My First Year of University in Recap: Non-Academics

So, in three weeks time my first year at University will be done. This year has given me a lot of opportunities and I can only wonder what my final three months could have been like. After all, the first six months were fantastic! In this blog, I’ll talk all about the non-academic side of my first year.

Forming Friendships

The first few friends I made were coursemates and some flatmates. They will likely be your first friends too. I made some great friends attending a few societies on the free evenings I had, but I made a lot of friends in employment.

Working

Our University offers paid opportunities for students to represent the University at events. I always enjoyed helping out on Open Days at school/college, so the money was an added bonus. I knew some people from societies who worked as a student representative, so I went to the training day with them. They introduced me to their friends who also worked as representatives, and from there, friendships formed! Everyone is friendly, and it’s a fantastic way to meet people from different years and courses. The staff in charge are lovely as well, and I enjoyed working alongside them.
Being a student representative is a rewarding job in which I’ve made some great friends I would have never otherwise met.

Trying New Things

I wanted to go to shows, but they’re expensive and I never saw the point in karaoke as I can’t sing. However at University, there’s no excuse to miss out on these things! There are free shows all throughout the week. With weekly karaoke being a minute’s walk away, sometimes you just need to ask yourself, “why not?” Even in my flat, I learnt new skills, such as cooking (most of the time I was too ambitious, but the result was edible, no matter how it looked…)

Closing Words

In my first year, I have made some great friends, learnt life skills, and took part in things I would never have done if I studied at home! My advice for anyone going into First Year is, when faced with an opportunity, to ask yourself “why not?”, not “why?” You never know who you might meet or what you might learn!

-Tony

Homesickness and how to tackle it!

Hey everyone!

As I come from Northern Ireland, the feeling of homesickness is very familiar and I especially felt it more when I returned to university after the holidays.

After feeling sorry for myself for a few days and texting my mum every 5 minutes throughout the day, I decided that I would try and do something about it. Read on to find out how I deal with homesickness!


What I Remind Myself…

I think that the first hurdle to overcome when you are feeling sad about being away from home is to remind yourself constantly that it is COMPLETELY normal. I sat in my room thinking that I was the only person that could be feeling like this at the moment but it wasn’t until I talked to a friend of mine that I realised, everyone goes through this. 

And so, after reminding myself of this everyday, the feeling started to ease as I knew that the feeling would come and go and when it does, it is okay to feel that way.

 

Talk to someone

As well as talking to your friends about what you are feeling, there are so many other people in the University that would be more than happy to talk to you and offer any advice.

When I was feeling the way I was about being away from home, I reached out to CampusLife with an email and they responded within minutes with so much advice on what I could do to help me overcome how I was feeling. They told me about ‘That Thursday Thing’ which is where a group of people meet up and just chat or take part in activities. They were so helpful and they will even offer to send out their student connectors to your halls to check up on you and to have a chat about how you are feeling.

 

Stay connected to family and friends from home

When I first felt homesick back in September, the last thing that I wanted to do was phone my mum, dad or anyone from home because I thought it would only make me feel worse. I even declined any pictures that my mum tried to send to me of my dog which, if anyone knows me, I would have NEVER done.

I quickly found that talking to my family and friends from home on a regular basis, whether that be through text or FaceTime, really helped me through the tougher times and made me appreciate them more. Till this day, I still ring, text and FaceTime home just for a catch up but, mostly for pictures of my dog…

Rosie really takes the whole ‘even my dog is prettier than I am’ statement to a whole new level…


I really hope that this post will remind people that feeling homesick is so normal and there are so many things that can be done to tackle it but these are the three main tips that I follow when I start to feel a million miles away from home.

“When you feel homesick,’ he said, ‘just look up. Because the moon is the same wherever you go.”

-The Goldfinch-

The Accommodation Team

Here at Edge Hill, everyone understands that some times things just don’t go quite as planned the first time around – especially when it comes to living space.

As written about last week, Palatine was my first choice accommodation and I was lucky enough to get it when I first arrived at Edge Hill. Despite absolutely loving my room and all the facilities it provided, being central on campus and close to my subject building and making some very good friends in the flat, I also had some disagreements with others in the building and decided over the Christmas break that I would be happier somewhere else.

The procedure was incredibly easy and simple. I emailed the Accommodation Team and they sent me a Request to Transfer form to fill out and send back. When I arrived back at Uni after the Christmas break, because I had filled out the form, I could go straight to the Student Information Centre (SIC – where many student services are housed, including Accommodation) to arrange a move.

I was offered the choice of which cluster on campus I would like to move to, if I wanted single sex or combined flat, if I wanted self-catered, and if I wanted an en suite. As my previous flat had had most of these things, I decided to stick with a similar cluster at the same price as the previous.

I managed to move the majority of my stuff over that day, with the help from some friends. I’m now in Chancellors South, which is an incredibly pretty area of the campus as it overlooks one of the lakes, the beach and several fountains- which all mean we get to see plenty of famous Edge Hill ducks! The new flatmates I live with have been incredibly welcoming and friendly, but have also managed to stay connected with friends I had made in the first few months in my old flat.

 

 

 

 

The moral of this story is that although moving in with new people as a fresher can be scary, there will always be people ready and willing to help you out with any concerns, no matter how big all small.

Campus Life – Night 🌌

Life on campus during the night might start out a little daunting, living in a new place and in a new room can always be scary. But from my experience, Edge Hill campus is a very safe place to be. Also, it’s absolutely beautiful.

I’ve taken some photographs that I’m pretty fond of at night on campus. Around this time last year I took some snowy pictures of campus early one morning when it had just settled.

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Yesterday, after spending the evening with a friend who lives on-campus, I went around the university again, this time with a DSLR camera instead of my phone. Excuse the blurry nature of some of the photos (although I think it does look nice with the bright blurry lights), as I’m not quite used to night photography and still don’t know the ins and outs of my camera.

We all know how early it gets dark in winter (despite it sneaking up and surprising us every year), and with the laundrette, McColls, library, and other facilities being open late, that means traversing through the cold, dark of night. Fortunately, Edge Hill University has many lamps to light your way through the night time adventures you may have. Whether it’s a late study session in the library, or a night out in the Quad, you’ll be able to find your way across campus with no trouble. Just remember where the tightrope walker sculpture is, I’ve forgotten about it far too many times and had a little jump when seeing it from the corner of my eye!

Also, if you haven’t seen these posts, they might be of use around this time of year, with final UCAS decisions and applicant days approaching. Although not relating the the first year of your studies in biological sciences, these entires are on my second year modules within the biology department:

Campus vs Non Campus

Picking the right university for you is one of the most important decisions of your life so far. With so many institutions out there and thousands upon thousands of courses, the decision process can be a little over whelming! If you’re reading this then I’m guessing you’re thinking about Edge Hill as one of your choices, so to help you out with your pros and cons list I thought I’d talk you through why I chose a campus university over city.

Everything is in one handy little mini village. Well that’s what it feels like anyway, a little student village that has everything you need in it, from two shops, to a laundrette, a bar, Starbucks and a gym, you could almost get away with never leaving! I found real comfort in this when I first moved to university, because I knew I had everything I needed in one convenient place.

I also really loved that all your friends live round the corner! One of my close friends lived over in Founders when I was living in Chancellors which only took about 5 minutes to get to and I really liked knowing I could pop over whenever without the worry of it being too far away or walking back in the dark as it was only across campus, which brings me to my next point…

It’s so safe! With 24-hour security, and lighting all around campus, it’s incredibly safe which definitely puts your mind at ease when your moving away from home for the first time!

Additionally, I think living on campus really makes you get move involved with the university. I think if my halls were away from campus, I really could not be bothered to come back for societies and sports and different events, very lazy of me I know, but I really do think living, working and socialising in the same environment really helps you to settle in straight away and get more involved and meet more people.

Hope this helps with the decision process!

Campus Living

If you’re planning on moving into halls, you may be wondering exactly what it’s like to live on campus. When I was in first year, I lived in Chancellors Court which was a brand new build that year. Since then Edge Hill has got tons of new accommodation so there’s a high chance you’ll be living in one of the new halls of residence too! The great thing about these halls is that they’re so modern. You get loads of extra luxuries included with your flat, like your own TV/computer, your own mini fridge and fancy induction hobs. However, if you’re in the older accommodation you will still have just as much fun. I’ve heard that people who live in those halls really bond with their flatmates because there is such a community feel to the halls, which can only be good really!

Chancellors Court!
Chancellors Court!

There’s also plenty of things to do whilst you’re living on campus, such as night outs at The Quad, the on campus bar/club. The number of events going on there has increased dramatically since I was a first year, with something happening pretty every night. I guess that means every night can be party night! If you don’t fancy that, you could always visit the on campus cinema for film nights, or go to the Rose Theatre, located in the Arts Centre, for a variety of shows, ranging from plays to comedy nights.

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Something really great about the Edge Hill campus is that I’ve never once felt unsafe, even if I was walking alone in the dead of night. Everywhere is pretty well lit with security patrolling the campus 24/7. If you ever need them, they’re only a phone call away.

Campus is also equipped with everything you need. Edge Hill has its own laundrette for all that washing that you will put off doing until you absolutely have to. There are also a couple of food shops, should you need anything from there (although I’d recommend going into town and visiting one of the big supermarkets for a bigger range of items/cheaper prices). Edge Hill also has quite a few food outlets to choose from, in case you don’t feel like cooking. They’re located all round campus and are all reasonably priced.

Time to do Laundry

As much as some students hate to admit it, after wearing the same t-shirt way more times than is socially acceptable, we have to do a load of washing. Before I went to university, I’d done my own washing a few times, but this was the first time I’d felt truly responsible for it all.

Edge Hill has its own launderette on campus which is really handy (I have friends at other universities who have complained about having to haul their clothes on buses and through towns – as if they needed another excuse not to do laundry!). Our launderette is located down ‘the street’ which is pretty near the centre of campus, right near The Quad, our student bar, so if you really wanted you could stick on a load of washing and then pass the time by having a drink…

The launderette has loads of washers and dryers, but despite this it can still get really busy. Luckily, if you’re thinking of doing a wash you can check online to see if any machines are free so that you don’t have a wasted journey, or don’t end up waiting round for ages (if you’re interested you can see that here). This is also really useful if you want to go away and do something else whilst your wash is on, because you can easily see how long it has left or when it’s finished.

When you first want to use the launderette, you have to buy a card from the vending machine located near the door. This has a small cost, but comes loaded with enough credit for one wash and one dry (if my memory serves me right it costs £2.20 per wash and £1 per dry). Your card can then easily be topped up online. When you want to do a wash or dry, just insert your card, choose your settings and you’re sorted. Also,  as far as I remember, there’s no tray for any washing detergents so it’s recommended that we use washing tablets instead.