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-

 

Tackling those pesky assignments! 💪🏽📝

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After just handing in one of the hardest assignments of this year, I feel like I didn’t do too badly. If you put in the prep and don’t leave it until last minute you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll do. I’m going to give you an insight on what our assignments are like on Primary Ed , they differ per course, and some tips that have helped me stay a little ahead of the workload.

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Start early and get to the library! 📚
This year we have eight assignments that roll one after another, so you’ll always have your head in at least one assignment. Some people overlap the assignments and can do two at a time, those people are magicians. When I start a new assignment I get a gist of what it’s about and head to the library to get as many books out as I can on the topic. They want you to show wider reading so using books and journal articles are the best way to prove this, and also get a better understanding of what’s going on.

Know what you have to do before you start note taking. 📝
There’s no point taking notes without knowing exactly what you need to do. For example, the assignment title I’ve just submitted asked us to ‘evaluate’, meaning we need to find the strengths, weaknesses and any contrasting perspectives. I do two things. Either, take notes on different books and articles then grab four highlights and assign a topic to each colour like strengths are highlighted in pink, weaknesses in yellow etc. Then if you need to find any strengths you can look through all your pink highlighting. Or, the second thing I’ve discovered helps kill some time is to write all the strengths together (with the reference at the end so you don’t forget who said it) and just flick through those points when writing. I’ve used both of these methods and they both help speed up my actual writing of the assignment. It may feel like a lot of preparation but it helps if you know exactly what you want/need to say so you can write the assignment a lot quicker. 

Be disciplined, overlap if you can. 🔮
Like I said before, magicians. It’s hard for me to overlap assignments but it’s not impossible. I like to focus all my attention on one thing but if I absolutely had to I would work on another at the same time. Fortunately, they given you enough time between them, but only if you’re on the ball. If you leave everything to last minute you’ll be pulling all-nighters in the library, so try and be disciplined with your time management. Know how much time you can have to yourself but put time aside to get work your work done.

Write when you are ready. 🤓
Sometimes I’ve said to myself, just write your introduction then it feels like you’ve done something, but then it ends up being that much waffle you could pour syrup on it. It’s much better, like I said before, to write when you know exactly what you want to say.

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Edge Hill University offer workshops and services for students that are struggling with writing, referencing, note-taking and many more academic skills. They’re always around the library ready to answer questions. There’s a huge support system here at Edge Hill and I’m very grateful to be here.

Thanks for reading! Don’t hesitate to leave any questions ☺️

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What’s the First Week of Uni Like?

Hey everyone, since it’s the time of the year where prospective students are submitting applications for uni. I’m going to continue along the theme of some of my previous blogs talking about preparing for university, by talking about the first week, also known as Welcome Week.


If you choose to stay on campus walking into your new room for the first time is one of the craziest things, it’s exciting and scary in equal measure. The student realisation that your parents aren’t going to well, parent you all the time was for me a really surreal feeling. The next thing you will want to do is meet all your other flatmates, I already talked about this in a previous blog so I won’t go on but if there are people in the kitchen just talk to them, it makes life much less awkward in the coming days.


There is loads of stuff going on over Welcome week from fun day activities to events in the evening held in the SU. In my first year we had things like inflatables and mini gold during the day, and disco’s and dj’s like Kristian Nairn (Hodor from GOT) in the night. In the first week Edge Hill does go all out on its events so if you want to, go out and enjoy them because they are there for the students anyways! Don’t feel like you need to go out every night for the first week, I mean you can but, I’d rather not.


As well as the various events throughout the day. You will also begin your course, don’t worry though they ease you in nicely. I had a couple of lectures/classes where things were fairly casual, just talking about what we would be doing throughout the year, sorting timetables things like that. Nothing to warrant any studying or much work, yet. I do Film and TV Production and so we had a media challenge that we could take part in, just a basic ice-breaker to get us used to classrooms and our course mates etc.


Before you know it the first week will be over and you will probably be reasonably well settled in. It’s ok to still be adjusting as it’s a big change from home life, but if you are still struggling after a while then there are counselling services on campus that are available if you’re needing help. But overall the first week is chill just take it easy and hopefully enjoy it!

Jordan

welcome week poster

Living in halls or living off campus? 🤔🚗🛌

First things first, Merry Christmas! 
Why I’m writing this post on Christmas day is as baffling to me as it is to you, but here we are!

So I want to talk to you guys about the decision you may have to make about whether to live in halls or to live off campus. This could be an easy decision for some, but if you’re like me, it can be tough and may take a while for you to come to a decision. 🤔

Coming to university as a 22 year old and having the third years still be younger than you is amusing as it is saddening. So the idea of halls for me was a huge NO 🙅🏽. However, everyone I spoke to really urged me to live in halls for the first year. Their reasons were:

  • It’s close to your buildings, classes and the library.
  • It’s way more social living on campus and you’ll meet so many more people than you would living off campus.
  • It’s nice to move away from home for a little bit and learn to be independent.

I’ve already lived away from home and living away from my family is really nothing new to me, so being independent is something I’ve been for a long time. But it is a great way to learn some independence!

I was so against living with people aged 18-20 but I can say with all my trust and confidence it is the best decision I could have made. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely the Mum (I prefer ‘older sis’) of the flat, but everyone was right, it’s far more social and you meet some great people. 🥂

It’s nice if you start to feel homesick, or a little trapped, that you can wander into the kitchen and have a cup of tea or watch a movie with someone who is in the exact same boat as you. It really helps.

 It’s also only a 10 minute walk to my building and it’s a great feeling leaving a lecture or seminar and knowing you’ll be back in bed in no time. It’s a short walk to the library or The Hub if you need to get out of halls and need a little time to yourself. 🍃

The decision is, of course, up to you but as someone who struggled with deciding, I would urge you to try it. You have the ability to be put on a transfer list if you’re not happy with your halls or if you wish to change to off-campus, but I would say, try it.

I hope this has helped in some way in making your decision. It’s a hard one and I have to say if you are leaning towards living off campus, there are student houses that are lovely and really close to the University, but living on campus definitely has more pros! Thanks for reading ☺️

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Balancing your time – Work, play and study at Edge Hill University


Balancing time can be a challenge at the best of times. At university you might find you have less than you imagined, especially if you are trying to have a vibrant social life while working a part time job. I wanted to share three tips of mine to try and help you balance your time and keep yourself chilled out so you can be the best version of you.


Keep track

If you are trying to balance the time you have between a few tasks such as work and study you might find it easier if you keep a list or a schedule of the amount of time you have to dedicated to each. Maybe you will find you are spending way to much time on one.


Stick to your plans

If you make plans to do something you should stick to it. Even if that means going out. If you keep to your schedule you will find that you actually get more work done. Just because you go to the library for 6 hours doesn’t mean you get 6 hours work done. Most of the time you spend 5 and a half thinking about what else you could be doing instead.


Enjoy what you do

This is the hardest of them all but the most important. If you don’t actually like what you are doing then why would you ever want to do it. If you are working, work in a way that you like. If you are studying, then study how you enjoy doing it (Pro tip: Watch YouTube videos on the topic). Finally, if you go out then go out how you want. Don’t go to places you don’t want to be and drink what you want, not the strongest cheapest thing there is.


That’s everything. Take these three things and you will be happier, trust me. If you want to learn more about dealing with stress you can check out my other blog post here.

And 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

My journey to Edge Hill and some tips for yours! ✈️👩🏽‍🎓📜

The Proclaimers may be willing to walk 500 miles, but what about 4,056 miles? Granted I didn’t walk from Saudi Arabia, but with it being my home for so long, moving across the world was pretty daunting.

Hi, I’m Amy! 😊 I moved to Ormskirk all the way from Saudi Arabia, it’s been my home for almost 13 years so it’s quite a big change, in routine, culture but most importantly, weather. ☔️

Moving away from home can be scary, even if you only live down the road. I’ve moved around a lot in my life so I’m kind of used to it. However, this was the biggest move so far for me, as I was moving away not only from home but from my family.

It feels like yesterday I was panicking about my personal statement and UCAS application and now I’m 8 weeks into the course and loving it. I miss home every now and again but I love what I’m doing and that makes it worth it. It’s hard in the first couple of weeks having to adjust to the new life and routine but once you get settled in and you meet lots of great new people you’ll start to see why people love uni life so much. It is very unique and something you have to experience. 🍻

Here are some little tips to keep in mind:

1.  Stay calm. 💆🏽 Your personal statement and application are, of course, important but trust in yourself and you will be fine. Try and get to an Applicant Visit Day or Open day and if your desired course requires an interview, make sure your prep for it! The interview process I went through was challenging and I was the most nervous I’ve ever been but stay calm. The staff at Edge Hill are so supportive, you will be fine.

2. Be organised. 🗂 The to-do list is never ending and there’s so much paperwork coming from all over, it can get on top of you if you let it. Grab a file and make sure you keep all the paperwork together. Make sure you meet deadlines for conditions and student finance and any pre-summer work you may be set. It’s good to get a head start on your organisation so you don’t feel too overwhelmed before you even get here!

3. Save and budget. 💰 Try and get in the hang of budgeting before you come to uni. You may save up a nice bit of money during the summer but it goes, fast. There is luckily a lot of work around Ormskirk, as there are so many little cafes and restaurants. Getting a job will be a big help but remember to budget. You may feel like a celebrity when your loan goes in but if by the second week you’re eating noodles three times a day, you need to look after your pennies! Before you move, maybe start to budget so you can get the hang of it!

Well, that is it for the first post of the year.
I’m excited to share my experiences with you all.
Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions,
we’re here to help!  💕

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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!

Edge Hill University 1st Year Review – Taking a look back

EHU 1st Year Review


Looking back on my first year I have accomplished a lot. I’ve made friends, had experiences and changed my life forever. In most of my blogs I try to follow the simple strategy of writing about things that I would want to have known when I started. So here is the things that I know now about first year that I wish I had known when I moved in. Hopefully they can relate to you and help someone out there.


Image result for ehu accommodationAccommodation: The accommodation on campus is some of the best I have ever seen. It might be annoying that the windows are child locked so it can get hot, but in the winter it’s amazing. Lots of space, underbed storage and a massive wardrobe.

 


Image result for edge hill campusCampus: Lakes, beaches, rolling hills and grassy parks. Campus ends up a lot more like a fancy holiday resort, the peaceful walks give plenty of places to stroll. I wish that I did more of this in the long evenings before winter set in. Don’t swim in the lakes though, £50 fines!


Image result for edge hill staffStaff: The staff at the university always have an open ear for students. In my first year I didn’t find a single member of staff was was unhelpful, intimidating or impatient. I honestly believe that their TEF Gold award is well deserved and the university is always ensuring that its staff is at the forefront of every project on campus, not to the side.


That’s all from me, but if you want to find out more about EHU and first year then check out my first year blog posts here!

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!

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.