How to be organised IMO…

I have about five deadlines for Uni coursework on the same week in a couple of months, which means I have to organise my study time so that everything is completed to a high degree and submitted about a week before the deadline (I have worries that if I submit too near the final deadline then the upload system may crash for obvious reasons). Being organised is super important not only in Academia but in the real world, as both usually require you to juggle multiple projects – this is how I do it.

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My diary – I would be LOST without it!

– Plan Ahead

The obvious thing to do is have a diary and a weekly (if possible) timetable where everything can be tightly planned, especially when you are doing projects inside and outside Uni work. I printed my Semester timetable and filled in all the boxed around the ones already filled in with Lecture times in pencil – as you can imagine, this way of scheduling requires quite a lot of discipline because times are set, and honestly I don’t always stick to it but I really try to.

– Work out what works for you

This part refers to how you go about completing high quality work within a set amount of time. I never recommend leaving an essay or presentation until the week before the deadline of course, but it is up to you how much time you give yourself. The standard, I would say, is four full weeks to complete an assessment. Sometimes people prefer to leave work later so that the pressure causes them to work well, and sometimes people need as much time as possible. What should not be required is someone giving you a ‘kick’ to do your work – There should be more independent ways of motivating yourself!

– The “Emergency Mode” Technique

This is a technique that I use personally in order to get work done. I pretend that everything has to be done by tomorrow or the world will end, and it is very effective because it means I have to rush (creating a lot of fake pressure) to get everything done as soon as possible. I have managed to get lots of work done simply by using this technique, and I find that when I rush I don’t hesitate to move. That’s my secret to being organised! Although this does not mean do everything at once – I prioritise some work over others of course.

I’m not saying that organisation is the key to high quality work – Sometimes the work I spend lots of time on does not get me high marks, and sometimes the work I spend less time on does not get me low marks etc.. This post is here to help others make sure they get their jobs done without busy timetables forcing any dips in quality!

Contacts? What contacts?

Just wanted to clear up what is means by “it’s who you know” and how to get contacts (which may help you secure you a good career ect). I read of how graduates regret not using their time at University to build contacts – they look for work in the real world but they don’t know anyone that can offer employment or career building… This highlights ways on how to get (or at least how I get) contacts, and it’s up to you how you use them.

EH821 Alumni networking 2010  DSC_1583
Photo from here. I work as an events assistant so I regularly get to see the networking magic happen!

Personally, I see contacts as people that I know personally that can help me professionally. I have noticed in my years as a media student that the people that get cast as actors in student productions are friends or acquaintances, and not people that are simply interested in acting! It’s cool to be skilled, but even better when you know people who can benefit from your skills and give you experience simultaneously.

In terms of what University can offer, they often hold events with networking time before and / or after it which can be a good time to meet people – although, as someone who works as an events assistant, I find that guests usually stay within their own groups, so networking events are more of a place to get introduced to someone new through someone you know.

Jobs fairs are also handy, as I gained some very valuable contacts from talking to people (usually professionals with good networks of their own) behind the stands.

Societies are very handy also. I was a junior radio producer for in Edge Hill, which of course meant I met many other students. In particular, I met someone who was in (at the time) the third year of my course – Now she has graduated from Edge Hill and works for two radio stations in the North West which is very handy when you’re like me who runs a record label 🙂

Finally, let’s not forget the contacts from work (paid and voluntary). I try my best to get along with my colleagues and bosses, as I know that larger employers sometimes go on recommendations from their current staff if you know what I mean… In addition, fellow students can make great contacts; for example, my record label requires second opinions on songs, so who better to turn to than my fellow music students?

Neighbors count as contacts to – there have been times when people I know turn to the people they live with for casting choices whether they are actors or not.

I hope this has been helpful and do read up on how to use contacts to your advantage. To me, networking is quite an underrated skill for a student / graduate to possess, but used at the right time, it can seriously help you with your career!

Learning a 2nd Language

This year I am to learn a 2nd language as I feel I am confident enough I can remember all the different sounds (or if I’m being really academic, “signifiers”) that mean the same things, and communicate them to at least an “okay” degree. I thought it would be a cool skill not only as an extra line on the CV, but mostly as a challenge.

Me thinking...
The Philippines is between China and Australia. I know many others who know the main language, Tagalog, although there are many different dialects and accents in the country.

The language is Tagalog, the main language in the Philippines (I know lots of others who know the language). It’s better late than never, and I think I have made some surprisingly good progress, as the language is quite easy to learn. It borrows a little from Spanish (cómo está -> kumusta = how are you). Once you memorize the more complex stuff then it stays in your head so it doesn’t feel so complex in the end thank goodness.

One thing I’ve noticed about Tagalog (it might just be me) is that when you say it, it somehow makes your voice go louder than usual. I think it’s because they way the words require moderately clear pronunciation (ikinagagalak kong makilala kayo = pleasure to meet you) which makes the speaker talk loud?

I think the main challenge for me is that, whereas in the UK we have some easier ways of showing politeness (Sir, Madam ect.), in Tagalog it’s a little more trickier. For example a lot of sentences to someone with authority (whom generally shouldn’t be addressed by first name) contain the word “po” (“opo” instead of “o o” = “yes” [formal]), and talking about / to them usually requires them to be talked about it plural instead of singular (“sa inyo” instead of “sa’yo” = to you (all) [formal]. Yikes I do want to upset anyone in Tagalog conversation!

Thankfully the internet has plenty of free resources to learn another language, so hopefully I can make swift progress and know at least elementary proficiency Tagalog by the end of the year!

I am writing this post in response to the Guardian article about 10 skills graduate employers look for, as one of those skills (along with business sense and having a Linked In account ect) is a another language as I guess it shows discipline and rigor which means you can be trusted more ( :/ ?). I have also read an article about how Uni students are prioritizing employability over their studies, which is kind of concerning considering how much work goes into academia… In my opinion, the safest bet is to do well in both. 

BA, Bsc, BMus, BEng, LLM, MPhil, MEd, MBA, PhD – The Different (Music) Degree Types

I think the best way to explain these types is through applying them to the broad discipline of MUSIC as I think nearly every type of degree can be applied to it… There seems to be a general (seriously, I am generalising here) creative to technical spectrum when it comes to Music and Audio in higher education.

me in library 2
Be aware of the differences between BA, BMus, BSc and BEng “Music Technology” degrees – They might have the same title, but they aim at different skill sets!

BA (Hons)

The BA (Hons) in Music / Popular Music / Commercial Music / Music Production is highly creative and culturally minded. These degrees typically use three themes – Production, Sociology and Business. Some degrees focus on one theme more than the other of course, such as Popular Music usually focussing more on Sociology, and Music Technology usually focussing more on creative Production. There are also BA (Hons) ‘s in Music Education.

BMus (Hons)

Similar to the BA, the Bachelor in Music is designed for usually classical musicians and the focus is on Composition and Performance. There can be an academic element where music in the context of history, sociology and technology is explored. Mostly the approach is practical with musicianship coaching, workshops and assessed performances. BMus degrees are common in Conservatoires.

BSc (Hons)

The Bachelor of Science in music usually gets applied to Music Technology and sometimes Music Production. Although there can be a slight creative side to these degrees (it is not unusual for a BSc Music Technology degree to have modules where you build your own instruments and record a short soundtrack ect), the focus is of course on the Science of music. It’s highly practical and you may be asked to use a soldering iron to build music hardware like circuits and synths, build a working speaker, and even create interactive Sound Art and so on. Think of it like a music degree for electricians and / or technicians.

BEng (Hons)

At the other end of the spectrum is the Bachelor of Engineering. This is more Sound territory than Music as the focus is on hardcore scientific technologies, so I recommend applicants are those who want to pursue a career as a super advanced audio technician. Sound is broadly about technology, perception, reception, acoustic space and even maths. You may be required to design (and build) complex audio systems, apply mathematics to acoustics design, and apply computer coding.

LLB (Hons)

The Bachelor of Law can be gained is you want to go into say Entertainment Law. I’m no expert on Lawyers (or even law degrees) but it is common knowledge that Lawyers get massive rewards, but I assume finding an job as an Entertainment Lawyer is a soul destroying process because that job is, for obvious reasons, extremely competitive.

Postgraduate Options – PGCE, MEd, MBA, MPhil, PhD

It may be that postgraduates apply for Master of Education (not necessarily teacher training, although some Universities offer the opportunity to add credits from a Post Graduate Certificate in Education to some additional modules afterwards, so students can be ‘topped up’ and awarded the MEd quickly afterwards), or an Masters of Business Administration for developing an innovative business mind. An Master of Philosophy or Masters by Research are research masters in which applicants can lead their own route of study instead of doing taught Masters. And finally if you want to be an Academically qualified Doctor, a Doctorate of Philosophy being successfully gained can grant this. Just remember postgraduates usually fund their own studies and living costs.

So there we have it! As I have said before in a previous post it’s one thing to read the letter code before the degree title and something very different to experiencing the course itself. In my experience, the differences between course types only hits you properly when you visit an Open Day / Applicant Visit Day for that course! 

Applicant Visit Days

Now that the UCAS deadline for university applications has passed, many of you will be considering which of the universities you applied for is going to be your firm (1st) and insurance choice (2nd). One way that might help you in your decision-making process is to tend an applicant visit day which are run by most universities for most courses. Edge Hill is one university that puts on these days. Reading this your probably wondering what one is and what one involves.

To help clear things up a bit I had my Edge Hill Applicant visit day back in January 2012. I remember arriving on campus with my dad (he works from home so was able to come with me that day) and having a talk in the Faculty of Health and Social Care lecture theatre about the Psychology course at Edge Hill and talk on accommodation from the accommodation team. We were then given a campus and accommodation tour from a student guide before lunch. Afterwards my dad went off with the other parents there that day whilst I went off with the other applicants for a taster session.

I have to say even though I knew I wanted to come to Edge Hill from the open day, the applicant visit day helped me to further realise my love for it. If you still want more information then there’s a video below along with a page giving you more information on these days

My Favourite Moments of 2013

I can never work out what to do with myself on the days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. The little angel sitting on my right shoulder keeps telling me how much work I have to do, but the little devil on my left shoulder keeps pointing out that this is the perfect time to have a few days off. Naturally, the devil has won and I have spent the last few days eating chocolate and watching House.

With New Year’s Eve looming, I can’t help but thinking back to my favourite things in the last year. There are three events that spring to mind.

In August I attended Leeds Festival for the fifth time. Headlining were Biffy Clyro, Green Day, and Eminem. Seeing Green Day was a really big deal for me because, while I rarely listen to them anymore, they were the first band I ever properly loved and I have wanted to see them for a long time. Biffy Clyro were really good also, as well as The Lumineers, Hadouken, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg, and Chase and Status. The only thing that put a dampener on Leeds was the weather; the rain was so heavy that our tents got completely flooded, and I ended up missing System of a Down because I was attempting to remove all my belongings from the lake that had formed around them.

Before the rain came…
…and after the rain came.

In July I attended my first music festival abroad; Festival Internacional de Benicàssim or Benicàssim Festival. We spent the days sunbathing and drinking cocktails on the beach and then watched bands in the evening, before dancing to DJ sets into the early hours. My favourite band of all time, The Arctic Monkey’s, was playing and was incredible. I met so many lovely people and can’t wait to go back.

At Benicàssim festival

In September I started at university for the second time. After dropping out of university and starting full-time work I had been unsure if I’d ever go back into education. Seriously disheartened by my first experience, the idea of starting again scared me and I tried to think of alternatives. I eventually realised that I really did want to study to be a writer and that my best option would be to go back. Before I started at Edge Hill I was terrified. I felt that if I started and hated it there would be nothing that I could do because I wouldn’t want to drop out of university twice. However, after my first week I knew that I had nothing to worry about. I love my course and I’m so happy that I summoned up the courage to go to university again.

Bring on 2014.

Me looking happy after a good year
Me looking happy after a good year

Christmas Time!

Hello ladies and gentlemen!

Well, Christmas 2013 has been and gone, and what a Christmas it has been.
I’m home with my family and I’ve been enjoying the joy of unwrapping Christmas presents, and having traditional family food. I’ve been able to see my friends, and catch up with how they are doing, and see how their University life is going.
I got a pretty nice haul of gifts this year; some Doctor Who DVD’s, Lovecraft Books, and Tim Burton paraphernalia.

The journey home was a challenge  enough as it was.
Travelling 250 miles from Ormskirk to Witham is a challenge in and of itself.
A journey that (by public transport) can take nearly four to five hours, and involves at least four different trains.
But still, It was good to finally get home.
When you spend so far away from home, you come to realize just how much you miss it.

But at the same time, I’ve been home nearly  6 days now. I’ve also come to realize how much I love being at the university.
At Edge Hill, you get to have your own room and your own privacy.

Well, all I can say is that I cannot wait to get back to my University home,
after it re-opens on the 6th of January.

— Thought of the Week —

“We all change, when you think about it. We’re all different people, all through our lives, and that’s ok. That’s good, you’ve got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people you used to be.”



Next week I turn twenty one, and I can’t help thinking about how much has changed since this time last year, when I was shut in my room refusing point blank to accept that I was about to turn twenty.

I won’t pretend that I was happy with my life last year. While all my friends were midway through their second years at university I was working fifty hours a week in a minimum wage job, unsure of what to do with myself.

Naturally I took my job very seriously...
Naturally I took my job very seriously…

The year before that, when I was grudgingly waiting to turn nineteen, I was living six hours away from home in Wales, incredibly unhappy with my choice of university.

Choosing to leave university and brand myself a ‘drop-out’ was incredibly tough, but looking back now I have no regrets. After that, as much as I may have complained about my time working in fast food I think that the year and a half of full-time work did me good, and I’m grateful that I gained that extra time to decide what I wanted to do with myself.

I’m now happier than ever studying a course that I’m really enjoying. Having had a bad experience at university I can really appreciate how good this experience is turning out to be. I’m only at the end of my first semester, but I’ve powered my way through a lot of work, made friends, got a part-time job and joined a society. The year’s flying by and, while I’m already finding myself feeling a little stressed at times over the work-load, I know that it’s completely normal and I’ll be sad when it’s all over.

For now though, I have my 21st birthday night out to look forward to. It will be a great chance to let loose a bit and to get into the Christmas spirit. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for me.

Getting into the Christmas spirit... because, no matter how much work I may have, there is always time to edit Christmas hats onto pictures of my cats.
Getting into the Christmas spirit… because, no matter how much work I may have, there is always time to edit Christmas hats onto pictures of my cats.

Faye’s Blogs – The Holiday’s are Over

So even though I don’t have lectures start until something like the 21st January I have 3 essays that need to be in on Monday.

I am stressing out over them so much! Even though I feel as if I have been working on them for months!!

I cannot wait to get them over and done with. I think that this last semester is going to be less stressful. HOPEFULLY!! I don’t think that I have as many assignments to do. I need to check though.

But I am going to start the new assignments straight away!! Maybe in my final semester ever of university I will stick to this?

Also this week I have applied for 2 part time jobs because I really want a car so the money will be helpful and I really want to move out when I leave uni!! So I’m wanting to try and build up my savings!

Faye’s Blog – Life Plans.

The question that everyone student constantly gets asked by other students  family and friends is:

“So, what do you want to do after university?”

And from personal experience and from talking to my friends we have all agreed that it is extremely irritating as for most of the part we don’t know exactly what we want to do. I know that this doesn’t apply to 100% of people as some are well organised and know what they want to do and that is why they’re at university.

However, a lot of students are like myself and have been really undecided throughout our time here.

Throughout college I really wanted to be a Media Production teacher. But when I came to university I wasn’t so sure. Now that I am in my third year I think that it is really time to just think about life and what I want to do.

So recently I went back to my old college back at home (The Blackpool Sixth Form College) and spoke to my old tutor teacher and met the current students that are studying BTEC Media Production. Just being back there and observing the students do their work it brought back lots and lots of amazing memories and I really remembered how much I loved college and loved the course. The college has also done a fantastic job at expanding the BTEC Media Production course too so there is a lot more that the students can do. It was all really really exiting. So I asked my teacher what she thought about me becoming a teacher and she said she thought that I would be an asset and that she would love for me to work at the college.

That got me thinking about becoming a teacher again and I have started looking into it. And if there is a decent well paid job at the end of it I think that is it something to aim too. I’m pretty excited to graduate now and then hopefully go on to do my PGCE! Need to work harder than ever now.

I am also going to attend one of Edge Hill’s many career fairs next week in order to try and see what else is out there and if I can see if there is any more information that I don’t already have about the PGCE.