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! 🙂

Home Sickness vs Uni Sickness

Uni sickness is something that I never thought I’d experience, having suffered so terribly with home sickness at the beginning of my first year. But as time has progressed I’ve found myself becoming increasingly fond of my lifestyle at Edge Hill and in many ways it has overtaken the home life that I used to favour. Luckily my home sickness was short lived and with help from Wellbeing team and their homesickness workshop (alongside a few last minute trips home in times of crisis) I am now experiencing the exact opposite.

Coming home for the Christmas holidays has made me realise all the little things about university that I am missing and resulted in what I am now referring to as ‘uni sickness’*. One of the main things to re-adjust to is the fact that often now I am home alone, living in halls this has been a very rare occurrence. I am used to the atmosphere that is associated with living with 7 other people, having people pop in and out at random times to see me and where waking up in the afternoon isn’t considered a bad thing. But I think the thing that I am missing most about being back at uni is that no matter what you do or how weird it may seem, no one really questions you about it. Fancying Coco Pops for dinner? Completely acceptable. Slippers in the library? Whatever makes you feel comfortable. For me it is this overall feeling of acceptance that makes university so enjoyable.

I think something that adds to my longing to be back in halls is the fact that I have made such close bonds with the people that I am living with. It is safe to say that living together really accelerates the relationship you have with other people and you quickly feel as though you have known one another for a lot longer than the few months you’ve spent together in halls. In many ways I think it is s strange feeling to be spending Christmas away from the people with whom you would normally spend every day. As a result of this we decided to have a flat family Christmas before breaking up for the holidays. This was compromised of everything a traditional dinner would be, dodgy jumpers, turkey and competitive after dinner games.

So luckily I’ve had one lovely university Christmas already and I am now looking forward to another.

* Uni Sickness adj. – to have a longing or desire to be back at university or living the university life style whilst living or staying at home.

Making the Most of Christmas at Uni

Being away from home during the festive period can be hard, for many first years this will be first time they have been away from home for most of Christmas. At this point many people haven’t been home for an extended period of time since September, I totally get you, it can make the weeks before you go home really drag. But I have some tips to make the most of Christmas whilst at uni.

Start early

The Christmas decoration team 2016.
My majestic decorations in first year.

My friends and I often use the excuse of “we won’t be here for Christmas” to put up our decorations in late November. Starting early can ensure that you have plenty of time to enjoy the masses of tinsel and fairy lights you used ten packets of blu-tack sticking up. Perhaps you could arrange a day with your friends or flatmates to help decorate each other’s rooms, I’ve done this every year without fail and it really gets us ready for Christmas. Bonus points are awarded if you do it in Christmas jumpers with Band Aid
playing in the background!

Christmas retail therapy

Christmas Shopping is a great way to get in the spirit of things. Why not get a group together and organise a trip to one of the many Christmas markets around the area? There are a lot of places that put on Christmas markets during December, such as Manchester, Liverpool and Chester. This year Edge Hill even did their own Christmas Market in The Hub. My friends and I managed to get some really adorable gifts for each other and our families.

Take time to de-stress

I know, I know, a lot of assignments are due in around Christmas time, which can kind of dampen the festivities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Ensure that you have an appropriate amount of time to de-stress and enjoy yourself. Perhaps arrange a cute Christmas movie night with your flatmates, it’s only a couple of hours in the evening and won’t interfere too much with your studying. Or you

could even celebrate at the end of term by hosting a Christmas party or arranging a Christmas dinner where you and your flatmates can get together and cook a meal (or at least attempt to if cooking isn’t your forte).

Last, but not least, have a very merry Christmas! 🙂

This Christmas…

Christmas is just around the fairy light lit corner so you know what that means: it’s finally time to go home again. For many people this wouldn’t be a very big deal, however, I live over 4 hours away,  so it’ll be a miracle if my family recognise me!
But joking aside before you head off home there are a few things you might wanna consider doing before you head on back home.

Throw away food you’re not gonna eat. This is something everyone forgets, which is understandable.  You’re rushing around, cramming everything into a small suitcase, and thinking of whether you’ve left your charger or not. Remembering to throw away that chicken you had a couple days ago isn’t your number one priority. However, if you do it the night before, it’s one less thing to think about and doesn’t leave an unwanted present in your fridge for you to come back to.

Legit this.

Speaking of leaving packing to the last minute: don’t do it. Not worth the stress just so you can watch another episode of a series on Netflix (been there done that, unfortunately ). The way forward I found is lists, yes, it’s as simple and straightforward as that. As boring as it may seem, this will save your sanity, an idea of the size of suitcase you’ll need and gives you time to gather everything together in time. This is especially important if you’re from a big family (like me), as you’ll know about it later if you forget someone’s gift!

Now onto something you might think is a bit weird: clean your room before you go. This may seem a bit weird,  as there’s a student mindset, of rushing around, grabbing everything and leaving your flat as soon as you can, leaving your room messy for you to clean when you get back. But that means when you come back over Christmas, you’re not going to be greeted to a nice warm room, instead, you’re gonna come home to more work to do. Be kind to your future self, do it now, as it’s exciting to go home, but you’ve got to remember that you’ve got to come back at some point. Additionally, if you’re running out of shampoo and conditioner, buy it now, as then you don’t have to go straight to the shops when you get back. Make life easier for future you.

The library itself.     

Self Explanatory but make sure you take your books back to the library. As the library tries to renew them, but they can’t if someone requests them. So save yourself the hassle by dropping them off beforehand. Additionally, if you’re doing an essay over the Christmas season, get the books out beforehand, find the quotes you want, then give them back in time, simple.  

 

Finally and most importantly, Travel. Unless you’re driving home for Christmas, or being picked up by your parents, you’ll be left with two options bus or train. I for one take trains frequently, so have plenty of advice on the matter and how to get cheaper tickets, as well as other handy tips and tricks.

  1. Always try to get your tickets in advance, months in advance if you can, as the further away the date is, the cheaper the ticket usually is, which can save you up to £40, and even more in some cases! It may be too late now for this Christmas trip, however, there’s always next time.
  2. There are different ways of having your tickets if you pay in advance, which for some may seem obvious, but honestly, I never knew of these until I started travelling. The first opinion is having your tickets posted to you. The second is paying online and collecting them at your local train station. And finally with certain ticket providers such as The Trainline you can have your ticket digitally using their app.   
  3. Plan, plan, plan. This is very important if you live four train journeys away, such as myself.  I would highly recommend writing a schedule of all your train times, what stations you’ll be coming and going to, platform numbers (and where they are in the station), and finally how long you’ll be waiting for your next train (sometimes every second counts!) This means you can plan your time at the stations as well e.g bathroom breaks, popping to the shop, etc . Which makes the trip a whole less stressful than it needs to be.
  4. Lastly, think of what you can realistically carry with you, you might have to leave the kitchen sink behind if you have too much luggage already.

I hope you found this blog post at least a little bit helpful and that you all have an amazing festive season. As for me I recently went to see Moana, which I highly recommend!

Film/Show of the day: Moana (2016)

Studying over Christmas

Creative Edge in the snow

Whether you’re a student at university, or a student in sixth form or college, you most likely have some work you should be doing right now: essays, assignments, coursework, reports, or the dreaded revision. But let’s be honest, with Christmas fast approaching and winter beginning in earnest on the 21st (the winter solstice), work is probably the last thing you want to be doing.

Now don’t fret, I’m not going to tell you that you’ve got to forgo the festivities to stay on top of your work load. My main piece of advice is to plan your distractions. What I mean is that you’re going to to be busy over the holidays with things unrelated to your studies: quality time with friends from home, family, last minute shopping, and possibly eating copious amounts of food. What I find helpful is to take note of when you think you’ll be likely to be doing all this socialising and plan your work around it. Slot in little revision sessions, or dedicated working periods, every other day when you know you’ll be relatively free from distractions. This will help you stay on track for January exams or deadlines without missing out on any of the fun.

Sometimes you need to be a bit selfish in that your work comes first. If you have work you know needs doing, you may have to turn down social activities to get it all done, even if it is your family – you’re allowed to say no! Ideally, you won’t have to, as long as you plan ahead. If you’re having trouble pinning down the exact timings of your social events, then scheduling a short half an hour study session on an uncertain day will guarantee you get something done. If even that is too much and you feel you need to revise, then carrying around flashcards on a busy day will ensure you’ll have something to feast your brain on. Otherwise, set time aside when you know you won’t be busy, and get working.

I myself have a written report due in January for Molecular Biology, and a closed book exam for both Molecular Biology and Life On The Edge. So I’m going to have to follow my own advice this holiday season!