University Awaits!

What have you been up to this summer? If you are about to enter your first year of university, it must be your first extra-long summer… more than 5 weeks of holiday is great isn’t it?

So far my summer has consisted of work, sleep, food and more sleep – ideal. A couple of weeks after finishing my second year placement in Primary Ed, I started working as an activity and dorm leader at a residential summer camp… I just can’t escape children!

I have also visited my family in Blackpool, which has been nice catch up with them. My brother came up from London for a long weekend whilst we stayed at my Grandmas. There is nothing better than the good ol’ Blackpool breeze and a Mr Whippy ice cream.

Next week, I am going on holiday with my house mates who I have missed these past few weeks!! If you’re planning a holiday with friends, I’d definitely look at Airbnb. With a group of people and splitting the price between you per night, you can get more than your money’s worth.

And finally… I have to prepare for my third and final year at Edge Hill! (sad times). This year, it is important to focus on our teachers’ standards portfolio which includes all our experience, observations and the ways which we have met each standard.

I hope you’re all enjoying the end of your summer and are feeling excited for your Edge Hill adventure!!

 

Welcome Week Wonder

Are you wondering what your first week at university will be like? I certainly did! Welcome week (or freshers week) is the time to make the most of new pals and new places. Welcome week at Edge Hill was beyond my expectations. Not only do you get to enjoy nights out in Ormskirk and the students’ union, you have the option to spend nights out in Liverpool too.

How should I prepare?

You can read about Edge Hill’s welcome week here. On your first day (welcome Sunday) you will receive your student ID card which will allow you entry into the students union on campus. You can also buy wristbands which will get you free entry before 9:30pm on certain days. Beforehand, I also made sure to have an NUS student card which makes entry cheaper on social nights.

How much money will I spend?

The welcome week outline gives you an idea of entry prices. Yoyo is a great app to get as you can earn points in the students union when you buy drinks from behind the bar. With points, you can select vouchers for food, drinks and Edge Hill merchandise throughout the year. If you want to give yourself a budget for each night, I suggest you get the cash out beforehand instead of relying on your contactless card (that can be dangerous!).

What if I don’t want to go out every night?

Of course, welcome week is not all about going out each night; it is about meeting new people and joining new things. Examples of different events in the evenings/nights are as follows:

Board Games

Free Film Nights

Campus Sport Pool Party

Kareoke

Roller Disco

The Stickmen

SU Quiz

What can I do during the day?

I advise that you have an explore! Take a walk into Ormskirk, use the train to get into Liverpool, or simply have a wander around Edge Hill’s beautiful campus. One of the most exciting parts of welcome week is the welcome fair on the Wednesday. This is your chance to learn all about what Edge Hill has to offer, join new societies and, of course, grab all the freebies! Other events are put on each day for you to enjoy such as:

Vintage Folk Clothing Sale

Giant SU BBQ

Campus Scavenger Hunt

DIY Room Decorations

Yoga

The Big Student Resale

When I think of my welcome week (which was waaaay back in 2016) the paint party comes to mind. My flat mates and I were dancing in each others sweat when we hardly knew each other… 2 years down the line, we are closer than ever. As cringey as it sounds, the people you meet will change your life and your university life will change you, SO ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!

Wishing you all the best of luck! Feel free to ask away if you have anything in particular you would like to know!

Anna 🙂

Working at a Summer Camp

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all having a lovely summer – hopefully the weather will pick up again soon! It has been my second time working at a kids camp for 6 weeks and it has been an experience I will never forget. If you are considering applying to camps for next summer, I highly recommend it!

  1. Camp America but in England

If you are concerned about the cost for working abroad, a residential camp in England is ideal to experience camp life whilst staying in the same country! As I live in Manchester, it was nice to enjoy a more rural location for a change, filled with beautiful views and countryside.

  1. Meet people from all over the world

The best part of working at a kids camp for me, is the chance to get to know campers and fellow staff from all over the world. Campers were from other countries like Spain, Italy, Saudi Arabia… the list goes on! There are not many places with opportunities like this which I am so grateful for.

  1. It is enjoyable and beneficial to you

Not only have I had one of the best summers I have ever had (really!), it has allowed me to develop multiple skills. Part of my job was to plan and run activities for children from 6 to 17 years old. Quad bikes, fire-making, outdoor cookery and raft-building are examples of skills I didn’t know I had! The other part of my job was a more pastoral role as it involved looking after a dorm of children each week.

If you are looking for ways to add to your CV, earn money, or simply have fun, there is no better job than working at camp. Now I have had these 2 years of experience, I am hoping it will give me that extra bit of confidence when going into my third and final year of Primary Ed. Have you worked at a kids camp before?

If you have any questions, drop me a comment below!

Thanks, Anna 🙂

What to do with your Summer

Hey all! I hope you’re well! I’ve been enjoying my Summer and getting used to the lie-ins I’ll miss once I have lessons again haha!

Speaking of Summer, Summer can be a really awesome way to get things done that you can’t when you’re focused on your work, be that when you’re going into University or already a University student. There are a few different things that you could do to fully achieve your Summer potential which I thought I’d share with you so that you can make the most of this last month and the next Summer!

  • Get organised: sort your things out! Be that tidying your room or study space, sorting your previous study notes into folders etc, or getting yourself into a rhythm in terms of a sleeping pattern or particular lifestyle habits, Summer is the perfect time to get organised.
  • Check your next year out: it’s always good to have a heads up on what you’ll be studying or what you might be touching on in your next academic year. For example, you’ll find that you get a list of readings and books that you could look at before the year if you wish which are always good to look into. You don’t have to read them all page to page before you arrive, but maybe trying a bit of one or two might be good!
  • Expand your experiences: do things you can’t do whilst you’re studying and do things you’ve never done! I remember last year I helped out with the Ormskirk Gingerbread Festival and taught children how to do circus tricks which I’d never really done before!
  • Spend time with your loved ones: it can be easy to lock yourself away and forget to socialise during Summer, but it’s the perfect time to go for that meal with your old mates, or have a movie marathon with the family.
  • Get some experience in your career path: it’s not all work no play, but maybe getting some work experience or something will help down the line! I’ve been using my Summer to get a few more jobs as a TV extra which will make my performing CV look excellent!
  • And of course- have fun!

So those are just a few things that I find important to try cover during Summer. It really is a time for opportunity!

Summer Fieldwork During A Biology Internship

As part of the summer internship at Edge Hill University, I’ve recently gotten out to do some sampling! Related to the topic of the internship, “Does meadow restoration conserve genetic variation”, this sampling trip was a test run for a larger project. A recent Edge Hill graduate, Heather Wickson, and I took a trip over to Wigan and met the Lancashire Wildlife Trust at this branch. They’ve an Edge Hill friend and graduate, Mark Champion, working there and also a current student on a work placement. The team over at the Wigan office, as well as Heather and I, were to help Elizabeth Sullivan on this test run. If we could get the kinks ironed out and prove that this method can work, then she hopes the project can be rolled out over a wider area, having people from other areas collected specimens for genetic analysis.

Setting off for sites such as Wigan Flashes Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Low Hall LNR to sample Plantago lanceolata (ribwort plantain) and Lotus corniculatus (bird’s-foot trefoil). These areas were teeming with life, plenty of butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies in the air, no doubt a result of the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing for the past few weeks. I managed to get a few good snaps of some butterflies around the area – particularly the common blue. Although I didn’t manage to grab a picture of the dragonflies out that day, I did snap a good one on the first year biology residential field trip to Cyprus.

Since collecting these samples from meadows in the Wigan area, Heather and I have been in the lab, processing samples she and another recent Edge Hill graduate, Katherine Judson, collected a few weeks ago. These samples were of Rhinanthus minor (yellow rattle) and were collected from roadside verges down in Worcestershire. These roadside collections help build up the bigger picture, filling in the gaps of connectivity in meadows as part of Elizabeth’s work.

Currently, Heather and I are extracting DNA from these yellow rattle samples, amplifying them with fluorescently tagged microsatellite markers, and will soon be sequencing them ready for fragment analysis. After sequencing, I hope to help Elizabeth with the analysis and perhaps present a poster on the findings at the upcoming Annual Biology/Geography Postgraduate Research Forum!

Sea you in Blackpool!

This weekend I am in my favourite place of all time – BLACKPOOL. When you think of Blackpool, what do you think of? Do you think of hen do’s, the pleasure beach or donkey rides? As someone who considers Blackpool to be their second home, I can assure you that this magical place is much more than that! My grandma lives here so it is nice to be able to visit her and this lovely city at the same time! Here are some of my favourite things to do or see if you are looking for a close sea-side town near to Edge Hill…

  1. Cleveleys Beach

Cleveleys beach is a lovely place to visit if you want sun, sea and sand. You could almost imagine you are abroad in this weather so why not make the most of it?

  1. Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Whether you are into ballroom dancing or not, the grand Blackpool tower ballroom is amazing to visit. I am not much of a dancer myself, but I LOVE Strictly Come Dancing and have been to a couple of the Blackpool shows. The interior is stunning and I have not visited anywhere quite like it. It also has sentimental value for me as my grandparents often danced here when they were younger.

  1. Stanley Park

Stanley Park is not far from Blackpool Zoo, and makes one of the best days out. The speed boats and paddle boats are always a laugh when you have a very uncoordinated family… (tip: watch out for stray ducks when steering). There are many other activities available such as mini-golf, trampolining and of course…. ICE CREAM (if that counts as an activity). But if you are someone who appreciates scenery, it also has wonderful views and gardens.

I will stop there for now otherwise I could go on forever… let me know if you have visited these places in Blackpool! And remember… Blackpool is not just the promenade of rock candy and 2p machines, it has many more hidden gems besides!

Anna 🙂

Uni’s out for Summer!

Hey all, I hope you are doing well.

Tomorrow marks the last official day of this Uni year’s term time, and a lot of people have already finished all their assignments, which means it’s time for Summer! Summer is both a great time for students to recuperate and spend some time relaxing, and to do some preparation for the next year ahead. They’re both very important things for different reasons.

Preparing for the next year allows you to get to know the subjects you’ll focus on come September, and give you the knowledge you’ll need. It helps you not feel as if you’re jumping in to something completely blind, and will help you understand what your teachers will be going over. So, as you get a few months off, it’s a good time to get to know your subject matter for the next year.

But above all, you need to make sure you rest up in time for the next year. Sometimes being a student can be stressful, especially when you have deadlines to meet and assessments, so you need to use holidays and times like this to make sure you’re ready and de-stressed for the next year. It helps!

So, whether you’re already a University student or you’re reading this blog as you’re about to enter University, look after yourself and take this Summer as a time to relax, but make sure you take some time to prepare for next year.

Have a good Summer! 🙂

Thinking of Starting Driving Lessons?

The summer after sixth form, I began to have driving lessons in the hope that I would pass before starting university. Many of you might also have the same idea so I thought I would share a few handy tips that helped me!

  1. Buy/borrow the CD

Before your theory test, use the official DVSA hazard perception and theory test DVD/CD. I can’t stress enough how much these helped me! It allows you to practice the test which is EXACTLY the same as your actual theory test – even the questions provided. Even if you find it difficult to remember every single answer to the question, it might help you feel more comfortable when actually taking the test. I certainly did as I knew what to expect on the screen…especially the stray sheep on hazard perception! If you’d rather not buy a brand new one, you can borrow from a friend (mine wasn’t the most recent version but still worked great!).

  1. Trust your instincts

At first, I struggled to overcome natural hesitation as a driver. Hesitating can be as dangerous as careless driving! If in DOUBT, stay OUT. I.e. if you think you can’t fit through a gap between an oncoming vehicle and a parked car… don’t try!

  1. Don’t let other people pressure you

One of the BEST tips anyone can give to you is to stay calm. Even with my P plates (curtesy of my dad) drivers automatically got frustrated at the sight of a new/learner driver. Remember that you’re bound to get beeped multiple times, but better that than risking a crash!

  1. Enjoy it!

Most of all, try to enjoy the new responsibility! The thought of being let loose on the roads might scare you at first… but it’s definitely an exciting step to adulthood, and a worthwhile one!

I wish you the best of luck! Anna 🙂

Summer Plans

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all been enjoying this sunny weather and watching the royal wedding! Like true grown-ups, my friends and I had a water fight, ate ice cream in the park and splashed out on a paddling pool!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of May already! Since a lot of people have finished university for this year or don’t have long left… it’s time to start thinking about the summer! Depending on your course, your summer will be different lengths. For me, it’s a big change from having 5 weeks off in school and sixth form, compared to the months we have off during uni. It’s hard to know what to with yourself for all of that time!

Last summer (after my first year) I found myself missing my uni friends a lot, especially since they all live across the country. But with FaceTime and the odd train journey or two, it was a lot better! Tip: book train tickets in advance to make them even cheaper.

Working at a children’s camp certainly kept my summer a busy one! This year I will be working there again for a 6 week residential – I am VERY excited to be going back! It’s like being part of a family there where every day is different. If you’re thinking about getting a summer job, I would definitely recommend applying for a children’s camp – it’s never too late!

The summer will also be the time to update my Teachers’ Standards portfolio (an essential part of any education course). This will involve gathering and presenting evidence to show i have met all the expectations of being a teacher (8 of them). It will be a great resource for future references – for example, to take to interviews.

I remember my summer before uni was an exciting one! Freshers week was revealed, uni-prep starts and you’ll find out even more information about your course! What have you got planned this summer?

Speak soon!

Anna 🙂

 

Exam Tips

Hi everyone,

As I said in my last post, I’m sure we all so excited for summer to finally be upon us. But, before we should let the excitement settle in, the next couple of weeks are going to be busy ones for most of us as it is…assignment and exam season. I thought it would be helpful to share some tips with you all that I have learnt from over the years.

  1. Make time to revise.

Whilst this seems obvious, it is really useful if you get started with your revision as quickly as you can as it means that you are going to be giving yourself the best chance at doing well. Also, by doing this, the repeated revision means that you will take in the information much better.

2.  Find out which type of revision suits you best:

There are many different types of revision, whether you are a visual, verbal, aural or physical. If you find the one that is best for you, you will be more likely be successful as you will be more engaged with your revision.

3. Get someone to test you.

A good thing to do, maybe the day before your exam write a series of questions based on your topic with the answers on the other side of the paper or underneath. Then, give a friend or family member your revision and ask them to test you. This way you will get used to being quizzed, therefore being more prepared!

I hope these tips help and good luck!!!

Ellie 🙂