With the summer coming to a close, and a week before I move back to Ormskirk, I thought it might be a good idea to share 5 skills that my first year in computing have taught me. Before coming to university I had run m9Networks for about 4 years. I have always had an interest in computing, all aspects of it. Finally starting a specialised course really gave me some skills that I had been overlooking and EHU have influenced my professional career even before graduating. So here are 5 skills that 1st year computing at EHU have taught me and how I used them this summer.
In my first year of computing, and university in general, I was exposed to a need for organization. I have always been a mixed bag when it came to being well prepared. I have two modes, 100% ready for anything and absolutely nothing done. For the most part I would be the latter. University gave me a chance to really explore my organizational style and see how it makes life easier for me. This summer while working I was able to use this when working on projects with deadlines.
Something I pride my work on is my determination to get the job done. If I don’t know the answer to a question I will go out of my way to find the answer. Once again, starting university has helped me improve this skill massively. While working at one client site this summer I faced several serious problems that resulted in setbacks. The determination that I had gained while doing reports and attempting to understand more complex coursework in first year gave me the confidence to push through and surpass these problems that came in my way.
Planning and Drafting
One of my modules in my first year of computing was Digital World: Information Systems and Design. The code for this course if you want to check it out is CIS1108. This course focused around designing and implementing IT systems for businesses and customers. One of our tasks included designing a database and network system for a local business. During the summer I was tasked with something similar and was able to almost replay the design process piece for piece.
Networking is one of my main fields of interest and study. This summer I was involved in some large networking projects with several ISP’s in Ireland that I had previously been involved with. My first year module named Computer Architecture and Networks gave me some valuable information regarding standards and implementation of networks. While some of the information presented to me in this course was not new it does mean that other students who have not experienced networking before we’re covered. So if you’re worried about it being too complicated, don’t.
Finally, the last skill that I was able to take away from University and apply it to my work in the real world this summer was Security. Being security conscious in the every more connected world is important. Very important. In my first year I was taught about basic security and how it relates to threats in the real world. While it is easy to understand and implement very secure passwords, encryptions and physical security the basics are often overlooked. In one of my installs this summer I thought back to my lectures regarding security and included a pamphlet regarding social engineering to the client.
These five skills; Organization, Determination, Planning and Design, Networking and Security that I learned in my first year and I can honestly say they have been a great help.
If you want to check out some of my work you can read about a UniFi network install at a large home in Donegal, Ireland here:
And if you want more free and great information on any topic email firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Throughout the year, students on all years of the Musical Theatre BA at Edge Hill have been given numerous opportunities to see shows, take part in workshops, and be involved in new projects, all of which give us an edge in our field and allow us to explore other areas of theatre and the arts that we might not have otherwise discovered. Below I will talk about a few of my favourites from the year.
Pippin – The Musical at Hope Mill Theatre
This trip was one of my favourites for many different reasons, and not just because the show was fantastic. The trip took place just four days into term, (the Thursday of Fresher’s Week) and was a great opportunity for out group to bond and get to know each other as we chatted on the bus, and shared opinions of the show. We also got to meet the cast after the show, and even had a workshop day with the lead actor a few weeks after.
The Em Project – October reading Week.
During the time that we were given off timetable as the first sort of ‘half term’ break, the Musical Theatre students were given the chance to be a part of a project- learning, recording and shooting a music video in Liverpool for a brand new musical, called Em- by the amazing Benjamin Till. This was an amazing experience that we could take part in as it meant we could meet and mingle with a professional in our line of work, and get to know people in the other years on our course. We spent four days learning and perfecting the vocals and choreography for the song. We then recorded our vocals in parts in the Creative Edge building on campus, which was a wonderful experience, but the most fun was definitely the day we spent filming on location in Liverpool, in full 1960’s costume, hair, and makeup. We started out the day in the infamous Cavern Club, filming the end of the music video, and then travelled around the city to get different shots in different places. All in all, although a very cold a long day, it was a lot of fun and that certainly shows in the video, which premiered last week.
Starting university can be a time filled with a mix of emotions. Hopefully these few tips will help calm any nerves and be a reminder of all of the amazing things you will be able to do at Edge Hill.
Firstly, it is important to know you will find your way around campus VERY quickly! You’ll find landmarks such as the Hub and Creative Edge and will be able to use these to plan y our way around this beautiful campus.
Then there are the people at Edge Hill. So many different people – different ages, backgrounds and experiences all together that within a short amount of time you will have made friends. You’ll find people with similar interests but also more excitingly, you will meet lots of people who have different hobbies and interests to you and you’ll learn so much from these people.
Thirdly, it is perfectly okay to be totally yourself. This may be the first time you’ve lived away from home or with friends. You may be feeling worried about what to wear or how you will ever learn to cook or even if you’re interests are interesting enough! These are all common worries however they really don’t need to be. The best bit of advice I can give is to just be yourself. This will help you to settle in and will make you feel more comfortable. You will very quickly enjoy the excitement of all of these new experiences.
Perhaps one of the things I’ve learnt most this year is that university is about so much more than getting a degree. There are so many opportunities, from joining a sports club or society to spending time learning a new language or increasing your academic skills. There is also lots to do in and around Ormskirk and you are only a train ride away from all that there is to see and do in Liverpool too 🙂 Employers will see your commitment to improving your skills and knowledge and this will help with future employment.
Finally, work out what is important to you before you start and make a plan. Whether it is going to the SU Bar during Freshers week to meet new friends, talking to other students on your course to get to know them better or simply going for a walk around campus. Always remember to enjoy your time at Edge Hill as it goes so quickly!
With the summer coming up in the not-so-distant future, I thought it would be a good chance to talk about summer jobs, part-time jobs and volunteering. With Primary Education, gaining work experience was an essential part of the application process, as with any course.
Update and prepare your CV
My advice is to be pro-active and have your CV ready. This should include your information, qualifications, previous work experience or volunteering and achievements. There are many good examples online. Try to avoid rambling… but make sure to include all the relevant information. Personally, I would suggest adding a photograph of yourself to add the personal touch!
Do all the right research
Some ideas for work experience when doing a course in Education are as follows:a school, a museum, a zoo, an education centre, a youth centre, guides / scouts or a summer camp. Edge Hill’s careers centre can be a great help! When deciding where you want to apply, have a look at their websites and social media. Try to speak to people who are part of the team to understand the expectations and requirements for the job. You should also look into the locality of the work to ensure you will be able to travel there.
Do not give up!
If you have the determination and you put time into applying for a job, it will pay off! Regarding volunteering, sometimes certain companies or centres may not take on volunteers, but places that do will appreciate the interest and extra help!
Edge Hill often have careers fairs and part-time job vacancies of their own. You can find out more information about jobs at Edge Hill on their website.
So, on the way back from a driving lesson I wandered into an Applicant Visit Day that was taking place in the Hub, central to the university campus. Among the many stands that were providing information to students like yourself was Kerry from Student Services hosting a stall with information about the new building that is set to be unveiled on campus later this year.
The catalyst is a new and exciting central building is a £26 million pound investment in all our educations. I spoke to Kerry about what this building would become and how it would be used by the average student who steps inside.
This video gives an overview of exactly what this 8000 square meter project will look like. Located just to the central east of the campus it is a stones throw from the hub and much of the main on site accommodation. This is useful, as it houses the brand new library. If you are like me and enjoy late nights you will be able to head over and get that book about vintage computers, photography or just a good read in general.
” Modern, Central and Connected “
– Kerry, Edge Hill University
I asked Kerry if she could describe exactly what the new Catalyst would mean to her. She said it was ‘Modern, Central and Connected’. She went on to mention how it would ‘take the existing student services and unify them together, in one central place.’
So all these buzz words sound good, and we have lots of numbers like 8000 square meters and 26 million pounds, but what exactly is the Catalyst and why should you be excited to be the first year of students to use it?
The Catalyst is the new home for the university library, student services, help desks and most teams who will help you in everyday life. It is going to be a one stop shop for you to discuss anything that you need help with. It is the new central point for everything Edge Hill.
So that’s it, get excited folks because the Catalyst is going to change everything.
If you want to find out more about the new Catalyst building you can find information here, or if you want to find out more about applicant days check out here.
And if you want more free and great advice email email@example.com 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!
One of the amazing things about this company in particular is that they are all either Edge Hill alumni (graduates) or lecturers at Edge Hill. I had the opportunity to speak to them all about what their experiences were like and what Edge Hill has given them as performers. I first asked them to introduce themselves and the character they played:
RM: Rachael Mutch, playing the character of Holly.
KHC: Kylie Heron-Cadwallader, playing the role of Susan.
SR: Sam Rushton, playing the role of Sam.
LAD: Lisa Adams-Davey, I play Doctor W and the Vicar, and I am the Director.
JB: James Burrows, and I play the character of Phil.
DHJ: Danielle Holland-Jones, stage manager.
EC: Elric Cadwallader, I play the character of CP.
CR: Christopher Roy, I played Richard.
CF: And Cat Formby, playing Mo/Double Gusset.
Rhiannon Thomas (me): Ok, right, so the first thing I wanted to ask is; you tackle really sensitive subjects, obviously, not just for this show, I’ve seen for your show They Shoot Dogs, that’s obviously another sensitive subject. What was your main motivation to create such pieces and do you ever hit a block in the creative process whilst assuring the topics are handled correctly?
LAD: Well, the main motivation has been a research initiative, in the first instance, then from the initial research initiative we created the company with a view to tackling subjects, such as… well, with a view to tackling mental health, and we feel that the work that we put on is politically charged, it’s relevant, it needs to be heard, and yes it’s very sensitive, as you say, very sensitive… but necessary in order to support people, to generate an understanding as to what it’s like to have a mental health condition. So, that’s the main thing really, was a research initiative of mine, and I’ve taught all these wonderful people, and we work together on relevant topics, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Clinical Depression, Suicide… Often topics, well, they are topics that are surrounded by stigma, and it’s about getting rid of that stigma and saying ‘hey, you know what, this is real, people do take their own lives, people do suffer with depression, people do suffer with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and so on and so forth, post-traumatic stress disorder, and this is reality’. And it’s relevant, it’s important. And it’s also to say, you know, it’s ok to talk about it, it’s important that we do talk about it, cause so much is swept under the carpet and we don’t want that.
RT: Ok, bit more of a trivial question, describe the Rose Theatre and Edge Hill Arts Centre in 3 words, cause I’ve seen that most of you are graduates…
EC: In three words?
EC: It’s our home.
LAD: It’s our home!
RT: Ok, so again, because a lot of you are graduates…
LAD: All of them are graduates.
RT: Ah ok, all of you are graduates [laughter]… do you think the courses here and the University gives you what you need to follow a creative career path?
CR: Damn skippy it does.
SR: I think it’s hard to put a definitive answer on that question, cause courses are ever fluctuating and ever changing, from my personal perspective it gave me the most amazing grounding in who I am as a practitioner, who I am as a person, and it gave me everything I needed to be an independent, forward-thinking, critical analyst. It gave me all the skills that I needed to take my own practice and take my own place in the world and my own place in the industry and it gave me a great springboard for that as well as making magic… This place is an amazing place; the supportive tutors, the facilities, it’s ever developing, ever expanding and I think in an industry that’s ever developing and ever expanding that’s really important from a University course and a University as well.
EC: Considering how big the course is now and how it expanded, like all the different things you can do, you can do musical theatre and you can do all these other things that weren’t available when we were first coming here, we’re so shocked that you can come here and you just say ‘I’m an ex-student’ they will give you a room and say you can rehearse in there, you can use the resources…
LAD: It’s very generous.
EC: So, like, they’ll do anything for alumni, for current students, they’ll bend over backwards to say ‘we’ll look at the set’ and, you know, where you are, and the techies are fantastic.
LAD: I think what’s been really interesting within this project is even though this is an alumni company, we’ve been employed as a professional company to come in and produce this work, on top of that we have had the facilities to rehearse in, and I know I’m a member of staff, but it is a privilege to have that, because actually it’s very expensive to hire rehearsal rooms, and technicians and, you know, all the things that we have here, and it’s a real privilege, and these guys have put in an inordinate amount of time to make it happen as well.
CF: Can I just say something about the beginning of that question? When you said, and what I find interesting, I did Dance, Drama and Physical Theatres here, and then I went on to Drama School, which was more of a Conservatoire training, and the course was an MA in Professional Acting, and what I was surprised at; there was nothing that came up in that course that I hadn’t been told about, studied, or researched, or touched on, or done a workshop on, you know? There were things that we explored further in voice and that kind of stuff, but there was nothing that I wasn’t aware of, I didn’t feel on a back foot about anything, and there was a massive contrast for me in the quality of the tutors here to the tutors there. Whilst I was there in that 15 months, there were 2 tutors from here came to do workshops at that drama school and I’d been banging on about this place to the point of boring everybody, and I was delighted that two of the tutors, the physical theatre tutor and a dance tutor, both came there to deliver workshops, and I’d banged on about how great they were and I don’t think my peers there were expecting to be blown away. But they were, and the contrast in the teaching, the quality, the workshop just stuck out like a sore thumb.
SR: Yeah, I’d agree with Cathy, I went to drama school to do my Masters in London as well, and everything Cathy’s just said was exactly the same as when I went to drama school to do my MA after being here. It just gave me everything that I needed before I even got there, and when I got there it meant that I could just run, and two of the tutors here also went to Central School of Speech and Drama, where I was, to give workshops or be actual lecturers there as well, so this place is really rich.
LAD: Yeah, I think the one thing that we do hold dear, I mean, as a lecturer here, the one thing that we hold dear is the fact that we actually educate thinking practitioners, and that’s really important, and that’s why when you’re putting work on such as this, I do expect my cast to think and to analyse, and to evaluate; what is it we’re doing and why are we doing it… and they’ve had that from day dot, they’ve had that from when they walked in the door at Edge Hill. I remember… Sam and Elric were in the first cohort [I taught], I remember asking Elric, you know, what made you choose Edge Hill? Why didn’t you go to Drama School? And he said I specifically chose Edge Hill because I wanted an education, I didn’t want a Conservatoire training, I wanted an education, I wanted to think about my subject and really analyse it. It’s not good enough, I don’t think, just to be able to perform; you have to do all the other stuff as well, and really that’s invaluable to here, I believe, and to what we provide. I suppose it’s that’s very immodest for me to say that as a lecturer here [laughter], but it’s something that we do hold dear.
CR: I’ll back that up with; I agree with everything that Lisa has just said.
KHC: Yeah I agree [laughter]. Going back to your question, not only has it helped in, you know, a creative setting, but I work as a legal secretary as well, so giving you the confidence to get up on stage also gives you the confidence to interact with people in every day life, and they’re the people that we’re trying to portray when we’re onstage. We’re not portraying, like, an airy-fairy, fluffy version of life, especially with this piece, we’re looking at what makes people tick. So, in my everyday life, I work in a solicitors, so I get to see everything, you know, from birth, life, marriage, death, everything. So, it’s nice to be part of life at the same time and have those social skills to talk to people, which I’ve received from here. I’ve got that confidence from training as an actor, and then it sort of gives back; anything that I see in life, I can take that in like a sponge and portray that on the stage, so these skills are transferrable as well, cause not only do we learn about our craft, about acting, performing… to portray the human race, you have to understand about human psychology, philosophy, theology… so not only do you open up your skill-set as an actor through creative tools, you also touch upon other areas of education, so not picking on people who go “drama, that’s where you just run around the room”…
LAD: “Jazz hands!” [laughter]
KHC: It’s not just about that, we have to understand the human condition…
SR: And how to connect with another human being, fundamentally, how you connect, and get a reaction out of another human being, whatever their reaction is. Going back to Lisa’s answer about why we do this, it’s because it is an awareness, it is opening a dialogue, it is, when I was speaking to yourself before, about using theatre as a catalyst to make you think what you’ve got from that, and everybody’s opinions are valid, but that fundamental connection is really, really important.
LAD: I think also going back to what Kylie said there, you know, one of the things that we do focus on [is] employability skills, so this company itself offers employability to certain graduates who are appropriate for the company. When we did [They Shoot] Dogs I did an audition, two days of auditions to get the cast together, and then from that cast and that production, Confiança was born, and we’ve done a few other things since then. This is our second major production, but we have done other projects. And so it’s kind of… those employability skills that you were talking about, that are developed as a student, they’re absolutely invaluable, in any walk of life, not just on the stage as you say Kylie, in any walk of life; if you’re a lecturer, just as a person… You know, there’s a few lecturers in and amongst us, a few people working in different professions, etc.
CR: I just wanna put out there, I’m now also teaching Drama, and I certainly would not be doing that if it weren’t for Edge Hill. And even aspects of my own teaching practise I may have, I’m gonna use the word ‘stolen’ [laughter], I have done lessons that Lisa taught me.
RM: I have too.
CR: Yeah, Rach does as well, we all do, we all…
RM: And James’ lessons, I take them all! [laughter]
CR: But, you know, and it’s that sort of thing, the fact that I’m able to go ‘right, I learnt that here at this time, with Lisa as a lecturer or someone else as a lecturer’, and I’ve been able to then transfer that and repeat it, it’s meaning it’s stayed with me, and that’s what I want my students to be like, I want them to think for themselves, I want them to do their own research, I want them to be actively engaged with whatever text that they have, whether it be something that they’re devising or something that has been written down for centuries, I want them to have the experience that I had here, but a couple of years early.
LAD: Yeah, I think also, one thing that I feel does transfer is the passion for the subject that Edge Hill has. All the subjects actually, the lecturers, we’re very, very passionate about what we do, and hopefully that transfers to the students, and then they go out and they go ‘yeah, this is really exciting! We’re really excited about this, so let’s do some more!’.
EC: I’d also like to say, as well, that not only the content, but the people you meet, it’s kind of testament to that way in which we work collaboratively, that years after we’ve graduated, in different years as well, you meet people on your course here that you can collaborate with, and that you can work professionally with in the future as well, and I think that’s important.
DHJ: I think, going back to your initial question about the courses, it’s the fact that, because I studied Musical Theatre, I would never think when I graduated that this would be the sort of thing that I would be doing, but that’s because Edge Hill makes you transferrable, skill-wise, as an actor, performer… whatever you want to do, they will facilitate what you want to do, and they focus on what you really want to do on your outcome, like what kind of journey you want to take, because it’s different for everyone. People take years out before they even think about going back in to doing it, and that’s what I thought I was gonna do, and I’ve literally just graduated and I’ve gone straight back into doing the work that I love doing, and it was a privilege, but also it’s the fact that you can just go straight back into it and it’s not the fact of you have to go somewhere else, or you have to do your Master, no offence [laughter], and it’s kind of being able to go ‘do you know what, I don’t have to box myself off as a performer in one specific area, I can be versatile’, and that’s what Edge Hill, I think, is great for personally.
SR: Yeah, just to add to that before we actually move on to the next question, when I was here, I graduated, well myself and Elric, graduated in 2008, and when I was doing my dissertation here, there was no Aerial course, there was no Musical Theatre, there was not much, there was Drama, Dance and Physical Theatre, straight Drama and then a few people on a straight Dance course…
LAD: It didn’t stop you doing Aerial in your dissertation!
SR: No, for my dissertation, I wanted different levels, and I wanted to do some Aerial work, and nobody had ever heard of, well, nobody had ever done anything like that here before, and so I went to Lisa, and Lisa went to the appropriate channels, and we had discussions, and because it was relevant to my practise and it was relevant to my dissertation, the department got in one silk, a rig, and everything that I needed to be able to have Aerial performance as a part of my dissertation, and then I also went and did some workshops and training so I was safe to do it. Following on from that, they then did an Aerial module and they’re still doing it now, so even though I came to them before that was even anything that they offered at all, they gave me and provided me with what I needed because it was relevant to my practise.
LAD: One of the things that the company have also done, that maybe you’re not aware of, that actually Edge Hill have supported, they’re still invited in to do things and to work collaboratively, for example with [the] Faculty of Health, we’ve done television masterclasses with a television director and a casting director, and we’ve collaborated with media on that, so on so forth, so opportunities are given to our alumni, and also one of our guys who was filming tonight [there were some people filming the opening show on the Thursday] is a Media student, so that’s an employability opportunity for him, and I was really keen for them to get a third camera in, and I was really keen for them to get a student involved because that’s just another opportunity to enhance that person’s skills.
RT: So, a bit of a short, snappy last question; describe your show in 3 words.
CR: A hilarious play about suicide.
CAST: That’s not 3 words! [laughter]
KHC: Comical… tragic…
LAD: [whispers] Relevant… [laughter]
KHC: … Relevant [more laughter]
Overall, the cast gave me some great reasons why Edge Hill helps performers to thrive, and some interesting insight into their own personal experiences, as well as being lovely to talk to and very funny! I would like to thank them here for this and staying back after their performance so that I could speak to them, even though they were probably tired! Some of the creative team were not involved in this Q&A, so I will list the others below and say congratulations on such a brilliant show:
Mark Curtis: Playwright
Lighting Design and Operation: Dave Forrest
Psychotherapist in Residence: Cathy Vincent
Psychotherapist Supervisor for Lisa Adams-Davey: Janet Higgins
Ethics Advisor: Vicky Karkou
Filming: Alistair Emmett, Daniel Hall and Owen Wheeler
There may come a point during your time at university where you might need a little help. This is totally okay; university is stressful enough as it is without the pressure of personal issues or other problems getting in the way. Edge Hill has a number of different places you can go for help, depending on your problem. I’m going to outline a few people or places you can turn to if you find yourself needing that little bit of support.
The Careers Centre (for work-related problems)
If you’re struggling with finding a job or your CV is putting you under a lot of stress then the careers centre is the best place for you. Their webpage offers so many different support services, such as; an option to upload your CV to be checked by experienced professionals, resources to help you write successful applications, CVs and personal statements and lastly, and the option to book face to face or telephone appointments with the careers team. I have made so much use of the careers centre during my time at Edge Hill, they’ve given me so much more confidence and helped me to improve my CV. So, if it’s your job prospects that are getting you down, the careers centre is here for you.
The Wellbeing Team (for emotional support)
As a student you are entitled to free counselling sessions at our dedicated health and wellbeing facility. These sessions are lead on a one-to-one basis with experienced counsellors who offer you a safe place to talk through your problems. But if counselling is not your thing then they also offer a number of support groups and workshops aimed at specific issues that students may encounter such as, stress, confidence or bereavement. There are also electronic resources that can help you if you are feeling emotionally strained.
Student Information Centre (for pretty much anything)
The Student Information Centre (SIC) is the hub for student support. They can offer you advice from finances to inclusion. For most questions you can either email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or just drop-in and they will advise you as to what steps you should take to solve your particular problem. They really are a helpfully and friendly bunch, not be scared to ask for help, that’s what they are there for!
Edge Hill’s campus is full of places to eat, in all different locations. Firstly the hub has at least four places selling food and drink, from McColl’s if you just want a quick sandwich or a packet of crisps to the dedicated food counter that serves and array of hot meals. On top of that you have Water’s Edge with it’s wonderful view of – you guessed it – the lake, the Red Bar located in The Arts Centre for when you’re peckish mid-rehearsal and Café Rewind in the Health building. There are many other places to get food on campus, we really are spoilt for choice!
As I, and many other student bloggers have mentioned before, the campus is ever expanding. We are constantly hearing of new developments and new accommodation being built. In my time at Edge Hill they have added an entire new cluster of flats called Palatine Court, and they are currently building more over the old running track. All of these buildings are decked out with fancy extras such as en-suite bathrooms, TVs and computers. To say that Edge Hill doesn’t have awesome accommodation would be totally untrue!
As of September 2015 Edge Hill has been the proud home of Edge Hill Sports Centre, a new purpose built facility, not just for sports students. I often frequent the place to swim, the pool is probably one of the nicest I have swum in and not to mention the changing rooms are fantastic. The fact that they not only have cubicle showers (as opposed to those awkward communal ones) but hair straighteners (yes, this is a big deal to me), shows Edge Hill’s attention to detail when they were designing the building. It does not just stop at the pool though, there are so many other facilities such as a gym with in-built entertainment technology, exercise studio, 8 court sports hall and much more. That’s just on the inside, there are also football, ruby and hockey pitches, an athletics track and an outdoor 2.5km fitness trail with exercise equipment. Who says students are lazy?
Edge Hill has a great policy on student employment, they offer so many different job opportunities for their students from working in the SU bar or sports centre to student ambassadors and student bloggers *flashes a smile* But if you don’t want a job on campus the Careers Centre is always there to help you find a part-time job. They constantly post updates on Facebook, Twitter and their webpage for different vacancies, but if you’re still unsure you can book and appointment and an advisor can point you in the right direction – they’re very helpful like that.
The biological sciences degrees at Edge Hill University – Biology, Ecology & Conservation, Genetics, Human Biology and Biotechnology (and soon to include Plant Science and Food Science) – offer a number of ways to increase your employability. Within your modules, many aspects enhance skills that will no doubt increase your employability – there are additional opportunities however that will further your employability by showing determination and experience.
Undoubtedly, all modules enhance your employability by virtue of their contents, however, some give you more experience than others, and some are designed specifically to increase your employability. For example: Laboratory Masterclass is a module that develops your lab skills through experiments; Research Methods, as you would suspect, develops your research skills, from experimental planning to statistical analysis – all enhancing your employability via experience.
During second year, you have the option to choose a placement module, and undertake work alongside your studies. It goes unsaid how this enhances your employability – real life experience is invaluable when it comes to employment. With Edge Hill having numerous links, there are options to what field of work you wish to do a placement in, although sourcing the work for yourselves is also highly encouraged.
ERASMUS+ is a European placement program for students that funds them to work abroad. The current Erasmus programs at EHU for biosciences take place across the summer between second and third year, lasting a minimum of 6 weeks. I myself am taking part in an Erasmus placement, with a coursemate, in Sweden – specifically at SLU in Umeå. The other current option is work in Cyprus (a country most Edge Hill biologists will be familiar with thanks to the first year residential field trip) with more options hopefully being available in the future.
The option also exists to take place in a sandwich year – spending a year at a foreign university or on a work placement. Studying abroad shows a great deal of adaptivity and resilience, each boosting your employability. Working for a year in between your studies is also good experience and may even give you some inspiration for your dissertation the following year.
As of 9th May 2017 I will officially be finished with my degree. Yes, I know, It’s scary! But what’s even scarier is that the question I’ve been asking myself for the last year will be staring me right in the face: What do I do now? Now I don’t have the cushy support of uni to help me through all the difficult adulting and now I have to actually make it in the big wide world… argh! Not to worry though, I’ve been prepared-ish and I’m willing to offer you some advice on how you can cushion the blow of finishing uni. The earlier you start the better, I know it’s worrying but if you start thinking about your future from day one you can’t go wrong can you? Right…?
One day your student loan will run out (the horror!). So, it’s probably best to start saving asap, for that inevitable moment when you run out of dosh but haven’t found a job yet. Start putting aside a bit every week if you can spare it and it will soon mount up and leave you with a good financial cushion post-uni. Even if you just put your spare change in a moneybox, little by little, it will build up.
At the beginning of third year you should start thinking about applying for jobs or further education (whatever your choice is). With jobs, the more you apply for the better. Apply for as many jobs as you can until you finally find one. Make the most of the careers centre whilst you can. They can help you with CVs and personal statements for MA or PGCEs. Ensure that you take time on your applications, if you rush them or complete them half-heartedly you’ll find you won’t get the positive results you want.
Ever wanted to write a novel? Or put on a play? Or even take up pole dancing? Now’s the best time. That sweet time between the end of your exams and assignments and having to go home for the summer and find a job is the best kind of time! Use your new-found free time to work on projects that will better your future but also make you happy and will feel rewarding. Now you don’t have exams and coursework in the way you can start doing the things you want to. My personal goal is to get writing and to finish all the books I’ve been meaning to read for the last million and a half years!
For most of us we have been in education nearly every year since we were possibly four or five, we deserve a break. Don’t stress yourself out too much, take time to relax and enjoy the short amount of time you have in your student house with your friends Go out, explore the town, have a movie marathon, do everything you wanted to do but didn’t have time to previously because of uni work.