Exams!

Hey everyone!

Hope you all had a fantastic Easter, and although you were probably looking forward to all the chocolate you were going to get, the Easter holidays tend to mean one very important thing: exams are just around the corner!

If you have exams coming up this summer then this post is for you. I’m going to offer a little advice about how to prep for exams and tips for revision.

Even if you are lucky enough to have no exams on the horizon (like me) then you will probably have upcoming assignments, so these tips are for you too. They definitely help me stay on track with work, and I’m hoping they can work for you too!

1. Make a Revision Timetable (and stick to it)

It’s easy to imagine exams and assignment deadlines as things far off in the future, but time can slip away quicker than you realise. Every year I make sure I have a wall calendar or a planner, which I’ll update with any upcoming deadlines.

Having things in writing helps you keep things in perspective. And if you struggle to make yourself work drawing up a revision timetable will help you manage your workload (so you don’t have to worry about stress and pulling all-nighters the week before a deadline/exam.)

Be realistic about the amount of work you think you will do, and designate some days off to just relax, there is such a thing as too much work!

A realistic timetable that you can stick to definitely helps with stress too 🙂

2. Figure Out When You Work Best

Some people will tell you to never spend all night working in the library, and while that’s generally true the night before a major deadline, some people work best at night.

If you feel like you are most productive in the middle of the night, then take advantage of it. Edge Hill’s library is open 24 hours throughout a lot of the year, so you don’t even have to worry about not having access to a space to work or the books you need.

I work best in the morning, so when I make a timetable for work I tend to utilise that. A few early mornings, working for a few hours and having the evening off to rest always works for me, and I find the work I do in the mornings is better than when I try to work during the afternoon or evening.

3. Take Breaks Regularly

This doesn’t mean scrolling through Facebook every half an hour or checking your messages constantly (I’m very guilty of this.)

Try to create a workspace with minimal distractions. If you are working at home, turn off your phone so you’re not tempted to check it throughout the day.

However, it is important to take regular breaks.

If you attempt to spend several hours revising or writing an assignment, chances are your brain will start to drift and then you’ll take in less information.

So take a break every hour or two, go for a walk, get some study snacks or just pause to take in what you’ve already achieved that day. It will definitely pay off in the long run.

Quote for the day: “If you don’t study, you shall not pass.” -Unknown 

Until next time 🙂

-Becki

My Timetable! – 2nd Year Film and Television Production

For today’s blog post as the title would suggest, I am going to be talking about my timetable. This might seem like an odd thing to do but strangely enough, it’s the type of question I get asked a lot.

“How many days are you in a week?”
“How long are your lessons?”
“Do you have much work to do outside of lessons? “.
So I hope with this blog post I am able to answer some of these questions!
Of course, this timetable is just for my course, Film and Television Production, so other courses will vary. Also feel free to check out my last post to find out more about my course!

(Disclaimer: The timetable alters occasionally from week to week to accommodate coursework deadlines, and in class tests if needed)  

Tuesday: Research for Film and Television

“Research for Film and Television develops your skills in academic research. The module surveys a range of research methods and equips you with the necessary skills to undertake a film and television focused research project.”

9:00: Time to wake up and get ready for the day ahead.
10:30: Walk to lecture with friends, as I live in the town and not on campus, so have to allow walking time.

Inside Creative Edge

11:00 – 1:00: Lecture time ~ This module is purely essay based, so revolves around lectures and seminars. The lectures are all about research methods such as focus groups and surveys, their uses, efficiency and limitations.
2:00: Seminar time ~ This is a time to take a more in-depth look at what we have just studied in lecture, in smaller groups, and ask any questions if needed.
3:00 End of the learning day!

Outside lesson work:
As with every module, you are expected to work outside of class time on your coursework. For this module this means essay work which includes researching, writing essay plans, reading through your notes, conducting research groups and, of course, actually writing the essays themselves.

 


Wednesday: Documentary

“Welcome to the Real World: Documentary Production offers you the opportunity to research, develop and produce a short documentary film that could be considered for submission to a festival or competition or for exhibition over an alternative platform.”


7:30: 
Wake up and get ready.
8:30: Time to walk to uni! Tip: Try to find a group of people you know to walk with, as it’ll make the journey feel a little shorter, this can be flatmates, people on other courses who are in uni the same time as you, or people on your course doing the same module as you or not. It’ll make you feel a lot more social, wake you up more, and prepare you for the day ahead! 
9:00 – 1:00:
 Lecture time ~  The lectures are completely theory and is all about the history of documentary, and what elements are needed to create a good documentary. Additionally, there are practical screening of groups tasks, and group/individual pitches.
1:00: Seminar time ~ This follows straight after the lecture and is a time for production groups to get together and have a group meeting to see where they are at in the production process and plan what they’re going to do next. While all the groups are having their meetings, two lectures go around the groups, finding out what progress the groups have made, give advice accordingly and discuss what the next step of their production should be. 
2:00: End of the learning day!

Outside lesson work:
There is a lot of outside work for this module as it’s very production heavy, which requires you to do a lot of research and planning into your chosen documentary as you have to find the story, interviewees, film it and edit the documentary. There is also deadlines every week for production folder work such as script outlines, filming dates, health and safety forms, rushes, transcriptions etc. Additionally, there is a reflective report (essay) for this module, which counts towards your overall grade.


Thursday: Advanced Post Production

“Advanced Post Production develops your skills of editing and forms the basis your practical and conceptual understanding of digital non-linear editing, using industry standard software.”

8:20: Wake up time!
9:30: Walk to uni with friends.
10:00:
 Seminar time ~ Unlike most of my modules on this course, the lesson layout for advanced post-production differs greatly as the seminar is split into two. The first half is used to teach the class how to do an editing technique. Meanwhile, the second half gives you the time to mess about with it and practice it more, with help on standby if you didn’t grasp it the first time or have any questions about the software.
11:00: Lecture time ~ The lectures are theory based and cover the origins of film editing and movements through the eras.
12:00: Seminar time ~ Back to the editing room to practice the technique we learnt earlier!
1:00: End of the learning day!

Outside lesson work:
Again, there is a lot of outside work to do with this module, as it has both coursework and exam elements. The coursework is a portfolio, which requires a lot of outside class hours to create and perfect. As well as studying of course for the exam.


I hope you enjoyed this post and found it a useful insight into what university timetables can be like, as people assume that it’s similar to high school or sixth form which is not the case, as shown above, there’s a lot more emphasis on independent learning and working outside of class hours. Thanks for reading and I hope you have an amazing week.
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: Big Fish (2003)

What Exactly Am I Studying?

Over the last three years I have really enjoyed studying English literature and creative writing, I’ve had the option of taking a whole load of different modules that cover so many different areas. This post is going to list some of my favourite modules that I have studied since first year and I’ll you a little bit about them.

  1. Periods and Genres one – First year

This module ran for one semester in my first year. It was a literature module in my first semester and was a great way to ease me into the course. It covered genres from Romanticism to post-modernism and gave me a good over-all knowledge of the literature periods which I have now built on. It also started my particular interests in romanticism and modernism.

  1. Writing Short Stories – Second year

This module ran over both semesters in second year, It was one of the core creative writing modules. It built on the fiction module from first year and extended our knowledge of short story writing. It really opened my eyes to the short story form and I have a newfound appreciation for it both from a reader’s perspective and a writer’s perspective

  1. Film Adaptation – Second year

This was a literature module that was also available for creative writing students. It ran in my second semester of second year. It looked at a series of different book/film pairings and used film and literature theory to analyse how books are adapted into films. This has been, by far, my favourite module because I learnt so much; I realised that films don’t particularly have to be ‘faithful’ adaptations of a source text to be successful and there’s a lot of thought that goes into the process. I also got to choose what film/book I wrote my assignments, I chose Matilda for my final assignment – nostalgia much?

  1. Special Author two: Jane Austen – Third Year

This module ran in my first semester of third year, it focused on the work of Jane Austen, looking almost her entire catalogue of literature and a few contextual novels that linked to her work. I enjoyed Jane Austen novels before as I had studied them in my romanticism module in second year, but this module made me all the more interested. We had an incredibly enthusiastic lecturer who made the experience even more fun and I now have a new favourite book – Emma, which I wrote an essay comparing to the film Clueless for one of my assignments.

  1. The Art of Screen Writing – Third Year

Another core creative writing module that runs over both semesters in third year. It looks at screenplays, how to write them and the theory behind them. As I’m mainly accustomed to writing stage plays, this module has been a challenge for me to adapt to screenwriting and how different it is to writing for stage but it’s nonetheless a welcome challenge. I’ve enjoyed studying different screenplays such as The Graduate and When Harry Met Sally and I am now in the process of writing my own.

My Studying Essentials

It’s very easy to get distracted whilst trying to get your uni work done. Procrastination is one of the most tempting forces in the universe and we all fall victim to it from time to time and find ourselves watching irrelevant Youtube videos with hours-worth of work still left to do. But I have some tactics essential to my studying routine to help me from getting distracted.

Music

Some people have to work in complete silence. Me, however, I find that I need music to concentrate on my work. It’s best to find a playlist of relaxing music, perhaps without lyrics, that won’t distract you too much. Spotify has some great pre-made playlists or you can make your own. You’ll find it will drown out any background sound and keep you focused for longer.

Hydration

I’m a big advocate for staying hydrated lately, I always drink loads whilst studying. I drink endless cups of tea and glasses of water when I have big essays. This keeps me from getting headaches and I don’t have to keep getting up for drinks if I have them there and prepared. I recommend either sorting yourself a pot of tea so you can just pour it at your desk or have a few bottles of water ready so you don’t ruin your work flow.

Comfort

Being comfortable whilst working is really important, but don’t be so comfortable that you end you falling asleep. You have to be able to find the balance where you can sit for hours but won’t become preoccupied with how cosy you are. I recommend sitting at a desk but wearing comfy clothes and maybe a few cushions to pad out the chair if it’s usually uncomfortable. I’d avoid working on your bed as, if you’re anything like me you’ll be far too tempted to sleep!

Peace

Having peace and quiet whilst working is essential for me. The best way to do this is to block out all distractions. Shut your door or ask your flatmates to keep the noise down, politely of course. Or if that isn’t possible – you have to be considerate of the people you live with too – alternatively you can go to the silent area of the library or book a study room which is brilliant for getting your work done!

Until Next time! 🙂

A day in the life of a creative writing and English lit student – sort of

Different university courses have different timetables, unlike school the subject you choose can drastically change the amount of contact hours you have. With creative writing and English literature, I tend to have two to three contact hours per module (six modules in total) which is not a lot in comparison to perhaps a nursing student. However, I have a lot of coursework that is required to be completed in my own time. It’s important to know what is expected of you on your chosen course and to make sure you are prepared to put in the necessary hours. To give you a bit of insight I’ve decided to give you a bit of a ‘day in the life’ post to give you an idea of how I spend my time.

Waking up

Like any self-respecting student, I hate leaving the warm cocoon that is my bed, on Mondays and Tuesdays especially (my dreaded 9am days), I have to set a number of alarms to coax myself out. I’m one of those high-maintenance people who need at least two hours to get ready in the morning, half an hour of which is spent waking up. When I do eventually emerge I zoom through breakfast, shower, general hair and facial improvement and leave the house half an hour before my class starts (at least in an ideal world I do).

Classes

After getting to uni – at a leisurely pace, usually accompanied by a podcast or some music – of course I have to go to class. My timetable is as follows:

  • Monday – 9 – 11
  • Tuesday – 9 – 1
  • Wednesday – 11 – 1
  • Thursday – free day (yas!)
  • Friday – 2 – 4

It may seem far less packed in comparison than someone at school or on a course that required more contact time but it’s still hard work! After class I tended to meet up with my friends, have lunch and just generally unwind for a couple of hours in The Hub.

Homework & errands

Once I get home it’s time for me to begin to mark stuff off my to-do list. I tend to spend a few hours every day doing the uni work that needs to be done, but on some days I also do house work or nip out to the shops or do other general adulty things like that.

Extra-curricular and social activities

I always make sure I have time to do something socially stimulating – or else I’d go insane! On a Wednesday night I go to dance classes, I find that’s a great way for me to relax and forget about work for an hour or so. I also enjoy meeting up with friends in town or just dropping by each other’s houses for a cuppa. It’s important to spend some time being social because if you get so absorbed in work that you don’t leave the house you will soon burn out and that’s not good!

Bedtime and chill

The last thing I do in a day is have a bit of chill time before I go to bed. I try to make a habit of winding down with a film or a book or else I tend to struggle getting to sleep.

Until next time! 🙂

Keep Calm and Carry On

It may only be February but the summer will soon be here and with it will come the stress of exams and deadlines. University and school life can be difficult, you could be under a lot of stress and it may become a bit overwhelming at times. There’s no shame in admitting that you let work get on top of you sometimes, we all have those moments. So here are a few tips of how to keep calm during those stressful work periods and they will hopefully have a positive effect on your mental health and performance level.

Do something you enjoy

You may struggle to relax when you have a lot of stressful things to think about but it is important to take time out of your day to do something you really enjoy and find relaxing.
This can be anything from taking a relaxing bath, reading, watching a film or playing video games. Taking a break from your stressful routine to chill out is incredibly important and will help your mind de-fog and restore your motivation so you get more done.

Meditate

I find that using apps like Headspace can help calm you if you’ve had a particularly stressful day. If you take out 10 minutes of your day to meditate it can help improve your mood and performance whilst also helping you stay a lot calmer. I have used this app quite often to help me take back a bit of control and keep myself nice and relaxed. Whether you use it as a one-off or even make a routine of it meditation will help you concentrate when you aren’t feeling your best.

Candles & Scents

It has been scientifically proven that scents can help to improve your mood, perhaps lighting a candle – or using a scent diffuser as a lot of student accommodation forbids the use of candles – will make you feel a lot calmer and will fill the room with your favourite smells making you feel happier whilst you do your work.

 

Go out

If things are starting to become more and more stressful and you’ve been stuck in a stuff room for hours on end take a break – go for a walk or meet up with some friends for an hour or two just to clear your head and then you will be much better. I find this a really effective strategy as when I return I have a renewed motivation and feel ready to tackle the workload.

Until next time! 🙂

5 Perfect Places to Study Around Campus!

Hello all!

Now that we’re well into January, Edge Hill has kicked into study mode! Various exams and assessments are occurring currently, so I thought what would be better than to show you the perfect places to study around campus, as I think Edge Hill is probably one of the best Universities in terms of the variety of study-suited areas for students, each with their own atmosphere and resources.

1) The Edge Hill Library

Edge Hill Library

This is probably my favourite place to study, for a variety of reasons:

  • The library has a variety of brilliant resources- endless books (two floors full!), Windows computers for those who don’t have a computer/laptop of their own or for if you just want a change of atmosphere, printers and photocopiers, quiet independent and group study rooms which are suitable for getting your head down and getting work done, laptops available for rent and (possibly my favourite thing…) a vending machine with stationary!
  • The library is open 24 hours for students, all you need is your Student ID card so that you can gain entry! This is great, because you know there is a place where you can study for long periods of time without worrying about having to move somewhere else when you’re on a roll with your work. It also means that if you particularly like to work in either a busy or quiet environment, you can choose to go study in the library when you know it’s usually busier or quieter once you get used to the general atmosphere throughout the day.
  • As I mentioned above, the library has a variety of independent and group study rooms available upon booking. The thing I love the most about these is that they mean you’re not sat in your room where the urge to procrastinate is insane, but you’re in your own room away from the possible distractions of other students. This is especially awesome for when you’re only available to study at a certain time, but you know the library will be busy and you like to have a quiet atmosphere.

Recently, the University just announced that a new library will be built as of 2017, something which I’m sure you’ll agree is an exciting development and will provide even better facilities for you and future studies! See the post on this here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/news/2016/12/new-year-sees-work-begin-exciting-campus-developments/

If you wish to read more about the facilities in the library and info on the resources available to students, click this link: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/ls/learningspace/

2) Hale Hall

Hale Hall

Hale Hall isn’t strictly a study area in the way that the library is- there aren’t books and computers available for you- but I still love it just as much!

There are many comfortable sofas in Hale Hall and tables, as you can see above, and the atmosphere is perfect for quiet study. There are moments throughout the day where Hall Hale might be slightly busy, however, it is mostly quiet and although you are studying, the atmosphere doesn’t seem as tense as maybe a space designed strictly for studying, like the library, might feel. It just feels comfortable!

3) The Hub

The upstairs area of the Hub

The Hub is situated in the centre of the campus, so easily accessible to all! The Hub is mostly for students to grab food between lessons or for catered students to get their meals for the day, however there is an upstairs area that’s perfect for getting work and revision done. There are computers and a printer and photocopier available for any work you need them for, and although most of the seats available are fairly out in the open, there are some small booths which are better for getting more privacy to work quietly, with large touchscreen computers for your use.

4) The LINC Building

The LINC Building

The LINC building is situated very close to the library in the centre of the campus, so is also just as accessible as the library and the Hub!

One of the biggest reasons I like this building when I have to study or get coursework done is the fact that it has a large amount of computers accessible to students 24/7 as long as you have your student ID. It also has printers and photocopiers for your use too!

The atmosphere of this building is great for if you need to focus on your work, as it’s mostly quiet throughout the day, however, it can get busy at times due to there being so many computers for the use of students, so if you want to get work done I wouldn’t wait around!

Here’s a link to the University’s page on the LINC building for a bit more info: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/ls/learningspace/linc/

5) Your room!

A room in the Back Halls accommodation

Of course, if you don’t like to study in places like the library or just find it easier to study in the environment of your own room, then why not?

Personally, I don’t find it so easy to study in my room as I get distracted too easy and procrastinate, but I do know that some people find it way easier to study in their own personal space so this is always an option for everyone! It also makes studying more appealing when it’s freezing or raining (typical Northern weather), as you can stay in in your pyjamas and slippers, have a coffee or two and power on through your work comfortably!

So, I hope this has given you some good tips and an idea of the kind of places available for studying at Edge Hill! Thank you for reading 🙂

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! 🙂

Fancy a Cuppa?

Hey everyone!

Hope you’re all having a good week. It’s halfway through the semester which means it’s reading week, so I’m hiding away in my bedroom with a stack full of books and starting an assignment or two.

It’s not all work and no play at uni though, although it’s important to find the right balance!

Occasionally if I need a change of scenery I’ll wander over to uni and grab a Caramel Macchiato to help me relax. It makes finishing my reading list a little more sweet! Or it makes for a nice reward when I’ve submitted an essay I’ve been working on for a while.

The point is don’t drive yourself too hard! You’re going to put off work as much as possible if you don’t give yourself a reason to enjoy it (at least a little.)

Whether that means a group study session, an indulgent cup of coffee or a trip to the cinema just make sure you have a little something that keeps you on the right track and will give you that extra incentive to keep working.

Reading week is so important to me, it gives me the chance to prioritise any reading I need to do for the second half of the semester, do some research or work on upcoming assignments.

Trust me, it’s better to do as much work as possible during the semester and reading week than to leave it all to the last minute and be working over the Christmas break!

With that said, I better go and finish some work now.

Enjoy the rest of your week guys!

Quote for the day: “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it” -Thomas Jefferson

Until next time!

-Becki 🙂

 

 

The Nitty Gritty

Now, I bet you’ve heard a lot more about the social life at uni than you probably have about the actual degree part!

Now everybody’s course is different and I definitely recommend that you ask somebody how your course is assessed before you start uni to make sure that you are prepared for what’s instore! I however missed this highly important factor and found myself amongst essays, coursework and exams (not that this bothers me – thankfully!). Such courses as Early Years and Primary Education only consist of essays and coursework currently, so it really does depend on what suits you.

Like everything as a consumer, if you are paying for something you need to make sure it’s what you want, especially your education as it is the foundation for your future. Having a degree should open doors to you, allowing you to go down many career routes rather than being restricted to HAVING to do something you’re not 100% on.

Some courses will even let you choose areas to major/minor in (such as primary education) allowing you to have a say in what you learn which makes essays etc. so much easier when you enjoy, and have an interest in, what you’re doing.

So remember to ask questions and enjoy what you’re doing!