Textbooks – A Business School Guide.

Textbooks are essential if you’re a business student. More often than not, they are the key to completing your assignments due to the content being what the essay, or other assessment, is modelled around. Each module has a reading list with a plentiful array of books, some will be essential reading, some recommended reading. My blog this week is going to discuss my approach to acquiring textbooks as a Business School student at Edge Hill.

First and foremost, you will find your module reading lists on Blackboard. In these lists, by clicking on a book, it will tell you where that book is in the library, and if it is in stock. This tool is essential for being savvy about what you loan out or possibly buy yourself.

Snapshot of one of my reading lists for a module I completed in first year.

When presented with a new reading list for a new module, I would ALWAYS check Amazon for the essential book, then check the price of used or new copies. If the book isn’t expensive, I would always buy it. I am the type of learner who prefers to own all their materials rather than loan them out, so I can put tons of sticky notes in the book. If a book was not cheap enough to buy, some I saw racked up to almost £50 on Amazon, then I would loan the book out the library or look at an ebook option with my kindle.

My strategy for loaning books was always to get one out at the start of a module, then loan it out again when I was writing an assignment for those important references. Doing this system for a few modules saved me money, so I certainly recommend it.

My messy bookshelf from my room on campus. These were all the books I owned, which were either purchased or acquire when the library was getting rid of old stock for FREE.

Of course, an assignment can’t contain only one book in the references. So, to get around this, I would write some of the assignment in the library and grab a couple of books from the reading list that were in stock according to the Blackboard app. I would never loan these out, only using them while I was in the library at that time. This was a great way to build up my references and knowledge of the subject in a short period to complete the assignment.

This method and approach served me well in first-year and hopefully will do so again in second-year. Buying all your books might not be possible on other courses due to the amount needed to be read each semester, so bear that in mind and remember that my approach is tailored to the Business School reading list system. I hope this blog helps you either change your ways for the better or give you a snapshot of what it will be like when you start Edge Hill.


Learning New Skills: Summer Edition.

At university, you learn many new skills. From cooking, to socialising, and then more academic skills like how to reference, cite, quote, work your way around different platforms like Blackboard. I know I certainly learnt lots of new skills in my first year. However, now as I’ve been relaxing for exactly a month since I finished my final assignment, my passion to learn something new had arisen, so in this blog post, I’m going to discuss exactly what I’m teaching myself at the moment, and provide some idea for yourself.

Photo editing is an important skill related to my chosen area, marketing, and therefore when I saw all my friends with great capability to do so, then looked at my skills, I did often feel like this was an area I was lacking in. Therefore over this summer, I’m going to self-teaching myself how to use a photo editing software called Affinity. Affinity is a cheaper alternative to higher-priced software on the market, and only charges you once, so it’s perfect for students. Affinity offers in house tutorials developed by themselves, and then beyond that, there are a plethora of YouTube offerings on how to get started. If you decide to give their free trial a whirl, I suggest this video as a good starting point on how to use their exciting editing tools.

A screenshot of my Affinity workspace

Beyond what I’m doing with photo editing, there are several other things you can do over stuff to either prepare to come to university, or strengthen your CV if your placement has been cancelled due to ongoing world events. Simply taking sometime a week to read relevant and up to date journal articles will bulk up your academic knowledge. Or perhaps you can take time to go through old pieces of work, and refine your reference style.

Learning Edge has the capability to easily find mountains of Journal Articles for yourself to read.

Ultimately as students, we have to identify our areas of weakness and improve upon them, beyond what a tutor may find in your coursework. I hope my account of what I’m doing over this summer to better my skillset has inspired you to consider doing something similar.


My mission to read over the summer.

First year is well and truly over for me now, last assignments are in, grades are coming back, I haven’t opened Blackboard for a little while now for anything other than checking said grades. I’m in my summer, whatever summer social distancing can offer, and have begun to think about goals, what do I want to achieve?

It’s something I don’t talk about often but I’m very bad at reading, I’ll start a new book, get a quarter way in, maybe half if I’m lucky, then put it down, not to be touched again. While I write this I’m imagining the Woody’s nightmare Toy Story clip. Humour aside, I’m bad at reading. My last victim was a memoir by Carole Radziwill called What Remains, I was gripped by it but found myself just not having the willpower to finish it. As I write this it’s sat in my bedside table, taunting me.

Not my copy of What Remains, but it’s in a similar condition.

So, my goal this summer, getting back on topic. My goal without a doubt is to read more, to finish books I have purchase. To do this, I’m considering alternative methods, first one being that I’ve stolen the family iPad to turn it into my new kindle. Following my acquisition, I also bought an eBook from Amazon to get stuck into, and so far, I’m about 100 pages or so in. Theft of the iPad aside, I’m so far succeeding in reading this book.

A big part of what I need to figure out is, what I enjoy reading. So far, I’m loving The Gatekeeper by Kate Fall, it’s a political read so be warned. Next up I really want to read Dune before the movie releases this Christmas (The day before my birthday for anyone interested).

A fanmade Dune poster – Sadly the official one isn’t out yet.

However, I feel drawn back to asking a key question; why am I so interested in reading more? To simply put it, I really want to improve these skills, so they’ll assist me better in second year. My summer is set to be long, I don’t have much lined up, so I certainly have the time to complete this goal, hopefully also turning it into an aspect of my lifestyle.

I’m sure my summer goals will alter and expand more as time goes on, and I intend to document them as much as I can in my journey to prepare for second year.


Reading Week

Hi everyone!

Hope you have all been having a great February, how is it almost the end of the month already?!

An important change from college to university is the implementation of reading weeks.

If you know people who already go to uni you’ve probably heard about these by now, but if not never fear! Hopefully this blog will serve to enlighten you a little more.

Reading weeks can vary depending on your course and module choices. Most courses do have one though, since independent studying is such a huge part of university studies.

As a literature student reading weeks are always busy times. Although they occasionally fall at the same time as half terms, I would advise that you use this time to actually get some reading done!

You’ve probably been working hard, and you do deserve a break. Never overwork yourself! But reading weeks are a great time to work on any work for the next part of the semester.

If you’ve got a few big assignments coming up, or you haven’t opened that book you took out of the library three weeks ago there is no time like reading week.

Basically when reading week comes around there are no lectures, seminars or workshops for the week. Some teachers will still be around during teaching time, especially if there are assignments due after reading week. Again this is something that varies depending on your course and its assessment.

Although it can be tempting to use the time to catch up on your sleep, and relax from all the work you’ve done in the first half of the semester, reading weeks are invaluable.

My number one tip is to use them wisely! There is nothing worse than being the one student in the seminar who didn’t do the reading and now has no idea what people are talking about.

Independent studying is a huge responsibility. Although it can be a little hard to adapt to, it’s definitely possible!

All it takes is a bit of hard work and determination.

And trust me, there is nothing more rewarding than being able to cross that last thing of your reading list, and actually being able to answer a question your tutor asks the first week back.

Work smart, and start reaping the rewards!

Quote for the day: “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” Horseradish –Lemony Snicket

Have a great week, and don’t forget to read, read, read!

Until next time 🙂

Getting My University Work Done

(The things I’m about to say really only come from my own experiences, we’re all different and all courses are different so please don’t assume that what I’m saying will definitely be applicable to you)

The summer before I started university, I was keen to be as prepared as possible before I started my course. I bought the books on the reading list as soon as I could. Despite this, I was only a couple of weeks ahead (at the most) of my classmates who hadn’t done anything to prepare, so I wouldn’t worry if for whatever reason you can’t start reading in advance. However, once you’re at university the reading really must be done as soon as possible. To be honest, I found first year easier than Sixth Form. I could easily handle the essays and reading that I needed to do. The only thing that took a bit of time to get used to was learning to reference my essays properly, but this became second nature to me eventually. First year went by in a blissful haze full of relatively good marks.

When I started second year I went into a state of shock for about a month. I would say that the workload tripled. I don’t want this to scare any of you like it did me; it’s not as bad as it seems, honest. But at the time I didn’t know how to handle it. But I eventually did, and this is how:  I read three books a week, every week (one for each module) and completed any additional work for seminars that I was asked to do (there was a fair bit – but this all depends on the tutor and the module).  I also squeezed in writing essays whenever I needed to, normally over the holidays and Reading Weeks when I had a bit more time. It wasn’t easy, my grades weren’t as good as first year (although still decent), but eventually I made it through.

Third year was less of a jump in terms of workload. Although it did still increase a bit from second year, I was able to manage it better. I’d perfected my technique in getting my reading done and I learnt how much time to put aside to get my essays written properly, even though now they were required to be longer than ever before. My grades went up, and I managed to have a really decent social life at the same time. Third year was wonderful, I really enjoyed it. It really was all about gathering the skills I’d learnt over the years and pulling them together to succeed. Tomorrow I will be graduating with a 2:1 and I couldn’t be happier!

My big summer read?

So, during this summer I decided I needed to get my reading head on. During my first year I constructed a bucket list of must reads, combining a range of classics with global successes. During uni you don’t always have time to start a new book, especially with trying to balance your studies with your social life, so summer is a perfect opportunity to read your life away.

So far this summer I’ve managed to power through:

I’m not usually a big reader, but I have enjoyed the different writing styles I have read. Obviously since I am a huge United fan, reading Fergie’s autobiography was my favourite.

So, get reading while you can! Don’t forget to keep up to date with any information your course provides and good luck on your  upcoming exam results!

Until next time…:)

So, what’s the library like?

Books, books and even more books.

Uni is all about reading. Well, to be honest it’s about a lot more, but you get the gist. I always knew that reading would be a huge factor to my course (Sociology), but I never knew just how much reading I would be doing.

In the first year I thought spending money on books was the right way to go. It allowed me to annotate whenever I wanted, highlight everywhere and mark key passages. However in second year I had limited funds and couldn’t splash out £60 on a book, so I opted to go to the library and investigate what they had. To my surprise (and annoyance at my stupidity) they had every book I used in my first year… and around 5 copies of each.

EHU library!

EHU’s library is fantastic! The ground floor allows you space to complete group work, along with catering facilities to grab some lunch. First and second floor are where the main body of books are situated, with single and group study rooms available to book. On each floor there is a help desk, so if you’re like me and can never seem to find a specific book, you always have a helping hand.

If you’re looking for more subject resources the online library has a full database of texts, such as journals, electronic books and articles for everyone to read. There is also the LINC building for students to have access to even more computers.

ADVICE: Read as much as you can whenever you can.The more you know about your course subjects, the better your grade will be!

Until next time…:)

Graduation, Results and Preparing for Next Year

Although I still have a year left of my degree, graduation has been on my mind a lot lately. This week is graduation week at Edge Hill, and it’s wonderful seeing all the pictures of the graduates in their gowns. I can’t believe that in a year’s time it will (hopefully!) be my turn! It will be so lovely to have my family on campus to celebrate, but for those who can’t make it, the ceremonies are available to watch online which I think is a really awesome idea.

The graduation gown for a Bachelor degree
The graduation gown for a Bachelor degree

But rewinding back to the present, a few weeks ago I got my results for second year, and I am so proud to say that overall I achieved a 2:1. If I can finish my degree with the same classification, I will be extremely pleased. Despite what a few people said to me before I started my degree, university isn’t a walk in the park and you do have to work hard if you want to succeed (thinking about it, the people who made these claims had probably never actually been to university themselves).

I have also finally made a start on my reading for next year (better late than never I say!) I’ve probably been procrastinating a bit too much, but in a few weeks I am going on holiday so I will hopefully get a chance to catch up on my reading whilst I relax in France. It’s a really good idea to at least make a start on your reading list during the summer because, especially for those of you studying English, there will be a mountain of books that you’ll need to get through during the year, often three or more a week.

And finally, I can’t believe it’s almost August already! At the end of next month I plan on going back to Ormskirk and moving in to my new house. I’m so excited and can’t wait to get there but I still have a few bits and pieces I need to buy before I’m ready to go.

Faye’s Blog – Home

Yesterday I travelled back to Blackpool from Ormskirk so that I can see my family etc. I went to go and visit my nanna and her new puppy! It’s a Chihuahua crossed with a Yorkie, she’s called Sally and is so cute s although she is a bit of a bully to other dogs! Here’s a picture!

Tonight I am going to watch my little brother’s band play a support slot, so tonight should be really good. I haven’t watched them in while either so I’m excited.

Whilst being back I am still trying to keep up with some work at I have to do. For my Text to Screen module we have to read a novel a week. Since starting back I’ve read Call of Cthulu and Flowers for Algernon (I loved Flowers for Algernon, I cried my eyes out!) and this week I have been reading Big Fish which I have really been enjoying so far. So I’m trying to keep on top of that so I have read it in time for my lecture. It’s been a big shock to everyone how much the workload has increased for our third year. But I’m managing it so far I think.

Also in relation to my last post, about the PGCE, I’ve found out a little more information about how I apply, which is through the college and not through UCAS as I originally thought. I will also have to do 150 hours in a work placement (I knew about the placement just wasn’t sure about how much I had to do) as well as the course will be on Fridays from September. So I’m really excited about it now. There’s an open evening on the 7th November. Luckily that is in my reading week/independent study week, so I should be able to go to it.

I’m finally happy that I am starting to organise my future a lot more!!