Paper-less Notes

Let’s just start by saying that I am a huge stationery nerd. New notebooks, more pens, cute rubbers and pom-pom pencils. I live for it. When I first found out I was going to university, I raided my favourite stationery shops to make sure I had the cutest notebooks with matching folders and brand new pens. However, by the end of my first year, I hadn’t used half of it.

Since starting university, I have become really interested in sustainability and making better choices as a consumer. I’m not here to shove climate change down your throat. All I ask is that you take what I say on board and maybe think about it when it comes to buying another notebook.

When it came to packing up my room, I had bin bags full of paper and it was all useless. I made a pledge to myself that during my second year, I would aim to only fill a shoebox. So far, I am proud to say, I have only used one notebook and haven’t printed out anything for my lectures/seminars. I’m going to go through below what I’ve been using this year to remain paper-less.

Google Drive / Google Docs / Google Slides

Before this year, I had never used anything to do with Google. I was happy with my Microsoft Word and pen drive. However, after nearly losing ALL my work from the first year, I decided to ditch the pen drive and go Google. I use Google Docs for my lecture and seminar notes, reading and planning my assignments. I’ve started downloading journal articles onto my Google Drive, meaning I can highlight and make notes straight on to it.

Google Drive means you can keep a live version of everything in one place. Instead of having to put things on and off your USB all the time. It also means you can collaborate with a study group and all work together on something. I have a couple of these collabs on the go right now and it’s great being able to share ideas, work together in a live document.

I still use a notebook from time-to-time to keep to-do lists or important dates. Sustainability isn’t about ditching everything that’s bad for the world, it’s about making better choices. In this instance, it’s also a more effective and efficient tool for university. I hope you enjoyed this and try it out!

Thank you for reading!

Amy

Second-Year Accommodation

As Housing Week as recently passed, I thought I would talk about my housing experience during my second year of university.

Who?

This year I am living with three other girls from my course. Two of them are in classes at university and we looked for a 4-bed house. House sizes can go up to 12, although I feel that somebody told me about a 16-bed house but I could have just been very sleepy that day. I wanted to stay small, and luckily these girls felt the same. You may also find that you want to live with the same people you did in halls, and that’s also fine. My advice would be to get a plan together and stick to it. Otherwise, it might end a little messy.

When?

We started looking very early, I think around November time. I wouldn’t recommend this, but if you want to get it sorted sooner rather than later than you can look around and get it sorted before Christmas. It’s doable. A slight caution to look out for is that some lettings agency can be pushy and a little pressuring on you to sign contracts. Don’t sign anything until you have read the contract, looked at the payments, seen the house and talked to someone knowledgable about the contract. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either, check over everything.

Where?

The house we are in is just lush. I’m really happy we managed to get this one and I don’t regret it. The only downside is that it’s a little too far from university for my liking. It’s not too far, a 25-minute walk -which is fine, it’s just rough when it’s cold/rainy/windy. Apart from that, the house is great.

How?

We went through a lettings agency in Ormskirk that has student houses. We viewed a few houses but none were as good as the one we are in now. Once we were set on that we emailed to say that we would like to live there. They operate on a first-come service and we were told another group had asked before us. We waited to hear and they never turned up to sign the contracts so the house was ours if we wanted it. Hoorah.

Anything else:

Just don’t rush. I know in my experience, we did rush and we ended up with a nice house – but if I could do it again, I’d have liked to be closer.

As always, if you have any questions please drop them below.

Amy

Tips for Productivity

Procrastination is easy to slip into and hard to get out of. A lack of motivation is the main cause, which we have all fallen victim to, made especially worse with looming deadlines and challenging studies. In this post, I’m going to give you my three top tips for beating the procrastination monster.

To-Do Lists

A to-do list? How cliché. Hear me out. It may feel like taking time on a to-do list is, in fact, procrastination, but it can boost your motivation – which is what we’re after. I like to colour-code mine so I can visually see which areas of study I need to be focusing on, organising it in terms of priority, to make sure I know what’s coming and when. However, I read somewhere that the best way to be productive with your to-do list is to do your 2-minute activities first. If you have something that will take under an hour to do, get it done. Even better, if it will take you 5-10 minutes, do that first. There is nothing better than ticks on a to-do list.

Breaks

I am prone to an occasional burnout, this is usually when I have a monster assignment due and there just isn’t time to take breaks. I’m being realistic, sometimes you need to just graft. However, breaks are vitally important and your work will benefit from giving your brain regular rests. I like to set myself a goal to achieve by a certain time. For example, if I get to the library for 9am, I’d like to think I’ve got 5-7 journals read by lunchtime, this is, of course, dependent on the article but setting myself that goal means I have something to work to and I know a break is coming. On a break I will check my phone and reply to any messages, I’ll go to the toilet or get a drink/food. I usually give myself 10-20 minutes, and then get back to it.

If I’m working from home, I’ll add rewards to this. If I can work for 4 hours, I’ll watch an episode of whatever I’m watching or I’ll have a nap or practice the piano. I’ll then set myself off for another 4 hours with another reward. It just breaks it up a bit better.

Making the best use of your time

I’m not a morning person. I can be, but not often. I don’t like getting up early, however, I feel better when I do. This week, I have been waking up an hour/two hours earlier and going straight to the library. Whilst there I am tackling the small jobs on my to-do list and it’s amazing how productive I have been/felt this week. It’s only an extra couple hours but I feel so much better. Your future self will thank you for this.

What are your tips for productivity?

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to leave a comment with any questions/ideas and I’ll get back to you.

Amy

Creating a Routine for University!

Hey everyone! I have just completed my first week back at Edge Hill University from my three month summer holidays and I thought I would do a post on how to get back to routine after a long break.

I know that Christmas and Easter holidays can be long and returning back to the grind of university can be somewhat daunting but I have found that these tips help me get myself back to routine.


Get Up Early!

I’m not saying that you have to get up at the crack of dawn but, setting your alarm slightly earlier than you normally would and getting your day started earlier can really help to begin your day right. I like getting up earlier because it means I don’t have to rush around in the morning but rather I can take my time and make sure that I have everything prepared for the day ahead.

Make Yourself and Timetable!

Alongside the timetable that I had for university lectures and seminars, I also had my own timetable for everything that I needed to do outside of classes such as; the gym, assignment reading, me time and homework that needs to be completed. This allows me to see when I have free time and what deadlines I have coming up so that I can stick to a regular study routine.

Schedule in Your Breaks

Take this piece of advice from a person who did not schedule in breaks and burnt herself out immediately. Believe me, taking breaks when trying to get back into routine is just as important as scheduling in your working time. If you don’t take time to give yourself a break you will lose the motivation to start any work and continue with the same routine.

Image result for routines

Those are my three quick tips to getting back into routine after coming back from a long break! Also, check out the uniskills website through Edge Hill Student page to get some extra help and support to get you back to routine. I have been to one of the ‘one to one’ appointments at the catalyst which I booked through Uniskills and it really helped get my head around a new routine to help me meet my deadlines for assignments. https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/ls/uni-skills/

Hope you enjoyed and thank you for reading!

My routine is there to serve as the building blocks for a successful day. It’s a tool. I try not to get bogged down if I can’t do it all.” 

Carly Stein

Your First Assignment!

Hey everyone, welcome back to the blog and for all the first years, I hope you have enjoyed your first at Edge Hill and ready to start your course! When I first started university I was slightly confused as to how I write an academic assignment because of how different they were from my high school.

So here are a few tips from me to you on how to look for support on your first assignment.


Reading is such an important step to writing your first assignment. I know that sometimes you just want to get straight into writing the assignment but it makes the whole process a lot easier when you read, read, read all the information you can on the subject. Make sure you highlight all the quotes that could be useful for supporting any points you make and write down the references.

Support classes are also very useful when writing your first assignment especially when getting used to Harvard Referencing. We had people come in and talk us through how to use and where to find the Harvard Referencing Guide which I found really useful and informative.

When I found that I was having a hard time with one of my assignments, I booked a one to one appointment through Uni Skills. I was able to meet someone and talk to them about what my assignment was about and they give me advice on how they think would be the best way to structure it. I found this really helpful and it gave me the motivation I needed to complete the work. Follow this link! https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/ls/uni-skills/

I hope that this helps someone starting their assignments and good luck in your first year!

“It is nobody’s responsibility but yours to discover your assignment and to execute that very assignment.”

D.S. Mashego

Making Friends 101

It’s getting closer to the day you all move in and start your university experience! i hope you are all enjoying binge watching what do bring with you to university videos on YouTube (please tell me I was not the only one!)

As a girl who moved from Ireland to Edge Hill University, I thought that making friends would be the hardest part about university but low and behold I was very surprised…doing your own washing is the hardest part. However, although it is not the hardest part about starting university and I had a very good friend that I knew from home, it can be quite nerve-wracking especially if you are introverted like I was so, here are some of my tips on how I managed to get people to be in my company voluntarily.

Image result for let's be friends gif

BE YOUR BEST SELF!

I’m sorry for how cliche this is but it is seriously so true. People have this weird ability to sense if people are being fake and this only heightens when you get to university. I will admit that I was very scared to be myself in front of my fellow classmates and flat mates but once I got comfortable, let’s just say that we are now very close and they know why I am not myself around everyone I meet…

Societies will be your first best friend!

I have heard that joining these at the very start of the year can be so useful when wanting to make friends in an environment that you are comfortable in. For example, there are musical theatre groups, dance groups, Doctor Who groups and many more that you would never think of. Don’t make the mistake I made and not join one of these!

Go on nights out!

This is another classic case of do as I say and not as I do. I made the mistake of not going out much with my flat mates and not being able to meet new people outside of my course. I now have learnt that while being an introvert is not a bad thing, it can be damaging when you want to meet new people. Take my advice and push yourself to socialise outside the confines of your flat because, while it might be hard and scary you won’t regret it!

Now that I read this blog again, I really should have titled it, ‘Mistakes I made whilst trying to make friends.’ I really hope that you find the friends you deserve because they really do make the difference to your university experience.

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you”

Rasheed Ogunlaru

Dealing with the Nerves!

Hey everyone and CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who have been accepted into Edge Hill University! I am sure you are going to love every minute of it. However, I bet some of you are feeling slightly more anxious than excited to start this new journey particularly if you are travelling a long distance to attend like me. I thought I would share some things that I told myself to calm my nerves about starting university.

Image result for nervous gif

First….

You are not the only one that is going through this! As you are all aware, there is thousands of people starting university for the first time and are probably feeling exactly the way you are right now. I don’t know how many times I told myself this on the weeks leading up to moving and how much my family told me this but, it really did help settle my nerves when I really thought about it. You are never really alone in anything.

Second…

This is not a life altering decision. Once you have accepted the course you are doing it does not mean that you are tied down to that decision for the rest of your life. The great thing about university and Edge Hill, is that it opens up so many windows of opportunities for you to explore. Take these opportunities and explore them!

Third…

This will be the best thing that will happen to you. I know this seems a little dramatic but, for me, starting university was a big deal because I never thought that it would happen to me. Telling myself that going to university would be the best thing I would do really helped with my nerves because I then really started to believe it and to be honest, it really has helped me in so many ways and I can guarantee it will do the same for you.

Image result for edge hill university logo

Thank you for reading and I hope that this has helped at least someone who is starting to feel the nerves. Again, well done on getting into University, you deserve this!

Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.

Dalai Lama

Best Places for all of your uni essentials!

Hi everyone,

After three years of living at university I have found a few favourite places where I like to buy all my essentials from including bedroom accessories and stationary. As I am on a budget I am always looking for a bargain so I thought I would share my favourite shops for all of your university products!

  1. Wilko

Wilko is really amazing for lots of university pieces, I got all of my kitchen utensils including plates, bowls, pans and cutlery and they are all so well priced. I am pretty sure I paid less than £3 for two plates. They have lots to offer and it is also nice stuff that isn’t just boring.

2. Primark

This one is probably my favourite out of all the shops because you can add to your wardrobe without breaking the bank as well as an amazing and ever growing home section. I got so many things throughout my time at uni from primary that are all really worthwhile such as candles, fairy lights, duvets and bedding that are all really good quality especially when on a budget and little things like fairy lights can make your uni room feel so homely and cosy. The home section in the Liverpool store is the best one!

Kitchen

3. Supermarkets

Even though Aldi is a supermarket, the special buys they have in there can be really good, especially for cleaning products and things like magazine racks and pencil cases. They always have different things in store so I think it just depends on what week you go! Supermarket home sections are also great for buying your kitchen essentials and they also always have really pretty mugs and tea towels!

4. The Works

Whilst The Works is predominately a book shop, they have an amazing selection of stationary from notebooks to diaries and amazing pens. I think every notebook I used throughout uni was from here and they are all amazingly priced and I love going in there!

I hope this was helpful!

Ellie xx

Healthy meal ideas as a vegetarian student!

Hi everyone, hope you’re well and have had a good week!

Today’s blog is going to be the first in a little series of blogs, which will revolve around healthy eating and meal ideas when on a budget and maybe a slightly lazy student! For this months blogs, I will be sharing recipes and tips for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This first blog will be talking about store cupboard essentials as a student and a bit about my personal list!

I have been vegetarian, on and off for around 3 years now, with a very short lived attempt at veganism ( didn’t last as I missed cheese too much 😉 ) and I love it. I know it’s not for everyone, but personally I love healthy eating and vegetables and found that I felt better when actually taking time to think about what I am eating and that’s how my enjoyment for cooking began! As a student, I have loved having the freedom to buy and cook whatever I want, especially broccoli and cheese for pretty much every meal! But there is always the problem of budgeting and using your money wisely when cooking for yourself. My biggest tip for this is having store cupboard essentials in, either when my parents would take me for a food shop when coming to visit or when going home during the holidays. Personally my store cupboard essentials that have a great shelf life include:
– Tinned Tomatoes, baked beans, kidney beans and chickpeas for veggie chilli, pasta sauce, curry and casseroles or whatever you fancy- you can get really inventive with a tin of chickpeas with a bit of imagination! Oh and beans on toast or with a jacket potato- obviously ( a classic student meal!).
– Dried carbohydrates, so pasta, rice, tinned potatoes and noodles- literally the back bone to most student meals, add some veg and you’re good to go.
– Jars of curry powder, dried chillies, mixed herbs, salt, sugar, pepper and all-spice. can really making a boring meal interesting! As well as cooking oil, a definite essential.
– Porridge oats, tea, coffee and cereal. Oh and biscuits, definitely- my personal favourites have to be Aldi’s own dark chocolate digestives- 49p a pack! I know.  I honestly don’t feel like there’s anything that can’t be fixed with a digestive biscuit and a coffee, especially when the biscuit costs less that a penny!
Having these bits in are brilliant for making a meal when you feel like you don’t have anything in and are hiding at the back of your cupboard! In the next blog I will touch on my fridge and freezer essentials as a student as well as giving you a few of my favourite breakfast ideas!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog, please comment if you have any questions!
Alice 🙂

Getting Your Results

Hi everyone, if you have already got your results and been accepted then congratulations and good on you. For those still waiting I think it’s just A-Level people at this point I want to give a few ideas of what to expect and how to move forward once you receive your grades,

Waiting for results day can be an annoying time, you google what’s going to happen, you talk with people about what they think they will get, you imagine how you will feel if you do well and also if you don’t do so well. Basically you might overthink it a bit but that’s fine, it’s what almost every student does. The important thing is to be ready for any outcome and this is best done by researching other options before the day in case you do worse or even better than expected.

You might have settled for your insurance and just been accepted for your firm, now what? If you research both your university choices well before the day you will know exactly what your choosing between rather than having to look up things like ‘what kind of accommodation is available’? Alternatively you may not get the grades you wanted and now you don’t know what to do. Take it from someone who messed up their AS levels big time, it is not the end of the world! There are other options available to you, maybe your insurance choice uni will end up being brilliant, or this might be the wake up call you need to change what or where your studying. For me after not doing well in my A levels, I realised straight away going that route was never going to be the way forward for me, so I took the plunge and dropped out from school and went to my local college instead to do a BTEC in ‘Creative Media Production’ and those two years turned out to be two of the best, I got into Edge Hill with more practical skills I could apply to my degree and even a high achievers scholarship to boot.

Personal life story aside, results day is an important day but it’s also not judgement day either, just try to take it in your stride and know that whatever results you achieve there’s always options available to you.

Jordan