My University Highlights

Hi everyone,

As I enter my penultimate week of lectures as I am in my last year I thought it would be nice to look at my highlights of being at Edge Hill over the last three years! I have had a great time and I am definitely going to miss it!

Celebrating 21!

This year all my friends are turning 21, and whilst my birthday isn’t until June, it has been amazing celebrating with my friends! For example, we have been for meals, attended parties and even just had a sleepover and film night!t! 

 

 

 

Ghetto Golf!

This year I went to Ghetto Golf for the first time! This is located in the heart of Liverpool next to the baltic market, for £10 you can play an 18 hole round of crazy golf, the decorations are incredible and its such a fun night out!

 

Liverpool! 

I had been to Liverpool before coming to Edge Hill but I feel that in my time here I have really got to know the city and I love it there its such an exciting and thriving place. In September last year, we went to see the Giants as they returned to the city. They were incredible and it is a day I will never forget.

 

 

Days Out! 

In the summer months, me and my friends make the most of our free time and we try to go on as many days out as we can! We have been to Southport a few times, which is just a short train or bus journey away. It is so nice to just walk around the gardens and along the pier, I really love playing on the 2p machines!

 

 

Occasions!

Finally, getting to celebrate special occasions with my housemates have been some of my favourite memories of university! I made us a Christmas dinner last year and we all loved it, we even had some bucks fizz! Living one of my friends has definitely been my favourite part of university and I will really miss them when I move home!

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Ellie 🙂

My New Years resolutions

Hi everyone,

Happy new year!

I thought today I could share with you some of my New Years resolutions for 2019!

Image result for new year's resolutions

  • Be healthier – It is definitely true that with university comes a lot of takeaways and convenience foods for those late nights in the library. So, I just want to be a bit more aware of what I am eating and be mindful of eating more fruit and veg.
  • Exercise – this is such a  typical one but me and my housemates have decided we are going to join a gym and we really want to do some exercise classes like Zumba and maybe spinning!
  • Social media – I definitely want to spend less time on my phone this year as I feel like I am way too consumed by instagram and other social medias and it is not healthy! I want to enjoy living in the moment a lot more than living life thinking about instagram likes!
  • Make the most of university – this is my last year at uni now so I really want to make the most of it and enjoy the final months of living in Ormskirk and being with my friends!

what are you New Years resolutions!?

Happy new year and as always thank you for reading!

Ellie 🙂

What to expect from final year?

As my third and final year of university as an undergraduate draws closer, I’m wondering how different it will be to second year. You might also be wondering what modules are available to you in your final year of a biological sciences degree. As I’m doing a Genetics BSc, I have four compulsory modules: Applications of Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Ecological Genetics, and Dissertation – Genetics. This leaves me with one optional module. Optional modules for Genetics and other biological sciences degrees for third-year include:

  • SCI3309 Biodiversity and Conservation
  • SCI3310 Tropical Ecology
  • SCI3312 Environmental Change
  • SCI3314 Current Issues in Biology
  • SCI3316 Pathology
  • SCI3318 Invertebrate Ecology
  • SCI3321 Pharmacology
  • SCI3324 Epidemiology
  • SCI3325 Ecological Interactions
  • SCI3326 Conservation Issues
  • SCI3329 Field Botany
  • SCI3322 Laboratory Masterclass
  • SCI3017 Nerves, Brain and Behaviour

Some of these modules are available in second-year, and some are even mandatory, such as Laboratory Masterclass being a compulsory module for second-year geneticists. Some of my compulsory genetics modules can also be taken as optional modules for other biological sciences degrees. More information can be found here!


Entering third year can be a daunting or scary prospect, it’s weighted heavier than second year (60:40) and in some cases holds the compulsory dissertation module. If you’ve been away for a year for whatever reason, be it for personal or educational reasons, going into a new year group may also be quite nerve-wracking. I was away last year on a sandwich placement and am nervous myself about entering classes potentially knowing no-one there. But if we could do it in first-year, we can do it again! There may be a bit of added pressure this year but it’s essentially the same, classes and studying, maybe less partying, and a more long-term project in the form of a dissertation.

The future is a vast and uncharted ocean, but it seems looks like smooth sailing ahead… Godspeed!

Beginning Third Year

 

Hi everyone 🙂

In September I will be starting my third and last year of university at Edge Hill. It’s something I have been thinking about a lot and the idea of graduating in just over a year is so terrifying as it feels as if I started uni last week!!

Many people will already know that your third year is the most important year of study in your degree programme as it it worth 60% of your overall grade. This year I will also be doing a dissertation which I am both excited and nervous for as I get to research a topic I am really passionate about and explore it in more detail than I ever have before. 

The prospect of leaving uni is also nerve wracking especially as the friends I have made are all scattered across the UK, and i will be so sad to not be living with them anymore. I definitely want to make the most of third year and create some unforgettable memories with my friends.

If you have any questions about anything I have mentioned then please leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

Ellie 🙂

New England Thoughts

Although I’m working at the Field Museum most days, I still work at the arboretum on Thursdays. The main purpose of this is for the individual and group lab meetings, but it’s also a good time for me to focus on analysing the data from the prairie restoration project, this includes the biomass data I collected in autumn, as well as NDVI and soil data collected previously by Lane and other researchers. Towards the start of the month, Andrew and I sat down and worked through the data, analysing the NDVI readings from one section of the experiment, with particularly deep soil, to their replicates in other sections. Later in February, I cleaned up the code and set aside what worked, making use of RStudios notebooks that use markdown – I’m finding them very handy. Next up is checking to see if the results observed from the NDVI data are reflected in the biomass data.

Working in R again got me thinking back to second year, when myself and Heather tackled a small research project during our Research Methods module. Our study was on leaf morphometrics and involved ~80 samples from 6 sites. This, of course, pales in comparison to a full dissertation but was a very useful intro to the world of research. My dissertation next year is still something I need to be thinking about, as are my module choices for third year. Currently, BSc Genetics students only have one optional module in their final years, making this decision particularly difficult – I’m considering at least 4 modules right now.

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In the middle of February, I took a trip over to New England, specifically Mount Holyoke College, to visit some friends. Although I didn’t get to see much of Boston, Massachusetts seems like a beautiful state and reminded me more of home than anywhere else in the US so far. Mt Holyoke College is also remarkable, being a fairly old women’s college that features grand brick buildings and a variety of trees, such that they form the Talcott arboretum, which accompanies the Mt Holyoke College Botanical Garden (which has a corpse flower!). It was nice to hear that they’re also a progressive women’s college, accepting trans and non-binary students – perhaps unsurprising considering the college’s LGBT history. The nearby town of Northampton (or ‘Noho’) even features a rainbow zebra crossing. Everyone I met was friendly and welcoming, letting me join them in some interesting lectures and also indoor rock climbing – something I’ve missed doing whilst being over here.

Things to keep in mind when living with friends

Living with your friends sounds like the ultimate dream right?! Well, it really can be, but you need to remember that you and your friends are completely different people. You don’t truly know a person until you live with them and you may have a bit of a shock when you move in. Luckily I’ve complied a list of things to keep in mind when living with friends that should make your time as housemates as fun as you always imagined.

Different backgrounds
You and you friends will have undoubtedly come from different backgrounds. Whether that’s places, races, religions or even just a different family dynamic. This will always affect the way they live their day to day lives. You need to be respectful of your friend’s traditions, the way they keep their room and their schedules – whatever is important to them. In order to live harmoniously, you’ll have to learn to strike up compromises when your ideas clash with those of your friends. It’s not as hard as it sounds; for example, if you come from the kind of family where there is lots of noise and your friend comes from a small family and prefers silence in the house, you’ll have to talk it out and work out what level of noise is appropriate for the both of you to live comfortably.

Different ideas of clean
One of the biggest differences I had to deal with when living in a student house was mine and my friends’ differing ideas of how clean the house should be. I’m a self-proclaimed ‘neat freak’, I hate the idea of anything being less than spotless – which makes me a real pain to live with sometimes, but I’ve had to learn to accept that things never stay that way – which is totally normal. One way to combat this is to draw up a cleaning rota and stick to it. Each person has their own responsibilities to complete in their own time and then the cleaning isn’t just left to one person. It’s also good to dedicate one day a week to cleaning – a day that everyone is free – and then you have a bit of a routine going.

Boundaries
When you sign up to live with other people to sign up to seeing them at the worst as well as their best. There will be times when your friends feel low or act a bit moody. You need to establish from the beginning what their boundaries are and what’s best to do in those situations. Some people like to have people around them when they’re feeling sad and others want to be alone. Establishing and respecting these boundaries will make those times so much easier for everyone.

Chill time
One of the most important things to remember is to take time out. Enjoy living with your friends, don’t get so wrapped up in work that you end up ignoring them all year. Enjoy the time you have to do movie nights or video game sessions or whatever you enjoy doing. It’s incredibly important to bond!
Until next time! 🙂

What Do I Do Now?

As of 9th May 2017 I will officially be finished with my degree. Yes, I know, It’s scary! But what’s even scarier is that the question I’ve been asking myself for the last year will be staring me right in the face: What do I do now? Now I don’t have the cushy support of uni to help me through all the difficult adulting and now I have to actually make it in the big wide world… argh! Not to worry though, I’ve been prepared-ish and I’m willing to offer you some advice on how you can cushion the blow of finishing uni. The earlier you start the better, I know it’s worrying but if you start thinking about your future from day one you can’t go wrong can you? Right…?

Start Saving

One day your student loan will run out (the horror!). So, it’s probably best to start saving asap, for that inevitable moment when you run out of dosh but haven’t found a job yet. Start putting aside a bit every week if you can spare it and it will soon mount up and leave you with a good financial cushion post-uni. Even if you just put your spare change in a moneybox, little by little, it will build up.

Start Applying

At the beginning of third year you should start thinking about applying for jobs or further education (whatever your choice is). With jobs, the more you apply for the better. Apply for as many jobs as you can until you finally find one. Make the most of the careers centre whilst you can. They can help you with CVs and personal statements for MA or PGCEs. Ensure that you take time on your applications, if you rush them or complete them half-heartedly you’ll find you won’t get the positive results you want.

Projects

Ever wanted to write a novel? Or put on a play? Or even take up pole dancing? Now’s the best time. That sweet time between the end of your exams and assignments and having to go home for the summer and find a job is the best kind of time! Use your new-found free time to work on projects that will better your future but also make you happy and will feel rewarding. Now you don’t have exams and coursework in the way you can start doing the things you want to. My personal goal is to get writing and to finish all the books I’ve been meaning to read for the last million and a half years!

Relax

For most of us we have been in education nearly every year since we were possibly four or five, we deserve a break. Don’t stress yourself out too much, take time to relax and enjoy the short amount of time you have in your student house with your friends Go out, explore the town, have a movie marathon, do everything you wanted to do but didn’t have time to previously because of uni work.

Until next time! 🙂

Gaining More than just a Degree…

If you’re one of the lucky ones… It’s your Easter holidays! Either way it’s not long off exams which means you’ve nearly finished and you’re having to persevere to study through the sunny days! However the motivation and excitement of going to uni is hopefully keeping you on track to achieve those well deserved grades!

As a third year student, looking back, uni has been a great experience and I’m devastated I only have one term left! So my point is… savour every minute of it! There are so many things going on throughout the year that you’d be silly not to! This morning I registered for Graduation which means it’s not long before I finish!

Talking to college students, some are unsure about whether University is for them, and I can only advise based on my personal experience but I would say jump at the opportunity while you can! Many students come to uni for the renowned ‘student life’, which is great as you have very few responsibilities and a lot of time to be selfish (when else in life will you get to do this?!).

You come to Uni to better yourself, choosing a course that you will enjoy and that will open doors to exciting careers later when you finish! You will meet some fascinating people from Edge Hill, both staff and students… who hopefully will become your friends for life! University is exciting and will provide you that time to get to know what you do/don’t like, what you like to do to keep yourself company… or even how messy you can be without being told to clean up!

The time at University has allowed me to truly know who I am as a person and what makes me get up in the morning! It is a testing time full of demands and assignments, but it is totally worth it!

Biology – Second Year Decisions

With the summer term of second year approaching, many people have had to decide on a number of future ventures – third year modules, dissertation topics, and perhaps summer placements. So, in chronological order I present to you – the recent decisions of biosciences students.

Erasmus

Although not a particularly​ recent event, it does pertain to the summer activities of the biology students and affects their summer plan. Back in term one, details of the ERASMUS+ program were announced and applications were accepted. The ERASMUS+ program is a europe-wide student exchange of sorts. In the case of the biology department, there are two institutes that currently offer summer placements for students: The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), and The Cyprus University of Technology (CUT). I have been lucky enough to be offered a placement at SLU, where the department that our own biology department is currently in contact with is the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies. The kind of activities that occur during placements here consist of bird, fish, invert, forest, and fire ecology, as well as research into genetically modified trees. Since I am to be abroad during the summer, I cannot be present at our very own Edge Hill University (EHU) to take part in the internships hosted closer to home.

Internships

A more recent decision to be made regarding the summer break is whether or not you would like to work an internship. Currently, the university offers​ a number of summer internships for students to assist in research with the lecturers. Since I was already due to be away over summer, I have experienced this process as a third-party of sorts as my fellow students have applied. Numerous topics are available with various lecturers, for instance: microbial genetics, extremophile microbial genetics, vector biology, dermatogenetics, conservation, and forest ecology. After the long summer, students will head back as third years and begin their new modules.

Module Choices

Third year, currently weighted slightly more than second year, will consist of new modules to those studied in the second year. A full list of modules (and who came take them depending on course) can be found on the relevant course pages in the biology section of the EHU websiteSome modules may be available to choose in second or third year, which is a wonderful idea, as it allows further customisation of your course – allowing you to choose a full range of modules relevant to your degree focus. Of course, the big one – the dissertation module, is a module you must choose for third year.

Dissertation

With a wide range of courses and lecturers, comes a wide range of topics for dissertations. As tutors are limited to a select number of students per individual, they are allocated as fairly as possible to the topics you have expressed interest in. Since deciding on your dissertation topic may seem like a herculean task when presented with so many options, help had been provided in the form of suggested topics and questions, and the option to begin research in the summer. So far, the department have been very helpful in assisting in our decision – with lecturers coming to pitch their topics and inspire us.

Dissertation deadline is looming, ahhhh!

Hey guys,

How are we?

Well what’s new? With my dissertation deadline right around the corner it’s time to start worrying. I worry about a lot of things, especially when it comes to university work, I just want it to be good! Over these three years I’ve had my fair share of panic tears and miniature break downs, but that’s all part of it. Along the way I’ve discovered a few things which help me calm down, so go on then I’ll share my tips with you…

  1. Down time- you must make time for yourself. When I can’t think of anything to write, it’s time to stop and take a break. Go watch your favourite to show, spend time with friends, RELAX… You’ll find that when you go back to work you have fresh ideas waiting for you!
  2. Support system- when those panic tears and mini break downs occur, you need your people! Go and ring your mum, brother, friend, friend of a friend, literally anyone you want as long as you can vent to them and stop thinking about work. I always find that a few words of encouragement from my mum puts things into perspective and I always feel better. Mums are the best aren’t they.
  3. Food- treat yourself to nice things as a reward for doing work. Set out what you want to achieve and set treats as targets for words. Fatties like me love that.
  4. Plan- believe me they help!

Find out what things help you and do them, it’ll really help.

Goodluck with all your essays and exams coming up, I’m sure you’ll do great!!!

Until next time!??