Computing at Edge Hill – Three skills to prepare you for Uni

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Computing is a broad and vast topic. It’s hard to know where to start, what to learn and when it becomes relevant. Having just finished my first year of Computing at Edge Hill I want to provide some advice on topics, languages and areas to focus on before you arrive to make your first year as easy as possible and give you time to focus on your specialisation. Please bear in mind that first year is a shared year, so even if you are on a Networking course you will be expected to study Web Development in your first year.


Basic HTML

Knowing basic HTML will help you in all aspects of your course and your future. Most projects require a web page, and modern applications are usually controlled by some form of website. Learning basic HTML along with bits of CSS, JavaScript and even PHP will ensure that you are ahead of the curve when it comes to your first year, especially in the Web Development module.


Java

While personally I am not a fan of Java knowing it before you arrive for University is a massive help. For your Programming module in year one you will be focusing on Java programming. Programs such as Alice can help you learn how to use Java, there are a plethora of books available also. Java is an interesting language, being object orientated using ‘classes’ it can be a challenge if you are more accustom to functional languages such as Python, PHP or BAT/BASH.


Networking Basics

Networking is another module that you will undertake in your first year. Knowing how IP’s, MAC addresses and packets are transmitted will help you understand the content of the module. Using your home network you could try setup static IP addresses, change your DNS server or just poke around and see how things work.


All of this might sound daunting, but this is an entirely extra credit task. You will be taught and supported fully throughout your first year, but if you have a passion for computing maybe you will take it upon yourself to look at these things. That’s all from me.

If you want more free and great advice email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

 

Relax and De-Stress

Hey everyone! I know that many of you will have already sent your university applications away and are now working hard to ensure that you meet the grades or criteria to be accepted to your chosen university.

I know from experience that this can be a very stressful time especially with exam preparation and coursework deadlines. Over the years I have managed to deal with the stress of these situations with a few simple tips and tricks, some I still use to this day.


  • Make yourself a nice, wholesome meal – I know it can be very easy to quickly put some frozen chips in the oven or order a takeaway when you are in the middle of a hard-core study session. However, I found that I felt worse and more stressed when I did this and so I changed those less healthy meals to something more nutritious.  For example, a homemade, vegan pizza using a seeded wrap, some tomato sauce and loads of vegetables with a pinch of salt. It took less that 20 minutes to make and tasted AMAZING! Also, far cheaper than a dominoes.

 

 

 

 

  • Listen to a podcast – this is one that I have only recently started to do and it has changed my de-stress and relax game. Put on a gripping podcast that steals your attention, put earphones in and start walking or lie on your bed and just let the chatter and conversation distract you from the stress of studying and exams. I find that I am listening to podcasts more than I am listening to music because of how relaxing and distracting I find them. My favourite podcast to listen to at the minute is ‘Happy Place’ by Fearne Cotton. The conversations are so meaningful and gripping that I just completely zone out. 

 

  • Exercise – I feel like this is a pretty generic solution to de-stress but that means that it actually works! I used to sit for hours and hours at my desk in my room and not even think about moving except for when I was getting food. However, when I was doing my A-levels, I started going to the gym during the winter and doing small sessions 4-5 times a week and when the warmer weather came (as warm as Ireland could get), I would take a short walk over the fields every hour just to give my mind a rest. I found that whenever I came back from a little exercise, I was much more focused and didn’t dread the thought of going back to study.  Here is a picture I took whilst on one of my study break walks around the campus!

 

 


And that was some short and simple tips on how I relax and de-stress during exam  times or heavy essay writing. I really hope that some of these help you during the coming months!

I used to always say that I never had ‘time’ to relax but this is NEVER the case. Always give yourself time to relax and chill out because your body and mind will thank you for it in the long run.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

– Jim Goodwin –

 

Tackling those pesky assignments! 💪🏽📝

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After just handing in one of the hardest assignments of this year, I feel like I didn’t do too badly. If you put in the prep and don’t leave it until last minute you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll do. I’m going to give you an insight on what our assignments are like on Primary Ed , they differ per course, and some tips that have helped me stay a little ahead of the workload.

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Start early and get to the library! 📚
This year we have eight assignments that roll one after another, so you’ll always have your head in at least one assignment. Some people overlap the assignments and can do two at a time, those people are magicians. When I start a new assignment I get a gist of what it’s about and head to the library to get as many books out as I can on the topic. They want you to show wider reading so using books and journal articles are the best way to prove this, and also get a better understanding of what’s going on.

Know what you have to do before you start note taking. 📝
There’s no point taking notes without knowing exactly what you need to do. For example, the assignment title I’ve just submitted asked us to ‘evaluate’, meaning we need to find the strengths, weaknesses and any contrasting perspectives. I do two things. Either, take notes on different books and articles then grab four highlights and assign a topic to each colour like strengths are highlighted in pink, weaknesses in yellow etc. Then if you need to find any strengths you can look through all your pink highlighting. Or, the second thing I’ve discovered helps kill some time is to write all the strengths together (with the reference at the end so you don’t forget who said it) and just flick through those points when writing. I’ve used both of these methods and they both help speed up my actual writing of the assignment. It may feel like a lot of preparation but it helps if you know exactly what you want/need to say so you can write the assignment a lot quicker. 

Be disciplined, overlap if you can. 🔮
Like I said before, magicians. It’s hard for me to overlap assignments but it’s not impossible. I like to focus all my attention on one thing but if I absolutely had to I would work on another at the same time. Fortunately, they given you enough time between them, but only if you’re on the ball. If you leave everything to last minute you’ll be pulling all-nighters in the library, so try and be disciplined with your time management. Know how much time you can have to yourself but put time aside to get work your work done.

Write when you are ready. 🤓
Sometimes I’ve said to myself, just write your introduction then it feels like you’ve done something, but then it ends up being that much waffle you could pour syrup on it. It’s much better, like I said before, to write when you know exactly what you want to say.

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Edge Hill University offer workshops and services for students that are struggling with writing, referencing, note-taking and many more academic skills. They’re always around the library ready to answer questions. There’s a huge support system here at Edge Hill and I’m very grateful to be here.

Thanks for reading! Don’t hesitate to leave any questions ☺️

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Navigating the Limbo Between Christmas and New Years

Hello everyone, hope you all had a good Christmas and didn’t eat too much. Who am I kidding, who cares? For me that’s one of the highlights of the period, eating and drinking too much, which is easily done when there’s so much of it. Some of you might be feeling a bit lethargic or bored after the last few days so here’s a few ways to at least attempt to put a spring in your step coming into the new year.

Excercise: I know i know, not everyone’s gonna be feeling this and that’s fair enough but there’s plenty to be said for getting in the gym after all that over-indulgence, for one, it can help get rid of that lethargic feeling and two, it can give you a head start going into any fitness based new years resolutions if that’s what you may have had in mind. Some gym’s do promotions around this time of year to indulge all the people who say they will start going to the gym in the new year with discounted memberships and free weeks etc. If you get going now you will have a better chance of being one of the people who actually keeps their resolution for longer than a week!

Getting ahead of coursework/ revision: Again I know, a lot easier said than done but hear me out, even if you do a bit of work or revision before the New Year rolls around you will feel a lot better come early January when most other people will only have started. This is the perfect time to get work done as generally we have more free time around now after the Christmas rush so why not? If you have coursework due and maybe not in the mood to delve deep into a 2500 word essay yet, it might be an idea to research what you are going to write and plan it out even if you don’t feel like writing it yet, same goes for exam’s you could plan your revision if you don’t want to start it yet.

Whatever you choose to do coming up to New Years have a good one!

Jordan

Studying on Campus

A Day of Lectures

Happy Saturday people! As my Primary Education course involves a lot of modules (core subjects, foundation subjects, academic professional development, minor specialism and major specialism), my timetable can be jam-packed! Timetables can change each year, or can change throughout the year. For example, Fridays consist of my minor specialism subject from 9 – 12. However, after a few weeks this will change to a reflective practitioner module from 9 – 11. When you are given your timetable, make sure you understand how to read it – this will avoid any future confusion! Email your personal tutor if you are a bit puzzled…most likely tutors will clear things up in the lecture.

Lunch

As I am in third year, it is not as easy for me to go back to my house in Ormskirk for lunch and return for the next lecture or seminar. Preparing lunch the night before solves this problem (and is also cost-effective!).

Equipment

If you show your student ID to the Edge Hill bus driver, it is a 5-minute drive into town where you can buy all the necessary things you need. Poundland, B&M and Aldi are ideal for finding essentials such as files, stationery and buckets (if you do primary education you will soon understand why you need a bucket!).

The Library

Whilst you are studying on campus, make the most of the new library. Even before the catalyst building was up, Edge Hill’s choice of books has always been outstanding. The electronic book scanning system makes it easy to use, and the working space and computers are brilliant for printing, working or researching.

I hope these few tips are helpful to you!

Balancing Work and Play

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all having a great start to term. Sadly, fresher’s week has come to an end for us here… hopefully we still have some energy left for real work! Balancing your workload with your social life can be challenging at times, so here are some tips which help me!

  1. Look after yourself

Most importantly, make sure you don’t get over-tired because that’s you can make yourself ill. Drink plenty of water, exercise and get some early nights! If you are a student living in accommodation on campus, you can get discount on your gym membership which allows access to the swimming pool, fitness classes and all the brilliant equipment.

  1. Turn to a friend

If you find yourself struggling with your workload, or anything else for that matter, there are lots of people to turn to for support starting with your friends. Most likely, your friends will find their work difficult too. The library located in the new Catalyst building also offers services, resources and support. For more information you can visit the Catalyst help desk or ask online.

  1. Treat. Yo. Self.

No matter the amount of work you are given, you should not be working 24/7. Make sure you get some down time too – take a walk in the local park, make a phone call home or have a night out in the SU or Alpine!

  1. Get organised

Poundland sell the ideal academic calendars and diaries for you to plan ahead and write in your exams, assessment dates and social events. Sometimes by writing a to-do list or seeing your weeks ahead down on paper, it can make you feel more at ease and confident going forward – this certainly helps me!

If you have any questions drop me a comment and I will do my best to answer! Speak soon,

Anna 🙂

Edge Hill University Exams – Checking 6+5 on a calculator just to be sure

Edge Hill Exams and Thoughts

Edge Hill Exams and Thoughts


Last Friday (12th of May 2018) I had the first and last of my exams for my year at University. I thought, even though its going to be far off for all you first years starting in September, it would be a good idea to share some facts and thoughts of mine regarding the exams.

The exam I undertook was for Computing and the 40 question multiple choice exam was underwhelming for me coming straight out of the Irish Education system where my entire grade was based on a set of written exams over one week, but the examination conditions themselves were still very daunting. So without rambling on here are they things that I.


The exam setup was straight forward. We were given a time and a place. Wilson Gym at 14:30. Turning up 10 minutes before was a good idea, and most of the other students had the same idea. We were given our seat numbers by means of a list suck to the wall outside the gym hall itself. Everybody was a bit nervous. It was our first exam of the year and for most the first exam we have ever taken at university.

 


The RulesFinally settled in and in our seats it was time to hear from our exam invigilators the rules of the exam. This helped, again many of us sitting our first university exam had us stressed. The rules were basic.

  • No phones or electronics
  • No talking or discussion
  • Stay for the first 30 mins
  • Stay for the last 30 mins
  • Jackets and bags at the back
  • Uni card on the desk

Simple as that really.


The examAnd finally the exam itself came around. We started slightly late but we were given access to a clock clearly displayed in the hall so keep track of our own time and ensure we managed it correctly.

My exam consisted of 40 multiple choice questions. We were given the exam sheet and a separate answer booklet to mark our answers into. The university also uses an anonymous marking system so our names were covered up when we finished.


All and all the exam went well. It was slightly stressful trying to study the material we were given for it and I recommend reading these blogs if you are worried about stress at University:

Dealing with Stress at University – Stress is like the flu, everyone usually gets it

Exam time- how to have a stress free exam period

But we all made it through and finished our exams in good time but here are a few tips I can give you to make you look like an exam pro:

  • Read the booklet and exam carefully. Fill out everything
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a problem
  • Get more paper if you need it. It’s free!
  • Bring your Uni card! Otherwise you will have to wait for the exam to be completely finished to be identified by someone from the academic registry.
  • Breath and chill out. The real exam is life.


That’s all from me, but if you want to find out more about EHU exams, how they are run and even corrected you can check out this link for more info!

And if you want more free and great information email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

Edge Hill Life Hacks – Everyone’s free (to wear sunscreen)

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen


Coming to the end of my first year at Edge Hill University I thought it would be worth while writing a blog as a homage to one of my all time favourite songs and essays. The title of this blog might seem odd if you haven’t heard Baz Luhrmanns “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”, adapted from Mary Schmich’s column “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” – (You can listen here and read here) but here goes anyway.


If I could offer you only one tip for the future, studying would be it would be it. The long-term benefits of studying have been proved by professors, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own first year experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the experience and ease of first year. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the experience of first year until you graduate. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as far behind as you imagine.

Don’t worry about exams. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to write a dissertation by chewing bubble gum. The real exams in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 8 p.m. before social on Wednesday.

Give something a go every day that scares you.

Karaoke.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Invest in relationships.

Relax.

Don’t waste your time on social media. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s not on a mobile phone.

Remember firsts you receive. Forget the fails. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old essays. Throw away your old timetables.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what job you want from your course. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they were even studying. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds are still in classes.

Get plenty of sleep. Be kind to your ears. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Don’t expect anyone else to write your reports. Maybe you have a best friend. Maybe you’ll have a smart partner. But you never know when either one might not want to help.

Don’t mess too much with your looks or by the time you’re 40 your dyed blue hair will have fallen out.

Be careful whose classes you take, but be patient with those who teach them. Teaching is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the bin, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the studying.


 

Life as a Mature Student

Are you currently considering studying at Edge Hill University as a mature student? Deciding to go to university as a mature student was a decision willed with excitement and nerves for me. Part of me was worried what it would be like studying after years of being out of formal education, but I was also incredibly excited to start a new chapter of my life. I firmly believe that studying as a mature student is different than studying straight out of school/sixth form/college but it is possible and such an amazing experience!

Juggling your time:

As a mature student it is likely that you will have many responsibilities outside of university. From caring from a family, running your home, taking part in clubs or activities that you currently enjoy to having to work. Your time will inevitably be filled to the max! But this doesn’t have to mean it isn’t possible. I have fund using a diary, both on my phone and a paper version, as well as creating lists of what needs doing and when to be very helpful. It enables you to fit more into your days than you ever thought possible.

You will make new friends:

People of all ages study a multitude of courses at Edge Hill. You will make friends of all ages and find people who share your interests as well as others who will inspire you to try something new. There is so much to do and so many places to go both around campus and in Ormskirk too.

The environment is inspiring:

Edge Hill campus is a wonderful place. From my very first visit during an Open Day it felt welcoming, inviting and safe. There are many places to study around campus from the library to the Hub as well as specialist rooms such as those in Creative Edge. Then when it is time to relax there are loads of places to eat and spend time with friends, including a Subway! Being in an environment which is supportive and encouranging can be incredibly motivating too.

You’ll have a different perspective in lectures:

Having real life, often hands on, experience will mean you will be able to apply what you have learnt in the lectures to your real life experiences. This can give you a different perspective especially when completing assignments. As an Early Childhood Studies student, one of my first year module assignments was a reflective booklet. I found it very interesting being able to reflect on what I had learnt in my workplace and relate this to the skills I would need for future practice.

Sean’s Random Encounters – Ormskirk Bus Station and Deadlines

Seans Random Encounters Text


Fresh off my flight from Ireland back to Ormskirk I realized it had been a few weeks since I had made a blog post, let alone a random encounter article. On my way to catch the EL1 after a train journey from Liverpool Central I spotted a line of students. I decided to speak to one and ask them a simple question – ‘What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you started 1st year’. This is what 3rd year student Steven had to say.


Image result for studying edge hill‘Doing your work is important. Don’t leave anything until the last moment ever. As much as it seems like you can write that 500 word essay on the Friday that the task is due, you can’t. I learned the hard way that it’s best to get my stuff done about a week before’ said Steve. And I agree with him. You will never get the grade you want with quick write ups under stress.


Image result for timeWhen you are working against the clock you tend to make mistakes. Remember that when you start university you are still here to gain knowledge. Regardless of when you do the module it will still take roughly the same time so don’t try and cheat by leaving it as long as you can, it only pushes you to cut corners. That’s not good.


Image result for examEven myself as a first year, very much guilty of leaving things to the last moment, I have started to realise that it does not work. I hope that you do take what I have said in this article to heart when you start university in September. And trust me, if you do it will pay off. When everyone else is stressing you won’t be, and that’s important.


Here are some more blogs you might find useful about time management, stress and assessment.

Preparing for continuous assessment at Edge Hill – You won’t have to cram the night before!

Dealing with Stress at University – Stress is like the flu, everyone usually gets it


If you want to find out more about ways to deal with stress, time management and more at Edge Hill, check out the link here!

And if you want more free and great advice email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!