Using Your Holidays Wisely!

Hey everyone and HAPPY EASTER!

I hope you are all stuffing your faces with chocolate eggs and having a nice chill day. However, don’t forget to keep up with all the work you have to do before going back to University.


As I am on my Easter holidays at home in ‘wee’ Ireland, I thought I would share my tips on how to use the uni holidays wisely and still be able to enjoy your time at home.

Utilise your time!

You have so much free time now that you don’t have classes and lectures, why not use this time to get ahead of the game before returning back?

Set yourself a goal everyday in terms of work

For example, I would set myself a word count goal on how many words I want to get written in my assignment. This way I know how much I want to write and then if I get over that word count, I can have more time to spend with my family and friends (and dog).

Use your time alone to catch up on reading and studying

Being away from the distractions of university and halls can be great thing if you want to catch up for time lost. 

Do the most work you can do early in the day so that you can relax with your family in the evening.

I have mentioned in a few blogs that I love waking up early and getting my day started. When I am at home, waking up early, taking my dog for a walk and then getting started on my assignments is the best way I could start my day because I find that I am way more productive in the morning. Try it!

Start to write out a study plan or an assignment writing plan for when you go back to Uni so that you are super organised smash the term.

Returning back to university after a long break can be quite daunting especially when you know you have studying to be doing or assignments to write. I like using my time off to start planning study sessions or plan out an upcoming assignment so that I have a head start. Image result for you can do it


I know that going home for holidays can be very distracting as you have family to catch up with and friends to see, but remember that Uni can be just as distracting especially if you are living in halls.

I love coming back home for holidays, and to be honest, for the first few days I do take time to spend with my family however, I always make sure to stay on top of my work and assignments so that I have less stress to deal with upon returning.

Hopefully this advice is helpful. I really do try to utilise my time off at home to really get into my work and assignment writing. It feels really good knowing that I am ahead of the game!

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

-Bruce Lee-

 

Relax and De-Stress

Hey everyone! I know that many of you will have already sent your university applications away and are now working hard to ensure that you meet the grades or criteria to be accepted to your chosen university.

I know from experience that this can be a very stressful time especially with exam preparation and coursework deadlines. Over the years I have managed to deal with the stress of these situations with a few simple tips and tricks, some I still use to this day.


  • Make yourself a nice, wholesome meal – I know it can be very easy to quickly put some frozen chips in the oven or order a takeaway when you are in the middle of a hard-core study session. However, I found that I felt worse and more stressed when I did this and so I changed those less healthy meals to something more nutritious.  For example, a homemade, vegan pizza using a seeded wrap, some tomato sauce and loads of vegetables with a pinch of salt. It took less that 20 minutes to make and tasted AMAZING! Also, far cheaper than a dominoes.

 

 

 

 

  • Listen to a podcast – this is one that I have only recently started to do and it has changed my de-stress and relax game. Put on a gripping podcast that steals your attention, put earphones in and start walking or lie on your bed and just let the chatter and conversation distract you from the stress of studying and exams. I find that I am listening to podcasts more than I am listening to music because of how relaxing and distracting I find them. My favourite podcast to listen to at the minute is ‘Happy Place’ by Fearne Cotton. The conversations are so meaningful and gripping that I just completely zone out. 

 

  • Exercise – I feel like this is a pretty generic solution to de-stress but that means that it actually works! I used to sit for hours and hours at my desk in my room and not even think about moving except for when I was getting food. However, when I was doing my A-levels, I started going to the gym during the winter and doing small sessions 4-5 times a week and when the warmer weather came (as warm as Ireland could get), I would take a short walk over the fields every hour just to give my mind a rest. I found that whenever I came back from a little exercise, I was much more focused and didn’t dread the thought of going back to study.  Here is a picture I took whilst on one of my study break walks around the campus!

 

 


And that was some short and simple tips on how I relax and de-stress during exam  times or heavy essay writing. I really hope that some of these help you during the coming months!

I used to always say that I never had ‘time’ to relax but this is NEVER the case. Always give yourself time to relax and chill out because your body and mind will thank you for it in the long run.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

– Jim Goodwin –

 

Tackling those pesky assignments! 💪🏽📝

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After just handing in one of the hardest assignments of this year, I feel like I didn’t do too badly. If you put in the prep and don’t leave it until last minute you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll do. I’m going to give you an insight on what our assignments are like on Primary Ed , they differ per course, and some tips that have helped me stay a little ahead of the workload.

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Start early and get to the library! 📚
This year we have eight assignments that roll one after another, so you’ll always have your head in at least one assignment. Some people overlap the assignments and can do two at a time, those people are magicians. When I start a new assignment I get a gist of what it’s about and head to the library to get as many books out as I can on the topic. They want you to show wider reading so using books and journal articles are the best way to prove this, and also get a better understanding of what’s going on.

Know what you have to do before you start note taking. 📝
There’s no point taking notes without knowing exactly what you need to do. For example, the assignment title I’ve just submitted asked us to ‘evaluate’, meaning we need to find the strengths, weaknesses and any contrasting perspectives. I do two things. Either, take notes on different books and articles then grab four highlights and assign a topic to each colour like strengths are highlighted in pink, weaknesses in yellow etc. Then if you need to find any strengths you can look through all your pink highlighting. Or, the second thing I’ve discovered helps kill some time is to write all the strengths together (with the reference at the end so you don’t forget who said it) and just flick through those points when writing. I’ve used both of these methods and they both help speed up my actual writing of the assignment. It may feel like a lot of preparation but it helps if you know exactly what you want/need to say so you can write the assignment a lot quicker. 

Be disciplined, overlap if you can. 🔮
Like I said before, magicians. It’s hard for me to overlap assignments but it’s not impossible. I like to focus all my attention on one thing but if I absolutely had to I would work on another at the same time. Fortunately, they given you enough time between them, but only if you’re on the ball. If you leave everything to last minute you’ll be pulling all-nighters in the library, so try and be disciplined with your time management. Know how much time you can have to yourself but put time aside to get work your work done.

Write when you are ready. 🤓
Sometimes I’ve said to myself, just write your introduction then it feels like you’ve done something, but then it ends up being that much waffle you could pour syrup on it. It’s much better, like I said before, to write when you know exactly what you want to say.

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Edge Hill University offer workshops and services for students that are struggling with writing, referencing, note-taking and many more academic skills. They’re always around the library ready to answer questions. There’s a huge support system here at Edge Hill and I’m very grateful to be here.

Thanks for reading! Don’t hesitate to leave any questions ☺️

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My first term at University 👩‍🎓📚

Hello!

It’s very strange to think that I’ve been at University for thirteen weeks now. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. We broke up the Friday just gone, I don’t think it’s the same for everyone but the Primary Ed guys have all finished for the year. My parents flew back from Saudi and came to pick me up from University, we’re having Christmas at their UK house this year! Of course, I over packed. We have an assignment due over Christmas and lots to do before placement in January so I feel like I’ve packed the entirety of my uni work.

If you’re a prospective Primary Ed student then this post is for you. This post is a little insight into how the first term went in my first year and what I’m doing over Christmas to plan for next term.

The seminars, lectures and the workload👩🏽‍🎓:

The timetables change each year so what my timetable looks like this year may well be different to yours but this will give you a gist of what an average week looks like. Firstly, we have Mondays off – I know, it’s the best. Then we have our Minor seminar for 2 hours on Tuesday, Foundation Subjects seminar for 3 hours on Wednesday (sometimes with a FS lecture after), Thursday and Friday are the longest days with English, Maths, Science, Computing and APD seminars mixed in.  It’s a nice balanced timetable that gives you a long weekend to chill and spend some time socialising but then also gives you a lot of time to get some work done.

The workload is manageable but challenging. As long as you organise and manage your time well and do your best not to miss any seminars or lectures you’ll be fine. I’ve really enjoyed my first term and I’ve managed to pull myself to seminars when I was exhausted and just didn’t want to get out of bed, but I always did because they’re always so fun and engaging. I’m not in university now until placement and I know I’m going to miss it! ☹️

The assignments📝📚:

I’ve handed in three so far. The next one is a whopping 3,500 on APD that’s due in January. This scared me to start with but the my biggest tip for you is to get in the library! They have so many books available and I managed to get a load before I came back so I’ve been reading through them and I feel a lot more prepared and ready to knock this out over the Christmas period. They vary from 750 words to 3,500 words and they’re all set in a different kind of style which I love. They are challenging but not at all impossible, they also make me feel very intellectual and academic 🤓!

Placement 👩🏽‍🏫:

Out first placement starts in January, last year it started in November so yours could be a different time too. I just recently found out where I’m going for mine this year and I’m really excited. I took a regional opportunity and I’m heading down to the Peak District. With the situation I’m in I honestly didn’t care where I went but my heart felt this was the right place and luckily I got it. They can’t always guarantee you what and where you want but they do their best!

So over the Christmas period, as you can see, I have some work to do. They encourage you not to work over the two weeks the University is closed for, and I’m sure some people will, but if you’re like me and you want to be as prepared as possible, I’m sure your desk will look like mine!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! See you next time 💕

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Edge Hill University Exams – Checking 6+5 on a calculator just to be sure

Edge Hill Exams and Thoughts

Edge Hill Exams and Thoughts


Last Friday (12th of May 2018) I had the first and last of my exams for my year at University. I thought, even though its going to be far off for all you first years starting in September, it would be a good idea to share some facts and thoughts of mine regarding the exams.

The exam I undertook was for Computing and the 40 question multiple choice exam was underwhelming for me coming straight out of the Irish Education system where my entire grade was based on a set of written exams over one week, but the examination conditions themselves were still very daunting. So without rambling on here are they things that I.


The exam setup was straight forward. We were given a time and a place. Wilson Gym at 14:30. Turning up 10 minutes before was a good idea, and most of the other students had the same idea. We were given our seat numbers by means of a list suck to the wall outside the gym hall itself. Everybody was a bit nervous. It was our first exam of the year and for most the first exam we have ever taken at university.

 


The RulesFinally settled in and in our seats it was time to hear from our exam invigilators the rules of the exam. This helped, again many of us sitting our first university exam had us stressed. The rules were basic.

  • No phones or electronics
  • No talking or discussion
  • Stay for the first 30 mins
  • Stay for the last 30 mins
  • Jackets and bags at the back
  • Uni card on the desk

Simple as that really.


The examAnd finally the exam itself came around. We started slightly late but we were given access to a clock clearly displayed in the hall so keep track of our own time and ensure we managed it correctly.

My exam consisted of 40 multiple choice questions. We were given the exam sheet and a separate answer booklet to mark our answers into. The university also uses an anonymous marking system so our names were covered up when we finished.


All and all the exam went well. It was slightly stressful trying to study the material we were given for it and I recommend reading these blogs if you are worried about stress at University:

Dealing with Stress at University – Stress is like the flu, everyone usually gets it

Exam time- how to have a stress free exam period

But we all made it through and finished our exams in good time but here are a few tips I can give you to make you look like an exam pro:

  • Read the booklet and exam carefully. Fill out everything
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a problem
  • Get more paper if you need it. It’s free!
  • Bring your Uni card! Otherwise you will have to wait for the exam to be completely finished to be identified by someone from the academic registry.
  • Breath and chill out. The real exam is life.


That’s all from me, but if you want to find out more about EHU exams, how they are run and even corrected you can check out this link for more info!

And if you want more free and great information 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!

Edge Hill Life Hacks – Everyone’s free (to wear sunscreen)

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen


Coming to the end of my first year at Edge Hill University I thought it would be worth while writing a blog as a homage to one of my all time favourite songs and essays. The title of this blog might seem odd if you haven’t heard Baz Luhrmanns “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”, adapted from Mary Schmich’s column “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” – (You can listen here and read here) but here goes anyway.


If I could offer you only one tip for the future, studying would be it would be it. The long-term benefits of studying have been proved by professors, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own first year experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the experience and ease of first year. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the experience of first year until you graduate. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as far behind as you imagine.

Don’t worry about exams. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to write a dissertation by chewing bubble gum. The real exams in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 8 p.m. before social on Wednesday.

Give something a go every day that scares you.

Karaoke.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Invest in relationships.

Relax.

Don’t waste your time on social media. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s not on a mobile phone.

Remember firsts you receive. Forget the fails. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old essays. Throw away your old timetables.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what job you want from your course. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they were even studying. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds are still in classes.

Get plenty of sleep. Be kind to your ears. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Don’t expect anyone else to write your reports. Maybe you have a best friend. Maybe you’ll have a smart partner. But you never know when either one might not want to help.

Don’t mess too much with your looks or by the time you’re 40 your dyed blue hair will have fallen out.

Be careful whose classes you take, but be patient with those who teach them. Teaching is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the bin, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the studying.


 

Life as a Mature Student

Are you currently considering studying at Edge Hill University as a mature student? Deciding to go to university as a mature student was a decision willed with excitement and nerves for me. Part of me was worried what it would be like studying after years of being out of formal education, but I was also incredibly excited to start a new chapter of my life. I firmly believe that studying as a mature student is different than studying straight out of school/sixth form/college but it is possible and such an amazing experience!

Juggling your time:

As a mature student it is likely that you will have many responsibilities outside of university. From caring from a family, running your home, taking part in clubs or activities that you currently enjoy to having to work. Your time will inevitably be filled to the max! But this doesn’t have to mean it isn’t possible. I have fund using a diary, both on my phone and a paper version, as well as creating lists of what needs doing and when to be very helpful. It enables you to fit more into your days than you ever thought possible.

You will make new friends:

People of all ages study a multitude of courses at Edge Hill. You will make friends of all ages and find people who share your interests as well as others who will inspire you to try something new. There is so much to do and so many places to go both around campus and in Ormskirk too.

The environment is inspiring:

Edge Hill campus is a wonderful place. From my very first visit during an Open Day it felt welcoming, inviting and safe. There are many places to study around campus from the library to the Hub as well as specialist rooms such as those in Creative Edge. Then when it is time to relax there are loads of places to eat and spend time with friends, including a Subway! Being in an environment which is supportive and encouranging can be incredibly motivating too.

You’ll have a different perspective in lectures:

Having real life, often hands on, experience will mean you will be able to apply what you have learnt in the lectures to your real life experiences. This can give you a different perspective especially when completing assignments. As an Early Childhood Studies student, one of my first year module assignments was a reflective booklet. I found it very interesting being able to reflect on what I had learnt in my workplace and relate this to the skills I would need for future practice.

Great Places to Study on Campus

Hey all, I hope you are well!

At University, sometimes studying in your room can be a little bit distracting. Netflix is only a click away, your bed becomes a burrito cave of comfort… it can be really hard to study in your room. Occasionally, I can get some work done at my house, however, I often find it a lot easier to focus at Uni. There are a few reasons for this, the main one being that as well as there being less distractions, the resources I need to study are all there right next to me!

There are many different places on campus that are great to study, so I thought I’d give you some info on just where you can do this!

The Edge Hill Library

The Edge Hill Library is my all time favourite and most productive place in which I can study! The library has all the books you could possibly need for research and essays, computers for if you don’t have a laptop with you, tables to work at and also study rooms in which you can book. Not only can you book independent study rooms, but also you can book group rooms for if you are doing a group project and need a more isolated environment!

The Edge Hill library also has a help desk, so if you ever need help finding resources, or need help due to learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, that’s the best place to go. They even do screenings for Dyslexia if you’re unsure whether or not you have it.

They are currently in the process of building a brand new library for the students, which is going to be even bigger and better! So you’ve got this to look forward to if you apply to come to Edge Hill University!

Hale Hall

Hale Hall is situated within the Hub in the centre of campus. It is open for anyone to come and enjoy some time and sit and relax, but is also an amazing place to study! It’s not that often that it gets noisy, and the environment is generally nice and relaxed, so if you wanted to study it’s not a very distracting place to do so, making it perfect. Plus, it gets you out of your room and also the sofas are actually really comfy (if I do say so myself!).

The LINC Building

The LINC building has 90 open access PCs for use of students, and also printing facilities in case you need to print anything out such as coursework. If you’re writing an essay, or want to write up some research you’ve done, it’s always great to use the LINC building’s facilities!

At times, it can be busy, especially around deadline/exam time, however, it always has a good environment and the students are always respectful of each others’ study time, so there are very little distractions here!

So those are just a few of the places in which you can study without the distractions that come with studying in your room! I find that when I’m in the mind frame in which I’m easy to distract, or if I am a little lost in where to go with my studying, I like to use these places to get back on track with certain assignments and I find it really helps to get out of my room.

Staying Motivated!

Hi everyone,

Now that it is not long until our easter break, assignment and exam season is looming upon us once again. For some of you, including me, you may have a number of essays all due within days of each other which can be quite overwhelming meaning that many of us enter panic mode and become quite stressed. This can often lead to feeling unmotivated as you feel like everything is piling up all at once, so here is some advice I hope is helpful for you!

1. Plan ahead

Planning your assignments in advance will help ease some stress as by doing this you will already know how to tackle your essays. You can do this through many ways such as, one to one meetings with your tutors so you can discuss the details of your assessments more extensively. You could also plan your essay so that you have something to guide you when it actually comes to writing your essay. Another useful tip is to make a note of when all your deadlines are, I did this by making a poster and sticking it up in my room to keep me reminded.

2. Talk to your tutors

If you feel overwhelmed by your assessments and it all starts to get a bit too much, it might be a good idea to arrange a meeting with your module leader or even your personal tutor. These meetings can be really helpful at easing your mind. Additionally, by discussing your essay with a tutor they can help you with any queries you may have as well as making sure you are on the right track!

3. Use the library

If like me you struggle to concentrate when your friends are surrounding you, going to the library can make a huge difference. At our library there are three floors which are a key to three modes of studying. The first floor is for group study, the second floor is for quiet study and the third floor is strictly for silent study. Also, you can book an individual study room in the library if you feel like you need it, they all have a computer and you won’t be disturbed this way.

4. Don’t doubt yourself

It is so easy to doubt yourself when there is a lot of pressure on you so always try to stay positive and do everything you can to help yourself out so that you can be as stress free as possible!

Your Big Step to University

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. I have just had reading week so have been back in Manchester visiting my family. Now that I’m back at uni, it’s back to work!

When we grow up we are always told how important the next step is – primary school, high school, GCSE’s, A-levels…and now University. So I hope I can take the pressure off a bit and help you with any worries you may have!

How will your university course be different to college/sixth form?

For most courses, your lecture and seminar hours will be a lot less than you had at A-level. Some course have as little as 4 hours a week, whilst other courses like mine (Primary Education) can have up to 18 hours a week. No matter the amount of time you have timetabled, it is about what you personally get out of it. Unlike A-level when you depend on your teachers a lot, university allows you to have more freedom and initiated learning during your own time.

How formal is university?

Personally, I found my sixth form to be a lot more formal than university life. At Edge Hill, I feel I can talk to the tutors on a more personal level, rather than referring to teachers’ second names like I have done throughout school!

How many exams will you have?

The number of exams you will have depends on your course, but I suggest finding this information out as it will help you feel prepared. The university decides what is included in your modules which makes all lesson content useful. I found that A-levels were mostly centred around remembering the specific mark schemes for your exams. However, at university I believe you are taught real-life skills and necessary information that will provide you with a foundation for your next step (which may be your chosen career).

If you have any more questions like these, feel free to comment below! Thank you for reading, looking forward to speaking soon!

Anna 🙂