A Business Student’s Guide To The Catalyst.

The Catalyst will be the second or third most important building on campus for yourself most likely. The toss-up between the two comes down to how much you love your bed or not, or perhaps how much time you spend at the Student Union bar. Those two locations are blogs for another time. Today, this blog will be about the Catalyst building and how I used it as a student of the Business School. Each course will use the building differently, for example, I didn’t have to use the computer systems as I have a laptop, and did not need bespoke software.

The Catalyst.

Aside from the coffee shop, I used the group workspace areas downstairs in the Catalyst the most out of the whole building within my first year. Some modules in my course were comprised of a lot of group tasks, assignments, activities that had to be done in a group to succeed. Using our accommodation, which would’ve been more homely, was not an option most of the time, so often my groups and I found ourselves in a pod or at a table in the Catalyst. It can be a loud environment so if you’re getting on with some work down there, I recommend earphones. I think every new student reading my blog should consider using the Catalyst to write one assignment in its entirety once over your time at Edge Hill, it’s usually open all hours as long as you have your student card.

Moving on from workspaces, the Catalyst will be where you need to get books from if you are not purchasing them yourself. Whenever you go to take a book out ensure you have your student card handy, or else you won’t be able to take it back to your accommodation or home that day. Blackboard will allow you to check the code and floor of the book you’re looking for which makes locating texts infinitely easier. For example, a lot of my books, for my course, live on the second floor.

An example of Blackboard’s book location capabilities, taken from one of my module reading lists.

Many different students are going to have many different uses for the Catalyst, but the two I have discussed are the two most prominent for myself as a Business School student, but also myself in terms of what resources are on offer. An important thing to add about the Catalyst is that you can loan out laptops, allowing you to work anywhere. I hope if you are a new student, attending this coming October, this blog has excited you about the Catalyst building and what it may offer yourself as a student at Edge Hill University.

Alice.

What’s it Like to Study at Home After Living at University?

Due to recent events I have moved home. I was sad to say goodbye to the campus and my room but I told myself I would remain focused on my studies. While I have, I have struggled studying at home. In this blog, I’ll explain my thoughts towards studying at home.

My Workspace

I have a small room, so my desk space is limited. I studied with a laptop, open folders, and paper all on the same desk at University. At home, I don’t have the space for it! Luckily I type up all my notes so I don’t have much use for my folders right now.

Online Lessons

Our tutors set us work we need to research and discuss as a group. I actually enjoy this as I feel independent and more motivated to work at home! I enjoy having a small class size for that reason; we can all contribute and learn together in lectures.

I won’t lie – at first, it did feel awkward on video call. I hate hearing my voice and knowing my class can see my bedroom feels strange. However I adjusted really quickly!

Socialising

A big part of University is the people you meet, not just the lessons. It’s difficult knowing I could be seeing my friends daily, and now I’ve not seen them for two months. However calling friends and keeping in contact helps me! To effectively study, you need to look after yourself. One way to do this is to socialise, as socialising is key to good mental health!

Closing Words

Personally, I feel like studying at home is different than studying at home for GCSEs and A Levels. However, by feeling in control of my studying and keeping in touch with friends, I feel like I am handling lockdown better than I thought I would. I also know that, if I struggle, I can ask my personal academic tutor and study support for help.

In a few weeks, I’ll have my final exam and while I’m sad I won’t be able to see my friends afterwards, I am looking forward to next year!

-Tony

Staying Positive While Studying

I think it’s safe to say that studying isn’t everyone’s favourite pastime. It can be difficult to get into the right mindset to study, especially if you feel stressed. Don’t worry – everyone feels like that sometimes! In today’s blog, I’ll share my tips to stay positive when studying! That will be today’s topic.

Think of Why You’re Studying

This can be a great source of motivation, and when I feel motivated, I feel positive. You can think long-term (how helpful your studies will be in your career) or short-term, like the feeling you’ll get after submitting. By wanting to succeed, I feel motivated to succeed, and that makes me happy.

Think of How Much You’ve Already Achieved

 It helps to remind myself of how I got into University, despite how difficult it was. “If I could overcome all those obstacles and earn my place at University, I’m more than capable of graduating.” This mindset has helped me at many points in my life, and hopefully it could help you, too. You’ll have a great support network at Edge Hill University (including study support within your faculty and at the Catalyst), so you’ll have a lot of help from people who want you to succeed.

Take it Easy

Trying to revise something and you’re feeling stressed? Leave it for a while! Take a few minutes to de-stress. Not everything will click with you instantly; you’re bound to hit a block. If you move onto another topic, you may use your time more effectively and therefore feel better and accomplished. Don’t neglect the topic, however; come back to it an hour or two later, or tomorrow. Therefore, giving yourself a lot of time to revise is important. Remember that your teachers are there to help, as well – ask them nicely if they can go through a topic you don’t understand one-to-one with you.

At Edge Hill University we have a big focus on mental health and avoiding burnout. If you’re struggling to de-stress and not overwork yourself, we have teams and masterclasses to help you.

Closing Words

Stress and studying come hand in hand. While studying is a priority, so is your health, so remember it is okay to take a step back if it becomes overwhelming and remember there are people around you who will help in any way they can!

-Tony

Click Here to see see the support the University can offer you!

Productivity for Procrastinators

I have several part-time jobs outside of my full-time degree so I often have a lot going on. My grades are good and my performance at work doesn’t slip, so people assume I must be really organised and productive. I am not.

Naturally, I am infuriatingly prone to procrastination and have a horrible habit of leaving things until time is running out as a result of this. So, in today’s post, I will let you in on my secrets to getting stuff done and looking productive when really you are a procrastinator.

  1. Pomodoro Technique

In this technique, you choose a task you are going to focus on, set a timer for 25 minutes and then solidly work on that task and nothing else. After 25 minutes, you stop and take a five-minute break before setting the timer again. After four blocks of 25 minutes, you take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes. Then you start again. The permission to get distracted in small bursts and the promise of a decent break gets you right into ‘the zone’! Just make sure you stick to the timings no matter what.

If you type ‘pomodoro’ into your app store, you will find lots of apps that will do the timings for you.

2. Get specific

I’m not going to tell you that writing lists is helpful because we all know that by now, but HOW we write these lists can be the difference between making progress and giving up and watching TV all day. Break big tasks into small, specific parts e.g. instead of ‘write research module essay’ you would have ‘read research module handbook, decide on points to make in research essay, write essay plan and send to tutor’ or perhaps even more specific tasks.

3. Star Tasks

You’ve got your specific list with really clear achievable tasks, so now pick your star tasks. Being really specific will actually make your to-do lists LONGER, so picking three to five star tasks per day to highlight or have on a separate list. These should be the things you need to get done as a priority. Get them crossed off first and you will often feel spurred on to crack on with the rest of the list. If you don’t feel that way? That’s fine, the most important stuff is done for the day! Take a break and see how you feel after.

Sam xo

Study Spots Beyond Campus

As an Edge Hill student your study time, whether that’s writing an assignment, doing your reading, or organising your post lecture notes, doesn’t have to be confined to a spot on campus or where you’re living during term time and beyond in the academic year.

The Catalyst, the Red Bar, upstairs in the Hub, and so on are perfect options but it’s good to explore beyond the University and into the town of Ormskirk, a short bus ride, (Using the Edge Hill Link) or walk away.

First up, my personal favourite, Starbucks. Starbucks is a very basic answer, I’m well aware, but hear me out! The Ormskirk Starbucks’ furniture is beautifully arranged, giving customers plenty of space to relax with a drink, or sit closer to the counter with a higher table to do work. Doing some reading? Take a seat closer to the entrance on the comfy plush chairs. Writing an assignment against the clock or anything requiring your laptop? Further up by the counter is your ideal spot, but down by the entrance would still work. It’s a perfect spot to do your academic work, and the baristas are some of the best I’ve ever been served by, and I’ve been to a lot of Starbucks cafes.

Ormskirk Starbucks

Costa is another great option, the tables in the Ormskirk cafe are a lot more appropriate for laptop or notebook work, the whole seating arrangement brings on a much more serious atmosphere in a way, perfect for a deadline crunch rather than relaxed reading or getting ahead of assignments to be submitted later in the semester.

Starbucks and Costa are great options, but there are many more. Ormskirk is filled with locations to try to study at, or unwind afterwards. Shifting to independently run establishments, Love To Eat near the old clock in town is a lovely place to get something to eat or drink after a morning study session or even lecture. I’ve yet to try to do it but it’d also serve as a lovely study spot as well. Strong recommendation on their pancakes if you’re looking for something to eat!

Alice

Making the Most of Your Foundation Year in Medicine Part 1: Academic Aspects

If you’ve clicked on this blog article, it’s probably because you’ve received your offer to study Medicine with a Foundation Year. In which case, well done! To even receive an invite to interview within itself is an achievement. However, you may be wondering what you can do in the Foundation Year. After all, by doing a Foundation Year, you’re one extra year away from becoming qualified. This year has a smaller workload and less contact hours. So what should you do? You might be wondering what to do with a bit of extra time, and with a bit less stress. In this blog, I’ll address the academic side, before exploring the social aspect of University in Part 2.

Wait, how do I even pass the year?

We need to achieve 40% in our assignments to progress onto the next year. There is no difference between a student who achieves 40% and 100% (although you’re best off aiming for 100% instead of 40%!)

Unlike some other Foundation Year Medicine programmes, there are no limited spaces to progress onto the next five years. Your coursemates will be your friends for the next six years – not your competition!

So what should I do when I start?

Let this be the year you find your feet! There’s no competition between you and your coursemates. You should learn how to reference at your own pace, and begin to read academic journals for research. Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes with your studies! Let them be learning experiences – better to learn earlier on than later! You’ll be doing this in Study Skills lessons and when you write your assignments. The more you understand these skills now, the less you’ll need to pick up on the MBChB Medicine course.

What support will I get?

Don’t worry; you won’t do this alone. You’ll be able to rely on fourteen other coursemates, your personal academic tutor, and study support on the course. Outside of the course, you can attend one-to-one or group sessions on University Skills, free of charge!

If you’re still struggling to get to grips with skills by the year’s end, don’t worry! We have so much support on our course and this continues throughout the full six years.

How have you found the workload?

I have found it manageable. If people do struggle, study support is there to help manage time!

What work are you doing beyond lessons?

This year, I’m going to create a good number of resources that I can build upon across the six years. I’m doing this so I don’t have to start making them next year, when I have less time!

Closing Words

This year is all about developing skills for performing well in your assignments; and also your understanding for the fundamentals of Medicine. This will all be covered in lessons, but feel free to ask any of our teachers for support. They’re more than happy to help! As this year has a lower workload volume than the first year of the MBChB programme, I would say you should make the most of your free time, enjoy yourself (avoid burnout!) but also work hard to make the next years of the course more manageable.

If you have any questions or worries, drop a comment and I will be more than happy to answer them!

Want to know what you can expect outside of lesson on your course? Check out part two of the blog, coming within the next few days!

How to stay motivated

We are all prone to procrastination. Finding motivation can be really difficult when you have a lot on your plate, especially if deadlines are looming. I definitely fall into Netflix trap now and again but I have my strategies to get back on track with my work and studies.

Take away the distractions
Personally, my phone is the biggest hindrance to my concentration. If I get a notification, I’ll check it but then end up aimlessly scrolling through social media. At the start of this year, I downloaded an app called ‘Hold’. There are so many different study apps but this one is by far my favourite. When you press the Hold button, you earn points for every 20 minutes you stay off your phone and with the points you get you can claim different rewards, these are usually beauty, lifestyle, music travel offers and many more. Give it a try. The other big distraction I have is my surroundings, I either need a silent environment or a cosy environment. I love working in the library when nobody is there, but when it’s busy I just end up getting irritated – luckily the library at Edge Hill has little pods you can book so you can work in a quiet room on your own in a nice, productive environment.

Motivational playlist/music
I have a playlist on Spotify titled ‘Should be studying’ and it’s a nice mix of motivation and chill. Some songs give your brain a break and others get you focused and dialled in. You need balance when you’re working so taking timely, regular breaks are also very beneficial to your motivation. The other music that really gets me in a study mood is the ‘lofi hip hop radio’ on the ‘ChilledCow‘ Youtube account. It’s not lyrical, so it sets a very chilled, productive ambience.

Break down tasks
The first thing I do when I know I have a lot to do is make a to-do list and from this, make further to-do lists about how to achieve them. This helps to make them easier to tackle and achieve. With assignments, for example, I will start by evaluating the essay question, then get out the books I will need and read wider from those. Breaking it down into these segments helps to keep motivated as you are completing subtasks.

Thanks for reading. You can do it!

Amy

University – Expectation VS Reality

Hey everyone! I hope you are having an amazing week whatever you are doing. I thought I would write a blog talking about people’s expectations of university versus the reality of what that expectation is like. I know I am not the only one who binged watched so many ‘moving into uni!’ videos and vlogs on YouTube and somehow built up a somewhat unrealistic image of what life as a university student would be like. 

So, here are a few that I have thought about and I will hopefully be able to do more of these in the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Freshers Flu!

 

Expectation – By the end of your freshers week you will not be able to get out of bed and you will have to buy approximately 16 boxes of tissues and live off headache, cold and flu relief. 

Reality – Not EVERYONE manages to catch this dreaded disease and this is not because they have the immune system of a robot. These people look after themselves on a night out by resting, drinking lots of fluids and eating well eg fruits and wholesome foods. I am one of the many who managed to dodge this expectation and if you are also one of the lucky ones maybe try not to rub it in sufferers faces. 

But seriously, look after yourself during freshers and you should be fine.

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Being Broke 24/7!

 

Expectation – you will only live on pot noodles from Aldi, bread and if you are really lucky you could possibly afford to treat yourself to actual Heinz Ketchup. You will also never have the money to enjoy yourself and if you do, it will only last you a day so spend very wisely.

Reality – Okay, I will admit that life as a student can be really really hard and yes, there will have to be a certain level of budgeting if you want to make life easier for yourself and there will be sacrifices to make but, you will most likely manage just fine if you try and save up before entering student life and spread the costs more evenly. This means you can go out and enjoy yourself with friends and order yourself that pizza after a long night out.

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Constant Partying!

 

Expectation – Monday night after class, flat party. Tuesday night maybe into Wednesday morning before lectures, night out. Thursday, another flat party. Friday, big night out and the weekend? More partying and going out all the time. 

Reality – Yes, you may have more than one night out during the week, especially towards the start and end of your year at university but, all the time? No way. Some nights you may just want to have a simple movie night with your pals, you may also just want to hang out in your room and there is also the chance you will have several game nights that involves playing  the board game that destroys families and relationships but, you will most likely not be constantly partying or surrounded by those who do.

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That is all the expectations versus reality situations for this blog. I would just like to say that these are purely based off of my experiences with university and I am aware that others and your own experiences could be very different. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, Lauren. 

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

-Alexander Pope-

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.

Image result for reading free image

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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Some things I discovered in the first term…

Hey! 

 I’m going to share with you some things I realised in the first term/year at university and hopefully it can help you get into the swing of things a little easier.

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Paper or paperless?
I am a huge stationery addict and I’m constantly buying new notebooks and pens for no reason other than ‘it’s pretttttty‘. So when I came to Edge Hill I packed all my notebooks and pens ready to finally use it all. A month in and I realised that I can’t write fast enough in lectures and there is nothing worse than ruining a nice notebook with torn out pages and scribbles. I moved over to my laptop and started to type up notes on here instead and it saved me so much time. Plus, less paper is fewer trees being chopped down – hooray!

Printing:
I took my own printer with me to university. I ended up using the printers at the Catalyst out laziness and also because it was easier than me constantly buying ink. However, I stumbled across something called HP Instant Ink which is a subscription that is much cheaper than buying the cartridges and they send it straight to your door monthly so you don’t have to worry about it at all. This will definitely come in handy in second year when you no longer have the Catalyst on your doorstep.

 

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