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.

Image result for let's be friends gif

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…

Image result for studying

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-

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!

Image result for okay it's happening gif

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.

Image result for campus society

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!

Image result for work experience

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. 

Image result for crying gif

 

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-

Some things I discovered in the first term…

Hey! 

 I’m going to share with you some things I realised in the first term/year at university and hopefully it can help you get into the swing of things a little easier.

Image result for notebooks and laptop image

Paper or paperless?
I am a huge stationery addict and I’m constantly buying new notebooks and pens for no reason other than ‘it’s pretttttty‘. So when I came to Edge Hill I packed all my notebooks and pens ready to finally use it all. A month in and I realised that I can’t write fast enough in lectures and there is nothing worse than ruining a nice notebook with torn out pages and scribbles. I moved over to my laptop and started to type up notes on here instead and it saved me so much time. Plus, less paper is fewer trees being chopped down – hooray!

Printing:
I took my own printer with me to university. I ended up using the printers at the Catalyst out laziness and also because it was easier than me constantly buying ink. However, I stumbled across something called HP Instant Ink which is a subscription that is much cheaper than buying the cartridges and they send it straight to your door monthly so you don’t have to worry about it at all. This will definitely come in handy in second year when you no longer have the Catalyst on your doorstep.

 

Untitled

 

First Year – An Overview

Okay, I am not going to bore you with the whole ‘it’s true what they say, first years goes by in a blink of an eye.’ because, you will soon find out that this is very true.

I hope you enjoy this blog of my first year at Edge Hill University in three sections that I felt were the most prominent in my year and what I thought would be the most challenging. However, looking back at my first year, I have realised that these sections of my life were much more simple and less stressful than I thought they would be.


At first, I thought that I would never, EVER make any new friends because it felt that all my friends had come naturally to me and I never had to go out of my way to make friends. However, looking back at my year, I realised that all my friends I have made at university have come naturally without me even knowing it. I want to make this point first because I know how scary the prospect can be. The best advice I can give you is to BE YOURSELF! You will attract the right people into your life like I did.

I even realised this year as a ‘newbie’ to university, my independence has grown so much. For example, I can cook! Who would have guessed that I was able to keep myself alive with the meals I make? There is obviously more to becoming independent like; washing your own clothes, shopping for food and getting yourself up in the morning but, I am so happy that I learned what I did about living away from my mum and dad because, I can already tell that it will/has benefit me in the future.Image result for independence

Assignments! They sounded scary to me at first and, truth be told, I did give myself a headache on the day I was getting my first results back but that is just me being dramatic. I quickly realised that if I really organised myself, assignments and deadlines would not be an issue and that is exactly what I did.

I don’t mean to boast but I did meet my deadlines often long before they were due and I still achieved great results…I’m just saying. Organisation in first year  is key.Image result for i'm just saying gif

 


I hope that this helped calm your nerves about starting first year. I found that looking back on my time at university, I definitely over-thought these things and I should have been more relaxed about making new friends, living on my own and completing assignments. However, I also found that being myself and not trying to fit in with the crowd really benefited me and I hope it will for you to.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

-Oscar Wilde-

How to prepare for Primary Education with QTS at Edge Hill 👩🏽‍🎓

Illustration+-+Bunting+(Mint)

Hello!

September is edging closer and closer, and while I urge you to enjoy this time off as much as possible it is important to keep in mind that you are soon going to be a university student and organisation is absolutely paramount. If you are going into the Primary Ed course then look out for summer tasks as last year we had a pre-course summer booklet to work through. I am unsure if this is the case this year but do check. We did use them in our first few weeks – especially the reading.

Read read read:
Whether or not you have a pre-course booklet or whether or not it is included in any task you receive, you must read some children’s books over the summer.  It was part of our summer task but then ended up being part of a requirement for the English subject: to read 10 children’s books. If you can get a head start during the summer then do that, you will thank yourself later – trust me!
These are some great ones to start with:

Books

Get onto Pinterest and start looking at teaching ideas:
If you haven’t heard of Pinterest then I may be about to change your life. Pinterest is a sort of social network where you can find inspiration and ideas for hobbies and stuff, however, if you just type in ‘teaching’ you will be bombarded by hundreds and thousands of teaching ideas. It is important not to become a ‘Pinterest teacher’ where you can’t make anything up from your own creativity but it’s great to go on and find some inspiration.  I would have a look before you come on the course and before your first placement!

Click the image below to have a quick look at some ideas ☺️

Pinterest Screenshot

Social Media and EduTwitter:
When you arrive in September the tutors will talk to you about your social media presence and how it all needs to be privatised and carefully checked to ensure you aren’t being unprofessional. I can’t stress how important this is because teachers from your placement will absolutely check your social media before you arrive so making a good impression is important.

Tutors will also direct you to Twitter, EduTwitter to be precise. This is kind of like Pinterest but on a different format. It’s teachers helping other teachers. There is a lovely welcoming atmosphere to trainees, which to be honest with you I didn’t expect, but they all want to help. So set yourself up a new professional account and get involved in teacher twitter. Follow me on Twitter if you are interested and I will contact you with more advice in this area!
https://twitter.com/EHUMissWindross

Twitter Screenshot

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you in September ☺️

Untitled

Open Day at Edge Hill University!

If you’re like me and you like to know what you’re getting yourself into, then I highly advise registering for an Open Day at the universities you’re applying to. They can be very important when coming to decide what university is right for you and where you see yourself studying.

In today’s blog, I will be talking about how you can find the information you need about Open Days, planning ahead and where I think you should visit when you come to an Edge Hill Open Day!

Hope you enjoy!


Information is Key!

Finding out as much as you can about your university can be essential, especially if you need to plan out your day. You can find useful information about the Open Day on the university website as well as looking on their social media platforms where most universities are quite active.

These platforms will give you the information needed before coming to an Open Day such as when it is, what times and where you should visit. What I liked most about the Edge Hill University Instagram is that it often records places on campus so that you can have an idea of what you’re coming to see. They also keep me updated as to what is happening on campus, such as events during Open Day.

Plan Ahead!

I am the kind of person who likes to know what they are doing and when they are doing it. It makes life a whole lot smoother, trust me. Open Days can be rather overwhelming and exciting because of all the opportunities around you and the buzz in the atmosphere as you explore your new environment, and this is why planning ahead on your Open Day should be a major consideration. For example;

  • Arrive as early as you can – this will allow you to see as much as you can and get the best experience of the day.
  • Make a plan of what you really want to see first to avoid disappointment. However, our helpful guides will make sure that doesn’t happen.
  • If you are travelling as a group, it may be better to split up into a smaller group so you can cover more ground. I found that this was helpful as it meant that if there were two people who wanted to visit a certain spot on the campus and the other two wanted to visit somewhere else, we didn’t waste time walking around somewhere that was not related to the course.
  • Organise a tour guide as soon as you register. This will ensure that you are again, not wandering around aimlessly when you could be attending important information sessions or events. However, it is quite easy to lose track on our scenic campus…
  • Campus map! This is very self-explanatory but collecting one of these at the Open Day saved me from a lot of arguments about who turned the wrong direction. Trust me on this…use a map.

Additionally, if you are like me and have had to fly in to attend an Open Day, make sure that you arrive early enough at the beginning of the Open Day to avail of the events and have enough time to catch your flight if you are leaving the same day. This was what I was most concerned about when attending university Open Days across the water, not being able to have the time to see everything. However, in my experience, if you let the leaders or an organiser know your situation, they will try to ensure that you are able to visit all the places on campus that you want to.

Places to See!

  • Catalyst – I may be biased because I attend Edge Hill University and spend a great deal of time here, but I highly recommend visiting our shiny new catalyst building. Its modern feel makes studying and essay writing a much more relaxed experience with snacks and drinks available at the café, which will be open for Open Day!
  • Sports Centre – this is one of my favourite places on campus. It’s amazing facilities and classes makes exercise fun and inclusive. While you are there, why not take a walk around the track and field?
  • Accommodation blocks – I am really glad that I came to the Open Day, especially to have a closer look at the accommodation. It is not only important to see where you will be studying but to also see and feel where you could potentially be living. Select rooms at the accommodation blocks will be open for visitors to have a look around which is really vital when considering applying for the accommodation on campus.
  • The Hub – the name says it all. The Hub at Edge Hill University is the centre of the campus where you will see a lot of events and buzz about. We have our local convenient shop, eatery, Starbucks and places to meet up with friends. Also, it is a great base place on Open Day if you ever get separated from your family or friends.

My Experience of an Open Day!

When I first arrived at my Open Day at Edge Hill University, I was really surprised as to how many people were there to help you. As soon as I walked on to the campus, there was someone directing me to where I should go. This definitely calmed my nerves and helped me to focus more on what I wanted to see on campus and not about what would happen if I got lost…

I also made sure to attend as many talks as I could during Open Day, particularly if it was about my course that I had applied to do. This allowed me to have a much more in-depth understanding of what my course entailed. Hearing from other students on the course really helped my decision as I was able to listen to their own personal experiences of being on the course. Make sure you ask any questions or queries you have about the course!

I would also recommend that if you are travelling like me, bring an extra bag. You would be surprised how many information booklets you will collect that you didn’t even know you needed. You may even find that you pick up some other freebies along the way.

Extra Information You Will Need!

To book your place for an open day here, at Edge Hill University, follow this link to complete your online booking form and you will be ready to go! – https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/study/visit-us/open-days/

If you want to find out any further information like, where to find Edge Hill, visit our website! – https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/location/


I hope that you enjoyed this post and found it helps you for your future Open Day. Make sure to book your place and don’t hesitate to ask any questions!

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

 -Malcolm x-

Prepare Yourself for University – What no one tells you!

Hello everyone! I thought I would do a post all about how to prepare yourself for a university life and becoming more independent as it is rather different to living at home. I really wish I had prepared myself more for starting university as I got the shock of my life when I arrived and my parents left me all alone.

Really hope you enjoy this post and find it useful!


Start to cook for yourself!

You might be thinking, “it’s fine, I’m pretty sure I know how to turn the oven on and throw in some frozen chips etc.” This may work for the first few weeks of cooking for yourself but there comes a time when you crave a good, healthy, wholesome meal that didn’t come out of the freezer. 

Picture courtesy of @aliceliveing on instagram!

Being able to make your own meals from scratch that are healthy and make your flat mates jealous is such an essential skill for university. Luckily I cooked a lot for myself before I moved out but since living on my own, I have explored many dishes that are super easy to make and are so good for me! Start now and discover your love for cooking!

Do the washing!

Not going to lie, I did not do a lot of my own washing before I came to university. The only time I did do any washing was when I had to get it out of the washer and hang it up on the line. Let me tell you now, washing all your own clothes is not fun so I would highly suggest to start early and get used to it.

However, saying that, it does feel strangely rewarding to come back from the laundry room and have lovely clean clothes. Always a silver lining!

Push yourself!

This is something I was wish I had done before coming to university. I was never very good at conversational skills and kept to myself a lot. When I came to university, socialising and talking to new people was a whole other concept to me. I came to campus as a really shy, introverted  Irish girl who couldn’t hold a decent conversation for more than 3 minutes.

I wish that I pushed myself more to open up to people and learn how to talk to new people before coming to university as I know for a fact this would help me make friends quicker and not feel so nervous about the situation. You could do this by joining a club in your hometown so that you can familiarise yourself with talking and socialising with people you have never met before.

Be more independent!

The above pointers all kind of link to this one but I want to speak about this one more generally. What I mean about being more independent is not relying on the people at home to do things for you like cook, clean, washing the clothes, do the food shopping etc.

Before I moved out of my home, I made the conscious decision to do more things for myself. I generally was already quite independent but I wanted to make sure that I could handle the things that my mum or dad would normally help out with. For example, the summer before university started, I started to do the food shop by myself instead of my mum and I going together. It was hard shopping for five people but it definitely prepared me for when I started to do my own shopping. Another independent task I started to do for myself was the dreaded…booking your own doctors appointment. I know, I know, it seems scary but, that is what independence feels like sometimes!

 


All jokes aside, becoming more independent before coming to university 100% helped with the transition. It may seem awful to start with but it has to happen sometime, so why not start now?

I hope you enjoyed this post and find it helpful! See ya next time – Lauren x

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

– Coco Chanel-

Get Ready With Me For the Week Ahead!

Hey everyone! I hope you are all having an amazing weekend. Some people dread the weekend coming to a close and we all have experienced the Sunday night blues when you know that you have a long week ahead of you.

I still sometimes experience this but ever since starting university, I love using my Sunday to relax but to also prepare myself for Monday morning. Keep reading to find out what I do!


Meal Prep!

As I am currently on my first professional practice as a trainee teacher, finding time during the week to make my lunches everyday is quite hard as I don’t return back to my flat until 6pm. This is why meal prepping is so handy. 

On a Sunday night, I dedicate at least 30 minutes or an hour to prepare my lunch for the week. This means that when I get back from school, I don’t have to worry about taking time out of my lesson planning to make my lunch for the following day. Even if you are not on placement, preparing your lunch or dinner for the week means that you have so much more time to work or write your assignments.

Disclaimer – my meal preps do not look as aesthetically pleasing as this. Thanks Google!

 

To Do List

As I have mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I am a huge fan of diaries. It wasn’t until I started university did I fully appreciate keeping a to do list in my diary. 

Every Sunday morning, I sit in the catalyst, open my diary and plan out what I need to get done this week, when I can fit in a gym session and what lessons I am going to be teaching. In a weird way, making a to do list for the week makes me feel less stressed about all I have to do. I can see what needs to be done and I have made sure that I have to the time to complete them whilst also fitting in when I can do the things I enjoy.

What my Sunday mornings look like!

 

Pack!

This one may sound very condescending and bring you back to the days in high school when you forgot a book and your teacher said, “did you not pack your bag the night before?” Just me?

Anyway, I always make sure that I pack my bag for the following day. On a Sunday, I check that I have all the books I need for classes throughout the week meaning I have time to go to the catalyst and get any books that I do not have.

Packing your bag the night before also allows for extra time in the morning to make a good breakfast rather than rushing around trying to find a missing book.

My school bag is not as nice as this and so, Google images comes to the rescue once again!

 

Mentally Prepare Yourself 

Many people find Sunday nights quite stressful because of the looming week ahead and this is not a good way to start your week. 

As well as preparing everything and making sure I have everything sorted for the week, I also try to prioritise some ‘me’ time. This usually consists of going for an early morning or late evening walk, going to the gym, watching a TV show or reading a book. I try to do at least three of these things on a Sunday to give myself enough time to relax and calm my thoughts before starting a busy week!

One of my early, Sunday morning walks!


And that is how I prepare myself for a busy week! I genuinely love my Sunday ‘ritual’ because I feel so much more organised and relaxed about Monday morning.

Remember, the start of the week does not have to be so horrible, take it as an opportunity for a fresh start, a clean slate and not look at it so negatively. I hope you enjoyed this blog, see ya next time!

“Have a wonderful Monday and make the saying by Dennis P. Kimbro: “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it” your motto.”

-sweetytextmessages.com-