Being Vegan or Vegetarian at Edge Hill University!

Hey everyone! With the rise in veganism, vegetarianism and just the general rise in people eating less meat in their daily lives, I thought that I would put a simple post together on how this can be done at Edge Hill and in Ormskirk as it is a small area with a much more limited choice than you would get in a city. I myself don’t consider myself vegan or vegetarian as I still eat fish and eggs but no dairy, red meat, chicken, etc. When I moved into university and was living on my own, I began to make more plant based and vegetarian meals which were quite easy. I know that this lifestyle can be quite tricky for people but hopefully this post will help some of you!


Shopping!

This was what I found the easiest when I first started eating more plant based. I shop in Aldi and Iceland because they are cheap and I can get everything I need for a week for under £20! Iceland have a whole section of plant based foods such as pizza, sausages, meatballs, burgers, pies and chicken strips! Aldi have the most amazing beetroot burgers and sweet potato burgers that go amazing with some frozen and roasted veg and potatoes! I also bulk buy the cans of chickpeas and butter beans because these can be so amazing in a curry or in a salad. Leading a more plant-based lifestyle does not have to be expensive!

Image result for aldi

I would also shop a little in Holland and Barrett for things I might not be able to get in the main food shops such as tofu, tempeh and Linda McCartney items (if you know, you know) and these items would usually last me a couple of weeks as they can be frozen. Morrisons is also a good place for vegan, vegetarian and free from options but if you want to stick to a cheaper option, I would opt for Aldi or Iceland.

Eating Out!

I thought that when I moved to Ormskirk I would never be able to find anywhere with vegan or dairy free options but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was way easier than it was in my own home town. I will compile a little list of all the places that have a vegan menu or that I find are really accommodating to this type of lifestyle;

  • The Fat Italian – has a full vegan menu
  • Cobble – really good carrot and hummus bagel, just saying
  • Nordico Lounge – vegan-friendly
  • The Bagel Deli – vegan bagels, need I say more?
  • Wetherspoons – vegan meals on a budget? Perfect.

You can also treat yourself to going into Liverpool if you want even more options but for Ormskirk being so small, it is amazing what you can get.

Take Outs!

This is what I have found to be the hardest part about living this lifestyle because there is cheese or milk in A LOT of takeaway places however, I did manage to get a vegetarian dominoes pizza delivered to my flat with the rest of my flat mates which was really really nice but not vegan. Also, in terms of getting a Chinese takeaway, there is no harm in asking what they have that you could eat. I got a black bean dish from a local Chinese takeaway which was dairy free and full of veggies!

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Ordering food to the flat and getting a takeaway is a lot harder on this lifestyle but if you know that your flat mates will be having food like this, be prepared and have a frozen pizza in the freezer just incase so that you don’t feel like you are being left out.


I hope that some of you found this useful and are not so worried about having difficulty with continuing your amazing vegan/vegetarian/dairy free lifestyle. It was only when I started university that I cut out a lot of meat products and started cooking plant based meals and I would not have been able to do that if Ormskirk had not made it as accessible as it has.

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

-Albert Einstein-

IT Support and Student Services

In the two years I’ve been at Edge Hill University, I’ve had to use the various support systems a few times, and I’ve always had a positive response from them. The Student Services at EHU are well renowned and really are there for the benefit of the student.

During first year, I went to the IT Services in the Durning Centre for help setting up my PS4. I was staying in Chancellor’s Court, and no-one had managed to connect their consoles to the wifi or ethernet ports in their bedrooms. Soon, the problem was fixed for Microsoft consoles, but the issue still presided for the Sony counterparts. This was an issue with Sony servers – from the gist of it, Sony wasn’t realising that the halls of residence were multiple addresses and had assumed we were one address trying to connect huge numbers of consoles. After the off-site issue was resolved, I worked with IT Services to help them connect my PS4 to the network; it took a couple of tries over a few phone calls, but we soon had it working. As far as I know, I was one of the first, if not the first person in Chancellor’s Court to get their PS4 connected. Soon after, IT Services set up a system via email to get everyone online a lot easier.

I’ve also had to go to IT Services and Academic Registry to alter some personal details, these were also easily remedied and proved no hassle at all. The support systems in place for technical issues is quite robust.

Also during first year, I made some trips to Milton House, for a different kind of support. Although I only attended a few sessions there, it was a great facility and the people there were extremely supportive of me. The Counselling team at Milton House offer a wide range of support from bereavement to anxiety in one-on-one sessions as well as groups and workshops for uni stress.

How to Adult- Part 2!

Hi guys! Hope you’ve had a great start to May and a great start to a new week.

I recently made a post about some of the things that are important once you come to Uni and become a more independent young adult (click here to see that post). There was a lot I could talk about, so I couldn’t fit it in one post, but here’s another post where I’ll focus on such things! I’ve chosen to discuss more personal issues you might come across at Uni in this post, but there will be further posts on this topic in the coming weeks!

Homesickness

Sadly this can happen at any moment at Uni, and was especially prominent in Freshers’ Week for me. I have never been away from my home and family (including my dogs and cats!) for more than a week, so upon moving in to my accommodation and spending more than a week living independently I got quite homesick. I still occasionally have times when I get homesick even now, 8 months on, but this is totally natural, especially if you have a close-knit family.

Although it’s not the most pleasant of feelings, there are many things you can do to combat homesickness:

  • Lean on your friends: once you’ve made friends with your flatmates, coursemates or anyone you meet in September (read my tips on making friends here), talk to them! If you’re feeling homesick, they probably know the same feeling. After all, you’re all in the same boat. They can hang out with you and help cheer you up. So don’t be afraid to say when you’re a little down about missing home! Strength comes in numbers.
  • Skype/phone your family: of course, when you’re homesick you’d rather have your family with you in person, but hearing their voices or seeing them really helps. You could make this a regular thing, maybe phone your parents every weekend or two if that helps you.
  • Speak to the support team at the Uni: the University has a great support system for students who are feeling homesick. The Health and Wellbeing team (click here to see their webpage) are located on campus and are there for any issues surrounding your wellbeing, so if you’re feeling especially bad, talking to them might help you. They might give you more tips on how you can feel less homesick too. If it gets really bad, there is also a counselling service which operates both on a requested appointment and drop-in basis (click here to see a webpage on the Milton House councilling team).

Dealing with living in Shared Accommodation

Although many Graduates talk about how living in University Halls was an experience they wouldn’t have wanted to miss, living in shared accommodation has it’s highs and lows. Firstly, it’s unlikely you’ll be in accommodation with someone you already know. On the one hand this is great, I’ve made some friends for life despite worrying about making any friends at all. However, on some occasions there are going to be people that you don’t click with as well. My biggest tip for situations with people in your accommodation that are maybe causing issues is to just keep your space from them. Of course, you’re living in the same building, but if you just keep to yourself and say hello when they’re in the communal areas with you and be polite you should both be able to come to a happy place within the accommodation. If this isn’t working, or if you are having further issues, maybe speak to them in person and discuss what it is that isn’t going right between you. As long as you stay polite and considerate of their situation then you shouldn’t have any major issues with the people in your flat.

Any other issues, more of the serious kind, within your accommodation can be solved by firstly speaking to your Student Assistant. Each type of accommodation has a Student Assistant, a 2nd or 3rd year student that works in co-ordination with the University support staff to ensure that any issues are dealt with appropriately and swiftly. SA’s are brilliant when you’re having issues within your flat, as they are in a similar position to you and can sometimes speak to you on maybe a more personal level than a member of staff, as they are someone you are living with/near too. If your issue is not resolved by your SA, you can speak to the Campus Life staff, who will usually take a more formal approach to solving the issue but are there for more serious issues if you need them. So there’s the support system there if you do come across any issues!

Victoria Loftus recently posted a great blog on Shared Accommodation which you can read here:

Sharing Accommodation

 

I hope you all find this information helpful! These are only 2 of the topics I could speak about, but I will be posting more on independent life in the coming weeks so keep your eye out! Hope you have a wonderful afternoon 🙂

Support at Edge Hill

I’ve found that the support available at Edge Hill has been incredibly useful, particularly in my second year. Last year, I didn’t find myself homesick at all; I enjoyed my newfound freedom and university was was a whole new experience. My second year is when I found myself missing home more often; I was with completely new people in a house and the stresses of the course were just… different.

Yet I wasn’t alone.

Edge Hill has a whole host of support networks to help you out when you’re feeling down.

First and foremost is your personal tutor. This is someone who oversees both your academic and personal progress, and can help you out with any worries you may be having. My personal tutor and head of year have both been absolutely fabulous this year in help me work through my stress, including granting extensions when necessary, and helping me prioritise the work that needs to be done, over work that can wait a little longer until I’m of better health – both physical and mental.

Secondly, there is the team in the Student Information Centre who can help you with Health and Wellbeing in general. They’re based on campus, and are there for you to talk to and give you advice on where to go to next, based upon your worries. For example, if it’s money troubles you’re having, there’s someone you can speak to about that. If you’re falling behind in work because you’re ill, there’s someone you can speak to. They’re sort of a first port of call for advice.

Another great source of support are the student workshops which Edge Hill offer both on campus and over at Milton House. These range from advice on dating, to overcoming homesickness, to avoiding procrastination. Check out the link for the full range of workshops Edge Hill offers.

Finally for this list, there is counselling at Milton House, which is just behind campus on Ruff Lane. Appointments here tend to last between 6-8 sessions, unless the counsellor believes there is a need for further sessions. These can be really useful if there is a further issue that needs to be addressed, and usually you’ll be able to see someone within a week of contacting them, unlike if you go to your GP surgery.

This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it highlights to you just how much support there is available here at Edge Hill and make you feel a little more comfortable about your choice to come here.

Coping With University Stress

Although I have found university to be a freeing and joyous experience overall, it can be a tad stressful from time to time. When you first experience stress at university varies (if you even experience it at all), it may come shortly after moving into halls; halfway through the first semester; or perhaps during one of your exam periods. Luckily, it’s not the end of the world. It’s very common to have some form of worry whether it be because of your course, the new environment, or new people, and Edge Hill University is equipped to deal with this scenario.

Student Services have a branch dedicated to the wellbeing of students: Counselling and Wellbeing Services. They offer free sessions and workshops on relaxation and stress management, as well as support groups for things such as bereavement or loss. Their dedicated page to relaxation can be found here.

There are also personal things that you can try to reduce your stress levels during times of worry. Here are my main three that help me keep calm in moments of panic:

Blogging

Specifically two forms – active and passive. My active blogging is similar to what I’m doing as I type this, and the result is similar to what you’re reading here right now. Simply writing down all the thoughts in your head – a brain dump – can alleviate a lot of stress, whether it’s posted on a public blog like this, or a private one more akin to a diary. Instead of having things constantly occupying your mind for attention, you can separate yourself from any troubles and take a fresh look at the world (and hopefully see it isn’t as bad as you thought).

What I mean by passive blogging on the hand (if you can even really call it that), is using sites like Tumblr. Whenever I scroll down my dashboard on a typical day, anything soothing, cute, reassuring or funny gets tagged by me, and sorted into categories on my blog. Then, whenever I’m having a rough day, I can scroll through all these lovely posts – be it pictures of cats, funny test posts, or calming art.

Meditation

Something else that helped me a lot though my years of sixth form, was meditation. Admittedly, I’ve fallen out of practise in recent times, but it’s worth mentioning – since it even helped with my anxiety at the time as well. I personally used an app called Headspace, which has an unlimited free trial but also a paid subscription for more directed sessions. Headspace essentially is like a podcast, in that you listen to it from your phone or computer and are spoken to (if you’ve ever listened to Welcome To Night Vale, think of Cecil’s soothing tone). They also run a Get Some / Give Some scheme, which is a lovely way of giving back and supporting those who have gone through a whole manner of hardships.

There are of course other permanent, free, meditation aids. Two more that I myself have not tried, but have downloaded at some point or another are, Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think.

Friends

Of course, there’s nothing like having friends to fall back on in times of stress. A close few who you can rely on to back you up when you’re feeling down are always nice. Plus, if the tables turn and they’re the ones who are stressed, there’s not much better than being able to make someone feel calm again.

The Things You Don’t Think About…

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t give a second thought as to my doctors/dentist situation before coming to uni! The first time I thought about this was when it was mentioned at freshers’ fair during the first week!

At the freshers’ fair there are stalls of local doctors and dentists in Ormskirk which offer more information on signing up. I highly recommend that you do this as you’ll be at uni for around 9 months and unfortunately there’s a high chance you’re going to get ill – especially with freshers’ flu knocking about!

I was ill quite a bit during my first year, I didn’t have the best luck! I would suggest that you visit your doctors before you come to university, they may suggest getting a meningitis jab, something worth thinking about it to stay on the safe side.

Anyway as a heads up I can tell you what’s available at Edge Hill/Ormskirk, the best facility I’ve found is the walk-in centre at the hospital. It is literally a 5-minute walk from the back entrance at uni, not far at all! You don’t need to be signed to a GP either to visit which is great if you’ve forgotten or haven’t got round to it! Here’s a link for more information in regarding what they treat at the walk-in.

The Uni also offers a health and wellbeing service at Milton House, which again is about a 2 minute walk from the uni’s back entrance! The Student Wellbeing team provides a range of support on areas including mental health and wellbeing, sexual health, diet and exercise, and drugs and alcohol. For more information please look at this link provided by Edge Hill to the available health services on campus. Also via the link you can look at the nearby GP/dentist services in the local area.

Best of luck, take care of yourself!

Where to go for a helping hand…Part 2

As previously promised, here is the second part in the ‘Where to go for a helping hand’ series! This will include the Heath and Wellbeing and Counselling section of the Student services team.
So let’s get straight into it, first things first is Health and Wellbeing, the Student Wellbeing team provides a range of support on areas including mental health and wellbeing, sexual health, diet and exercise, and drugs and alcohol. So if you have any worries while you’re at university in any of those areas then this team is on hand to help you out. The team of experts on-hand are there to help you and guide you in whatever way they can, and to help you feel happy and secure at university.
In a similar sense Counselling and Wellbeing are also a really lovely team at Edge Hill that are also there for the students and they offer help in finding solutions to problems, ways of coping, or just a safe place to talk. Whatever you’re feeling, no matter how big or small of an issue you think it is they are on call. Maybe for example you’re living with people you may not like, coping with feeling lonely or homesick, or maybe balancing the demands of your studies with family commitments or even if you need support working through those times when you feel stressed or anxious, focusing on the positives.
They also provide a range of other services, including:
Relaxation sessions – how to deal with stress, how to feel calmer and sleep better;
Workshops – covering topics such as confidence, assertiveness, stress management and procrastination;
Group work – sessions for particular groups of students, for example, overseas students or those with family responsibilities;
Support groups – particularly useful for if you’ve suffered a recent bereavement or loss;
Access to dedicated electronic resources where you can find information from different organisations on a range of issues and topics.

We are so lucky at Edge Hill to have such dedicated, warm and welcoming and lovely support team, and they really are there to help you and support you with whatever you may be going through. Being away from home for the first time can be very daunting and its great to know there is somewhere you can go for any of your worries.