First Blog – The Christmas Lights Turn On

Hey guys! For my first blog post I was going to do a bit about myself, but since I’ve just been to it, I thought I would do one on the Christmas lights switch on in Ormskirk town centre.

While Ormskirk is a pretty small town, there is usually something going on and this weekend was no exception. To be honest, I’m not one to get over-excited about Christmas, in fact I compare myself more to the Grinch then your typical Whovillian (someone who really likes christmas). But I thought it was time I actually went to a ‘switch on’ since I had never actually gone to one before, ( I know right).

Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights

Anyways, to my surprise I was actually pretty impressed by what I saw, for a small town the event sure was popular with the locals, the main square was packed, music was playing and even though it was proper Baltic (freezing) out everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were various stalls of food and drink, doughnuts, sweets, pizzas, pies, and Candy Floss as well as your usual christmas staples like Mince pies. To my dismay, the Gingerbread stall was already gone when I got there which I was proper gutted about considering I had recently found a new interest for the stuff, it’s got quite the history and popularity in Ormskirk.

Ice Sculpture
Ice Sculpture

As well as the various food stands there were also different knick knacks to buy if that’s your sort of thing, if you like Christmas it definitely would be. The countdown was then done by the Town Crier, who when I saw instantly made me think of Homer Simpson yelling HEAR YE HEAR YE. After some dazzling lights switching on, we were treated to a performance from the definitely legitimate Tom Jones, who did a few stone cold classics.

Finally me and my girlfriend grabbed some Candy Floss for the road to satisfy our inner child. All in all a pretty enjoyable mini trip, part of Ormskirk if any prospective students choose to come here, is it’s typical small town charm that you just don’t get in the big cities, which is one of the reasons I chose Edge Hill. Anyways I hope you enjoyed my random segment and see you soon!

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree

 

Exam time

So Christmas and New Year have been and gone which means the batteries have been recharged and it’s back to University…first up an exam!!!

If like me, you are a mature student, theres a good chance you haven’t taken an exam in a good number of years. The thought of an exam a couple of months ago filled me with dread and anxiety. Thanks to PPD (Personal Professional Development) lectures I’m feeling more at ease.

PPD lectures are not something I was aware of but I have come to find them a great help in my first semester. They give you an insight of what to expect when it comes to University life, essays and exams among other things, as-well as what is expected from yourself. Through these hour lectures (usually replacing a normal lecture, so it’s not something you have to find extra time for) I feel I have been prepared with what to expect when turning up for my exam and also what I need to bring. These may sound like little things but for someone who last took an exam over seventeen years ago I have found the information to be invaluable. The biggest help I found was the revision tips given, something I always found to be a weak point of mine back in school.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first semester of my first year of University and am really finding my course in marketing and advertising fantastic. I love the creative side of the course and am hoping thanks to PPD lectures and the help of lecturers (who are always approachable) that exams will no longer fill me with the dread they once did.

If truth be told I’m itching to get back in, even with an exam, and start my second semester…I’ve missed the place.

 

Winter Holidays Away From Home

Although most students go home for the holidays in winter, some don’t! For whatever reason, be it preference or necessity, it can be a little odd to experience. The campus empties out dramatically towards the end of December in preparation for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and you may find yourself a bit lonely, especially if you are living in halls where most if not all of your cluster has migrated away for the short holiday season.
This year, since I was on placement in the USA, I couldn’t return home for the holidays, as the flight would cost too much money. It was a strange feeling to be in a different country around this time of year, as usually I would be with my parents and family for Christmas and usually with old secondary school or sixth form friends for New Year’s Eve (for the past few years, we’ve even held a pre-Christmas dinner party, lovingly dubbed “Mockmas”). There are a few ways to alleviate the weird feeling this time of year that may help as much at Edge Hill University as they did for me in Chicago.

Number one, in the lead-up to Christmas, my Dad visited me over here in the States. If you can’t be with your family on Christmas, bring your family to you instead! The same principle applies with friends if you’re going to miss seeing them over Winter Break, see if any of them can come to Edge Hill University beforehand and have a catch-up or mini Christmas dinner. Maybe exchange gifts!

My very own Christmas Trash Tree

Number two. One of the highlights of Christmas for me as a child (and a teenager, let’s be honest) was the presents, the gift giving and receiving always felt like the core event, since I was never big on roast dinner, or food in general. Perhaps you’ll be sent gifts in the mail, or maybe some money. You might feel silly, but if you buy yourself gifts beforehand and set them aside until Christmas, you’ll have something to look forward to!

Number three, call people! In the glorious age of modern technology, you can hear the voices of nearly anyone you know in an instant, and maybe even see their faces too. It’s one thing to greet family one by one as your family arrive at your gran’s house, but something else entirely to suddenly have them all there on your phone’s tiny screen as the camera is moved from person to person – quite overwhelming! Still, a lovely substitute.

Lastly, is spending it with friends. Hopefully, you’ve made some friends either through your halls, societies, or course – and some of them might be local, or staying over the holidays too! You never know until you ask, so find out who will be on campus, or in the relatively close area, and arrange a meet-up. They might invite you over for Christmas or New Year’s, or you could just hang out in between, and easy the Winter Blues.
Happy Holidays!

The 12 Days of Edge Hill

On the twelfth day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me 115 ducks a quacking

On the eleventh day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me two frosty lakes, beautiful to see

On the tenth day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me accommodation that makes life so easy

On the ninth day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me buildings filled with creativity

On the eight day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me the awesome library

On the seventh day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me shows to see aplenty

On the sixth day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me lots of great SU activities

On the fifth day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me the campus cats!

On the fourth day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me campus life’s Christmas market trip opportunity

On the third day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me sights so truly stunning to see

On the second day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me the most sense of security

On the first day of Edge Hill the campus gave to me the best time at university

It’s cheesy, I know, but how could I resist! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to your New Years’ celebrations!

Christmas!

Hey all, I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed a well-earned break from college/sixth form! I know I certainly have.

Around Christmas time, Edge Hill always has loads of exciting things to be a part of. Both the years I’ve been at Edge Hill, the Campus Life team put together a trip to the Manchester Christmas Markets. I’d never been to the markets before, and the fact they organised the transport for free helped out massively, as trains can always be a big expense if you’re running low on money!

If you can’t make it to the Christmas markets outside of town though, Edge Hill have their very own! Here you can see what the local businesses have to offer for presents and join in the general festivities!

This year there was also a Christmas crafternoon which was set up by the activities team within the Student Union, where you could sit with friends and make Christmas decorations for free! The Arts Centre have been showing films such as Home Alone too, and the Christian Union put on a carol service for students to attend, so you’re always spoilt for choice!

So if you’re worried you’ll miss out on that festive feeling if you go to Uni, don’t! Edge Hill make sure you’ve got lots of fun things to be a part of!

It’s Christmas! 6 Winter ways to relax

Merry Christmas to you all- and to those who don’t celebrate- I hope you’re having a wondeful winter break!

Following on from last weeks blog on wellbeing (linked here), this week is all about ways to take a step back and chill out over the break – wether you’re on or off campus.

1. Layer up and go for a walk- you’ll see some pretty sights, and it counts as exercise for the day! (If on campus, I recommend taking a stroll around the lakes and saying hello to the ducks!)

2. Read a book- and not a text book! Take some time out to cozy up and immerse yourself in a good story. Libraries on and off campus are a great place to discover something new.

Christmas tree in the SU shop

3. Meet up with friends old and new. Share stories of the first few months of the academic year- show off your Edge Hill merch and exchange gifts.

Flat mates that buy you Edge Hill Christmas jumpers are keepers

4. Have a bath! If you’ve come home from shower-only halls, coming home to a house with a bath feels like the biggest luxury. Grab yourself a bath bomb and soak away!

5. Food! Christmas time means there will be all sorts of food to go around- and it certainly makes a change from a student diet of instant noodles, pasta and toast!

6. Get any course work done early. There’s nothing worse than trying to relax with the weight of unfinished assignments hanging over your head. Knuckle down and get them done so you can have a guilt-free rest of the break! For those of you with exams coming up in January- make yourself a time table of what you’re doing over Christmas- and slot in time to revise and stick to it, so you can feel prepared and not be worrying when you should be enjoying time with family and friends. 

For other tips and takes on the Christmas period at Edge Hill, see Anna and Ellie’s blogs about celebrating Hanukkah at uni and tips for studying over the break.

That’s all from me for now, I hope you all have a wonderful day and rest of the break!

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!

Hi guys!

As Christmas is approaching, I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on my experience of Christmas at Edge Hill. As I am Jewish, I celebrated Hanukkah – a festival which happens to take place at a similar time to Christmas. Recently, the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) committee created a Hanukkah stall in the hub with objects such as ‘dreidels’ and ‘menorahs’ to share our traditions. Watching people of different faiths come together to learn more about one another, is something I wish I could experience more often. The acceptance and celebration of faith at Edge Hill really is wonderful.

Christmas is a lovely time with Christmas markets, the Christian Union’s carol services, and all the festive spirit amongst students and teachers. The small moments like putting up Christmas decorations (something I had never done before!) and wearing Christmas outfits on campus, allows everyone to enjoy an early Christmas together!

However, I find it difficult not to think about the people who will spend Christmas alone. I recently watched Channel 4’s ‘Old People’s Home for Four Year Old’s’ which showed groups of children visiting the elderly in an old-age home. Teaming up with Age UK, this documentary drew attention to the people who do not have anybody to share Christmas with. When their children live in another town and their friends sadly pass away, older people are often left with no contact with the outside world. 89-year-old Hamish spoke about Christmas from the perspective of too many:

“As we approach Christmas, there’s little doubt that loneliness, which grips your heart at all times, becomes far more acute when you look around and see everyone else enjoying themselves, meeting up with different people for parties – and here you are stuck on your own,” he said. Hamish’s words really stuck with me and the documentary revealed how easy it can be to help Age UK by donating or volunteering – I’ll leave a link below.

Whether you celebrate Christmas with your friends or your family, I hope you have a lovely holiday. As you look around the dinner table, cherish those small but special moments of being together with the people you love – happy holidays everyone! 🙂

https://www.ageuk.org.uk

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/old-peoples-home-for-4-year-olds

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas!

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you’re like me and have been stressing about essays, that doesn’t leave long to finish your Christmas shopping. That’s why in today’s post I will be suggesting a few last minute gift ideas. So sit back and relax, as I become your personal shopper! 


The first item that comes to my mind is a nice fluffy blanket as in this cold season, these are always a great gift, especially as many start at the low price of £4. And let’s be honest, you can never have too many fluffy blankets!


Another idea is a mug of sweets! This can be personalised depending on who you are gifting this to. Get them a mug of their favourite animal, or movie and fill it with their favourite chocolates and sweets.  


If you have a bit more cash to splash a handcrafted hamper is a sweet idea. All you need is a small basket, which you can fill with a DVD, popcorn, chocolate, and any other items you feel like that person would enjoy! These hampers work for any occasion as you can change the theme, e.g movie night.


Or if you’re in a bit of a rush, then B&M has a large range of Christmas gifts, from chocolate boxes to mugs to gadgets. Other shops such as Poundland, Primark, Card Factory, and Home Bargains, also have a good range of Christmas items. 


However, if you’ve got a bit more time on your hand, then something homemade might be a nice idea. A scrapbook full of all your favourite memories with a friend, using cinema tickets and cute photos you’ve taken together, to decorate the book. Or a photo frame with a special moment inside it, personalised for that special someone with a nice frame which you can pick up from B&M as well!    


Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it somewhat useful. If you have anything that you would like for me to blog about, then feel free to comment below.
Until next time!

Film /Show of the day: The Secret Life of the Zoo (2017)

Sports

With Christmas fast approaching and thoughts turning to how many pigs in blankets is an acceptable amount to eat? I thought I’d make my first ever post about…..sports!

Before coming to university my own physical activities were limited to walking the dog around the block. At 32, this lack of exercise was starting to show, although I still remained hopeful that Jurgen Klopp may be looking for a pot-bellied, slightly grey, inactive centre forward to spearhead his Liverpool attack.

During freshers week you get the opportunity to put your name down and join a whole variety of clubs and societies. I decided that I was going to try to take advantage of the wide range of sports clubs Edge Hill has on offer, and get involved in weekly sessions. The hardest part was choosing which sport to partake in with a whole host of clubs and teams to choose from; American football, badminton, cheerleading, cricket (indoor and outdoor), football, futsal, handball, hockey, netball, rugby league, rugby union, squash, swimming, table tennis, tennis, trampolining, and volleyball.

I chose badminton as I’d played a bit back in school, although that was over 17 years ago! Before my first session I have to admit to feeling slightly nervous, ‘What if I’m no good?’…’What if I’m seen as too old?’…’What if everyone’s already in groups of friends?’…..In the end I left my session thinking ‘What was I worried about!?’…Firstly regardless of ability everyone is welcome whether you want to try out for the team or just play for fun. Not once have I ever felt too old and everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. It’s become a great opportunity to meet new people who may not be on your course. The camaraderie of being part of this club is just as important as becoming active for me. I’ve even managed to get myself onto the mens 4th team…I’m putting that on my CV!!!

So I can now have as many pigs in blankets as I like this Christmas as I know I’ll be doing more than just half heartedly walking the dog…and can someone let Jurgen know that I’m unavailable Wednesdays as I have badminton matches.

 

Joseph Harrison

Edge Hill University Mens 4th team badminton player

Work vs Life Over the Holidays

It’s no secret that in university you get a lot of work, even over the holidays – especially over the holidays. It can become really stressful, you want to spend time with your family and friends, and make sure you get enough time to revitalise before your next semester, but you have that inevitable cloud of work looming over you. The key is to keep balanced, I’ve picked up some tips over my time at uni that have really helped me to keep calm and enjoy the holidays whilst also getting everything that needs to be done, done.

Make Lists

My trusty whiteboard at home

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I swear by lists, they help me keep my life together and keep me from getting so stressed that I end up exploding into a mushroom cloud of unfinished work documents. So, naturally my first tip is to keep a to do list, I find keeping one in the notes section of my phone is helpful, then I have it with me constantly. Lists also help you plan your weeks in advance so you don’t end up double booking plans or making so many plans that you have no time left to do work. I tend to make a written list, as well as the one on my phone so I have it up on my wall and I can take the immense satisfaction in ticking off the things I’ve done. It’s an added bonus that you get to feel less and less stressed as you watch the work physically decline.

Take time out to chill

Right. I can’t stress this enough, take time to enjoy yourself. I’m the kind of person who over works themselves, whereas there are some people who do the complete opposite. The point is you need to strike a balance between your work and your social life, by all means make plans with friends and family but make sure you have designated study times (the lists will help with this) that you can fit them around. Most of all, when you are out enjoying yourself, try not to think about work – that’s for later, you have this under control!

Motivate yourself with frequent breaks

If you struggle with procrastinating, like most students do, you can combat this by taking short, frequent breaks. If you are writing an essay split it up into thirds or quarters – for example for a 3000 word essay every 500 words you get a break and can do something you want to do. This will keep you going as it gives you targets to hit and the promise of a reward at the end. If you break your work up into small, manageable chunks you’ll feel less inclined to procrastinate. Don’t take on too much or you will lose willpower and motivation, even if you have to do it over a few days, it’ll be better for you in the long run.

Find somewhere quiet to study

My current less-than-ideal workspace

My home-home is always hectic as I have such a big family and my brother’s kids are often round when their parents are in work so it’s never easy to get work done. I find myself stuck in my bedroom with my earphones in trying to drown out the sound of Peppa Pig coming from downstairs – it’s not ideal! If you have the same problem I suggest, whilst at home you travel to your local library and do work there, it will give you a lot more peace and if you’re anything like me, if you’re in a library you’ll be less likely to get distracted. Perhaps even meet up with friends who also have work to do, you can form a study group which may keep you going when you start to feel like a work-orientated recluse. One thing I find very useful is going back to Ormskirk a week or so early so you can get time to go to Edge Hill’s library and get a silent study room so you can cram in a bit more studying before semester two begins.

Ashley Tuffin also brought up some great tips in this recent post.

Have a wonderful new year! 🙂