Preparing to Leave Home

Hi everyone, for my second blog I’m just going to talk a little about moving out of home for the first time and going to University, and what you can do to prepare to make the transition more manageable, enjoyable and hopefully A lot less stressful!

1. Pack early: I know this might seem obvious but starting your packing even a week before leaving home is a really good idea, trust me. You don’t realise until it comes to packing how much stuff you need to bring with you, clothes, gadgets, trinkets and whatever else begin to pile up really quickly. In my personal experience even though I had done most of my packing by the time I was ready to leave, I still found myself running around like a headless chicken looking for my headphones and whatever else I realised I would definitely need.

Bag

2. Book travel well in advance: Doing this not only saves a lot of stress but also a lot of money. Obviously depending on where you live or your travel situation circumstances will be different but if you know you will be travelling by train or boat or plane, booking earlier can save you a lot of hassle that can be caused by booked up journeys or lack of luggage, space say if you were going on a busy flight and needed cabin baggage. In my experience if you book for example, A flight a month beforehand which in my case was coming over from Northern Ireland, an early booked flight would only usually cost £10/20 but leave it too close to the date and you could end up paying more like £50/60 which is a LOT more if you’re a budgeting student.

Plane

3. Don’t worry if your late: I know you definitely want to arrive on time for your moving in day and you most likely will, but on the off-chance you don’t (like me) don’t stress, Edge Hill is very accommodating and even though I was one of the last people to pick up my keys, someone still took the time to show me to my accommodation where I finally arrived to meet my flatmates for the first time, which didn’t make any difference that I was late as everyone was also still pretty nervous! Moral of the story, chill out it will be fine :).

Importance Of Attending An Open Day

I’ve blogged before about open days and briefly mentioned how it cemented my decision to come and study at Edge Hill University. Now that open days are coming around again, with the first one of the year occurring on June 16th, I thought it time to delve into that a little bit more.

Before I even thought about attending open days, I first had to narrow my choice of university down from All Of Them to just Some Of Them. So, when I was first looking at universities, my process was to start at the top of the university league tables for my course, biology, at thecompleteuniversityguide (other league tables are available) and work my way down, pulling out the universities that were high on the list yet had entry requirements within my predicted range. Next, I looked at the courses in my field offered by these universities and selected the universities that had courses with modules that interested me. This narrowed down my pool of options down from A Lot to A Few – Edge Hill being on that list.

Edge Hill was already fairly high on my list, ranking definitely in the top five based on module options, general location, and rankings alone. What really pushed me to commit to choosing Edge Hill University as my firm choice was attending an open day. If you’re capable of visiting Edge Hill for an open day (or an applicant day if you’re already committed to applying to Edge Hill), then I’d highly recommend it.

Visiting Edge Hill University for an open day allowed me to interact with the department and students first-hand, both of which filled me with hope about the university. The department talk about the course and facilities really showed that they cared about the subject and the people working and studying in their school.

What also comforted me about Edge Hill was Ormskirk, it felt familiar to me despite being a new town far from home. With a direct line to Liverpool, just 30 minutes away, Ormskirk is situated so that it’s its own microcosm but still has access to the wider world via public transport – something that resonated with me upon visiting.

Getting between home and Edge Hill University – Or how not to miss your flight

Plane landing at Dublin Airport


If you have never lived outside your country before then it can be daunting thinking about getting here for the first time. I had never even seen a plane before getting on EZ614 from Belfast to Liverpool last September. It is going to seem scary and daunting making that commute back and forth to visit home, friends and family. It might even be a deal breaker for some because of the stress, but if you follow the tips in this post you will find yourself home easier than you can say ‘ensure your drinks trays are in the upright position’.


Google Flights LOGO
Google Flights

First thing is first, let’s get those flights sorted. I’m going to deal mainly with booking flights in this post because I do not (yet!) have experience with the ferry between home and here. The closest airport to Edge Hill is Liverpool John Lennon. I use Google Flights to book trips.  It allows searching of multiple airports from one destination and gives you the best price from each airline. Helpfully, it also allows tracking of prices so you can see if they move up or down. It’s a must use for booking any flights, you can click the link above or simply Google your flight (i.e: Liverpool to Dublin).


Mersey Travel Logo
MerseyTravel

Ok so you have your flights booked. Lets talk about getting to them on time. I can’t speak for your own country as each public transport system is different and that is something that you will require some research (Google Maps is a good place to start). But once you have found your way to the airport on your end you will need to plan your trip to the university. The main travel service between Liverpool John Lennon and Edge Hill is MerseyTravel. You can’t miss their trains, they are big and yellow. I have found in my experience the best route to take is as follows:

 

  • 500/86A Bus to Liverpool South Parkway Train Station
  • MerseyRail Train to Liverpool Central Train Station
  • MerseyRail Train to Ormskirk
  • EL1 Bus to Edge Hill Uni

You can see how that looks on Google Maps by clicking Here!

If all else fails you can also get a taxi for around £30.


Airport Security
The big day

So you’ve done your planning. You have the flights booked and your plan ready on getting to the airport, and getting from the airport to your destination. If you have flown before great! Usual rules, turn up in good time and don’t pack anything silly that will get you in trouble. If you haven’t flown before then its time to listen up. Arrive early. Believe me you would rather spend half an hour around the duty-free shops against missing your flight. I recommend forty-five minutes before your gate closes (usually half an hour before your flight) so you can get through security and chill. And while we are on the subject of time, if you are of the legal age please don’t let the all-day pubs distract you. Again missing your flight is not worth it. If you are checking in bags, plan accordingly and take time into consideration. Also remember to check your flights boarding procedures, for example Ryan Air require a passport on ALL flights, where as EasyJet only require photoID on domestic flights. 100ml is the maximum amount of liquid in a bottle you can take on board also and no blades. You can see a general list of airport packing do’s and don’ts here!


So that’s all there is to it. Get your flights, plan out your day around it and make backups in case the trains decide to go on strike. It isn’t as hard as you might think and you can do it with the right mind-set and preparation. And remember if you do miss your flight it isn’t the end of the world. Liverpool is a busy airport check for other flights going out on the same day, you might get lucky!

For other travel query’s about getting to the university and for free advice about life at Edge Hill email think@edgehill.ac.uk

All the best,
Sean M – Edge Hill Student

What’s there to know about Ormskirk?

Edge Hill is situated in the North West of England in a town named Ormskirk. So what is there to know about Ormksirk?

Well Ormksirk is a beautiful market town in West Lancashire.. Yes a market down actually means there is a market (normally on Thursdays and Saturdays!) which is well worth a visit! I have seen an American candy stall, cheap clothes and food!

You may not deem the location of the university you’re considering very important. However if you have to move off campus during your degree and you have to commute, it is well worth thinking about!

Edge Hill has a lot going for it. The university itself is gorgeous, if you’ve visited the campus you will know how picturesque it is! Surrounded by fields and tonnes of greenery both around the campus and in Ormksirk town centre (there’s a big and small park!).

The uni runs a free shuttle bus, that runs around every fifteen minutes or, from the bus station in Ormskirk to the Uni. It is really convenient in first year when you have a tonne of shopping to bring to halls and your arms are falling off! There are plenty of supermarkets to shop at in town as well as a shop on campus for all your necessitates! There’s a train station too which also runs lines to Preston and Liverpool centre, meaning it is very well connected and it’s easy to get around!

The buses also run to Southport so if you fancy a day on the beach then there’s one not too far away!

There’s also fitness facilities, pubs, clubs and restaurants… Ormksirk is a lovely town that isn’t publicised enough! So come down and have a look, we hope to see you soon!

Home Sweet Home

As Easter is quickly approaching many people may be considering going home for a while. I travelled home this weekend for the first time since Christmas and I had forgotten how much you need to remember and how many things you need to do before you leave.

My first piece of advice for anyone thinking of going home is to book any travel as far in advance as you can. This often means you can get it a lot cheaper than you would on the day and also means you can organise and plan your trips within plenty of time. For rail travel the cheapest tickets are available 12 weeks prior to the date of travel, a benefit of booking tickets in this way means that even if something comes up meaning you can no longer travel the tickets are that cheap you won’t be too much out of pocket. As well as booking tickets in advance if you are frequently planning to travel by rail, a railcard is an excellent investment. With a 16-25 railcard you can save 1/3 on train journeys. This combined with booking in advance can equal massive savings over time. Last year I travelled home around once or twice a month and using my rail card and advance booking I saved over £500. Apps such as Trainline are also a valuable tool as they find you the cheapest ticket for your journey and work out which trains you need to get, where you need to change and which would be the fastest route.

Once you have your main method of transport secured it is also important to consider how long it will take you to get home and if other methods of transport are required. For me when travelling home I need to get the university free bus into Ormskirk, the train from Ormskirk to Liverpool and then another train from Lime Street to Nottingham. I would suggest that if you are travelling home for the first time using new methods of transport that you leave extra time for your journey or even have a practise run to see how long it actually takes. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in traffic or missing a train that means you miss the train on the final leg of your journey. Ormskirk has plenty of travel options for students and using a combination of bus or train you can generally end up getting wherever you need to be.

Before travelling you need to think about what you’re taking home. From experience on your first few trips home you’ll try to pack your entire wardrobe, five pairs of shoes and a month’s worth of washing into a carry on size suitcase for three nights at home. This will soon fade away when you realise lifting a heavy suitcase on a train is what nightmares are made of. Try to pack the bare essentials and if possible have duplicates at home to save in what you need to carry. When I’m packing I like to make a list as I’m guaranteed to forget something essential. As long as you have your keys to get back in, money and tickets for where you’re going you’re basically set, I’d consider these things to be my essentials. As well as this make sure you have something to do on the journey. Trains can be the most boring of places especially if it is dark and you cannot see anything out of the window. I like to have something to watch on my iPad, something to read or some work to finish off to make the journey that bit quicker.

When leaving Uni there’s also a few things to think about. Consider what you have in the fridge before coming home. No one wants to come back to lumpy milk and green cheese. A quick check of dates in your fridge and cupboard before you leave should prevent this. As well as checking what you have that might go off make sure you have something in for when you come back, depending when you travel you may not be feeling like doing a full shop and an empty fridge is not what you want after a long journey back.

Last of all enjoy your time at home, the journey can be stressful and you’ll have checked and double checked that you’ve got everything and still forgotten something but it is all worthwhile. The more you travel the better you will get and you’ll become accustomed to the little tricks that make every journey easier.

A little about Ormksirk…

Hello! I hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and that the excited for New Years! 2016 will be an amazing and unforgettable year, finishing your A Levels, starting university, meeting loads of new people… the list is endless!

I’d like to talk a little about Ormksirk! Ormskirk is a charming market town that is around a ten minute walk from Edge Hill! Or if you are living on campus you can use the Edge Link bus which travels to and from Edge Hill to Ormksirk  for free with your Unicard (you receive this on welcome Sunday). Trust me this bus is an absolute lifesaver when you’ve just done your food shop!

Ormksirk has all the essential shops and takeaways! There are plenty of places to shop for food in town such as Morrisons, Aldi and Iceland! There are also pubs and a few clubs that you will certainly venture into during your time at university! I would definitely recommend that you venture into Liverpool on a night out as there is a larger variety of clubs to choose from, however it is more expensive and as a student you probably won’t have much money!

To get to Liverpool the easiest way is via the railway station which is a two minute walk from the bus station (where the bus will drop you off from uni).  here you can get directly to Liverpool or Preston- both of which are a half an hour journey! This is perfect if you want a day out you can go shopping or go to the cinema… amongst many other things!

So to finish off, as it is Christmas, I’ve included a few pictures of the Christmas lights around Ormskirk and Liverpool, just a little taster of what you can expect to see next year!

Travel

Travel has been a big part of my university experience, and by that I don’t mean I’ve been to lots of different countries (unfortunately), I just mean that I’ve relied a heck of a lot on public transport compared to my pre-uni life.

For starters, my hometown is about 250 miles from Ormskirk, so if I ever want to visit my parents I have a long way to travel. It’s meant that I haven’t been able to visit home as much as my friends have, and obviously it can be quite expensive. If you’re planning on doing a lot of train travel, I’d definitely recommend investing in a student railcard as it really helps keep costs down.

I’ve also spent a lot of my time travelling to and from Liverpool. It’s only half an hour on the train and it’s not too expensive, and if you ask me Liverpool is definitely worth the visit. I normally go there if I need to do any clothes shopping, want to go out to eat, or want to go the cinema. Ormskirk station is really central to the town and close to the uni so it’s really easy to get to.

The Ormskirk to Liverpool train
The Ormskirk to Liverpool train

Additionally I’ve been to visit a lot of friends, whether that be friends I know from home who have gone off to different places in the country to study at university, or to visit the hometowns of friends I’ve made at Edge Hill. Again, the train is usually the method of choice here. It really helps to book tickets early if you have a trip planned because usually the earlier you book them, the cheaper they are.

And then there’s day trips, which I try to do whenever I get a chance. I’ve been to Preston a couple of times to check out the city, and the cheapest way to get there is on the bus, but there’s a train straight there from Ormskirk too. I’ve also been to Chester a few times too, because Chester Zoo is definitely worth a visit if you can afford the entry fee!

Travelling

Travelling can be really tiring, especially by train. Whether it’s the half hour trip from Ormskirk to Liverpool or a five hour trip across the country it’s amazing just how tiring sitting still with not much to do can be. I always try and bring music to listen to and a book to read. After a certain amount of travelling, however, I often find myself struggling to keep my eyes open. This isn’t ideal when alone on a train, especially when you have to change to a different train at some point.

When I lived in Wales I used to always dread the five hour train journey back to Southport and even when I brought stuff with me to stay busy I’d often find myself not doing it. This was especially true when it came to doing university work and writing essays. Sometimes when I’m stressed that I don’t have very long to do an essay I remember all those hours that I wasted sitting on a train, staring into space, when I should have been working!

Now that I’m attending university for the second time I definitely find myself wasting less time than I did the first time. I don’t spend as much time travelling, but when I do I always try to be productive. Most of the travelling that I do now is to visit friends; they all go to different universities, so one day I’ll be on my way to Leicester, then next I’ll be headed down to London. I know that people come from all over the country to go to Edge Hill, and just thinking about the amount of hours that must be spent on the train all together makes me feel tired!

I’d recommend that anybody not used to long train journeys who is about to start doing them regularly should see them as time that can be spent usefully; otherwise, the boredom and monotony can become pretty unbearable!

Faye’s Blog – The Region

So as you will know Edge Hill is located in the North West and is in a pretty decent location because it is situated in-between a lot of different places, Liverpool, Preston, Manchester etc.

I don’t really class myself as an average student as I don’t go out ‘partying’ a lot which is what Liverpool and Manchester are great for. Liverpool and Manchester are also really great for shopping as I think everyone will be aware. But as I am not such a party animal my personal experience of the region is very different. I’m a lot more family orientated and I love photography etc. so my weekends are a lot quieter than most peoples!

When I was in my first and second year of uni, my boyfriend lived in Preston as he was studying at UCLAN (he’s the year above me so he has graduated now) so most weekends I would get the train to Preston. It’s 30 mins away on the train so it’s really quick and the train line is a direct one so it was really easy to get there and back. I spent a lot of time in pubs in Preston and around the UCLAN campus so I got to nosey about the place a lot. We also went to the cinema, ate out at restaurants a fair bit too and wandered around the high street as well. Which always resulted in me spending too much money. Preston also has a lot of big parks such as Avenham Park which is really lovely!

I also travel back home a hell of a lot too. I’m from Blackpool and I love it so I spend a lot of time there as well with my family. It takes about an hour on the train to Blackpool and you usually just change train in Preston. Blackpool has a lot to offer.  If you are into all of the going out there are a lot of clubs there. But there is also the seaside, arcades, attractions such as the Sea Life Centre, the Tower of course and the Pleasure Beach and a big high street ans shopping centre  So with all that about there is always something to do. There seems to be something for everyone in Blackpool.

On the weekends that I do stay in Ormskirk I do like to walk along the high street and do a bit of shopping. I also go to the library when I have a lot of work to do which I know is boring but you may have to do some work over the weekends too! I also like The Hub that is now on campus. It has a really good atmosphere and you can get food there, check your emails and just chill out!