Living off Campus

Hi guys, since we are coming to the start of a new year a lot of you may be living off campus for the first time. So here’s a few things that in my experience are different from on campus accommodation both good and bad.

Having your own washing machine/drier

I don’t know about you but the circuit machines in the SU were always messing me around one way or another especially with their broken app, so moving off campus and just being able to use a machine without having to carry clothes anywhere or ring up circuit for the FIFTH time to get a refund is a very welcome change.

Being closer to the town

The title speaks for itself but most people live in or around Ormskirk, which is both a good and a bad thing as your closer to shops and bars but it also means getting up earlier than 8.45 to get to uni classes, you also have to contend with the Edge Link bus free for all just before 9 in the morning. Unless you happen to live in a location equidistant between the town and the uni in which case, nice one.

Varying broadband quality

I lived in Chancellors Court in first year and the WiFi and wired internet connections available were both a dream to use, I hardly ever had any issues and could download as much stuff as I wanted with little fuss. Moving into off campus living my broadband is more basic, it still does the job. But, be wary that if your someone who relies heavily on good speeds you may not always be able to get them, this depends on a variety of factors but especially if your moving in with other people this can be something to keep in mind. Although you might end up having much better internet so it varies.

No Fire Drills

Living on campus means on occasion the fire alarm will go off for drills, which can be ever so slightly annoying but understandable. It’s not so fun though when someone accidentally sets it off early or late at night. At least when you live off campus there’s usually less people to set off an alarm and you don’t usually have to do fire drills, unless you want to for um fun?

So there are a few things I noticed most after making the switch, any questions feel free to ask and thanks for reading!

Jordan

End of Year 2 Review

Just like that I’ve come to the end of my second year at Edge Hill University, something which I can’t quite believe yet, no idea where all the time has gone.

As i finished up the last of my work for the year it suddenly occurred to me that I only have one year left before I have to venture out into the real world, both a terrifying and exciting prospect, (mostly the former).  Anyway, since I have finished it’s probably the best time to do a review and to give a taster of what’s to come if you have just finished first year.

Second year for me brought about a new set of modules, three compulsory and three to choose from a selection. Looking back I am reasonably happy with my module choices opting for a balance of practical and theory work, my only advice would be to pick what you think you can do best in, read module handbooks etc. in order to make the best decision.

The biggest thing I had to look out for was the fact all my coursework was now actually counting towards my grade, 40% to be exact. I would have preferred a 50/50 split but oh well. First year at least allowed me to in a sense practice the different types of coursework I would need to do so when this year came around I knew what I was doing which was definitely helpful. Overall I am satisfied with the work I submitted and urge anyone looking forward to make sure you are as well because you will feel a lot better knowing you put the effort in no matter how it turns out.

Overall I found my second year to be a reasonably low-key affair as there wasn’t anything particularly crazy going on within it. I was mostly just focused on preparing for next year and graduation and getting my work done, I also secured a job within the SU Subway which is an extra bit of income and experience. I think there’s an expectation to do so much all the time as a student, when really as long as you achieved what you wanted to and feel you spent your time well during the year then does the rest really matter? I suppose it’s up to you. Till next time!thinking

Jordan

Placement Magic

Hi everyone!

With my placement drawing to a close, I am starting to feel quite sad! 6 weeks have flown by and I only have 2 weeks left of teaching my year 4’s… but I hope to visit them again when they’re in year 5! So, here are some of the many reasons why professional practice is the best part of my Primary Education course:

1)The children

After teaching the same pupils every day for the past few weeks, I have gotten to know each and every individual – their personalities and unique quirks. One of the most worthwhile parts of teaching is watching a pupil understand a new concept or overcome an individual struggle within a certain aspect of work. Knowing I have helped to make a small difference puts it all into perspective. Not only is it amazing to help children learn, assisting with social or community events like a school disco, sports day or club allows children to simply let loose and have carefree fun – laughter and smiles are enough to make anyones day!

2) Developing yourself as a teacher

With every placement, comes new lessons learnt. I cannot begin to explain just how much I can take with me from just 6 weeks of professional practice. This is mostly down to the teachers, mentors and every adult who works there. Their guidance and support has been brilliant and inspires me to become as supportive as they are when I eventually have my own class!

3) The creative side

This professional practice has allowed me to recognise the opportunities for creativity in everything I teach. In Religious Education we recently made stained-glass windows for their topic of the church. In Literacy, the children have put themselves in the roles of Boudicca and Claudius for their Roman topic (also relating it to History). Overall, it has been wonderful to deliver these lessons and watch the children participate with enthusiasm.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to ask any questions if you’d like to know more about my second placement within Primary Education! Speak soon,

Anna 🙂

Changes: First to Second Year

End the end of second year, a number of things had changed since the end of first year – surprisingly, time does that. Over the course of the year, many opportunities presented themselves to me. First of all was this, the position as a student blogger! It’s been a worthwhile endeavour not only to contribute to my university but also to diversify my skills. Being in a STEM field, I don’t do this kind of writing all that often, so this was definitely beneficial for me.

 

My course, in fact, also changed. At the end of first year, I decided to switch from straight Biology to Ecology and Conservation, however, not even a week later, I made up my mind and chose to specialise into Genetics instead. Ultimately, it all came down to module choices and which course allowed me to take my preferred selection of modules. You may come to the end of your first year and realise that another field entirely is calling to you, in which case you may be able to make an interdisciplinary transfer. I have two friends who have transferred from Creative Writing to Human Biology and from Games Programming to Music Production!

As for my societies, I remained in the LGBT society, but I became less active in the volleyball club and more active in the historical reenactment society. Towards the end of the year however, my dedication was primarily with the newly minted sustainability society, and mainly on the allotment that we have given new life. Next year I may join the climbing society, who knows what’ll happen!

Another change from first to second year is accommodation, since I lived in halls for my first year (the lovely chancellor’s court), and had moved into a rented student house for my second year, sharing with one former hallmate, one coursemate, and two others from the year above who my hallmate knew well from societies.

Now, two years after first attending Fresher’s Week on campus, I am in Illinois, USA, acting as a research affiliate for the Morton Arboretum during my sandwich year. Not only that but I completed an Erasmus internship over the summer in Sweden. There are many opportunities for engagement, change, and evolution at Edge Hill University. I’ve been lucky enough to experience quite a few of them and you may too!

Things to keep in mind when living with friends

Living with your friends sounds like the ultimate dream right?! Well, it really can be, but you need to remember that you and your friends are completely different people. You don’t truly know a person until you live with them and you may have a bit of a shock when you move in. Luckily I’ve complied a list of things to keep in mind when living with friends that should make your time as housemates as fun as you always imagined.

Different backgrounds
You and you friends will have undoubtedly come from different backgrounds. Whether that’s places, races, religions or even just a different family dynamic. This will always affect the way they live their day to day lives. You need to be respectful of your friend’s traditions, the way they keep their room and their schedules – whatever is important to them. In order to live harmoniously, you’ll have to learn to strike up compromises when your ideas clash with those of your friends. It’s not as hard as it sounds; for example, if you come from the kind of family where there is lots of noise and your friend comes from a small family and prefers silence in the house, you’ll have to talk it out and work out what level of noise is appropriate for the both of you to live comfortably.

Different ideas of clean
One of the biggest differences I had to deal with when living in a student house was mine and my friends’ differing ideas of how clean the house should be. I’m a self-proclaimed ‘neat freak’, I hate the idea of anything being less than spotless – which makes me a real pain to live with sometimes, but I’ve had to learn to accept that things never stay that way – which is totally normal. One way to combat this is to draw up a cleaning rota and stick to it. Each person has their own responsibilities to complete in their own time and then the cleaning isn’t just left to one person. It’s also good to dedicate one day a week to cleaning – a day that everyone is free – and then you have a bit of a routine going.

Boundaries
When you sign up to live with other people to sign up to seeing them at the worst as well as their best. There will be times when your friends feel low or act a bit moody. You need to establish from the beginning what their boundaries are and what’s best to do in those situations. Some people like to have people around them when they’re feeling sad and others want to be alone. Establishing and respecting these boundaries will make those times so much easier for everyone.

Chill time
One of the most important things to remember is to take time out. Enjoy living with your friends, don’t get so wrapped up in work that you end up ignoring them all year. Enjoy the time you have to do movie nights or video game sessions or whatever you enjoy doing. It’s incredibly important to bond!
Until next time! 🙂

Edge Hill Is Chill

Most people experience pre-uni jitters, I know I did – a new place where I didn’t know anyone, living on my own and being the sole person responsible for myself. A step in the direction of adulthood! Something I know about myself is that I like feeling safe, and Edge Hill (and Ormskirk in general) definitely provide that feeling. The campus is a wonderful place with lights all around to keep the darkness at bay at night, as well as security that patrols and are reachable by phone as well.

In addition to actually being very safe, it feels safe too. Safe and comfortable. Once you get to know the campus, it’s small enough for you to be very familiar with the whole place. If you are a member of societies and clubs, you have a good chance of running into people from them or from your course when you pop down to McColl’s or SU Bar.

Living in halls may also bring about a sense of solidarity – almost like a second family. This becomes particularly apparent in second year, after you’ve chosen who to live with. The people who I’ve lived with throughout second year were a mixture of course mates, previous flatmates, and society members from the year above. Not everyone always saw eye to eye, but that’s to be expected when living with numerous people in close proximity. We always managed to resolve issues, however, and I think living in a student house is a very valuable experience.

In regards to the actual learning part of university (an important part), I can only speak of my experience with the biology department. All the lecturers are very approachable and provide an excellent environment to learn in – one that is very comfortable. We are treated as adults and as such are on first name basis, something I feel makes it a lot easier to speak to them when you have an issue or require assistance. Having a personal tutor who you can go to for support is also a wonderful thing that eases anxiety.

On the note of anxiety, the university provides excellent student support for numerous issues from anxiety to bereavement. All counselling services are provided at Milton House. I have used the services myself and can confirm how the staff make you feel at ease, despite it being a daunting experience for me.

I chose Edge Hill University as my first choice because it felt right. It felt comfortable and safe (as well as providing the course and teaching I required), and it has lived up to those feelings.

Biology Semester Two: Begin!

With a new semester comes new modules (unless you have any that stretch over them both, which I don’t), so I thought I’d give a little run down of my first impressions on the modules I have started this week in 2017.

Western Campus – Partially showing the GeoSciences building.

Biogeography: This module is one that is a kind of collaboration between the Geosciences and Biology department. Despite being two different modules for both departments, they overlap so much that the majority of them are taught together.

The study of biogeography is defined simply as ‘the distribution of species around the globe,’ and the module deals with exactly that. The first session introduced the very idea of what a “species” is, and how they come to be. Of course, their distribution, and how they come to be distributed, was explained next – particularly the idea of Gondwanan distribution (Gondwana was a supercontinent, like Pangea that broke apart to form the continents and microcontinents we know today. Knowing that this is only the tip of the biogeographical iceberg has me excited for what future lectures have in store.

Research Methods: The EHU website concisely summarises the module on their website. An essential program to biological research, R, will be taught.

“Research Methods in Biology introduces you to essential biological research methods and data analysis. You will examine experimental design and analysis with varied types of data and subsequently design a study of your own.” – Edge Hill University

As well as this, the actual assessment section of the module this year will be centred around a research project that is conducted over the course of a week in pairs, and presented on a poster during a “conference style” poster evening.

Biochemistry & Metabolism: The module this year focuses on “biomolecules, the different types of anabolic and catabolic pathways, as well as basic concepts in enzymology and eukaryotic and prokaryotic cellular energetics” (as stated by EHU).

However the intriguing part about the module this year is that part our assessment will be based on a presentation we give in conjunction with animation students. This provides valuable experience in working with others who may have less understanding of scientific terms and concepts. Communication will obviously be a vital part of this assessment – as biologists, we will have to explain our assigned biological process; on the flip side, the animators will have to explain to us what is feasible in terms on the animated end product.

Semester One Biology Highlights

Since semester one has essentially finished (bar a few exams and reports being due), I thought I’d take this time to look back on my favourite parts of the modules I’ve experiences on the second year of my undergrad Biology degree.

Life On The Edge

Tech Hub

Life On The Edge (LOTE) is the new and improved version of the Environmental Physiology module from previous years, it deals primarily in microbe, plant, and animal extremophiles. The largest addition to the module was Life On The Edge Evening, a series of short presentations, by the students, on a chosen extremophile. This was hosted in the lecture theatre of the new Tech Hub. One of the purposes of the event is to test the students’ research and presentation skills – which counted towards our grade. Although public speaking isn’t my strong suit, it did give me the chance to bust out my PowerPoint skills – as lame as it sounds, I’m quite fond of designing the slides. However anxious it made me, I’m sure the experience improved my public speaking abilities and got me used to presenting in a professional environment.

Another point of interest for this module was the field-trip to Anderton Nature Park, where we sampled the salt springs for microbes and isolated them from the water back at the lab.

Molecular Biology

This module featured quite an insight into the techniques and points of interest in the field of molecular biology. My personal highlight was learning about epigenetics, as I already knew a little about it and was interested in it before knowing it was featured in the module. Google defines epigenetics as, “The study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.” This module was quite technical but very rewarding, in that the subject matter is complex but also very cutting edge.

Laboratory Masterclass

The highlight of Lab Masterclass has got to be using the scanning electron microscope (SEM). It’s an expensive piece of kit, so it’s incredible that the department to trust all the second year undergraduates to use it for our practical coursework. The assignment in question had to contain two images from the SEM which both had to be scientifically relevant, as well as a short report on the subject matter of the images. This practical was weighted quite heavily for the module, so it was imperative we used our time wisely on the microscope to get some impressive images. We could’ve chosen any sample with biological relevance to look at under the SEM, and being a fan of plants, I chose leaves. I won’t go into the details, but here are some of the images I didn’t use, that I think are still pretty impressive:

The course page for biology has a tab that gives an overview of the modules.