Freshers Week – Reflecting back.

I have finished all my university work for my first year here at Edge Hill, and while that fact hasn’t completely dawned upon me yet, I’ve been doing some reflection on when I started Edge Hill, bringing me back to Freshers week.

I look back to Freshers week and wonder who that person was? I feel I have personally changed so much since that frantic week in September, to the point I felt empowered to write this blog today, to tell my past self some things she really should have known, or done.

First and foremost, please stop worrying about your finances, you have an interest free overdraft and plenty of security net! Every purchase I made in Freshers, I was extremely nervous about, from textbooks to cookies from M&S (Obviously I hadn’t relegated myself to just Aldi and Morrisons just yet). The reality of the situation was I had little reason to worry, I’ve been smart about money and undertaken the needed tasks to ensure that.

Another issue I faced quite often in Freshers week was spending time with my ‘course friends’, if you’re at Edge Hill now you’ll understand this, but for anyone reading this who isn’t yet, you will have two groups of friends. The people you live with in your halls or elsewhere will be ‘flat friends’ or something similar, the people on your degree and who you will spend more time with are your ‘course friends’. As of writing I am very close with my course friends so for me everything did turn out ok, but in Freshers week I should have been more flexible, spent time with more people, broadened my social circle in a sense. My key advice on this topic ultimately would be to accept every invitation to do something during Freshers week, but also create your own.

There’s so much more I could go on about for things I wish I had done differently or acted differently about during Freshers. These are my glaring two, however. Everyone’s takes on this will be different, as everyone experiences Freshers differently. For me, it was a good week that I should have done more with, for yourself it could be an amazing week that you should’ve really done less in.  

Alice.

Tips for writing your personal statement

I can remember, even now, the stress and panic that had built up inside me when writing my personal statement. Being five years out of school, I didn’t remember any of the advice they gave to me, probably because I wasn’t interested in university then and so didn’t exactly listen. I ended up scanning the internet, as I’m sure you’re doing now, looking for tips and tricks, dos and don’ts and basically how to get through it. Everything I read was complicated and wordy so I want to make this short and sweet, but as helpful as possible.

Structure:

My personal statement is sectioned into five paragraphs.

The first is where I briefly told the reader what I am currently doing and I made sure to link this to the course I am interested in and why I am wanting to apply for this particular course. The first line is always the hardest for me, even with assignments now it’s a big hurdle. Some say to start with a quote, others say don’t start with a quote. Personally, I think quotes are cheesy and it’s a waste of your words. Use your words, not somebody else’s. I began, simply, with ‘I am currently…’

In the second paragraph I went into more detail about the job I am doing, the responsibilities I have, the skills I am obtaining and the experiences I am collating. This is where you sell yourself and this is where the hardest part lies as you need to be confident but remain cautious of a boastful tone.

My third paragraph is similar to the second but here I talked about previous experiences/jobs/events/volunteering, anything that makes you stand out and look good. Remember that everything you say must be important and have reason to be there. For example, I discussed my acting experience and I did this because it allowed me to talk about being confident in speaking to crowds, how it enhanced my creativity and how it taught me a lot about teamwork, initiative and inventiveness.

The fourth paragraph is less work and schooling, but more interests and hobbies, but make them meaningful. ‘I like reading’ isn’t going to cut it. I had written about my love of travelling, where I’ve been and where I plan to go next. I talked about my interest in the Endometriosis charity and the Stroke Association and what I have done regarding this. I talked about my love of golf that I share with my father and a tournament we had coming up in Dubai and lastly I mentioned why I had taken several gap years and how this was the best decision for me. This may not be the case for you, but if it was, ensure you make it a positive reason. Keep the whole statement positive.

The final ‘paragraph’ (it’s only four lines) is a summary of what my next steps are and why I chose Edge hill. Try to mention something about the University you are applying for, showing you have researched them – it’s a nice, personal touch.

My biggest tip for you is to read as many personal statements as you can. Read around and you will find structures you like, you will be inspired by what others have included and you will feel more confident when you get around to writing it. It’s tough, but it’s worth it. The best of luck, I’m sure you’ll smash it. Thanks for reading, leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Amy

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 🙂

Maintaining Old Friendships in New Places

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.

Video calling

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.

Gaming

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.

Rabb.it

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!

Visiting

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?).

New Groupchat

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.

Summer Residential: What is it?

A few weeks ago, Vicki talked about her experience of the summer residential. This is a 4-day, 3-night residential for Year 12 / First year college students who wish to attend a taster session of their chosen subject, and experience university life.

Although I did do a summer residential – an experience I would recommend to anyone – I didn’t attend the one that Edge Hill ran. If I’d have known that they offered one, I definitely would have done it, for a number of reasons.

  1. It gives you an opportunity to get a feel for the campus and make a real, informed decision that this is the university you want to attend
  2. It gives you an opportunity to try out the subject you’re thinking of studying at university. I know some people who attended a residential and completely changed their mind about the subject they wanted to study – which is just as important, if not more so, as finding out it definitely is the subject you want to learn more about.
  3. The Edge Hill residential offers you the opportunity to spend your 4 days finding out a bit more about one specific subject, more than what is in the course or module information.
  4. Last year, the students spent their time on a mini project, meaning you leave your 4 days at Edge Hill knowing more than you did before.
  5. From my own experience of a residential, I made friends that I still keep in contact with now, despite us attending different universities.

As well as spending time in your sessions, you will get an opportunity to mix with lots of different people during the evenings. Last year – when I worked during the residential as a Student Guide – we ran an activities evening, society & pizza night and Edge Fest. The first night – the activities night – was the only night that we strongly recommended everyone attend, whilst the others it was merely suggested that they might like to. However, most people were interested in attending the following nights, as society night gave them a bit more insight into university life, and the final night was just so enjoyable! The final night – Edge Fest – was my favourite, as this was when we had a barbecue and spent the evening in what is known as ‘The Quad’ at Edge Hill. We had a few student guides on facepainting, some on temporary tattoos and one of the student guides DJ’d the event, following a quiz. It was a wonderful end to a fabulous week.

To get onto the residential, you’ll need to write a mini personal statement and about your education history. As it is during the summer, you have to apply individually, rather than through your school. Places are limited, so I suggest applying soon, if you’re interested.

Reading Week

Hi everyone!

Hope you have all been having a great February, how is it almost the end of the month already?!

An important change from college to university is the implementation of reading weeks.

If you know people who already go to uni you’ve probably heard about these by now, but if not never fear! Hopefully this blog will serve to enlighten you a little more.

Reading weeks can vary depending on your course and module choices. Most courses do have one though, since independent studying is such a huge part of university studies.

As a literature student reading weeks are always busy times. Although they occasionally fall at the same time as half terms, I would advise that you use this time to actually get some reading done!

You’ve probably been working hard, and you do deserve a break. Never overwork yourself! But reading weeks are a great time to work on any work for the next part of the semester.

If you’ve got a few big assignments coming up, or you haven’t opened that book you took out of the library three weeks ago there is no time like reading week.

Basically when reading week comes around there are no lectures, seminars or workshops for the week. Some teachers will still be around during teaching time, especially if there are assignments due after reading week. Again this is something that varies depending on your course and its assessment.

Although it can be tempting to use the time to catch up on your sleep, and relax from all the work you’ve done in the first half of the semester, reading weeks are invaluable.

My number one tip is to use them wisely! There is nothing worse than being the one student in the seminar who didn’t do the reading and now has no idea what people are talking about.

Independent studying is a huge responsibility. Although it can be a little hard to adapt to, it’s definitely possible!

All it takes is a bit of hard work and determination.

And trust me, there is nothing more rewarding than being able to cross that last thing of your reading list, and actually being able to answer a question your tutor asks the first week back.

Work smart, and start reaping the rewards!

Quote for the day: “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” Horseradish –Lemony Snicket

Have a great week, and don’t forget to read, read, read!

Until next time 🙂