You’ve settled into university, had a few lectures for each
of your modules, done a bit of reading or at least attempted to, and now… The
lecturers begin to mention assignments or coursework.
This was mostly my scenario. Although we’d been informed in
our introduction session how the module is assessed it doesn’t dawn on you that
work is real and its approaching until its more candidly mentioned in lectures.
My first deadline was mid-November, leaving me a good two months to settle into
university, though that won’t be the case for every degree.
I remember stressing quite a lot leading up to beginning to
work on it, I’m a perfectionist but I also wasn’t sure how it’d be marked. In
addition, I’d never referenced before or had to write academically, so there
were a lot of factors revolving around this one piece of work. However, eventually,
one October afternoon I just sat down and wrote it. Actually, writing the piece,
exploring not using contractions, referencing myself up to the hilt; it was a
very relaxing experience. Reading texts I’d not read before to gather information
to back up what I was saying was very enriching to my understanding of the
concept I was discussing.
Moving forward, I tackled all my deadlines the same. If I
could I’d give myself ample time to write out my essays, or piece together my
presentations. While not everyone will do this and will be able to refer to
their memories as being a lot more stressful, this way of working had ensured
my university life thus far has been quite relaxed. My uncle once said a degree
is a marathon, right now I’m very much jogging, though I’m not sure when I’ll
need to sprint.
Getting my work done ahead of time has also ensured grades I
can be happy with. My first piece of work bagged me a high 2:1, pieces done in
a similar method have also gained those grades.
I’m sure at some point I’ll write a follow up to this blog
discussing my panicked deadline where I was writing up against the clock.
Though, for now I can simply say the first dreaded deadline doesn’t have to be
So in my last blog post I spoke about ways to get ready for Christmas while at university, and I mentioned that in my next blog I would do cheap, homemade gift and decorations ideas to make for your flat. I am back home now for Christmas, but while I was at uni getting ready for my favourite time of year, I really enjoyed making decorations and gifts for my family and friends and for the flat to save myself some money! And I also found it very therapeutic and nice to do when having a break from uni work and doing it with your flatmates to make your flat look a little more Christmassy!
Paper chains are really easy to make and hardly cost anything at all. All it involves is taking strips of patterned or coloured paper and cut them the same lengths, approximately 20cm. To make the strips link, loop one and secure the loop with pritt stick and feed a strip a different colour or pattern through the first loop and secure that with glue. Continue for all of the strips, changing with each pattern. I made mine using a pack of patterned Christmas paper from a charity shop for £2 and doubled up each strip so that the pattern was on the inside and out. These always look great and are lovely to hang in your room to decorate!
This bird again is very easy to make and is also very versatile in the way you choose to make it. You simply cut the shape want to do, other ideas are more Christmassy animals such as a reindeer or a dove! Again I doubled up the patterned paper and placed card inbetween and cut a slit in the middle. Next you fold another piece of patterned paper in a concertina and put this in the slit, then decorate with eyes and use a looped piece of ribbon so you can hang it perhaps off a mini Christmas tree!
This is my favourite decoration to make because it is so easy but always looks good every time you make it! This is also a lovely gift for family and friends or simply, like me to keep for yourself!
To make one of these wreaths you need a circular wire to act as the base for your wreath, you can get these really cheap or make your own by bending a wire coat hanger. Next you need small strips of fabric or ribbon and you simply knot each piece around the wire frame! I like to make the pieces long and filling it up well and sticking to a colour scheme, when you are happy with it, simply add a loop of ribbon to hang up, maybe on your flat door or in your room!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog and it has given you some helpful ideas for decorating your flat and getting into the Christmas spirit!
Although some people attending Edge Hill may be locals, and already know the way around Liverpool and the surrounding areas, there will be some people, who, like me, aren’t local at all and have never visited the area before. If that’s you, or you are local but are looking for inspiration on where to take a day out, then this list is for you.
At just a 30 minute train journey from Ormskirk, visiting Liverpool is a must. As someone whose only other big city experience before coming to uni was London, I didn’t really know what I was doing or where I was going when I first visited Liverpool, but I was presently surprised. Liverpool is essentially a smaller, friendlier London- complete with its own share of shops, theatres, and places to eat- not to mention its rich history in music. And most importantly (for some!), lots of good places to enjoy a night out.
In the first flat I was in, I was lucky enough to be sharing with people who were locals, and had access to cars, which meant we got to take a lovely day trip to Blackpool one weekend. We did all the things you’re supposed to do when in a seaside town- we ate fish and chips, went in the biggest arcade we could find, and walked up and down the pier. As Blackpool is a big tourist destination, there are also other things on offer to do, and we decided to take the walk around Madame Tussaurd’s that afternoon, at only £10 each for us students! It was well worth the money and we all had a lot of fun.
3- Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre
Being on a Performing Arts course, I was naturally exposed to more theatre than most, but one of the venues that really stood out to me was Hope Mill. We visited twice in the year, once to see Pippin, and the other to see Little Women, both fantastic musicals. The theatre itself is always impeccably decorated and the bar is themed to the show that is taking place at that point in time. The bar area does amazing drinks and food, so even if you’re not into theatre, the you can still enjoy some time there.
Although many people will try to tell you they don’t miss home, or that they were so busy with new things they didn’t even think about it, it’s very likely that it’s not true.
It’s completely normal to feel homesick at any stage of university life, whether you’ve moved across the country or just a few miles away. Here are a few tips to help overcome it.
1- Talk about it.
It’s very likely, especially in the first few weeks of a new term that you won’t be the only one missing home. Talking to your flatmates or coursemates about home can help you to remember the good things about home, but also help you remember why you’ve moved away and all the good things that will bring.
2- Home comforts.
No matter how old you are, there is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing things that remind you of home, even if that is a cuddly toy! Other items that work include blankets, posters, and fairy lights. Anything that makes your room feel like your space, rather than just an empty room.
On the subject of home comforts, I advise you to buy yourself a photo album or two and print out some of your favourite photos and memories from home. Although now a days we mostly store our photos on our phones, there’s something a little bit more special about a physical copy, and looking through them can really help if you’re having a hard time.
4- Call home.
Don’t be ashamed to excuse yourself from social areas in your flat to make a phone call to the family. It helps you to stay in touch with news from home, and to connect with the people who up until now, you’ve most likely been living with all your life. Using apps such as FaceTime and Skype can enhance this as you get to see faces and places, rather than just voices.
5. Make new friends.
Although you may at times feel like you’re betraying life long friendships by making new friends while you’re away, you’re not. Your home friends would want you to be making new friends and having new experiences, and although at times this may be hard to see, it’s important to remember you can always stay in touch with them in different ways, even if you’re not physically present.
If you decide to attend university quite far away from where you were previously based, you might be worried about how the distance will affect your current friendships. Even if you do stay “close to home,” your friends might be going off to uni and be the ones who are far away. But being physically distant does not have to distance your friendships. As important as it is to make friends at Edge Hill University on your course, in your halls, and in societies, it’s always nice to keep in touch with friends whom you may have spent a good few harrowing years of your life with.
Whether over Facebook, FaceTime, or Skype, video calls can be a great way to keep up with your closest friends from home. I’ve found that organising an actual time to call is the best way to make sure these things actually happen – otherwise, life gets in the way and you may end up putting it off or inadvertently being busy.
If you and your friends share an interest in video games, then it can be a wonderful way of spending time with them, whilst also relaxing after a day of work. Whatever your preferred platform, personally I’d say microphones are a must. Being able to chat about life whilst you play is pretty great. Minecraft, Destiny, and Borderlands have been some of the games I’ve played whilst catching up with friends.
Video chat with people AND watch tv. With Rabbit, you can have a typical video call, but stream shows, movies or games at the same time, so you can experience them together. Something I used to do with friends back home all the time, I admittedly haven’t used it much since coming to uni, but it’s a great resource that people should know about!
Although it can be a tad expensive, and requires a bit of planning, visiting your old friends (or having them visit you) is one of the best things you can do to keep your friendships alive. If you book trains in advance, you can get a huge discount – even more so if you have a railcard (Santander 16-25 Railcard anyone?).
After people move off from sixth-form/college, you may experience the death of a groupchat. This may be a long and slow death, the chat lingering on, with fewer and fewer people messaging, or it may be a swift and painless death. Either way, once you realise who has decided to move on, why not make a new groupchat? One with people who are still committed to maintaining old friendships.
So, I’m now a second year, but for this blog post, I’m going to cast my mind back to my first year here at Edge Hill, to help you guys understand what my life was like as a fresher.
I would usually spend my Monday mornings doing any recommended reading for sessions, or anything that I thought would be particularly useful for my assignments. At the start of the year, we had a session on how to read most efficiently, which really helped me get the most from my books, and plan my assignments during this time.
Tuesdays were the days I generally spent flitting from one task to another. It was a long time to stay focused on one thing, so I generally planned my day out by what I wanted to achieve and went from there. If I had an assignment due that I knew I needed to write, sometimes that meant switching up my environment; I’d spent the morning in the library with the books, and then come back to halls in the afternoon when I got hungry. After a quick lunch break, I’d be back writing again. Other days were split up into smaller tasks, and often these were easier to stay focused on. It’s about picking a strategy that works best for you.
Last year, Tuesdays were also the day that Strangled Cats Karaoke was on, so my friends and I used to blow off some steam by going along to that. We never got up to sing, but the atmosphere was always a cheerful one. This now runs on a Monday.
The foundation subjects – Art, DT, History, Geography, PE, RE, etc (9-12)
My Wednesday afternoons were usually spent with my housemates. Some weeks, this meant a trip to Liverpool or a spot of lunch. Every week, we would do some kind of work together though, which was usually sorting out our files and targets, which are assessed at various points in the year, and in the last few weeks.
Academic Professional Development (APD) Lecture (12-1)
Minor Specialism: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) (3-5)
Sometimes I’d get to go home on a Friday! This meant that I’d spend my morning packing and tidying. If I wasn’t going home, I often spent Friday mornings going to buy food, or doing laundry – all the fun domestic things you get to do when you come to university!
I made sure to have at least one day at the weekend off to spend with my friends. As hectic as uni life can sometimes be, it’s important that you’re not getting too stressed, and enjoying yourself too.
One of the biggest worries people have when coming to university is about whether they can afford it. However, most people are able to access money from the government to help out with the costs of being a student.
If you currently live in England, you can access the Student Finance Calculator, which will give you an indicator of how much money you might receive when you go to university.
Check out the links below if you don’t currently live in England:
So, what are the big costs of going to university?
The largest for me was and is accommodation. This took up a large bulk of the money I received from student finance, particularly as, during my first year, I had picked an ensuite room to live in. This was important to me in my first year, as I didn’t really know anyone I’d be living with, and I was concerned about cleaning the bathroom myself. However, in halls, a cleaner cleans shared bathrooms and the communal areas every week day, whereas I had to clean my bathroom! This year, I’m living in a house with a shared bathroom, and it really isn’t as bad as I had first imagined when applying for accommodation – even though we have to clean the bathroom.
You might be commuting instead of living on or around campus, but it’s just as important to research the different ways of getting to university. It might be that the bus is cheaper, but takes longer, so you have to consider what works for you in the long run. Is that extra half an hour in bed more important than being able to pay for your weekly coffee?
The next most important thing on my list of costs is food. I’ve known people not blink and spend £60 on a weekly shop, then wonder how they’re going to afford to eat for the rest of the term. It is so, so important to budget. The way that I do it is to divide how much I have (once I’ve taken out the cost of accommodation) to spend by how many weeks there are in that semester (eg £140 in a 7 week semester would be £20 a week).
I then shop around. In Ormskirk, there is an Aldi, an Iceland, and a Morrison’s, but other big shops will deliver too. Tesco currently have the ‘Click and Collect’ option, where they bring deliveries to campus on a specific day of the week for students to pick up. Personally, I prefer Aldi, as it is cheaper, but if I’m particularly busy with assignments that week and I know I can’t get to the shops, I might do a big order online that will keep me going for a few weeks.
It’s easy to forget to eat healthily when you’re a student too, especially if you don’t like cooking, or if you don’t go shopping very often. At the moment, there’s a fruit and veg store on a Wednesday that is run in the hub, which has really good prices. So, even if you’ve decided to go another week without doing a shop and don’t have anything fresh, you can always pick something up once a week in the hub.
The next big cost most students incur is nights out. Now, I don’t really spend a lot on nights out, but my friends and I do enjoy takeaway every now and again. It’s important to include these in your budget when you’re planning how much you can spend a week too. If that means deciding if you’d rather go out every night of the week and spend only £5 a night, or once a week and spend £35, it has to be done.
There are many different types and accommodation on campus that cater to everyone- whether you have a low or high budget, or even if you want to be in an all female accommodation.
I chose to live in Back Halls, and I couldn’t have made a better choice. My first four months living here have given me the confidence I need as I ease myself into the responsibilities of adult life and have given me friends for life.
One of the many benefits of Back Halls is that, unless you wish to go for the catered option, it is Edge Hill’s cheapest accommodation choice. If you wish to opt for the catered option, the price is the same as Main Halls. The difference between catered and self-catered is that the rent you pay extra in the catered halls goes on a card you can use to buy food at the many food outlets around campus, such as the Red Bar situated in the Arts Centre, or the Hub, which is situated in the centre of the campus. For 2017/2018 the rent for the self-catered Back Halls is £72 a week for 40 weeks, bills included, and the rent for the catered Back Halls is £109 a week for 40 weeks, bills included.
There are many benefits to choosing cheaper accommodation choices, here are just a few;
You have more money for food (let’s be real here, every student loves to have food in it’s masses and it’s always handy for those times you’re craving something from the local Chinese takeaway or Domino’s!)
If you are getting a low amount of Student Finance or are self-funding your studies, cheaper accommodation is also very useful and leaves you with less money worries
If you’re worried about budgeting and want to ensure you don’t go over budget, this is easier to do if you’re less worried about paying a smaller amount of rent
In the Back Halls accommodation, the rooms are split into clusters of students with whom you share bathroom and kitchen facilities with. I share a cluster with 9 other students, and I know what you’re thinking- sharing a bathroom with 9 people??! Some people I know at the Uni and friends from home find sharing a bathroom to change their mind when it comes to accommodation, but you shouldn’t let it! I’ve never once had an issue with the bathroom in all 4 months at the accommodation. Everyone is in and out of their lessons all throughout the week, so I’ve always found time when the shower and bath is free, and there is a cleaner who cleans Monday-Friday who ensures the toilet and bath are clean and suitable for use. The cleaner also keeps the kitchen is usable shape, and the common room, which is shared with the four clusters in the buildings.
Speaking of the common room, one of the biggest benefits of living in Back Halls is how friendly it is and the sense of community. It’s like living with one big supportive family! The common room is a great way to get to hang out with the people you share a cluster with plus the people in the other clusters for your building. Each cluster has a TV with a TV license, suitable for everyone to come watch the evening football together, or, as my Halls did, watch the finale of the Great British Bake Off! Recent events have been very festive in my Halls, with collective meals of party food for the Christmas season occurring and Secret Santa! If you’re a big fan of such events or just the idea of having a communal place to lounge around and chat with your friends, or even make new friends at the beginning of the semester when everything is scary, Back Halls is the place for you!
There are 5 Back Halls buildings- the catered ones are called Eleanor Rathbone, Katherine Fletcher and Lady Openshaw, the self-catered ones are called Margaret Bain (which is also the all-female Back Halls building) and E.M. Butterworth. Although you will only be living in one building, they are all so close to each other that you will definitely get to know each other. My Student Assistant also set up a Facebook chat for the entirety of Back Halls, so we can always contact each other if we want/need to!
The best thing about this sense of community and being with so many people is that in the early stages of Uni, even if you aren’t hanging out like best buddies to begin with, and especially if you get homesick or lonely, there are always new people to meet who are going through the same thing as you, and once you’ve made first introductions you can always go knock on someone’s door so you’re not alone in your room. I’m a very awkward person, but once I’d broken the ice I couldn’t have been in a better place!
It’s always good to be as close to the facilities around campus as possible on lazy or ill days too- another good thing about Back Halls; you’re literally next to the laundrette, the Durning Centre (where you can collect parcels) and the Student Union bar!
If there is anything you wish to know more about Back Halls, feel free to pop me a comment! I’ll be happy to answer anything 🙂
I hope you are all having a great weekend, speak to you soon!
If you are wishing to see what other places of accommodation are available for students on campus, below there are a few links to show you the range of accommodation that is offered and some useful tips and info:
Hey guys, so easter is coming up now and it’s getting closer and closer to that time again! Freshers. Something which I really struggled with was knowing how much stuff to bring to university with me and essentially, what did I need to bring?
I can honestly say that it took me so long gather all the things I needed, or what I thought I needed and believe me when I say it, you don’t need the kitchen sink as well.
The best way to know what you need to bring to university is by breaking it up into different sections. I did it in three sections: bedroom, kitchen and your own.
Okay, so for your bedroom here is a list which I think would be needed before coming to uni
Bedding (such as duvet, blankets as it gets cold, pillows etc)
Plenty of towels
storage boxes for shoes, books or even clothes
This is what I brought for the bedroom.
Okay, for the kitchen it is possible to keep the packing lights. Heres what I brought
Pans (Essentially it was a wok because you can cook anything in it and just a regular pan)
If you’re feeling adventurous you can get a set of pans for under £10 at Aldi or Tescos.
Cutlery. If you wanted to spend a lot on a brand new set feel free but there is nothing wrong with bringing just a couple of sets of a fork, knife and spoon.
This is basically what I brought with me for the kitchen. With me and my friends we all just share our things anyway so I shouldn’t worry too much about forgetting something.
Finally there’s your own stuff.
What I mean by this is the stuff that makes your room your own. You don’t want to leave the walls bare and feel like you’re sleeping in a prison cell. I made sure I brought pictures for a wall mural, lights to brighten the room, posters, books for the shelves. It’s basically stuff to make that space your own.
That is basically some information about I think is beneficial for bringing with you to university. Its coming to that time of year where it is time to start thinking about what you need to bring with you to university. Don’t worry and just bring what you need. After all that, you deserve that shopping spree for those new shoes and jackets for the excitement of freshers.