and Happy Halloween! I hope you have a great time dressing up and celebrating!
I love this time of year as there is so many amazing things you can do with your friends, bonfire night is the next holiday to fall upon us so I thought I would let you know what you can do in Ormskirk and Liverpool to celebrate!
1. Ormskirk cricket club.
This is just down the road from campus so it’s really easy to get to if your living on campus and it’s not too far out from the town either! Tickets are £5
2. The Pough Inn, Lathom, Ormskirk
This is also only a 5 minute car/bus journey away from the university. Tickets cost £4 and there’s going to be a hog roast, games, sparklers and rides!!
3. The River of light display, Liverpool
One of the biggest bonfires in the north west, this bonfire is set to be amazing! Held on Sunday 4th November. Fireworks will be lit along the river Mersey for people from both Liverpool and the Wirral will be able to see them – this is also a free event!
Also, as always if you are near fireworks or decide to use them yourselves do be careful and make sure you do so in a safe environment! There’s lots going on this bonfire weekend so make the most of it and I hope you all have a great time!
Although most students go home for the holidays in winter, some don’t! For whatever reason, be it preference or necessity, it can be a little odd to experience. The campus empties out dramatically towards the end of December in preparation for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and you may find yourself a bit lonely, especially if you are living in halls where most if not all of your cluster has migrated away for the short holiday season.
This year, since I was on placement in the USA, I couldn’t return home for the holidays, as the flight would cost too much money. It was a strange feeling to be in a different country around this time of year, as usually I would be with my parents and family for Christmas and usually with old secondary school or sixth form friends for New Year’s Eve (for the past few years, we’ve even held a pre-Christmas dinner party, lovingly dubbed “Mockmas”). There are a few ways to alleviate the weird feeling this time of year that may help as much at Edge Hill University as they did for me in Chicago.
Number one, in the lead-up to Christmas, my Dad visited me over here in the States. If you can’t be with your family on Christmas, bring your family to you instead! The same principle applies with friends if you’re going to miss seeing them over Winter Break, see if any of them can come to Edge Hill University beforehand and have a catch-up or mini Christmas dinner. Maybe exchange gifts!
Number two. One of the highlights of Christmas for me as a child (and a teenager, let’s be honest) was the presents, the gift giving and receiving always felt like the core event, since I was never big on roast dinner, or food in general. Perhaps you’ll be sent gifts in the mail, or maybe some money. You might feel silly, but if you buy yourself gifts beforehand and set them aside until Christmas, you’ll have something to look forward to!
Number three, call people! In the glorious age of modern technology, you can hear the voices of nearly anyone you know in an instant, and maybe even see their faces too. It’s one thing to greet family one by one as your family arrive at your gran’s house, but something else entirely to suddenly have them all there on your phone’s tiny screen as the camera is moved from person to person – quite overwhelming! Still, a lovely substitute.
Lastly, is spending it with friends. Hopefully, you’ve made some friends either through your halls, societies, or course – and some of them might be local, or staying over the holidays too! You never know until you ask, so find out who will be on campus, or in the relatively close area, and arrange a meet-up. They might invite you over for Christmas or New Year’s, or you could just hang out in between, and easy the Winter Blues.
In my last blog post, I was excited to have all the biomass collected and waiting to be dried – hopefully before the end of December. Well, that was certainly a low bar, since all the biomass was weighed by the 13th December! My house is now empty of plant matter – and looking slightly empty for it. Looking back, it’s almost unfathomable how many bags I ended up weighing, I’m incredibly grateful to Lindsey and the volunteers for helping out in the field, collecting just wouldn’t have been possible without them. Now all that’s left to do is empty the remaining weighed bags of biomass back onto their original plots.
In addition to collecting all the biomass from the prairie, it has also been winterized – the hoses, sprinklers and electric fence removed, as well as data from the weather station downloaded. It certainly feels like winter has arrived, to me at least, with light snow every other week, temperatures regularly dropping below freezing, and winds that often cause my phone to flash a “Weather Warning” alert at me, however, I get the impression that the worst is yet to come! I’ve received numerous sets of thermals from family as presents for my birthday, however, so I feel suitably prepared.
The past few weeks have seen Thanksgiving – which I spent with my supervisor, Andrew Hipp, and his family – and my 21st birthday, which I spent with my dad, doing various touristy things over the weekend, such as visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, Shedd aquarium and Skydeck. For my birthday (observed) the following weekend, I went out for drinks and a meal with many of the other research assistants (RAs) at the Arboretum, since I am now legally allowed to drink (odd since I have been able to drink since 18 back in the UK). Since it was also the third night of Chanukah, menorahs were lit and dreidels were spun.
Ledge view from Skydeck
The Thinker and The Chicago Art Institute
I also got to see Molly again, as she visited to see Illumination (which I have started volunteering for). Finally, after my last attempt was left incomplete by the threat of the setting sun, we took the trip over to Big Rock – it was conquered. We also baked pie and visited a mall, where I saw my first Hot Topic – an unexpected American Bucket List item.
Big Rock and I
East Woods in late autumn
Molly and I at the Hug-A-Tree station, Illumination
During Molly’s visit, I was disappointed by a store-bought vegan pizza. Thankfully, my faith in fake cheese was restored the following weekend when I visited the city with Diana, one of the RAs. We saw some local theatre and a drag show – I think the first I have been to. Both shows were great, but Lizzie, the punk, feminist, musical preceding the drag show, blew me away.
Aside from the prairie work and social activities, I’ve got a university assignment to focus on, which is proving harder than I thought! Identifying problems at the Arboretum that can be discussed and solutions proposed is challenging when the place is pretty shipshape!
Life on campus during the night might start out a little daunting, living in a new place and in a new room can always be scary. But from my experience, Edge Hill campus is a very safe place to be. Also, it’s absolutely beautiful.
I’ve taken some photographs that I’m pretty fond of at night on campus. Around this time last year I took some snowy pictures of campus early one morning when it had just settled.
Yesterday, after spending the evening with a friend who lives on-campus, I went around the university again, this time with a DSLR camera instead of my phone. Excuse the blurry nature of some of the photos (although I think it does look nice with the bright blurry lights), as I’m not quite used to night photography and still don’t know the ins and outs of my camera.
We all know how early it gets dark in winter (despite it sneaking up and surprising us every year), and with the laundrette, McColls, library, and other facilities being open late, that means traversing through the cold, dark of night. Fortunately, Edge Hill University has many lamps to light your way through the night time adventures you may have. Whether it’s a late study session in the library, or a night out in the Quad, you’ll be able to find your way across campus with no trouble. Just remember where the tightrope walker sculpture is, I’ve forgotten about it far too many times and had a little jump when seeing it from the corner of my eye!
Also, if you haven’t seen these posts, they might be of use around this time of year, with final UCAS decisions and applicant days approaching. Although not relating the the first year of your studies in biological sciences, these entires are on my second year modules within the biology department: