My first term at University 👩‍🎓📚

Hello!

It’s very strange to think that I’ve been at University for thirteen weeks now. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. We broke up the Friday just gone, I don’t think it’s the same for everyone but the Primary Ed guys have all finished for the year. My parents flew back from Saudi and came to pick me up from University, we’re having Christmas at their UK house this year! Of course, I over packed. We have an assignment due over Christmas and lots to do before placement in January so I feel like I’ve packed the entirety of my uni work.

If you’re a prospective Primary Ed student then this post is for you. This post is a little insight into how the first term went in my first year and what I’m doing over Christmas to plan for next term.

The seminars, lectures and the workload👩🏽‍🎓:

The timetables change each year so what my timetable looks like this year may well be different to yours but this will give you a gist of what an average week looks like. Firstly, we have Mondays off – I know, it’s the best. Then we have our Minor seminar for 2 hours on Tuesday, Foundation Subjects seminar for 3 hours on Wednesday (sometimes with a FS lecture after), Thursday and Friday are the longest days with English, Maths, Science, Computing and APD seminars mixed in.  It’s a nice balanced timetable that gives you a long weekend to chill and spend some time socialising but then also gives you a lot of time to get some work done.

The workload is manageable but challenging. As long as you organise and manage your time well and do your best not to miss any seminars or lectures you’ll be fine. I’ve really enjoyed my first term and I’ve managed to pull myself to seminars when I was exhausted and just didn’t want to get out of bed, but I always did because they’re always so fun and engaging. I’m not in university now until placement and I know I’m going to miss it! ☹️

The assignments📝📚:

I’ve handed in three so far. The next one is a whopping 3,500 on APD that’s due in January. This scared me to start with but the my biggest tip for you is to get in the library! They have so many books available and I managed to get a load before I came back so I’ve been reading through them and I feel a lot more prepared and ready to knock this out over the Christmas period. They vary from 750 words to 3,500 words and they’re all set in a different kind of style which I love. They are challenging but not at all impossible, they also make me feel very intellectual and academic 🤓!

Placement 👩🏽‍🏫:

Out first placement starts in January, last year it started in November so yours could be a different time too. I just recently found out where I’m going for mine this year and I’m really excited. I took a regional opportunity and I’m heading down to the Peak District. With the situation I’m in I honestly didn’t care where I went but my heart felt this was the right place and luckily I got it. They can’t always guarantee you what and where you want but they do their best!

So over the Christmas period, as you can see, I have some work to do. They encourage you not to work over the two weeks the University is closed for, and I’m sure some people will, but if you’re like me and you want to be as prepared as possible, I’m sure your desk will look like mine!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! See you next time 💕

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Running away with the circus

Hey all, I hope you are well.

Earlier this month I got the chance to work with Circus Sensible again to create a collaborative Circus performance which we performed to various audiences on Friday 18th and Saturday 20th May. I took part in this one week intensive last year too, which you can read about here:

Circus Fun on Campus!

This intensive was offered to Performing Arts students, but was something anyone who wished to learn something about circus skills and performance could take part in. I already knew a few skills from the previous year, such as juggling, diabolo, spinning plates and a bit of hula hooping, but I wanted to focus on developing my hula hooping skills this year, so I did!

I worked on developing a hula hooping routine with the help of the Circus Sensible team, who gave me some great advice on what I can do to better the routine. I couldn’t thank them enough for what they gave me!

We performed to two audiences of local Primary School children on the Friday, then 2 audiences of families and our friends on the Saturday. It was so interesting to see how the audiences reacted and how different they were, and I feel really lucky to have had this opportunity that Edge Hill have given me. This is one of the many things Edge Hill has given me, and I look forward to what comes in my third year!

Opportunities at Uni – Musical Theatre

Throughout the year, students on all years of the Musical Theatre BA at Edge Hill have been  given numerous opportunities to see shows, take part in workshops, and be involved in new projects, all of which give us an edge in our field and allow us to explore other areas of theatre and the arts that we might not have otherwise discovered. Below I will talk about a few of my favourites from the year.

Pippin – The Musical at Hope Mill Theatre

This trip was one of my favourites for many different reasons, and not just because the show was fantastic. The trip took place just four days into term, (the Thursday of Fresher’s Week) and was a great opportunity for out group to bond and get to know each other as we chatted on the bus, and shared opinions of the show. We also got to meet the cast after the show, and even had a workshop day with the lead actor a few weeks after.

The Em Project – October reading Week.

During the time that we were given off timetable as the first sort of ‘half term’ break, the Musical Theatre students were given the chance to be a part of a project- learning, recording and shooting a music video in Liverpool for a brand new musical, called Em- by the amazing Benjamin Till. This was an amazing experience that we could take part in as it meant we could meet and mingle with a professional in our line of work, and get to know people in the other years on our course.  We spent four days learning and perfecting the vocals and choreography for the song. We then recorded our vocals in parts in the Creative Edge building on campus, which was a wonderful experience, but the most fun was definitely the day we spent filming on location in Liverpool, in full 1960’s costume, hair, and makeup.  We started out the day in the infamous Cavern Club, filming the end of the music video, and then travelled around the city to get different shots in different places. All in all, although a very cold a long day, it was a lot of fun and that certainly shows in the video, which premiered last week.

My university journey so far

Time has absolutely flown by over the past few months and somehow we are already at the end of January! With Christmas and the New Year feeling like forever ago I have found myself reflecting on the past few months and how much has changed since my first few days at Edge Hill. It seems like the perfect opportunity to share with you some of the things I’ve learnt in my first few months as an Early Childhood Studies student.

1. The nerves of first week quickly turn into excitement

Before starting at Edge Hill I was very nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect as a mature student. Getting my timetable for the first time helped to settle me, as did meeting lots of new people on my first day, many of which have become close friends already! There are so many events during Welcome Week, Freshers and again at the start of Semester 2 that you’ll always have opportunities to meet new people and find new interests to explore.

2. Deadlines and time management are nothing to worry about

There are so many people available to offer support and guidance about your assignments or exams that there is no need to stress or feel like you are all alone. Student Services offer a lot of advice to students around issues such as time management, stress, physical and mental health and can even help if you’re feeling a little homesick. By finding a routine which works for you it is easier to manage your time and stay on top of your workload.

3. The campus always feels safe and welcoming

Even on the darkest and coldest nights (or early mornings!) the campus always felt safe and welcoming when I’ve arrived. The lights around campus help you to feel safe and easily navigate your way to where you want to be. The library has a wonderful feeling about it in the early hours, knowing the world is sleeping around you whilst you are learning about something which interests you is an experience I would definitely recommend.

Well that’s all for now from me, if you’ve got a spare few moments why not check out the dates for the Open Days in 2018? Here’s a short video below of what happens. As always, if you’ve got any questions just pop them in the comments section below and I will get back to you 🙂

Interview with the Red Carpet Cast: Employability and Edge Hill’s Future Opportunities

Hey all, I hope you are doing well. The last blog I did was a review of one of the theatre shows that was on at the Arts Centre last week: The Red Carpet by Confiança Collaborative Theatre Company.

It was an amazing show and if you want to read my review then I have linked it below:

The Arts Centre Box Office and the Red Carpet Review!

One of the amazing things about this company in particular is that they are all either Edge Hill alumni (graduates) or lecturers at Edge Hill. I had the opportunity to speak to them all about what their experiences were like and what Edge Hill has given them as performers. I first asked them to introduce themselves and the character they played:

 

RM: Rachael Mutch, playing the character of Holly.
KHC: Kylie Heron-Cadwallader, playing the role of Susan.
SR: Sam Rushton, playing the role of Sam.
LAD: Lisa Adams-Davey, I play Doctor W and the Vicar, and I am the Director.
JB: James Burrows, and I play the character of Phil.
DHJ: Danielle Holland-Jones, stage manager.
EC: Elric Cadwallader, I play the character of CP.
CR: Christopher Roy, I played Richard.
CF: And Cat Formby, playing Mo/Double Gusset.
Rhiannon Thomas (me): Ok, right, so the first thing I wanted to ask is; you tackle really sensitive subjects, obviously, not just for this show, I’ve seen for your show They Shoot Dogs, that’s obviously another sensitive subject. What was your main motivation to create such pieces and do you ever hit a block in the creative process whilst assuring the topics are handled correctly?
LAD: Well, the main motivation has been a research initiative, in the first instance, then from the initial research initiative we created the company with a view to tackling subjects, such as… well, with a view to tackling mental health, and we feel that the work that we put on is politically charged, it’s relevant, it needs to be heard, and yes it’s very sensitive, as you say, very sensitive… but necessary in order to support people, to generate an understanding as to what it’s like to have a mental health condition. So, that’s the main thing really, was a research initiative of mine, and I’ve taught all these wonderful people, and we work together on relevant topics, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Clinical Depression, Suicide… Often topics, well, they are topics that are surrounded by stigma, and it’s about getting rid of that stigma and saying ‘hey, you know what, this is real, people do take their own lives, people do suffer with depression, people do suffer with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and so on and so forth, post-traumatic stress disorder, and this is reality’. And it’s relevant, it’s important. And it’s also to say, you know, it’s ok to talk about it, it’s important that we do talk about it, cause so much is swept under the carpet and we don’t want that.
RT: Ok, bit more of a trivial question, describe the Rose Theatre and Edge Hill Arts Centre in 3 words, cause I’ve seen that most of you are graduates…
SR: Magic!
EC: In three words?
RT: Yep
EC: It’s our home.
[Cast awws]
LAD: It’s our home!
RT: Ok, so again, because a lot of you are graduates…
LAD: All of them are graduates.
RT: Ah ok, all of you are graduates [laughter]… do you think the courses here and the University gives you what you need to follow a creative career path?
CR: Damn skippy it does.
LAD: Absolutely.
SR: I think it’s hard to put a definitive answer on that question, cause courses are ever fluctuating and ever changing, from my personal perspective it gave me the most amazing grounding in who I am as a practitioner, who I am as a person, and it gave me everything I needed to be an independent, forward-thinking, critical analyst. It gave me all the skills that I needed to take my own practice and take my own place in the world and my own place in the industry and it gave me a great springboard for that as well as making magic… This place is an amazing place; the supportive tutors, the facilities, it’s ever developing, ever expanding and I think in an industry that’s ever developing and ever expanding that’s really important from a University course and a University as well.
EC: Considering how big the course is now and how it expanded, like all the different things you can do, you can do musical theatre and you can do all these other things that weren’t available when we were first coming here, we’re so shocked that you can come here and you just say ‘I’m an ex-student’ they will give you a room and say you can rehearse in there, you can use the resources…
LAD: It’s very generous.
EC: So, like, they’ll do anything for alumni, for current students, they’ll bend over backwards to say ‘we’ll look at the set’ and, you know, where you are, and the techies are fantastic.
LAD: I think what’s been really interesting within this project is even though this is an alumni company, we’ve been employed as a professional company to come in and produce this work, on top of that we have had the facilities to rehearse in, and I know I’m a member of staff, but it is a privilege to have that, because actually it’s very expensive to hire rehearsal rooms, and technicians and, you know, all the things that we have here, and it’s a real privilege, and these guys have put in an inordinate amount of time to make it happen as well.
CF: Can I just say something about the beginning of that question? When you said, and what I find interesting, I did Dance, Drama and Physical Theatres here, and then I went on to Drama School, which was more of a Conservatoire training, and the course was an MA in Professional Acting, and what I was surprised at; there was nothing that came up in that course that I hadn’t been told about, studied, or researched, or touched on, or done a workshop on, you know? There were things that we explored further in voice and that kind of stuff, but there was nothing that I wasn’t aware of, I didn’t feel on a back foot about anything, and there was a massive contrast for me in the quality of the tutors here to the tutors there. Whilst I was there in that 15 months, there were 2 tutors from here came to do workshops at that drama school and I’d been banging on about this place to the point of boring everybody, and I was delighted that two of the tutors, the physical theatre tutor and a dance tutor, both came there to deliver workshops, and I’d banged on about how great they were and I don’t think my peers there were expecting to be blown away. But they were, and the contrast in the teaching, the quality, the workshop just stuck out like a sore thumb.
SR: Yeah, I’d agree with Cathy, I went to drama school to do my Masters in London as well, and everything Cathy’s just said was exactly the same as when I went to drama school to do my MA after being here. It just gave me everything that I needed before I even got there, and when I got there it meant that I could just run, and two of the tutors here also went to Central School of Speech and Drama, where I was, to give workshops or be actual lecturers there as well, so this place is really rich.
LAD: Yeah, I think the one thing that we do hold dear, I mean, as a lecturer here, the one thing that we hold dear is the fact that we actually educate thinking practitioners, and that’s really important, and that’s why when you’re putting work on such as this, I do expect my cast to think and to analyse, and to evaluate; what is it we’re doing and why are we doing it… and they’ve had that from day dot, they’ve had that from when they walked in the door at Edge Hill. I remember… Sam and Elric were in the first cohort [I taught], I remember asking Elric, you know, what made you choose Edge Hill? Why didn’t you go to Drama School? And he said I specifically chose Edge Hill because I wanted an education, I didn’t want a Conservatoire training, I wanted an education, I wanted to think about my subject and really analyse it. It’s not good enough, I don’t think, just to be able to perform; you have to do all the other stuff as well, and really that’s invaluable to here, I believe, and to what we provide. I suppose it’s that’s very immodest for me to say that as a lecturer here [laughter], but it’s something that we do hold dear.
CR: I’ll back that up with; I agree with everything that Lisa has just said.
KHC: Yeah I agree [laughter]. Going back to your question, not only has it helped in, you know, a creative setting, but I work as a legal secretary as well, so giving you the confidence to get up on stage also gives you the confidence to interact with people in every day life, and they’re the people that we’re trying to portray when we’re onstage. We’re not portraying, like, an airy-fairy, fluffy version of life, especially with this piece, we’re looking at what makes people tick. So, in my everyday life, I work in a solicitors, so I get to see everything, you know, from birth, life, marriage, death, everything. So, it’s nice to be part of life at the same time and have those social skills to talk to people, which I’ve received from here. I’ve got that confidence from training as an actor, and then it sort of gives back; anything that I see in life, I can take that in like a sponge and portray that on the stage, so these skills are transferrable as well, cause not only do we learn about our craft, about acting, performing… to portray the human race, you have to understand about human psychology, philosophy, theology… so not only do you open up your skill-set as an actor through creative tools, you also touch upon other areas of education, so not picking on people who go “drama, that’s where you just run around the room”…
LAD: “Jazz hands!” [laughter]
KHC: It’s not just about that, we have to understand the human condition…
SR: And how to connect with another human being, fundamentally, how you connect, and get a reaction out of another human being, whatever their reaction is. Going back to Lisa’s answer about why we do this, it’s because it is an awareness, it is opening a dialogue, it is, when I was speaking to yourself before, about using theatre as a catalyst to make you think what you’ve got from that, and everybody’s opinions are valid, but that fundamental connection is really, really important.
LAD: I think also going back to what Kylie said there, you know, one of the things that we do focus on [is] employability skills, so this company itself offers employability to certain graduates who are appropriate for the company. When we did [They ShootDogs I did an audition, two days of auditions to get the cast together, and then from that cast and that production, Confiança was born, and we’ve done a few other things since then. This is our second major production, but we have done other projects. And so it’s kind of… those employability skills that you were talking about, that are developed as a student, they’re absolutely invaluable, in any walk of life, not just on the stage as you say Kylie, in any walk of life; if you’re a lecturer, just as a person… You know, there’s a few lecturers in and amongst us, a few people working in different professions, etc.
CR: I just wanna put out there, I’m now also teaching Drama, and I certainly would not be doing that if it weren’t for Edge Hill. And even aspects of my own teaching practise I may have, I’m gonna use the word ‘stolen’ [laughter], I have done lessons that Lisa taught me.
RM: I have too.
CR: Yeah, Rach does as well, we all do, we all…
RM: And James’ lessons, I take them all! [laughter]
CR: But, you know, and it’s that sort of thing, the fact that I’m able to go ‘right, I learnt that here at this time, with Lisa as a lecturer or someone else as a lecturer’, and I’ve been able to then transfer that and repeat it, it’s meaning it’s stayed with me, and that’s what I want my students to be like, I want them to think for themselves, I want them to do their own research, I want them to be actively engaged with whatever text that they have, whether it be something that they’re devising or something that has been written down for centuries, I want them to have the experience that I had here, but a couple of years early.
LAD: Yeah, I think also, one thing that I feel does transfer is the passion for the subject that Edge Hill has. All the subjects actually, the lecturers, we’re very, very passionate about what we do, and hopefully that transfers to the students, and then they go out and they go ‘yeah, this is really exciting! We’re really excited about this, so let’s do some more!’.
EC: I’d also like to say, as well, that not only the content, but the people you meet, it’s kind of testament to that way in which we work collaboratively, that years after we’ve graduated, in different years as well, you meet people on your course here that you can collaborate with, and that you can work professionally with in the future as well, and I think that’s important.
DHJ: I think, going back to your initial question about the courses, it’s the fact that, because I studied Musical Theatre, I would never think when I graduated that this would be the sort of thing that I would be doing, but that’s because Edge Hill makes you transferrable, skill-wise, as an actor, performer… whatever you want to do, they will facilitate what you want to do, and they focus on what you really want to do on your outcome, like what kind of journey you want to take, because it’s different for everyone. People take years out before they even think about going back in to doing it, and that’s what I thought I was gonna do, and I’ve literally just graduated and I’ve gone straight back into doing the work that I love doing, and it was a privilege, but also it’s the fact that you can just go straight back into it and it’s not the fact of you have to go somewhere else, or you have to do your Master, no offence [laughter], and it’s kind of being able to go ‘do you know what, I don’t have to box myself off as a performer in one specific area, I can be versatile’, and that’s what Edge Hill, I think, is great for personally.
SR: Yeah, just to add to that before we actually move on to the next question, when I was here, I graduated, well myself and Elric, graduated in 2008, and when I was doing my dissertation here, there was no Aerial course, there was no Musical Theatre, there was not much, there was Drama, Dance and Physical Theatre, straight Drama and then a few people on a straight Dance course…
LAD: It didn’t stop you doing Aerial in your dissertation!
SR: No, for my dissertation, I wanted different levels, and I wanted to do some Aerial work, and nobody had ever heard of, well, nobody had ever done anything like that here before, and so I went to Lisa, and Lisa went to the appropriate channels, and we had discussions, and because it was relevant to my practise and it was relevant to my dissertation, the department got in one silk, a rig, and everything that I needed to be able to have Aerial performance as a part of my dissertation, and then I also went and did some workshops and training so I was safe to do it. Following on from that, they then did an Aerial module and they’re still doing it now, so even though I came to them before that was even anything that they offered at all, they gave me and provided me with what I needed because it was relevant to my practise.
LAD: One of the things that the company have also done, that maybe you’re not aware of, that actually Edge Hill have supported, they’re still invited in to do things and to work collaboratively, for example with [the] Faculty of Health, we’ve done television masterclasses with a television director and a casting director, and we’ve collaborated with media on that, so on so forth, so opportunities are given to our alumni, and also one of our guys who was filming tonight [there were some people filming the opening show on the Thursday] is a Media student, so that’s an employability opportunity for him, and I was really keen for them to get a third camera in, and I was really keen for them to get a student involved because that’s just another opportunity to enhance that person’s skills.
RT: So, a bit of a short, snappy last question; describe your show in 3 words.
CR: A hilarious play about suicide.
CAST: That’s not 3 words! [laughter]
LAD: Relevant…
KHC: Comical… tragic…
LAD: [whispers] Relevant… [laughter]
KHC: … Relevant [more laughter]
Overall, the cast gave me some great reasons why Edge Hill helps performers to thrive, and some interesting insight into their own personal experiences, as well as being lovely to talk to and very funny! I would like to thank them here for this and staying back after their performance so that I could speak to them, even though they were probably tired! Some of the creative team were not involved in this Q&A, so I will list the others below and say congratulations on such a brilliant show:
  • Mark Curtis: Playwright
  • Lighting Design and Operation: Dave Forrest
  • Psychotherapist in Residence: Cathy Vincent
  • Psychotherapist Supervisor for Lisa Adams-Davey: Janet Higgins
  • Ethics Advisor: Vicky Karkou
  • Filming: Alistair Emmett, Daniel Hall and Owen Wheeler
  • Photography: Helen Newall
  • Internal and External Comms: Jenny Morgan

Carpe Opportunities

University is not just useful for gaining a degree, it offers you support and opportunities to really make your CV stand out and give you a real edge when you graduate. However, it is up to you to take advantage of these opportunities and go out and find them. This can prove a bit difficult to get your head around, believe me, I’ve only just figured out how to make the most of the support I have at uni! So I thought for this week’s post I’d give you some tips on how to look for and take advantage of the wonderful prospects available to you.

Ask your personal tutor

Although universities have a wealth of opportunities you won’t just be handed them on a plate, you often have to express interest. Ask your personal tutor if they know of any work experience or other opportunities that are available for someone studying your degree or your particular area of interest. Once you express an interest in these activities your tutor will be in more of a position to help you.

Visit the careers centre

One of the best ways to find out about what experience you can gain is by visiting the careers centre. Edge Hill’s careers centre is located in the Student Information Centre (SIC). You can book an appointment with one of the career advisers using the careers centre link on the Edge Hill website. They can talk you through what you can do to gain experience and knowledge in your field. They can also help you optimise your CV and answer any other career-based questions you have.

Create your own opportunities

However, there’s nothing stopping you from creating your own opportunities. Want to be a writer? Start a literary magazine. Want to be an entrepreneur? Design a product to sell. Want to work in theatre? Do what my friends and I did and create your own theatre company. Your tutors are there for advice and support so you speak to them about your ideas and perhaps it’s easier than you think it is to do what you want to do.

Until next time! 🙂

Teacher Training Opportunities: Bett 2017

I’m starting this post sat in a swanky room in a posh hotel in London. I’ve just spent a full day on my feet, lead taking for Promethean at Bett 2017 (British Educational Training and Technology Show) and getting to play with some really cool technology. Before the doors opened, the Digital Leaders got everyone involved in a dance to ‘Cheerleader’ on Go Noodle; right from the off, the buzz on stand was absolutely phenomenal from all and I feel so privileged to have been a part of it. Thanks Promethean!

I have learned so much this week! I was lucky enough to watch a demo lesson on ‘The Naughty Bus’ by Louise Long, the Headteacher at Ibstone School, in which I was able to observe how the ActivPanels and Classflow – the products that Promethean were promoting – could be used effectively to make lessons more engaging. Most importantly for me, as this is a target for my next professional practice, I was able to see how the software could be used to aid individual differentiation.

One of the most enjoyable parts about Bett was how friendly everyone was. I got to speak to a whole host of people from Promethean – people from marketing, the sales team, etc – as well as past and present teachers. And that was just the people advocating for the product! Speaking to a whole range of people coming onto the stand was an experience within itself. Although Wednesday was nerve-wracking, by the second day, I realised that I could whole-heartedly say I loved every single one of the products on the Promethean stand, and explain why! I wasn’t nervous anymore; on Thursday, I spoke to a gentleman who supplied technology for over 20,000 schools!

As well as lead taking for Promethean, we had the opportunity to walk around and see what else was on offer. Knowing that in a few weeks, I have to lesson plan for Phonics, one of my weakest subject areas, I spoke to the Jolly Phonics team, who were able to give me some resources, and guide me to an area of their website I will find more information.

Our motto for Bett is ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ and it really demonstrated to me how, in this profession, you have to make sure you take time off from all the hard work. Getting to know my colleagues was so much fun, and I really feel like we’re part of a team now.

I gained this opportunity by becoming involved. From the 350 people in my year group, only seven attended Bett. We were given that opportunity because we took advantage of the things that have been offered to us. I do a lot at university, and a lot of people wonder why. The course is so heavy as it is and I admit, I make a lot of extra work for myself by getting involved in so much – but as a reward, I get to experience great things such as this. My advice to you, as applicants, is to take every opportunity that is handed to you, because when you’re looking for a job – and this might seem really far in the future – they’ll remember the ones that got stuck in.

My Edge Hill Experience So Far…

 

Hi, I’m Victoria Loftus – though I tend to go by Vicky most of the time. I’m currently in my third year at Edge Hill studying English literature and creative writing. Being in third year you’d think I’ve had a good couple of years to get used to the whole independent adult thing, but I’m still learning new things every day. That’s the great thing about uni, it gives you a safe, supportive place to learn how to adult, without being thrown into the deep end and ultimately being left to drown in all the crazy responsibilities. I thought for my first blog post I’d share with you the highlights of my Edge Hill experience so far…

I’ve become more independent.

Of course one the most important (non-academic) lessons I’ve learnt during my time at university came at the beginning of first year, and that was how to fend for myself; including getting over my fear of using an oven after living off pasta and takeaways for the first few months. I also learnt that bathrooms don’t clean themselves (sorry mum!) and often need cleaning a couple of times a week, typical.

As well as the obvious domestic things, I also learnt a lot about dealing with things like bills and finances. I can now confidently budget and organise bill payments with my flatmates, as well as being able to actually talk on the phone with internet and electricity companies without turning into a babbling mess. In terms of organisation, I have finally got my head around how to arrange my timetable and social life so I can enjoy myself without my work getting on top of me – if that’s not a win I don’t know what is!

I’ve made loads of friends from different backgrounds.

Edge Hill is such a diverse university and is so different to the small town I come from. Since I’ve started uni I’ve made so many friends from so many different backgrounds. Not only have I made friends from different regions of the UK, I’ve also met people from places such as China, America and France. I’ve learnt so many things from my friends, from slang (‘boss’ and ‘chunder’) to recipes – would you believe me if I said I’d never tried sprinkling crisps on top of a pasta bake until my flatmate showed me in first year? Meeting such a diverse group of people has really helped open my eyes to everything I’ve been missing in my little corner of Wales.

I’ve gotten involved in societies/student projects

Lastly, I’ve had so many chances to develop new skills and take part in loads of fun projects. I’ve been a part of Hillstart Dance Society and Edge Hill Musical Theatre Society during my time here and I enjoyed every minute of it. In my first year I even got to perform in a production of my all-time favourite musical (Rent) which of course I jumped at the chance to be a part of! I’ve even tried out a few new hobbies, including pole fitness – I recommend it, though it’s very hard work.

In my second year I performed in a student production called ‘Grim Repercussions’ organised by a group of creative writing students and I am now the production manager for their second production ‘Meat and Greet.’ It just goes to show how supportive Edge Hill is with fostering creativity. Seriously, if you have any good ideas speak to one of your tutors or another relevant staff member about it, they could point you in the right direction. University is probably the best place to begin making big ideas into something more, you have great facilities and tonnes of support to make it happen!

Until next time. 🙂

The Nitty Gritty

Now, I bet you’ve heard a lot more about the social life at uni than you probably have about the actual degree part!

Now everybody’s course is different and I definitely recommend that you ask somebody how your course is assessed before you start uni to make sure that you are prepared for what’s instore! I however missed this highly important factor and found myself amongst essays, coursework and exams (not that this bothers me – thankfully!). Such courses as Early Years and Primary Education only consist of essays and coursework currently, so it really does depend on what suits you.

Like everything as a consumer, if you are paying for something you need to make sure it’s what you want, especially your education as it is the foundation for your future. Having a degree should open doors to you, allowing you to go down many career routes rather than being restricted to HAVING to do something you’re not 100% on.

Some courses will even let you choose areas to major/minor in (such as primary education) allowing you to have a say in what you learn which makes essays etc. so much easier when you enjoy, and have an interest in, what you’re doing.

So remember to ask questions and enjoy what you’re doing!