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 🙂

Three New Years Resolutions as a Student

With the first semester over and assignments all submitted I found myself thinking about what New Years Resolutions would be good to have over the next year as a student. So here’s 3 resolutions that you could try, all of which would be great for any student and are easy to complete here at Edge Hill.

1. Look after your mental health
Keeping healthy extends further than your physical health. There are so many ways to look after your mental health here at Edge Hill and it is so important to find ways that work for you to keep you as happy, calm and as stress free as possible. Over the next few weeks there are loads of Give it a Go sessions which can help you do just that. From a visit from the Guide dogs to an afternoon of crafts. Check out the full list of activities here. If you feel like you would like some support then the team in Student Services would be more than happy to help too.

2. Be prepared for the semester ahead
Getting organised can save you lots of time throughout the semester. I find it helpful to keep my diary up to date and to have a folder for each of my modules. I use a laptop to type up my notes after each lecture and seminar so that all of my notes are in the same place when it comes to completing assignments. There are many ways to get organised, from checking that you know when your lectures start again and which room they are in to doing some reading to get yourself back into the routine of studying after a long Christmas break. If you would like any advice about becoming more organised why not arrange a meeting with your personal tutor or speak to someone in Student Services. The team are very friendly and approachable and will help with any questions or queries you may have.

3. Try out a new sport/exercise or society
The Sports Centre at Edge Hill has so many amazing opportunities for both students and members of the community. There are membership options to suit all budgets and why not take advantage of the latest offer from the Students’ Union too. If you’d like to try something new why not join a new club or society, many can be found here on the Students’ Union website.

Please do share any resolutions you have in the comments below, would be great to hear your ideas of what you are doing over the next Semester too.

EHU’s Money Advice Team

Edge Hill University is well known for its student services, being voted 3rd in UK for Student Support in 2017. In my experience, this holds true. The IT support, Careers Advice, and Counselling services at EHU really are great. But today I want to tell you about the Money Advice Team.

I’ve worked for the Money Advice Team in the past, as a Money Buddy, presenting to and answering questions for prospective students on Open Days and other events. The Money Advice Team also informed me of the Student Opportunity Fund, which has helped me to spend my sandwich year in the United States!

The Money Advice Team are open for drop-ins Monday and Friday, 10am-1pm, and Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm-4pm. They offer a range of services for different purposes – if you’re worried about finances, they can help you. All queries from budgeting to funding are supported. A resource that many students might not know about is the Student Support Fund, which can help students who “have serious financial difficulties or whose access to higher education might be inhibited because of financial reasons.” There is an assessment process, but if you are eligible, you won’t have to pay back the money you receive.

The Money Advice Team is currently situated in the Student Information Centre (SIC) and can also put you in touch with Edge Hill Works, who can help you find a part-time job. There are numerous on-campus jobs, but of course, there are more in Ormskirk and the surrounding area. Even Liverpool (particularly Liverpool ONE) has some part-time jobs that are available for Edge Hill Students.

Also of use is the Money Matters website, which has information relating to the above, as well as tuition fees, bursaries, scholarships, etc. So if you’re unsure of the difference between the maintenance loan and your tuition fee loan, check it out! A particularly useful tool is the Scholarship Calculator, which can inform you, after five short questions, if you are eligible for a scholarship.

 

IT Support and Student Services

In the two years I’ve been at Edge Hill University, I’ve had to use the various support systems a few times, and I’ve always had a positive response from them. The Student Services at EHU are well renowned and really are there for the benefit of the student.

During first year, I went to the IT Services in the Durning Centre for help setting up my PS4. I was staying in Chancellor’s Court, and no-one had managed to connect their consoles to the wifi or ethernet ports in their bedrooms. Soon, the problem was fixed for Microsoft consoles, but the issue still presided for the Sony counterparts. This was an issue with Sony servers – from the gist of it, Sony wasn’t realising that the halls of residence were multiple addresses and had assumed we were one address trying to connect huge numbers of consoles. After the off-site issue was resolved, I worked with IT Services to help them connect my PS4 to the network; it took a couple of tries over a few phone calls, but we soon had it working. As far as I know, I was one of the first, if not the first person in Chancellor’s Court to get their PS4 connected. Soon after, IT Services set up a system via email to get everyone online a lot easier.

I’ve also had to go to IT Services and Academic Registry to alter some personal details, these were also easily remedied and proved no hassle at all. The support systems in place for technical issues is quite robust.

Also during first year, I made some trips to Milton House, for a different kind of support. Although I only attended a few sessions there, it was a great facility and the people there were extremely supportive of me. The Counselling team at Milton House offer a wide range of support from bereavement to anxiety in one-on-one sessions as well as groups and workshops for uni stress.

Swimming in the Deep End

Sometimes being thrown into the deep end isn’t a bad thing, although if you’re like me you won’t like it!

I am currently on my third and final placement at a high school. Looking back to year one I was very shy and dreaded speaking up… whether that was in a presentation, putting my hand up or just anytime really! Ironically now this is what I want my pupils NOT to be! Promoting and encouraging them to be confident in a way that I never was!

So this brings me to year one, the first term, when we wee told we had to present a starter to the whole course (just under 30 people… but still!). I was dreading it, despite actually training to be a teacher I don’t think I realised how hard standing up and presenting something would be… never mind actually getting the class to do it! BUT I did it, despite being extremely anxious, and it wasn’t even a disaster!

What I am getting at is sometimes even if there’s an aspect of something that you’re dreading… maybe your upcoming modules at uni or moving away from home, you will be ok! It is good to know that you can tap into certain aspects of people or departments that are willing to help you if you begin to struggle. At Edge Hill you can speak to numerous people… your friends, tutors, heads of courses, Student Services, the SU…. (to name a few!) A handy link can be found here, enabling you to choose the right service you require, should you need it!

Even if you know that you’ll be fine, be safe in the knowledge that I have found, sometimes I thrive in a situation when it is forced upon me and it makes me a better more rounded person! I will never look back and now, if I had to just present a starter, I would love it and I’d have so many innovative ideas that I lacked two years ago! So it just shows what hard work and determination can do! So to that, I thank Uni for helping me develop and learn!

Coping With University Stress

Although I have found university to be a freeing and joyous experience overall, it can be a tad stressful from time to time. When you first experience stress at university varies (if you even experience it at all), it may come shortly after moving into halls; halfway through the first semester; or perhaps during one of your exam periods. Luckily, it’s not the end of the world. It’s very common to have some form of worry whether it be because of your course, the new environment, or new people, and Edge Hill University is equipped to deal with this scenario.

Student Services have a branch dedicated to the wellbeing of students: Counselling and Wellbeing Services. They offer free sessions and workshops on relaxation and stress management, as well as support groups for things such as bereavement or loss. Their dedicated page to relaxation can be found here.

There are also personal things that you can try to reduce your stress levels during times of worry. Here are my main three that help me keep calm in moments of panic:

Blogging

Specifically two forms – active and passive. My active blogging is similar to what I’m doing as I type this, and the result is similar to what you’re reading here right now. Simply writing down all the thoughts in your head – a brain dump – can alleviate a lot of stress, whether it’s posted on a public blog like this, or a private one more akin to a diary. Instead of having things constantly occupying your mind for attention, you can separate yourself from any troubles and take a fresh look at the world (and hopefully see it isn’t as bad as you thought).

What I mean by passive blogging on the hand (if you can even really call it that), is using sites like Tumblr. Whenever I scroll down my dashboard on a typical day, anything soothing, cute, reassuring or funny gets tagged by me, and sorted into categories on my blog. Then, whenever I’m having a rough day, I can scroll through all these lovely posts – be it pictures of cats, funny test posts, or calming art.

Meditation

Something else that helped me a lot though my years of sixth form, was meditation. Admittedly, I’ve fallen out of practise in recent times, but it’s worth mentioning – since it even helped with my anxiety at the time as well. I personally used an app called Headspace, which has an unlimited free trial but also a paid subscription for more directed sessions. Headspace essentially is like a podcast, in that you listen to it from your phone or computer and are spoken to (if you’ve ever listened to Welcome To Night Vale, think of Cecil’s soothing tone). They also run a Get Some / Give Some scheme, which is a lovely way of giving back and supporting those who have gone through a whole manner of hardships.

There are of course other permanent, free, meditation aids. Two more that I myself have not tried, but have downloaded at some point or another are, Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think.

Friends

Of course, there’s nothing like having friends to fall back on in times of stress. A close few who you can rely on to back you up when you’re feeling down are always nice. Plus, if the tables turn and they’re the ones who are stressed, there’s not much better than being able to make someone feel calm again.

Leaving teen hood, for the first taste of adultness

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I remember my best friend sending this exact quote to me when we both first started university, and `I distinctively remember identifying with it. When I went to university I really did think that this was the first taste of true adulthood, being in charge of your own life, making your own decisions about where you’re going and when and whats for dinner. Whilst this sounds rather idyllic, it did suddenly feel a bit daunting, and I did worry that there would be no one around anymore to catch me when I fall (sorry for the clichĂ©). But I was pleasantly surprised by how much support I found in and around the university, for a multitude of different needs, which I found highly reassuring so I thought I would share a few of those today.

Personal Tutor
I have written a post about this before, but I can’t stress enough how helpful this aspect of university is. A personal tutor is a tutor that you meet with regularly throughout the year to ensure you are on track with assignments, happy at university and help you achieve your goals. The same tutor stays with you for the full 3 years so they really get to know you, which is extremely helpful and ensures you always have someone to turn to if you have any worries, work related or otherwise.

Student Services
I cannot rate this department enough, the teams within are absolutely fantastic and so incredibly dedicated to ensuring all students are happy and getting the very best experience they can from Edge Hill University. Furthermore this is where the ‘adultier’ adult comes in, as they are there to help you if you have any concerns including things like finance, job searching, house hunting, contract reading and health and wellbeing advice. These are the experts to turn to when you’re in need of a helping hand and just goes to show that although university is about gaining independence, there is so much support available along the way.

Students’ Union
And finally the students’ union, the team of students representatives there to make sure all your wants and needs for student life are met. Whether you need a friendly face, want to make a change to the university or get involved in a society these are the guys that are there to help you out!

So you can see from this that there is so much support for students at Edge Hill and although you wont have your parents there with you, there are people around to support you and you’re not alone!

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HELP! I need somebody…

So student support?

Well.. when it comes to student services EHU provides a range of different support systems in order for their students to get the best out of their university experience. Which of course is FAB. Areas such as essay help or academic support can be located in the library and meetings can be arranged at the help desks for further information. The black building located next to the hub is the home for all areas relating to student support. In here, you’ll be able to find a financial team ready to answer all your queries, and other help such as guidance for looking for a part time job.

This year EHU also has a FANTASTIC team of student mentors, who have been fully trained to aid students in settling into uni life. Some students may take a little longer to find their feet at university, but fear not, you’re not alone! The mentors will be around through out your years at the university, so whether you need directions to your next lecture or a quick chat, you’ve always got someone, yay!

Support network? Well, you’ve got your family (can’t forget them), your friends.. then there’s your personal tutor?, lecturers?, seminar tutors?, society friends?, student mentors?… the list is endless (well obviously it ends, but you get my point.. right?).

So basically, to sum up… you’re never alone at EHU and we don’t want you to feel like you ever are. Make sure you use your links to your support network when things get a little rocky, cause suffering in silence really wont help… trust me!

Until next time…

 

Student Support at Edge Hill University

Sometimes being at university and far away from home and your parents, there are a few questions that need to be asked but you can be a little unsure as to where to turn. This is where Student Services comes in, it’s a whole team of really lovely people dedicated to the students to help and guide you in so many different ways! The team is situated in the Student Information Centre (S.I.C) which you can find just to the right of the library in the centre of the campus. The team are there to help and advise in a number of different ways from career advice to financial support and counselling, they are a lovely team and are always happy to help however they can!
ssHomeHere I have put together a little summary to show you the kinds of things Student Services help students with all over campus, to show you there’s really no need to sweat the small stuff! The titles are links to the website if you want more info!

Accommodation Support and Advice
This is for both students that live on campus and off campus! Say for example you’re having problems with your landlord, or perhaps the people you’re living with in halls, there is a team of people dedicated to making sure you’re totally happy in your living situation and will help you any way they can to do so!

Careers and part-time Jobs
There is a careers centre based in the S.I.C that will be able to help you with part-time work in addition to graduate employment. Just by signing up they send out weekly emails with current part-time vacancies, and if you make an appointment with a member of the team they are more than happy to help you with job applications and CV writing! It’s also great to note they can help you up to 3 years after you graduate!! I went in looking for advice on internships and placements and they were really helpful.

Finance 
Whether you’re in a tiff with student finance or struggling with the cost of living, student services are here to help, whether that’s helping you secure part-time work or helping you out with a stress free budget plan!

Counselling and Wellbeing
I think this is a really important one, especially when you’re embarking on a new adventure like moving to university, it can all be very overwhelming! The counsellors are there to help you with any concerns or worries you may have and will help you find solutions to problems or ways of coping, or even just someone to talk through your problems with! They also offer a range of sessions such as relaxation sessions to help tackle stress!