Tips for writing your personal statement 📝

I can remember, even now, the stress and panic that had built up inside me when writing my personal statement. Being five years out of school, I didn’t remember any of the advice they gave to me, probably because I wasn’t interested in university then and so didn’t exactly listen. I ended up scanning the internet, as I’m sure you’re doing now, looking for tips and tricks, dos and don’ts and basically how to get through it. Everything I read was complicated and wordy so I want to make this short and sweet, but as helpful as possible.

Structure:

My personal statement is sectioned into five paragraphs.

The first is where I briefly told the reader what I am currently doing and I made sure to link this to the course I am interested in and why I am wanting to apply for this particular course. The first line is always the hardest for me, even with assignments now it’s a big hurdle. Some say to start with a quote, others say don’t start with a quote. Personally, I think quotes are cheesy and it’s a waste of your words. Use your words, not somebody else’s. I began, simply, with ‘I am currently…’

In the second paragraph I went into more detail about the job I am doing, the responsibilities I have, the skills I am obtaining and the experiences I am collating. This is where you sell yourself and this is where the hardest part lies as you need to be confident but remain cautious of a boastful tone.

My third paragraph is similar to the second but here I talked about previous experiences/jobs/events/volunteering, anything that makes you stand out and look good. Remember that everything you say must be important and have reason to be there. For example, I discussed my acting experience and I did this because it allowed me to talk about being confident in speaking to crowds, how it enhanced my creativity and how it taught me a lot about teamwork, initiative and inventiveness.

The fourth paragraph is less work and schooling, but more interests and hobbies, but make them meaningful. ‘I like reading’ isn’t going to cut it. I had written about my love of travelling, where I’ve been and where I plan to go next. I talked about my interest in the Endometriosis charity and the Stroke Association and what I have done regarding this. I talked about my love of golf that I share with my father and a tournament we had coming up in Dubai and lastly I mentioned why I had taken several gap years and how this was the best decision for me. This may not be the case for you, but if it was, ensure you make it a positive reason. Keep the whole statement positive.

The final ‘paragraph’ (it’s only four lines) is a summary of what my next steps are and why I chose Edge hill. Try to mention something about the University you are applying for, showing you have researched them – it’s a nice, personal touch.

My biggest tip for you is to read as many personal statements as you can. Read around and you will find structures you like, you will be inspired by what others have included and you will feel more confident when you get around to writing it. It’s tough, but it’s worth it. The best of luck, I’m sure you’ll smash it. Thanks for reading, leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Amy

Packing Tips and Tricks!

Hey everyone! With Welcome Sunday just around the corner and some of you finishing off some packing and getting ready for your travels, I thought I would do a little post on some of the tips and tricks I picked up over my first year on how to pack more effectively. I am currently in the process of packing to move back over to university and I am using every single one of these tips. I hope you enjoy!

Quick Tip – do a quick wash before you pack, it helps to fold clothes smoother.
  1. Vacuum Bags – these were a life-saver for my suitcase when it came to moving back over to Ireland. I was able to condense all my clothes into smaller packages so I could fit more in my case!
  2. Rolling – rolling your clothes and socks etc saves so much room in your bag as they are in tighter little bundles. This does take slightly longer to pack but I promise it saves you having to sit on top of your suitcase to get it to close or worse…busting the zip.
  3. Packing within packing – by this I mean, if you have a handbag you need to take over with you, packing things in that before putting it in your suitcase. This way, the things inside your handbag are not taking up extra room in your case. 
  4. Pack only what you need – when I first moved over to university, I packed everything! And some of it, I didn’t even wear or use. Before you start to put things in your case, really think about whether you need it or are just packing it because you have to. If you find that you have clothes that you don’t wear, donate them to a charity shop where you know someone will love them.  
  5. Buy things when you arrive – I made the mistake of buying everything I needed for the flat over here in Ireland such as; pots and pans, plates, cutlery, bedding etc. What I should have done was just pack all my clothes and duvet covers and bought the rest of what I needed over in Ormskirk. This would have saved me a lot more room.
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My final tip caters more for my fellow Irish pals or anyone who has to fly or take the boat over: 

This year I used UniBaggage to help me move over my things which was way more convenient than I thought it would be. All I had to do was get a box, pack all the things that I needed into the box (including my vacuum bags), measure the dimensions of the box and then weigh it. A delivery man then just comes around to the house and sends it off. I was able to choose a date in which I wanted it collected and when I wanted it delivered to my new house in Ormskirk so that it is waiting for me when I arrive!

I hope you enjoy this quick little post and that it helps you in your future packing!

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

-Unknown-

Making Friends 101

It’s getting closer to the day you all move in and start your university experience! i hope you are all enjoying binge watching what do bring with you to university videos on YouTube (please tell me I was not the only one!)

As a girl who moved from Ireland to Edge Hill University, I thought that making friends would be the hardest part about university but low and behold I was very surprised…doing your own washing is the hardest part. However, although it is not the hardest part about starting university and I had a very good friend that I knew from home, it can be quite nerve-wracking especially if you are introverted like I was so, here are some of my tips on how I managed to get people to be in my company voluntarily.

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BE YOUR BEST SELF!

I’m sorry for how cliche this is but it is seriously so true. People have this weird ability to sense if people are being fake and this only heightens when you get to university. I will admit that I was very scared to be myself in front of my fellow classmates and flat mates but once I got comfortable, let’s just say that we are now very close and they know why I am not myself around everyone I meet…

Societies will be your first best friend!

I have heard that joining these at the very start of the year can be so useful when wanting to make friends in an environment that you are comfortable in. For example, there are musical theatre groups, dance groups, Doctor Who groups and many more that you would never think of. Don’t make the mistake I made and not join one of these!

Go on nights out!

This is another classic case of do as I say and not as I do. I made the mistake of not going out much with my flat mates and not being able to meet new people outside of my course. I now have learnt that while being an introvert is not a bad thing, it can be damaging when you want to meet new people. Take my advice and push yourself to socialise outside the confines of your flat because, while it might be hard and scary you won’t regret it!

Now that I read this blog again, I really should have titled it, ‘Mistakes I made whilst trying to make friends.’ I really hope that you find the friends you deserve because they really do make the difference to your university experience.

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you”

Rasheed Ogunlaru

Taking the pressure off…

Hey everyone, I hope you’re all getting excited about starting your course at Edge Hill University! Be sure to check out the social media sites so you can keep up to date on Q&A conversations, campus activities and fresher updates.

Take this blog as a piece of advice from a now second year university student where I talk about why it is important not to let your course dominate your whole university experience and why you should keep up with your hobbies and not abandon them to focus solely on your course.


When I first started university, I was so ready to dive straight in to work and be on top of my assignments, homework and reading. While I did do this through-out my first year, I now realised how much of the experience of university I missed out on. For example, having last minute, middle of the day movies with my flat, going shopping with my flat-mates, having dinner and lunch together and just missing out on moments because I was always in the library trying to be on top of everything.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing because you do end up being way ahead of everyone in terms of work and you should still try to do this but just remember that this can be done in a way that doesn’t mean you will miss out on a bunch of memories like I did. This is a classic case of do as I say and not as I do…

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My Advice for not letting your course consume you!

I don’t mean that you should completely abandon your lectures and never do your assignments just in case you thought that was what I was saying. If I were to give my first year self some advice I would tell her to go to lectures and do your assignments in a nice relaxed pace and don’t try and get things done and dusted as quickly as possible!

I would tell myself to hang out with my flat more rather than go to library for most of the day because you’re going to miss out on some really good times.

I would tell myself to put time and effort into my course and make sure that I am performing and achieving to the best of my ability but don’t let it take away from your overall experience.

I would finally tell myself to keep up with my hobbies! Luckily I still went to the gym and went for walks which was something I really loved but I also wished I kept doing photography and used my free time to play around with this hobby. This was the most important advice I could have given myself because I got a sense of freedom when I did take a break from my course and focused on my hobby.

My hobby, Photography!

I hope this helps someone who like me, likes to stay on top of work and feels the need to constantly work! Trust me, this quality is a great thing to have when work needs to be done but, when it doesn’t need to be done right away, live your university experience.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt-

Receiving a Halls Offer from Edge Hill

As some of you who are looking to come to Edge Hill get closer to Results day, you may also be waiting to learn of what accommodation you are offered and what to do next. So here’s a quick breakdown of everything you need to know leading up to moving in date.

Receiving your offer

I can’t say for certain but you will probably receive your offer via email on results day, but you could receive it after this date as well I imagine so don’t worry if it’s a bit later. This email will provide you with the details of your offer such as the room you have been given and the cost of said room. Once you have your offer and if you choose to accept it, you can sign your license agreement online. You will also have to pay your damage deposit for the room and set up how you are going to pay for your room, which for most people will be in installments from your student loan.

Changed your mind?

If you decide you no longer want to live in halls at all then this is best communicated to the university as soon as possible so they can offer the room to someone else. If you still want to live in halls but are unhappy with what room you have been given, you should contact the accommodation team directly to discuss.

Final steps

Once you are happy with your living arrangements, all that’s left to do is pick up your keys on Welcome Sunday which is also when you will be given your student Unicard! You might also want to check out the halls handbook because there’s loads of information in those that people always ask me. Hope this helped clear up any questions you may have had, thanks for reading!

Jordan

Organisation for Your Course!

Hey everyone! Not long now until you find out if you have made it into Edge Hill University! I know the feeling of awaiting results all too well and trust me, try not to overthink it, what is for you won’t go by you!

If you have applied to study Primary Teaching at Edge Hill University, I thought I would write a post on how I organised myself before starting the course so that I would be prepared!


Pre-Course Tasks!

Before I started my course at Edge Hill, a couple of weeks after I was accepted into the course, the students were emailed a pre-course booklet that told us about the course, the teaching standards and some tasks for us to engage with before starting.

These tasks included; reading children’s novels, engaging with course reading, updating your subject knowledge and familiarising yourself with the curriculum. It really is not that much work if you start when you get it and just chip away at it each day. My favourite part was reading children’s books because what better excuse do you need to relive your childhood than for your future career?

Text Books!

You will usually have a list of required texts to have before starting the course and you don’t HAVE to buy them but, in my opinion, I found it a lot less stressful to have my own text books for assignments as I didn’t have to fight my way through the library to try and get a copy!

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Campus Society and Facebook Groups

The best thing that I did before starting the course in September was join Campus Society. It is an app that allows you to find people on your course and who live in your accommodations. This helped me feel more relaxed about starting the course as I was already talking to people who were also studying Primary Teaching and knew how I felt.

After being accepted on to the course, I was added into Facebook groups with other people from Primary Teaching. We then made an online group chat and were able to talk to each other about the pre-course task and any worries that we had. I really recommend joining these online platforms if you are worried about starting your course, it helped me a great deal.

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Experience!

This goes without saying that you need to have some sort of experience of primary teaching before starting the course. I was lucky that my mum is a Primary School teacher and I had loads of time in the classroom before starting which made me feel more prepared about starting practice in first year. I even was able to squeeze in a little more experience before starting the course which is never a bad idea!

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I hope that you enjoyed this blog and found it useful! Being more organised and prepared before starting my course really did settle my nerves and lesson the blow of starting university. Just remember that you are doing what you really want to do with your life and so you should enjoy this experience!

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

-Abraham Lincoln-

Home Visits – Can they be hard?

Hey everyone, I hope you are all having an amazing summer so far! I thought I would talk a little more about how I find visiting home both comforting but also a source of discomfort as this is something I quickly realised while in my first year of university. 

Coming from a very family orientated family, I have always loved the thought of going back to Ireland to see everyone and spend some good, quality time with them (and to be fed). However, while this was exciting and relaxing, I found that when it came to coming back to university, I would become a little upset and find it hard to settle back into the routine of living away from my family. 


I found it particularly hard after the Christmas break because I was so used to being at home again and being around my family and so, when it came to moving back over to uni and back to the flat, I suddenly realised that I didn’t want to. This only lasted for a couple of weeks until I settled back again but during that time, I really needed help to make me feel comfortable with being away from my family again. 

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I realise that flying over every weekend or every two weekends isn’t very student budget friendly but, I found that when I had a trip planned to go home for a couple of days I didn’t feel as sad or anxious because I knew that I would be seeing my family and that kept me going until that time arrived. In my first year, I made the mistake of only visiting home if I had a prolonged period of time off university and so as I was home for longer, I was getting too comfortable with being away from university, making it harder to transition back. 

As much as my mum hated this, I made sure to text her or FaceTime her every day while I was away so that I was keeping in contact with her as much as I could while keeping updated with the rest of my family. However, I will say that I may have been a bit smothering about Face-timing back home and texting whenever I could but, at the end of the day, it made me feel better and kept the homesickness at bay.Image result for facetime

It can also be fun to try and plan trips to visit family members who live close by or friends from home that have moved to England for University. This may be quite pricey but, in my opinion, your feelings and mental health come first. If you feel that visiting someone close to you while you are in need of comfort will help you, do it. I was lucky enough to have my cousins live in Liverpool and so, I could visit them when I wanted to or needed to be with family. I also made a couple of trips down to Bath to visit my sister who lives there. Yes, it was pricey but it made me happy. 


I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it helped my fellow Irish students coming to Edge Hill University. I can say truthfully that moving away was the best thing I did for my independence and it really made me appreciate my family more. 

Thank you for reading, Lauren 

 “Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

-Stitch-

Taking a break – Getting excited all over again

Taking a break


Getting excited about things is great. When you are really involved and love what you are doing the job almost seems to do itself. Except that might not last. Eventually the novelty can ware off. In this blog I want to talk about three ways to get yourself reinvigorated and above all excited to start on whatever you might be doing. It could be a job, or even your future.


Take a break

Alright this is the biggest, and simplest. Taking a break from what your are doing is probably the best way to realise why you enjoyed doing it in the first place. Recently I took a break from writing blogs. It was nice to break my routine. But coming back now to write this made me remember that I really enjoy sharing experiences and writing in the first place. So, take a break and regroup even if its just with yourself.


Break up the routine

As I mentioned above, taking a break can really help. But if you can’t do that then maybe its time to change how you work, and shake up your routine for the better. Maybe try doing more at once, and use the flow to propel what you are doing forward. Take a look at how you work, and change it up. Even if you move something as simple as the day you do your work can make a difference.


Consider a change

This is pretty drastic, but making a big change can be the only way to find a way to break the monotony of anything you are doing. Take everything into consideration and figure out for yourself if you need a break or if you truly are sick of what you are doing and need to make a change.


If you want more free and great advice email think@edgehill.ac.uk 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!

University – Expectation VS Reality

Hey everyone! I hope you are having an amazing week whatever you are doing. I thought I would write a blog talking about people’s expectations of university versus the reality of what that expectation is like. I know I am not the only one who binged watched so many ‘moving into uni!’ videos and vlogs on YouTube and somehow built up a somewhat unrealistic image of what life as a university student would be like. 

So, here are a few that I have thought about and I will hopefully be able to do more of these in the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Freshers Flu!

 

Expectation – By the end of your freshers week you will not be able to get out of bed and you will have to buy approximately 16 boxes of tissues and live off headache, cold and flu relief. 

Reality – Not EVERYONE manages to catch this dreaded disease and this is not because they have the immune system of a robot. These people look after themselves on a night out by resting, drinking lots of fluids and eating well eg fruits and wholesome foods. I am one of the many who managed to dodge this expectation and if you are also one of the lucky ones maybe try not to rub it in sufferers faces. 

But seriously, look after yourself during freshers and you should be fine.

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Being Broke 24/7!

 

Expectation – you will only live on pot noodles from Aldi, bread and if you are really lucky you could possibly afford to treat yourself to actual Heinz Ketchup. You will also never have the money to enjoy yourself and if you do, it will only last you a day so spend very wisely.

Reality – Okay, I will admit that life as a student can be really really hard and yes, there will have to be a certain level of budgeting if you want to make life easier for yourself and there will be sacrifices to make but, you will most likely manage just fine if you try and save up before entering student life and spread the costs more evenly. This means you can go out and enjoy yourself with friends and order yourself that pizza after a long night out.

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Constant Partying!

 

Expectation – Monday night after class, flat party. Tuesday night maybe into Wednesday morning before lectures, night out. Thursday, another flat party. Friday, big night out and the weekend? More partying and going out all the time. 

Reality – Yes, you may have more than one night out during the week, especially towards the start and end of your year at university but, all the time? No way. Some nights you may just want to have a simple movie night with your pals, you may also just want to hang out in your room and there is also the chance you will have several game nights that involves playing  the board game that destroys families and relationships but, you will most likely not be constantly partying or surrounded by those who do.

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That is all the expectations versus reality situations for this blog. I would just like to say that these are purely based off of my experiences with university and I am aware that others and your own experiences could be very different. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, Lauren. 

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

-Alexander Pope-

What I’m up to over the summer! ☀️

Summer is finally here!

I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally get some time to myself and rest. The first year of university has been absolutely amazing but also incredibly tiring and it’s nice to take a breather and relax for a bit. I flew back out to Saudi Arabia to spend some time with my Dad. Although I’m waking up at 2pm some days I am also still working and doing things that will support my course.

While I am out in Saudi I have set up a tutoring service for primary level. This is really nice to do as it’s flexible to you and your plans but you are gaining vital experience while you are out of training.

If you are studying Primary Education with QTS it may be a good idea to volunteer at primary schools or try and if there are any summer schools on near you. Head over to this website to see if there are any around your area. It’s not a requirement but it will help you enormous amounts to continue working with children and learning more about great teaching. It also gets you away from Netflix for a bit.

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I am also finally getting to read what I want to read. No more journal articles, textbooks or children’s books. Well, I’m still reading a  few children’s books to add to my reading journal (which again, you should do if you are joining Primary Ed in September) but I’m finally getting to read my own books! Yay!

I am working out here and I’m working a lot because my student loan doesn’t cover the fees for the house I’m living in so I’m saving up to make sure I make my payments and hopefully I can save a little more for myself. I’m hoping to do some driving lessons and my test this year so there may be a post on that too if that is something you’re interested in doing too.

Most importantly, I am chilling out. I am binge watching everything I’ve been wanting too and enjoying the lie-ins. It’s really great spending time with family and friends. I’m going to give myself 6-7 more weeks of me time and then I’m going to slowly get back into Uni-mode.  I hope you’re all really excited for September – you should be!

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