Keeping Your Plates Spinning: Help @ Edge Hill University

During university, you will be spinning a number of different plates: studies, work, family, friends, money, to name a few. Now and again, one may look like it’s about to fall off. Or two. Maybe even three. You have to work harder to keep these plates from falling, but sometimes, no matter how hard you tried, it will fall off. What then? Do you risk the others from falling by trying to pick the other one up? Is it worth the risk of everything else falling?

In my first year, I managed to keep all my plates up. Some of them got a little shaky at times, but I have a great support system underneath me and they helped me to keep balanced. This year, a couple of my plates have fallen off. This is nobody’s fault. Sometimes life throws curveballs at us and they knock our plates off and we have no other choice but to deal with it. Although this year is harder than the last, I am more thankful than ever for choosing Edge Hill Univerity as they have provided me with more support than I could have wished for. Asking for help is really hard, but they made it so easy.

Edge Hill University has a vast range of support systems to help you.

The first person who helped me was one of my tutors, who had noticed that I needed someone. She sat with me for an hour and we talked basics of what was happening – she referred me to speak with a team member in the Catalyst. They spoke to me briefly and made an initial appointment with the wellbeing team, which was only a few days away. They gave me a few websites and apps to engage with for the time being. As a student, you are entitled to 6 fifty-minute counselling sessions, which can be daunting if you have never experienced it before – but they make the whole process very easy.

With the help of Edge Hill, I have managed to stay on top of my work, visit my family more and learned that it’s okay to let some plates slip. My tutor sends me weekly emails to check how things are and if I need anything. I know if things get too much, I can speak to someone almost immediately. It is incredibly comforting knowing that I am supported by the university.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment box below. Thank you for reading.

Amy

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

Managing Your Workload

Your workload can differ depending on your course. I always remember being told ‘your course sounds easy‘ at the start of the year, followed by ‘I’m so sorry for what I said‘ towards the end. University is funny. One day you can wake up and be on top of everything, but by the end of the day, you have another eight things to add to your to-do list. That’s just how it is, and being able to manage your workload effectively is important.

Set yourself realistic targets

Mindset is everything. If your to-do list is booming, don’t overwork yourself trying to get it all done at once. Set yourself two or three things you would like to achieve in a certain time period (preferably those of top priority), but be strict with these so that if for some reason you don’t manage to get them done, you still have time to spare.

Work together

The first assessment of this year was a really nice presentation that we all, of course, made much harder for ourselves! For this, myself and two other girls sat in a study room at the university and bounced ideas off each other, leaving with a solid plan to work on. I cannot recommend this enough. It’s really nice working in study groups, so if you have the opportunity to do, definitely do it.

The Five Ps

My friend has always said to me: ‘Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance’. In terms of assignments, I’ve realised that getting my reading done as quickly and efficiently as possible has really helped my workload. Reading usually takes up most of my time. I would also recommend getting a weekly planner and set yourself your own study timetable around your lectures and seminars. By doing this, you can plan in some time for yourself too.

Edge Hill is the most supportive university and this year I have struggled with the workload, mental health and accommodation. Every tutor, advisor or support assistant has listened to me and done their best to help – and I feel much better. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s everywhere!

Thanks 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

What University Has Taught Me…So Far…

Hey everyone! My friends and I were talking about what we were like before starting university and I was really surprised to find how much I have learned since starting university in 2018. I thought I would write a few things that I have picked up over the year to show you how much I didn’t know before starting…

1. Separating your colour wash and white wash is not a myth…

I may be the only one that thought this was never true because at home, I never did this nor did my mum and so, I was led to believe that this was just a marketing technique to get people to buy colour catchers and colour separators etc. I laugh at my old, naïve self.

The myth was busted when I went to collect my washing and found that I had a new pair of bright pink socks, but my white socks had went missing. Luckily it was only my socks that had been ruined but I have definitely learnt from my mistakes. Always separate your washing kids!

2. How to portion size pasta…

Gone are the days when my mum would make spaghetti bolognaise and magically be able to plate the perfect portion size of pasta and have non left over for seconds. Everyone would get their pasta and be fulfilled after dinner. Good job mum, why didn’t you pass this skill on to me?

I cannot tell you the amount of times that I have made pasta that could literally feed the 5,000 or not enough that it wouldn’t even fill a hole in my tooth. Luckily, my lovely flat mate came to the rescue and told me that if you measure out 100g of pasta before cooking it, it should be the perfect amount for one person.

3. How to socialise…

This is probably one of the biggest lessons that university has taught me. Before moving over to university, you would not see me talking to ANYONE outside of my friend group. I couldn’t even hold a conversation with the woman working on the till in Asda. However, now, let’s just say she probably wishes that I never came back from university…

On a serious note, university thrusts you into a world where you have to talk to people to get through it. This does mean getting pushed out of your comfort zone but, trust me this is for the better. I feel so much more comfortable talking to strangers, I can even ask the waiter for more ketchup! That’s a milestone for anyone.

You will also meet so many amazing people when you just relax yourself and talk to people you have never spoken to. I have an amazing group of friends that I wouldn’t be as close to if I hadn’t spoken to them and allow myself to engage in conversations.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! You will obviously learn so much more in university and it is the best experience of your life you just need to let it happen and don’t hold back.

“LEARNING IS NOT ATTAINED BY CHANCE, IT MUST BE SOUGHT FOR WITH ARDOR AND ATTENDED TO WITH DILIGENCE.”

-ABIGAIL ADAMS-

What to Watch?

Hi everyone! As we get closer to welcome week and the return of students to Edge Hill, there’s a lot of focus on welcome week, fresher’s activities and getting settled in. Since all of this has been covered already I thought for what looks to be my last blog I would do something a bit different and make a list of upcoming TV over the next few months which might be suitable for binge watching once the university quietens down and you find yourself with more free time.

The Witcher (Netflix) – TBC (2019)

As someone who is a big fan of the games, the show has a lot to live up to, but with a generous budget and Henry Cavill starring, this could be a show worth watching especially if your looking for something after Game of Thrones.

Big Mouth (Netflix) – Oct 4

Not for the faint of heart but definitely funny and could be perfect for watching with your mates. Season 3 is out later this year.

Mr Robot (Amazon Prime) – Oct 6

Starring Rami Malek who you might know as Freddie Mercury from Bohemian Rhapsody, Mr Robot seems to have been overlooked by most but it’s a tense thriller that deserves more peoples attention Season 4 is out this October.

His Dark Materials (BBC) – TBC (2019)

I don’t know a lot about this but it’s a co- venture between BBC and HBO so it must have a good budget, and is based on a series of highly regarded books. The show stars the likes of James McAvoy and is set to air on BBC one sometime later this year so might be one worth looking out for.

Top Boy (Netflix) – September 13

The first series originally aired on Channel 4 back in 2011 with only one follow up series in 2013. I caught it on Netflix a year or so back and have been waiting for the return ever since. Top Boy is a crime drama set in London so expect some violence. it’s minimal episode numbers mean every episode barely has a dull moment. Definitely one to watch.

The Crown (Netflix) – November 17

My girlfriend first got me to watching this back a few months ago, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since, the production value is insanely good and with series 3 seeing a new older cast featuring Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter, it’s definitely on my watch list.

So that’s the TV shows I’ll be watching over the coming months, I think it’s good to have a good variety. I hope at least one interests you if so that would be great!

This looks to be my last blog so thank you for reading if you have read any of my blogs over the past nine months and see you later!

Jordan

Shopping for University on a budget!

Hello!

I know shopping for University can be exciting, at least it was for me! However, it is so easy to spend money on things you don’t need or too much money on things you could get cheaper. Keep reading for some tips and ideas on how to save as much as you can while you shop for the things you will need a university!

The Range

The Range is a really great place to get your bedding, towels, any decor you may need for your room like lamps, blankets etc. The prices here too are absolutely amazing. I didn’t know about this place until a few weeks before uni started and my friend took me there and I kicked myself because I could have saved so much money on the things I had already bought so make sure this is one of the first places you go!

b&m Bargains or Home Bargains

I love the treasures you can find in these shops and the prices are incredible too. Both B&M and Home Bargains are great shops to find things like laundry baskets or duvet and pillows and everything you could possibly need in the kitchen!

UniKitOut

Unikitout is an online store that puts together packs of the absolute esstentials that you will need. They provide a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom one that comes as it’s own kit and then if you need anything else you can shop for extras. This is a little more pricey but may end up costing you less in the long run as the packs are pretty stocked. Check them out here.

Thanks so much for reading today’s blog. I hope you’re getting as excited as I was, it’s going to be amazing! See you next time.

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Student Discounts

Hi guys, as a student money can be tight, so it’s a good job that there are a variety of discounts available if you are interested in saving money, here are a few things I use.

NUS TOTUM Card: You can purchase one of these in the on campus SU shop or online for just £12 a year. They can be used for discounts across a range of businesses throughout the UK and they can even be used within the SU shop and bar for extra sweet savings, also worth noting you save more  money on the card price overall by buying a three or two year card. https://cards.totum.com/join

UNiDAYS: Accessible through the website or via the nifty app, UNiDAYS is completely free and only requires verification of being a student by signing in using your Edge Hill portal credentials. The app also grants you discounts across a range of things like, shops, restaurants and online retailers. https://www.myunidays.com/GB/en-GB

16-25 Rail Card: My personal favourite, the rail card can save you up to a 1/3 on rail prices, usually the 1/3 is more applicable if your ticket is over a tenner but savings can be made regardless of the fare. I use this all the time and would recommend it to anyone who used trains at least every now and again. It costs £30 a year but I managed to get it for free with my bank account so that’s something else to look out for. https://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/

Mobile Network Rewards: OK, this one isn’t exclusively for students but I thought it best to put here since there are some really great deals to be had through some networks own rewards for being a customer. Networks like 02, Vodafone and EE among others all have various deals, such as discounted cinema tickets, free food and priority booking for concerts.

Student Offers: Sometimes you don’t always need an extra item to avail of discounts, an Edge Hill card will get you plenty of discounts on it’s own. From  student offers in restaurants, to saving on movie going, through a student ticket.

So there’s a few ways the student can save money, hope this helped and thanks for reading.

Jordan

What I’m up to over the summer! ☀️

Summer is finally here!

I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally get some time to myself and rest. The first year of university has been absolutely amazing but also incredibly tiring and it’s nice to take a breather and relax for a bit. I flew back out to Saudi Arabia to spend some time with my Dad. Although I’m waking up at 2pm some days I am also still working and doing things that will support my course.

While I am out in Saudi I have set up a tutoring service for primary level. This is really nice to do as it’s flexible to you and your plans but you are gaining vital experience while you are out of training.

If you are studying Primary Education with QTS it may be a good idea to volunteer at primary schools or try and if there are any summer schools on near you. Head over to this website to see if there are any around your area. It’s not a requirement but it will help you enormous amounts to continue working with children and learning more about great teaching. It also gets you away from Netflix for a bit.

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I am also finally getting to read what I want to read. No more journal articles, textbooks or children’s books. Well, I’m still reading a  few children’s books to add to my reading journal (which again, you should do if you are joining Primary Ed in September) but I’m finally getting to read my own books! Yay!

I am working out here and I’m working a lot because my student loan doesn’t cover the fees for the house I’m living in so I’m saving up to make sure I make my payments and hopefully I can save a little more for myself. I’m hoping to do some driving lessons and my test this year so there may be a post on that too if that is something you’re interested in doing too.

Most importantly, I am chilling out. I am binge watching everything I’ve been wanting too and enjoying the lie-ins. It’s really great spending time with family and friends. I’m going to give myself 6-7 more weeks of me time and then I’m going to slowly get back into Uni-mode.  I hope you’re all really excited for September – you should be!

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