Daily Essentials for the Commuting Student

The internet is packed with lists of student essentials and survival tips but here are the top 3 genuinely helpful items to pack each morning for students who commute to campus – from one bleary-eyed commuter to another.

1. Passes, permits and parking

If you’re driving in, apply for a permit straight away to avoid getting a fine. It’s worth finding local alternative parking in Ormskirk and getting the free bus to and from campus during busier periods as spaces are very limited. Don’t forget to check out the Car Share scheme to see if you could save money and guarantee a parking space.

One way to avoid the parking wars and look after our planet is to use public transport. Look out for ‘hacks’ – sometimes you can save money by splitting your journey into two passes or tickets. Student railcards and passes are also available in most districts. A free bus service runs from the centre of Ormskirk directly to campus (and back) too!

2. A travel mug and water bottle

The early starts and long lectures can take their toll, especially as dark mornings set in. Invest in a good travel mug so that you can get discounted hot drinks from campus coffee shops and a water bottle to stay hydrated. There are water fountains around campus. This isn’t the place to scrimp, invest in cups and bottles that won’t spill all over your books and notes when you’re on the go!

Top tip: if money is tight, pack sachets of coffee and tea bags then simply ask for hot water in The Hub.

3. Chargers and earphones

Always have a power bank or plug and cables for your phone or tablet with you so that you can charge up in the Catalyst on your breaks. Earphones will make study sessions and commutes much more enjoyable, too. If you want to use a laptop on campus but don’t want to lug yours around, your Unicard will give you access to ‘Laptop Loans’ so that you can borrow one on campus. There are also hundreds of computers in the Catalyst that you can use 24/7. Yes, literally!

You may be expecting to see stationery and textbooks on the list, but the Catalyst has several floors of books and your Edge Hill account will give you access to thousands more on any computer. You can also purchase uni essentials such as stationery and snacks from the Catalyst’s vending machines and the Student’s Union shop. So, if you forget any of those things, you’re covered. Winner.

Let me know in the comments if there is anything you would add!

Sam xo

Accommodation AFTER First Year

Hello friends!

I hope you are having a lovely Mother’s day. As I have written about first year accommodation before, I thought I would talk about accommodation for second and third year students. Edge Hill’s fantastic accommodation was voted best student accommodation in the UK and Ireland and best value for money (National Student Housing Awards, 2018)… and I am not surprised one bit! However, you do not have to stay on campus, it is completely up to you!

Living in Ormskirk

The perks of living in Ormskirk is that you are VERY close to the town centre, which means you are a short walk away from Morrison’s, Aldi, Maccies, Superdrug, Spoons, Alpine… the list goes on! And when I say ‘walk away’ I mean they are literally on your door step. AND the bus that travels to Edge Hill’s campus is free for all students when you show your student ID card. However, my housemates and I usually walk as it is only 10 minutes away, and a breath of fresh air is a good way to get the day of work started!

Living on Campus

If you prefer to stay on campus however, you can apply to stay in Edge Hill’s accommodation or in Woodland Court (brand new flats for third year students). You can find out everything you need to know including facilities and costs on Edge Hill’s website. Although you will have to get a bus into town, there is still plenty going on at the Student Union bar such as karaoke, quizzes and Wednesday socials! You also get to be a 2-minute walk away from Edge Hill’s new library, the Catalyst (where I have been living the past couple of weeks).

Commuting from Home

If you would rather stay at home, commuting is always an option (depending on where you live and how far you are willing to travel of course!). You can apply for a parking permit so you can park in Edge Hill’s car park which is always open and right on campus.

Let me know if you have any more questions about accommodation for second and third years!

Until next time,


Home Sweet Home

As Easter is quickly approaching many people may be considering going home for a while. I travelled home this weekend for the first time since Christmas and I had forgotten how much you need to remember and how many things you need to do before you leave.

My first piece of advice for anyone thinking of going home is to book any travel as far in advance as you can. This often means you can get it a lot cheaper than you would on the day and also means you can organise and plan your trips within plenty of time. For rail travel the cheapest tickets are available 12 weeks prior to the date of travel, a benefit of booking tickets in this way means that even if something comes up meaning you can no longer travel the tickets are that cheap you won’t be too much out of pocket. As well as booking tickets in advance if you are frequently planning to travel by rail, a railcard is an excellent investment. With a 16-25 railcard you can save 1/3 on train journeys. This combined with booking in advance can equal massive savings over time. Last year I travelled home around once or twice a month and using my rail card and advance booking I saved over £500. Apps such as Trainline are also a valuable tool as they find you the cheapest ticket for your journey and work out which trains you need to get, where you need to change and which would be the fastest route.

Once you have your main method of transport secured it is also important to consider how long it will take you to get home and if other methods of transport are required. For me when travelling home I need to get the university free bus into Ormskirk, the train from Ormskirk to Liverpool and then another train from Lime Street to Nottingham. I would suggest that if you are travelling home for the first time using new methods of transport that you leave extra time for your journey or even have a practise run to see how long it actually takes. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in traffic or missing a train that means you miss the train on the final leg of your journey. Ormskirk has plenty of travel options for students and using a combination of bus or train you can generally end up getting wherever you need to be.

Before travelling you need to think about what you’re taking home. From experience on your first few trips home you’ll try to pack your entire wardrobe, five pairs of shoes and a month’s worth of washing into a carry on size suitcase for three nights at home. This will soon fade away when you realise lifting a heavy suitcase on a train is what nightmares are made of. Try to pack the bare essentials and if possible have duplicates at home to save in what you need to carry. When I’m packing I like to make a list as I’m guaranteed to forget something essential. As long as you have your keys to get back in, money and tickets for where you’re going you’re basically set, I’d consider these things to be my essentials. As well as this make sure you have something to do on the journey. Trains can be the most boring of places especially if it is dark and you cannot see anything out of the window. I like to have something to watch on my iPad, something to read or some work to finish off to make the journey that bit quicker.

When leaving Uni there’s also a few things to think about. Consider what you have in the fridge before coming home. No one wants to come back to lumpy milk and green cheese. A quick check of dates in your fridge and cupboard before you leave should prevent this. As well as checking what you have that might go off make sure you have something in for when you come back, depending when you travel you may not be feeling like doing a full shop and an empty fridge is not what you want after a long journey back.

Last of all enjoy your time at home, the journey can be stressful and you’ll have checked and double checked that you’ve got everything and still forgotten something but it is all worthwhile. The more you travel the better you will get and you’ll become accustomed to the little tricks that make every journey easier.

Snippit of my Experience

So everyone’s uni experiences are different so it would be unfair to say that certain things will or won’t happen to you! I can only tell you about my personal experience and hope that you enjoy your time at Edge Hill as much as I have so far!

Before I came to uni, as I don’t live too far away I was contemplating commuting to uni instead of living in halls. However I still applied to halls to keep my options open while I gave it come careful thought. I came to the conclusion that I would stay in halls for first year to meet more people and then commute during second and third year.

So by moving into halls I made some amazing friends that lived in the came cluster and accommodation (Forest Court) as me and looking back now it was definitely the best decision I could have made. I loved it that much that this year I am living in Ormskirk with the people I lived in halls with and I have also signed up to stay in the same house for my third year.

I also landed on my feet with my course, I really enjoy the subject content and find it extremely challenging. I have also made a few good friends on my course too, which is nice as it means that you can discuss lectures e.t.c with friends outside of the uni timetable.

I’d say that being sociable is a vital part of university and when you come you definitely need to throw yourself into this social scene to get the most out of you time! If like myself you are an introvert and do enjoy putting your pyjamas on and having a movie night, invite your housemates along- you’ll definitely have more of a laugh!

Not long now until you’ll be making your own uni experience.

Living at Home

Living at home can be hard. Choosing to stay at home due to convenience, even when the opportunity to move out arises, can be harder.

I had just started learning to drive when I chose to attend Edge Hill, so financially I couldn’t justify paying to live in halls when I could just drive thirty minutes each day. Well, that’s the official excuse. While money was a factor in my decision it was also very important for me to consider my flaws. I’m messy, disorganised, terrible at time-keeping, and far too easily persuaded to go on nights out when I have important things to do, so living in halls may not have been the most sensible option for me to take. On the other hand, I realise that had I moved into halls I would have become practiced at overcoming these flaws and that I would be surrounded by other people in the same boat.

My transportation to uni. Her name's Lyla!
My transportation to uni. Her name’s Lyla!

Living in halls has a lot of advantages. Meeting new people this way can be great and many people stay friends with the people that they live with in their first year of university for the rest of their lives. My favourite thing about living in halls during my failed attempt at university was the crazy stories that we came away with. There was an automatic sense of flat unity, and a playful rivalry with neighbouring flats was always fun.

Universities have many great facilities, including Student Union bars, libraries, and small theatres, so living in halls is a great way to have optimum access to these spaces. Living at home, on the other hand, is an easier way to stay fully-focused on your studies.

If somebody asked me which is better- living in halls or staying at home- I wouldn’t be able to answer. Both have their own advantages and it’s really a personal choice. Hopefully soon I’ll be ready to move out, but for now I’m comfortable having my washing done for me and a well-stocked fridge.

What you have access to at university VS what you have access to at home
What you have access to at university VS what you have access to at home