort as this is something I quickly realised while in my first year of university. 

Coming from a very family orientated family, I have always loved the thought of going back to Ireland to see everyone and spend some good, quality time with them (and to be fed). However, while this was exciting and relaxing, I found that when it came to coming back to university, I would become a little upset and find it hard to settle back into the routine of living away from my family. 


I found it particularly hard after the Christmas break because I was so used to being at home again and being around my family and so, when it came to moving back over to uni and back to the flat, I suddenly realised that I didn’t want to. This only lasted for a couple of weeks until I settled back again but during that time, I really needed help to make me feel comfortable with being away from my family again. 

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I realise that flying over every weekend or every two weekends isn’t very student budget friendly but, I found that when I had a trip planned to go home for a couple of days I didn’t feel as sad or anxious because I knew that I would be seeing my family and that kept me going until that time arrived. In my first year, I made the mistake of only visiting home if I had a prolonged period of time off university and so as I was home for longer, I was getting too comfortable with being away from university, making it harder to transition back. 

As much as my mum hated this, I made sure to text her or FaceTime her every day while I was away so that I was keeping in contact with her as much as I could while keeping updated with the rest of my family. However, I will say that I may have been a bit smothering about Face-timing back home and texting whenever I could but, at the end of the day, it made me feel better and kept the homesickness at bay.Image result for facetime

It can also be fun to try and plan trips to visit family members who live close by or friends from home that have moved to England for University. This may be quite pricey but, in my opinion, your feelings and mental health come first. If you feel that visiting someone close to you while you are in need of comfort will help you, do it. I was lucky enough to have my cousins live in Liverpool and so, I could visit them when I wanted to or needed to be with family. I also made a couple of trips down to Bath to visit my sister who lives there. Yes, it was pricey but it made me happy. 


I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it helped my fellow Irish students coming to Edge Hill University. I can say truthfully that moving away was the best thing I did for my independence and it really made me appreciate my family more. 

Thank you for reading, Lauren 

 “Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

-Stitch-

Taking a break – Getting excited all over again

Taking a break


Getting excited about things is great. When you are really involved and love what you are doing the job almost seems to do itself. Except that might not last. Eventually the novelty can ware off. In this blog I want to talk about three ways to get yourself reinvigorated and above all excited to start on whatever you might be doing. It could be a job, or even your future.


Take a break

Alright this is the biggest, and simplest. Taking a break from what your are doing is probably the best way to realise why you enjoyed doing it in the first place. Recently I took a break from writing blogs. It was nice to break my routine. But coming back now to write this made me remember that I really enjoy sharing experiences and writing in the first place. So, take a break and regroup even if its just with yourself.


Break up the routine

As I mentioned above, taking a break can really help. But if you can’t do that then maybe its time to change how you work, and shake up your routine for the better. Maybe try doing more at once, and use the flow to propel what you are doing forward. Take a look at how you work, and change it up. Even if you move something as simple as the day you do your work can make a difference.


Consider a change

This is pretty drastic, but making a big change can be the only way to find a way to break the monotony of anything you are doing. Take everything into consideration and figure out for yourself if you need a break or if you truly are sick of what you are doing and need to make a change.


If you want more free and great advice email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

What Is Ormskirk Like?

I’ve had people ask me before ‘what’s Ormskirk like’ as a town to live in? So I thought I would give my thoughts on this for those of you that are starting in September or moving into off campus accommodation.

For starters Ormskirk is a small town, so if your coming for the city life you aren’t going to get it here, BUT Liverpool City Centre is only around 15 miles away and the transport links for the town are good with both rail and bus travel being regular and conveniently accessible from the in town train/bus stations. Most shops operate around the town centre with housing all over the place. Since the town is small and there is a demand for housing because of the large number of students, and prices will be cheaper the further you go out of Ormskirk but at least it isn’t London eh?.

For the size of the town there is a surprisingly good selection of shops, bars, takeaways etc. suitable for everyone, my personal favourite being the Dixi Chicken and pizza on the Southport road which is an underrated gem.

For things to do obviously it’s not going to have as much as somewhere like Liverpool but there’s still things to do depending on what takes your interest. There’s a few different gyms around the town and a leisure centre to choose from. If your one for outdoorsy stuff then the various walks and bike trails might be for you, and there is also the market in the centre every Thursday and Saturday every week which is always popular among young and old and you can get a good selection of stuff. There was also recently the opening of a cinema in the Chapel Gallery that shows a mix of new and old films.

So there’s just a few things to know about Ormskirk if you were interested, if you have any questions let me know and thanks for reading.

Jordan

Student Discounts

Hi guys, as a student money can be tight, so it’s a good job that there are a variety of discounts available if you are interested in saving money, here are a few things I use.

NUS TOTUM Card: You can purchase one of these in the on campus SU shop or online for just £12 a year. They can be used for discounts across a range of businesses throughout the UK and they can even be used within the SU shop and bar for extra sweet savings, also worth noting you save more  money on the card price overall by buying a three or two year card. https://cards.totum.com/join

UNiDAYS: Accessible through the website or via the nifty app, UNiDAYS is completely free and only requires verification of being a student by signing in using your Edge Hill portal credentials. The app also grants you discounts across a range of things like, shops, restaurants and online retailers. https://www.myunidays.com/GB/en-GB

16-25 Rail Card: My personal favourite, the rail card can save you up to a 1/3 on rail prices, usually the 1/3 is more applicable if your ticket is over a tenner but savings can be made regardless of the fare. I use this all the time and would recommend it to anyone who used trains at least every now and again. It costs £30 a year but I managed to get it for free with my bank account so that’s something else to look out for. https://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/

Mobile Network Rewards: OK, this one isn’t exclusively for students but I thought it best to put here since there are some really great deals to be had through some networks own rewards for being a customer. Networks like 02, Vodafone and EE among others all have various deals, such as discounted cinema tickets, free food and priority booking for concerts.

Student Offers: Sometimes you don’t always need an extra item to avail of discounts, an Edge Hill card will get you plenty of discounts on it’s own. From  student offers in restaurants, to saving on movie going, through a student ticket.

So there’s a few ways the student can save money, hope this helped and thanks for reading.

Jordan