First Blog – The Christmas Lights Turn On

Hey guys! For my first blog post I was going to do a bit about myself, but since I’ve just been to it, I thought I would do one on the Christmas lights switch on in Ormskirk town centre.

While Ormskirk is a pretty small town, there is usually something going on and this weekend was no exception. To be honest, I’m not one to get over-excited about Christmas, in fact I compare myself more to the Grinch then your typical Whovillian (someone who really likes christmas). But I thought it was time I actually went to a ‘switch on’ since I had never actually gone to one before, ( I know right).

Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights

Anyways, to my surprise I was actually pretty impressed by what I saw, for a small town the event sure was popular with the locals, the main square was packed, music was playing and even though it was proper Baltic (freezing) out everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were various stalls of food and drink, doughnuts, sweets, pizzas, pies, and Candy Floss as well as your usual christmas staples like Mince pies. To my dismay, the Gingerbread stall was already gone when I got there which I was proper gutted about considering I had recently found a new interest for the stuff, it’s got quite the history and popularity in Ormskirk.

Ice Sculpture
Ice Sculpture

As well as the various food stands there were also different knick knacks to buy if that’s your sort of thing, if you like Christmas it definitely would be. The countdown was then done by the Town Crier, who when I saw instantly made me think of Homer Simpson yelling HEAR YE HEAR YE. After some dazzling lights switching on, we were treated to a performance from the definitely legitimate Tom Jones, who did a few stone cold classics.

Finally me and my girlfriend grabbed some Candy Floss for the road to satisfy our inner child. All in all a pretty enjoyable mini trip, part of Ormskirk if any prospective students choose to come here, is it’s typical small town charm that you just don’t get in the big cities, which is one of the reasons I chose Edge Hill. Anyways I hope you enjoyed my random segment and see you soon!

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree

 

Contacting Friends at University

It can be hard to keep in contact with friends whilst you are at university. Everyone has so much going on, so arranging time to see one another is near to impossible. Although distance is hard, your friends will understand you have a busy schedule because they are in exactly the same boat!

  1. Who ya gonna call?

When you do have a free moment, try to call a friend. This could be whilst your walking to your next lecture or tidying your flat.

  1. Facetime

Who still uses skype? Or remembers MSN? For some reason, seeing the person your speaking to on screen is something that still excites me – it’s like they’re with you in real life!

  1. The wonders of social media

One reason why I am glad that social media exists, is the chance for communication. I have a few friends currently all around the world for studies and work – America, New Zealand and Spain. By getting constant updates, whether its pictures on Facebook or videos on snapchat, it is nice to see what they’re up to.

  1. Arrange visits

Try to plan ahead and book train tickets in early…they can be quite pricey as you will know! Planning to meet up with a few friends in one place might help reduce costs. Not only do you get to see your friends, it’s the perfect chance to explore new cities! 

  1. The post

If you’re feeling nostalgic, letters through the mail adds a personal touch to your message and it can certainly make someone’s day!

You might get to speak to your friends once a week, or even once a year. Either way, it’s nice to know that they’re only a phone call away! How do you keep in touch with your friends? I hope you’ve had a good first week and enjoy your weekend!

Anna 🙂

Sean’s Random Encounters – Welcome Sunday 2018


Working on Welcome Sunday 2018 as a member of the Campus Life team gave me the opportunity to talk to many of the incoming first years at the university. You would think that this blog would be about freshers moving into halls. Or even a 3rd year returning to a new style townhouse in Woodland Court. But I have a much more interesting person in mind for this month’s edition of random encounters. Michael the student helper.


Image result for edge hill welcome sundayOn Welcome Sunday you will see about 40 or so students running around wearing yellow high visibility vests. Michael was one of these ‘student helpers’. He had given up the last Sunday of his summer to help students move into their on campus accommodation. I had the chance to ask him why.


Image result for edge hill welcome sunday‘I like helping people and I know it was hard for me to start out, so I want to put a smile on someone’s face.’ was the reply when asked why he wanted to work on this stress filled day. He also had no complaints about helping move boxes up and down stairs. ‘Someone did it for me, and i’m doing for them. Circle of life!’


As I thought about the day itself I realised that the student helpers around me were not tired, stressed or burnt out. They were smiling. These people had just spent a full day helping people move into their new homes and it gave most of them a sense of good karma. People like to help other people, and I honestly can say that the people that study, work and volunteer at Edge Hill University are some of the most helpful that I have ever met. The people make the place.


If you want to read more about Welcome Sunday check out my other blog here:

3 Tips for moving to Edge Hill University – Getting ready for Welcome Sunday



That’s all I have for you on this edition of random encounters but if you want to find out more about what to expect on campus you can check out Campus Life at EHU here. And please leave any questions you have for moving in below. You will get a personal response, fast.

And if you want more free and great information 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!

Flight Delays and Replacement Buses – Arriving by Plane to Edge Hill University


Arriving by plane to University can be daunting. I’ve been traveling back and forth from Ormskirk to Ireland for the last two years and although I have taken all manner of transport (Planes, Trains and Automobiles!), I can say with confidence that traveling by plane is the fastest, cheapest (Usually) and most comfortable. So here are three things to consider when flying to the University and check out the blog at the end for how to book and not miss your flight. This blog is going to focus on those of you with flights booked for Welcome Sunday.


1. Getting to the airport

Anyone can book a flight and pack suitcases but can you predict how long a security que will take to pass? Probably not. And trust me, missing your flight isn’t like the American movies where they will ‘rebook you in the morning’. Oh no, no, no. Ryanair wont give you a cabin bag so don’t expect another flight. Make sure you arrive on time and at least a full hour before the flight time to get through security, get to the gate and get on the plane. Check with your local airport and see if they have a security tracker online for the latest que numbers.


2. Taking the right luggage

Make sure you pay attention to what your flight will let you take with you. If you have booked hold luggage make sure you drop it off at the right time and pack everything correctly so it doesn’t break. If you are flying, like me usually, with RyanAir then read the cabin bag policy. The will take the big bags into the hold and smaller ones might be allowed on depending on the flight. Don’t be afraid to ditch luggage altogether and look at shipping to your new home. DHL offer next day service for a reasonable fee and as a regular customer I must say they never fail to deliver.


3. Plan your route from the airport

Don’t rely on google maps or Merseytravel guides to direct you to busses and trains. Plan ahead. This is especially important when the rail service is in upgrades or disputes as rail replacement busses might make you sad and confused. Also ensure you factor in the possibility of a delayed flight. It happens all the time and can cause chaos if you miss the last bus or train. Lucily I have an entire blog about this and you can click the link below to read more about planning your route.


Getting between home and Edge Hill University – Or how not to miss your flight


So that’s all there is to it. Get your flights, plan out your day around it and make backups in case the trains decide to go on strike. It isn’t as hard as you might think and you can do it with the right mind-set and preparation. And remember if you do miss your flight it isn’t the end of the world. You might have to pay for it, but you can always try and book another flight.

For other travel queries about getting to the university and for free advice about life at Edge Hill email think@edgehill.ac.uk

Endings and Beginnings: Starting University

Three fingers as friends

So, first of all, before you move into Edge Hill halls, you need to know what to bring! Here’s a short guide on “What To Bring To Halls”. After moving in it’s time to be “Starting University and Making Friends”, so here is a piece on doing just that! Since I was in first-year, the Facebook groups for halls have changed slightly – now, there is a group for the whole cluster of halls you’re in eg. Back Halls, Palatine Court, not for the single building. Also, instead of it being managed by Student Advisors, they’re managed by a Campus Communicator – which for half the halls groups, is me! Of course, your old friends don’t just disappear after starting and moving to university so here’s my take on “Maintaining Old Friendships in New Places”.

Three fingers as friends

If you’re not someone who enjoys the packed atmosphere of going out, then you might prefer “A Night In On Campus”, board games, movie drinking games, or perhaps an Open Mic Night! During the first few days on campus, you might notice our the lovely “Birds On Campus” – I’m pretty sure there’s now the occasional heron by the North-West lake too! (Don’t forget to say hi to the cats and corvids as well, those witch-y familiars deserve love too).

After settling in during Welcome Week, the biology students amongst you might be wondering what’s next in store. Well, the “First Year Biology Modules” are the same across all biological sciences courses… or were a couple of years ago at least! Plus, the “Biosciences Cyprus Residential” field trip should be just around the corner, with fun and science aplenty.

Additionally, it’s never too early to start thinking about extracurricular activities you could get involved with that will help you develop your CV and yourself as you prepare for postgraduate life. So have a go at “Improving Your CV at EHU” and take a look at the “Fund for Student Opportunities” to see what you could get stuck into. Don’t let this all freak you out though, I know that adjusting to university can be a big step and know you’re not alone in “Coping With University Stress”. Take a breather; watch the birds. 😉

Getting to Know Your Flatmates!

Hey all! I hope you are well!

A couple of days ago I made a post about how you can get to know your flatmates before you get to Edge Hill (click here), but I also wanted to make a post about what you can do to ease yourself in and get to know them once you arrive too with a couple of tricks!

  • Don’t isolate yourself: seems simple, but if you can be a little shy sometimes, like me, then you might want to just hide in your room all of Freshers’ Week, But don’t! It makes it much easier to get to know your flat mates if you’re around to say hi before you all get stuck in to lessons. I took advantage of the common room that was in my Back Halls building and sat in there when I could.
  • Take advantage of Freshers’ Week: the events that are put on by the University and local businesses in Ormskirk on Freshers’ Week are meant to get you to socialise and settle in, so take advantage of them! Whether that’s going to the Freshers’ Fair and bonding over what free stuff you got (honestly, if you like free stuff like me, the Freshers’ Fair is a gold mine!) or going to the annual toga party and dancing around in a costume together, there’s so much to do with your new flatmates!
  • Go grab some food or drinks together: everyone loves going to ‘Spoons (Wetherspoons, for those who don’t know of that abbreviation, you’d be surprised how many people don’t!), so why not have your first flat ‘Spoons and get to know each other. There’s nothing quite like bonding over food or a pint of Dark Fruits (or something non-alcoholic if you don’t drink).
  • Play some silly games: there’s nothing funnier and more capable of breaking the ice with new people than Twister! I found it really made some nights go so well when meeting new people! Also, the University gave each Halls building the Edge Hill Monopoly during my first Christmas at the Uni, so there’s always board games like that too!

So those are just a few different things that I found useful when getting to know the people who I was living with for first year. It’s just nice to have some little ideas and tricks to help things along! I hope this post has helped and will help some of you reading this, but if anyone has any other ideas, I’d love to read them in the comments below!

Driving to Edge Hill University – 400 miles in 8 hours [Part 4]

LK to ORMS


Its time for the final part of this 4 part blog. In this final part I will sum up the journey and answer 3 of the most asked questions I received about the drive itself. I hope these blogs have been genuine help to those of you who are thinking about making the drive to university from afar.


Is it worth it?

Yes, and no. Driving back to collect my things was more for the fun of it rather than anything else. I really enjoy driving so I knew I wanted to make this long drive. But the truth of the fact is I could have posted my stuff back home for a fraction of the cost.

At the same time, living in Ormskirk next year, I am considering keeping my car there permanently. It makes live easy to get shopping and whatnot and gives a real sense of freedom.


How much does it cost

TL;DR – £350

It really depends on the type of car that you drive and how you drive it. First thing first, fuel. It cost me £80 in fuel overall and when I got home I had a little to spare. That was in my 1.4L Citroen C3. Roughly it runs 100 miles to £10.  Alongside that the ferry cost around £225. That was for both of us back and forth.

You need to factor in food and other costs, but you can make it on about £350 or so.


What if something happens

It can be troubling to think that you car could break down or something could happen but its important to think positive. Make sure you plan for the worst possible outcome in any scenario. That could be breaking down, or running out of fuel. Remember that if you do end up breaking down on the motorway its not the end of the world. Check the basics before you start and as you drive.

If the worst happens keep a recovery companies number handy. It is also worth paying for a flexi ticket on the ferry so you can travel whenever you want.


You can read PART 3 here:

Driving to Edge Hill University – 400 miles in 8 hours [Part 3]


That its everything for the last part of this blog. Please leave any questions you have for me below. You will get a personal response, fast.

And if you want more free and great information on any topic 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!

Driving to Edge Hill University – 400 miles in 8 hours [Part 3]

LK to ORMS


We’re coming to the end of the 4 part blog series on driving from Ireland to England and its been fun sharing my experience with you over the last 4 weeks. I think before I sum up everything that happened in the few days of driving between here and there I should give you 3 more practical tips for driving itself. Just like last week they pretty much apply to any long drive that you undertake.


Related image1. Check your car

Long trips can be hard on a cars engine. Make sure you take spare fluids with you. Water, oil, windscreen fluid etc. When you stop off take a few moments to pop the bonnet and take a look. If you don’t know how to check, read your cars handbook.


Image result for traffic report2. Listen to the Traffic Reports

Traffic reports on the radio will give you a good idea on what is up ahead. You can use this knowledge to pick times to stop and have a break while letting the traffic clear ahead. Make sure you also have a look at roadworks and road closures on your route. Google Maps is good for this.


3. Use a good sat navImage result for sat nav

It might be your phone or a classic Sat Nav. Make sure you have something that is going to give you good, reliable and constant directions to where you need to go. I use my phone paired with Android Auto. It works well.


You can read PART 2 of this blog here:

Driving to Edge Hill University – 400 miles in 8 hours [Part 2]


That its everything for part three of this blog. I’ll post more on my trip with in depth photos and advice tonight in the last part of my blog. And please leave any questions you have for me below. You will get a personal response, fast.

And if you want more free and great information on any topic 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!

Last weeks in the USA

During the last few weeks of my time in the United States of America, I had a rapid tour of Washington, D.C.; New York City; and Chicago (although I lived there for around 9 months, there is always more to see – especially since the sun was finally out again)! The day after checking out the National Mall and the Burning Man sculptures (exhibit named “No Spectators”), Diana, who was accompanying me on this whirlwind tour, took me around Georgetown, a really pretty neighbourhood next to the Potomac River that also features a historic canal that is currently being restored. Since there had been a lot of rain before my visit, the Potomac was almost bursting its banks with rapids having formed along its length. From one of the bridges that crossed a sidestream, I was able to see rocks with tiny patches of vegetation hanging on for dear life – even a tiny tree struggling to stand its ground! One person was even kayaking in the main river, not for the fainthearted!

The next day we got a train to New York. Unfortunately, it was raining when we arrived and I, lacking a raincoat, got to ‘jellyfish up’ in a lovely yellow rain mac. The rain let off by the time we had eaten lunch, allowing us to see Times Square without being drenched. If you’ve ever been to London, think Piccadilly Circus but bigger – like most things in the US!

On the following day, we explored many squares in NYC, as well as some parks and Lady Liberty from a distance. NYC has some lovely areas to see, although it’s very compact and pretty busy too. I ate a traditional New York bagel (again, huge) with some vegan garlic and herb cream cheese, which was pretty damn good. Later on, we saw the 9/11 memorial fountains which were quite a sight to see. After seeing the sights, it was time for the flight back to Chicago and catching an Uber to the airport was an absolute nightmare!

To make the most of the sunny weather in Chicago, Diana and I took a trip up to the Chicago Botanic Gardens (CBG), I was particularly interested in seeing the bonsai trees. It’s a huge garden so there was no way for us to see all of it in the time we had, plus, it was far too hot to stay for long. On another sunny day, we visited the beach and I got to play some volleyball – a sport I’ve missed playing a bunch whilst in the states.

In the final few weeks before I left the US, I got to spend some time with some of the wonderful people I met whilst living in Chicago. We played games, went to the Lincoln zoo, had a boozy brunch, took an architectural boat tour, even went out to a club for a drag show. I’m very sad to leave them and my life in Chicago behind, but of course am excited for what the future holds back in the UK, including a summer internship with the Biology department at Edge Hill!

Edge Hill Life Hacks – Everyone’s free (to wear sunscreen)

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen


Coming to the end of my first year at Edge Hill University I thought it would be worth while writing a blog as a homage to one of my all time favourite songs and essays. The title of this blog might seem odd if you haven’t heard Baz Luhrmanns “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”, adapted from Mary Schmich’s column “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” – (You can listen here and read here) but here goes anyway.


If I could offer you only one tip for the future, studying would be it would be it. The long-term benefits of studying have been proved by professors, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own first year experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the experience and ease of first year. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the experience of first year until you graduate. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as far behind as you imagine.

Don’t worry about exams. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to write a dissertation by chewing bubble gum. The real exams in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 8 p.m. before social on Wednesday.

Give something a go every day that scares you.

Karaoke.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Invest in relationships.

Relax.

Don’t waste your time on social media. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s not on a mobile phone.

Remember firsts you receive. Forget the fails. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old essays. Throw away your old timetables.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what job you want from your course. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they were even studying. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds are still in classes.

Get plenty of sleep. Be kind to your ears. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Don’t expect anyone else to write your reports. Maybe you have a best friend. Maybe you’ll have a smart partner. But you never know when either one might not want to help.

Don’t mess too much with your looks or by the time you’re 40 your dyed blue hair will have fallen out.

Be careful whose classes you take, but be patient with those who teach them. Teaching is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the bin, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the studying.