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

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!

Being Vegan or Vegetarian at Edge Hill University!

Hey everyone! With the rise in veganism, vegetarianism and just the general rise in people eating less meat in their daily lives, I thought that I would put a simple post together on how this can be done at Edge Hill and in Ormskirk as it is a small area with a much more limited choice than you would get in a city. I myself don’t consider myself vegan or vegetarian as I still eat fish and eggs but no dairy, red meat, chicken, etc. When I moved into university and was living on my own, I began to make more plant based and vegetarian meals which were quite easy. I know that this lifestyle can be quite tricky for people but hopefully this post will help some of you!


Shopping!

This was what I found the easiest when I first started eating more plant based. I shop in Aldi and Iceland because they are cheap and I can get everything I need for a week for under £20! Iceland have a whole section of plant based foods such as pizza, sausages, meatballs, burgers, pies and chicken strips! Aldi have the most amazing beetroot burgers and sweet potato burgers that go amazing with some frozen and roasted veg and potatoes! I also bulk buy the cans of chickpeas and butter beans because these can be so amazing in a curry or in a salad. Leading a more plant-based lifestyle does not have to be expensive!

Image result for aldi

I would also shop a little in Holland and Barrett for things I might not be able to get in the main food shops such as tofu, tempeh and Linda McCartney items (if you know, you know) and these items would usually last me a couple of weeks as they can be frozen. Morrisons is also a good place for vegan, vegetarian and free from options but if you want to stick to a cheaper option, I would opt for Aldi or Iceland.

Eating Out!

I thought that when I moved to Ormskirk I would never be able to find anywhere with vegan or dairy free options but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was way easier than it was in my own home town. I will compile a little list of all the places that have a vegan menu or that I find are really accommodating to this type of lifestyle;

  • The Fat Italian – has a full vegan menu
  • Cobble – really good carrot and hummus bagel, just saying
  • Nordico Lounge – vegan-friendly
  • The Bagel Deli – vegan bagels, need I say more?
  • Wetherspoons – vegan meals on a budget? Perfect.

You can also treat yourself to going into Liverpool if you want even more options but for Ormskirk being so small, it is amazing what you can get.

Take Outs!

This is what I have found to be the hardest part about living this lifestyle because there is cheese or milk in A LOT of takeaway places however, I did manage to get a vegetarian dominoes pizza delivered to my flat with the rest of my flat mates which was really really nice but not vegan. Also, in terms of getting a Chinese takeaway, there is no harm in asking what they have that you could eat. I got a black bean dish from a local Chinese takeaway which was dairy free and full of veggies!

Image result for pizza delivery gifs

Ordering food to the flat and getting a takeaway is a lot harder on this lifestyle but if you know that your flat mates will be having food like this, be prepared and have a frozen pizza in the freezer just incase so that you don’t feel like you are being left out.


I hope that some of you found this useful and are not so worried about having difficulty with continuing your amazing vegan/vegetarian/dairy free lifestyle. It was only when I started university that I cut out a lot of meat products and started cooking plant based meals and I would not have been able to do that if Ormskirk had not made it as accessible as it has.

Thank you for reading, Lauren x

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

-Albert Einstein-

Staying Fit, What Gym Options Are Available to You

While at uni eating takeouts might become more frequent or even just eating more junk food when you don’t want to cook, so maybe the possibility of going to the gym seems more reasonable now then at home, so I am going to give you a few pointers to what’s available and what you can expect to pay.

Edge Hill Sport: If your living on campus this should be the only place worth considering, as deals go there residency membership is a bargain. £80 for a full 40 weeks of premium membership which includes use of all facilities at any time of day, not bad eh? If you live off campus you will have to pay more but it’s still good value if you don’t mind commuting a bit with a standard yearly membership costing £170.00. The facilities are really nice and modern with handy green wristbands used to enter rooms and to use the lockers as opposed to keys, the fitness suite is one of the best I’ve used, the only slight downside being it can be pretty busy especially around 4/5 but that’s more applicable to weightlifters and can be avoided by going later or earlier in  the day.

Off Campus Options: If living within Ormskirk then it may be too much hassle to commute to and from Edge Hill but, there are options within the town. If you are interested in swimming then Park Pool, the council run leisure centre seems to be the main place to go, they also have a gym too.  If you are looking for just for fitness equipment then United Health and Fitness and Active Nation (formerly energie fitness) are both good options, Unite has a larger number of equipment in a larger space with a monthly membership costing £25 a month. Active Nation is the gym I use, it’s pretty small but is usually not too busy and is well maintained as well as having the cheapest membership fee I could find at £20 a month.

So there’s just a few options available to you if interested, also make sure you are paying for what you need, if you go a lot buy a longer membership, if your less consistent then maybe a pay as you go option is best, whatever you choose enjoy it and take it easy!

Jordan

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

Budgeting Your Food Shop

Hi guys in one of my blogs from a few weeks back I talked about the different  food shops available to you around Ormskirk and what I think each one offers. Moving on from this I thought I would do one on the actual buying of food and how much you may be spending.


So for this i’m going to go by my own general shopping routine for accuracy so this will be catered mostly to shopping in Aldi since that is where I do most of mine. Any weekly shop in Aldi for me can vary depending on what I buy and how much of it I buy but on average I would say a weekly shop costs me around £30 including everything I need, which I think is really good for all I get bearing in mind I’m someone who eats quite a lot. Other people’s shops could vary a fair bit based on what they eat they may be closer to £20 or £40.


There are some good things to bear in mind when you are shopping such as looking out for reduced items or being careful to not buy quickly perishable foods unless you are sure you will eat them, frozen food is the food of students and you can find plenty of good frozen stuff from fruit and veg to burgers and chicken. Compare the weights of products to the price,  some things may look like a better deal but you might get more for your money getting a different bigger/smaller pack even if it’s more/less up front etc. Convenience costs more this one is pretty simple, the more handy stuff that’s maybe already seasoned or fridge ready is probably going to cost you more than it’s base counterpart, for example I used to buy seasoned pork chops but now I buy the pork chops and a marinade packet separate and it saves you around 50p. Obviously it’s fine to not have the time to bother always but it’s worth keeping in your head anyway. Own brand vs branded, Aldi is a mostly own brand shop hence why food is cheaper but most of their stuff is just as good as quality as branded so I have no problem buying it, although I still like some branded stuff on the side. No matter where you shop you will have the same choice to make but if your on a budget then own brand is most likely going to save you more money, but It’s also true that not every cheaper product will be worth buying so I like to try different things and then decide next time what i’m happy with.


So there’s a few things I’m thinking about when shopping which is crazy because before I started uni I just bought whatever I wanted without thinking about it which now just seems mental!

Till next time.

Jordan

My favourite places to eat in Ormskirk!

Hello!

I’m going to share with you my favourite places around Ormskirk for grabbing some grub, be it nice restaurants or greasy takeaways!

We’ll start with my top 3 favourite restaurants:

Image result for the cricketers ormskirk

My all-time favourite place to go is The Cricketers. A traditional but elegant pub that serves the most delicious food. The menu is updated regularly with new dishes but you must come here on Sundays for their roast, it’s divine. I came here for lunch with my family when I’d moved into my halls room and I always recommend this place to people when they come and visit!

Image result for barnyard ormskirk

Barnyard is a favourite spot for many people around Ormskirk. Their menu is packed full of the most delicious dishes and they have a ‘Mac Shak’ where you can order a side of Mac and Cheese with different toppings… amazing! They serve grill, pizzas, burgers and some chicken classics. My recommendation is the skin-on garlic parmesan fries and the surf-and-turf steak. I’m hungry.

Image result for fat italian ormskirk

I don’t know about you but I love a good Italian meal and The Fat Italian does not disappoint. They have a great wine selection too. I’m unfortunately a bit boring when it comes to Italian restaurants because I will only order a carbonara so I can’t recommend any other dish – but their carbonara is right up there with the best I’ve ever had!

On to the takeaways:

Image may contain: text

My go-to takeaway after a night out is chicken lovers. There’s so much to choose from but their cheesy garlic bread and chicken wings are a definite favourite from me… and it’s cheap.

The other takeaway I love it Wan’s Chinese. Again, their menu is packed full of good food and there is so much to choose from. There is great food all around Ormskirk and I’m sure you’ll find your favourites but definitely give these a try!

Thanks for reading!

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What to Do over the Summer

Hi everyone since we are properly into the summer holidays now I thought I would talk about what i’m doing with myself, and also things you might be thinking of doing if you have some extra free-time.

At the moment i’m in a bit of a limbo work wise having come home to Northern Ireland, this has meant putting my job in the students union on pause for the time being until i’m back in September which they are really cool about since campus is quiet over these months. I am looking for work experience although this is rather difficult for me as a film/TV student since there is much less industry here than in England but we will see what happens! If you can get experience over the summer I would definitely recommend it as it is a good way to enhance your CV. Part-time work is also obviously very handy to have over the summer to top up your account which you will definitely be thankful for if the student loan runs out mid term!

Since I have more free time I have taken to learning the piano, but i’m genuinely actually gonna do it this time because I have put off learning an instrument for far too long, but so far so good. Additionally since i’m studying film/TV i like to keep watching things all the time and what’s better than a good evening binge. At the moment i’m watching:

The Wire- HBO/Sky

The Crown- Netflix

Black Mirror- Netflix

All of which are great so far and I definitely recommend if you are unsure of what to watch. There are usually plenty of festivals and concerts on all across the UK as well if your a music fan, even Ireland has a fair bit going on in this department which is a change since there is usually sod all here! I went to see Stormzy in Belfast last week which was amazing and I would definitely recommend him if that’s your kind of thing.

The most important thing about the summer is that you do what you want to do, there’s no point going back to university feeling as tired as you left so just enjoy it, till next time.

Jordan

 

Turning the Bad into Good – How to deal with being upset, sad or angry as a Student

Turning the bad into good.


Being a student is great. You get your freedom, you grow up and you meet interesting new people in a new and exciting place. With all of this going on you might be forgiven for thinking that there wont be a moment where you feel down, or something really gets on your nerves and makes you upset to the point where you really are unsure of what to do.  We’ve almost all been there, and today I want to talk about three ways that Edge Hill supports you, and how you can deal with these feelings.


Speak to someone

One of the best ways to overcome any problem is to share it. The reason that people say a problem shared is a problem halved is because there really is some truth behind it. Edge Hill offers counselling services on campus as well as teams of people ready to help with any specific issue such as learning, money, accommodation and your general well being.


Write it down

Having a pen and paper in hand is a great way to put those thoughts somewhere not inside your head. If you and write about it you have a better chance of thinking it through and finding a solution to your problem. But never keep it just to yourself. It can build up and cause yourself some serious problems.


Put it in context

The last, and hardest of my tips, is to put whatever is going on in your life into context. It is important to take everything into consideration where you are feeling down. Reminding yourself that its not the end of the world and putting it into the context of the rest of your life can remind you that its not all bad, and things will always get better.


That’s all for this blog but if you want more tips for dealing with stress at University check out my other blog here.

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

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!