A Fond Farewell

Well folks, this is my last post to y’all out there in applicant land. It has been an absolute pleasure to share my experiences of Edge Hill with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed them, learned from them and, ultimately, made the right decision for you on your education.

I’m hoping to go and start my MA course in Creative Writing this September. Where do I want to study? Edge Hill of course! Yep it’s been a wonderful three years already, and there should be another two to follow for me. I’m sure if you do decide to study here you’ll have just as good, if not better, experience and I wish you all the best with your studies.

Goodbye, so long and I hope to see you around Edge Hill’s campus soon. Peace out.

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 6

So here it is, part six of my hugely successful trip down Memory Lane and into English and Creative Writing at Edge Hill University Avenue (quite a long street sign isn’t it?). Today I’m writing about something that could be fairly easily overlooked in the creative writing spectrum. It ain’t poetry, scriptwriting or fiction, and what else is there I hear you wonder? Life writing is the answer to that query. It formed part of the first year of my course at Edge Hill, and I only wish I could have done more of it!

One branch of life writing is travel writing (hence the picture, it wasn’t just eye candy). It’s really inspirational when you think that this course could get you a jet-set job. If you are a creative writer and you’ve been abroad, chances are you already keep journals and whatnot, but studying this at Edge Hill has really given a good perspective on what’s out there for you and your passion.

Even more interesting for me was the look at columnists, such as Charlie Brooker, and the techniques they use to write articles. Humour is a massive part of it, hence why I enjoyed this part of the course so much, but also touches of surreality, all to convey (and, yes, over-emphasise) an opinion. However outrageous! After all, isn’t that one of the greatest things about writing? Right and wrong are just shades to paint with as opposed to moral absolutes.

That leads me on to autobiographies, biographies and memoirs. The reading list for this part of the course is fantastic, I really got to sink my teeth into a great book called And When Did You Last See Your Father by Blake Morrison. The debate about truth really comes alive here, and you’d be surprised how you might write your own life story after looking and analysing other people’s.

To sum up, the structure of the course has been brilliant at Edge Hill. They fitted a lot of high quality, stimulating and thought-provoking lessons into a reasonably small module, and although I miss it, I’ll never forget it!

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 5

If anyone read my last post, talking about the start of the Premier League season and A-Level results day, I sure hope you had much better results than Liverpool against West Brom! Feel free to comment, let me know how well you did 🙂

Anyways, on with the show! Today I’ll be looking into one of the most intrinsically interesting bits of the English and Creative Writing course at Edge Hill. The ‘Creative Writing’ part is self-explanatory, but the ‘English’ bit is made up of Literature (already covered in one of my earlier posts) and Language, which is today’s feast for the mind. The diagram, which I hope you’re curious about, shows the parts of human head that are used to produce speech.

Overall, the Language part of the degree is as well structured as the Eiffel Tower. When you start off at the bottom, the focus is fairly wide. In the first year I was looking at an introduction to the history of the English language one semester and linguistics the next. The second year saw a development of the history side of things, but introduces modules that you are free to choose yourself (I chose an introduction to sociolinguistics, combining my interest in linguistics with social theory. Hard work, yeah, but it really brought home that linguistics is an impressive science that we can see at work in everyday life). The third year had even more freedom as there were no compulsory modules so, according to my Eiffel Tower analogy, you can taper it to whatever end you want. My only regret is that i couldn’t do everything!

The whole point of my ‘memories’ series of blogs is to look back at best bits. So then, what exactly are the best bits now that I’ve outlined the overall goodness of the course? It’s another genuinely tough question… Could it be the discovery of how changeable our linguistic behaviour is in different social situations (for example, do you speak to your best friends in the same way as you would to your grandparents? Do you swear more in some circles of interaction than others? Well, you’ll find out so much about things like this that you probably hadn’t even thought of before)? Could it be the module called ‘Beyond English’ that shows how English has influenced the rest of the world, and how different languages can be from each other on every level?

You know what, I know it’s a cop-out but I can’t pick out one moment over another. There really is something for everyone; historians, scientists, sociologists and even more can find modules that will interest them, expand their knowledge and improve their employability when they graduate. I think the best bit has been the whole experience, especially working with the most passionate tutors you could ever wish for (including someone who had a big part to play in a recent popular film francise. If you ever have the pleasure of a class with Prof. Anthony Grant, ask him to tell you more, though you may have to wait until the third year before he spills the beans!).

Though it may sound odd, I hope that after you come to Edge Hill, and have a fantastic experience like I have, you have as much trouble picking out a favourite moment. The thing is, when the university is so brilliant overall it is a positive – rather than a negative – that it’s difficult to pick a stand-alone moment. I hope you’re looking forward to having an awesome three years here soon.

Impending Va-Va-Voom

It has certainly been a tense time across Britain and the rest of the world lately, with sports fans eagerly checking the latest results from the Olympic Games. A new kind of eagerness for results is creeping up on us though, as it is now less than a fortnight until A-Level results come out, and many young folks find out whether they have enough UCAS points to get into their chosen universities.

When I was choosing where to go, I did let UCAS points have a certain say in it. I’m sure teachers at most schools will have recommended confirming the university you most want to go to and a ‘safety choice’ with a lower UCAS point requirement, just in case you don’t get the grades you’re hoping for. I was really lucky with Edge Hill in the sense that its requirements for entry onto the English and Creative Writing course were really very modest, considering the level of further education they were offering. The course itself is full of tutors all contributing to their field enthusiastically (rather than just reading someone else’s book) and always going the extra mile for any student who needs help in any way, so the low point-requirement was a dream come true.

Results day was amazing for me. I managed to do a little better than I needed to get onto the course and was therefore in the position to go to either Edge Hill or my second choice. I’m not going to lie, my second choice (at the time) had one advantage in the form of a bursary that I would have been eligible for but, to be honest, Edge Hill was so much better that I was actually happy to say no to a few beer tokens (yes, I actually did, it’s here in writing now!) for a university that has really given me a priceless and unforgettable experience that has seen me enjoy a fantastic course with great tutors, make awesome friends and also live an independent life with a great mix of studying and partying.

Well, it’s about time for me to wrap this up. I know results aren’t out for a little while yet, but my advice is not to worry about them (though it’s easier said than done, I know!). What’s done is done, and stressing over them won’t change anything. I hope you’ve enjoyed your respective courses though, and please take it from me that even better times are just around the corner at Edge Hill. On a note about bursaries and scholarships, here’s a link to the Edge Hill finance page, which has links to bursaries, scholarships, fees etc: http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergraduate/fees. Before you come here, do check and see if you are able to get any extra financial support. Some support is available for certain disabilities, but also for special achievements in certain fields, so you owe it to yourself!

Peace out.

Community

I was at my graduation a little over a week ago, and me and my family had a really great time. Don’t worry though, this isn’t going to be a post dedicated to that. Since you guys are still in the process of coming to Edge Hill, I know there are fewer things farther from your mind than that! So why mention it then? Well, because it reminded me of all the great things about the university. The day of celebration was like a small representation of the awesomeness I’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of over the three years, and I hope  you get to share in it soon too.

One thing I always look forward to at an Edge Hill event is the hospitality. They put on a great range of foodstuffs from sandwiches (better than the one in the picture!) to chicken skewers to doughnuts and much much more, almost making the catering better than the event! The staff at Edge Hill that help out at these functions are, as they are in any capacity at the university (tutors definitely included), extremely friendly and supportive and make you feel so welcome. That’s something you’ll feel the benefits of very soon when you go to the Freshers’ Fair, it really is a second-to-none experience at a second-to-none university.

Speaking of facilities, though, another thing I’m really missing about not still studying at Edge Hill is the way the facilities are so helpful to learning. Whether it be the numerous quality cafes around the place for a caffeine pick-me-up, or the great food bars around tempting you with a delicious and nutritious lunch, the overall feeling you get is one of freedom; having every option open to you whenever you want.

So the post has mainly centred around the catering facilities, yes, but it still goes to show what a lot Edge Hill has to offer you. All you need when you come here is get involved, check out some of these events (visiting authors are always a pleasure to go and see, maybe you’ll get your book signed while you’re there) and have one of the best experiences of your life.

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 4

Hello and welcome (back) to my Edge Hill memories series, focusing on my three years studying English and Creative Writing. Yes it has been the best three years of my life, but if you’re thinking about coming here then you’ll want to know more about the ins and outs, so I hope you enjoy!

Today I’m looking at Scriptwriting, which is the main reason I went to Edge Hill in the first place (so far I’ve looked at the Literature, Fiction and Poetry parts of my course, hope you enjoyed them too!). I remember when I first arrived, I had no idea how to even format a script, but true to the Edge Hill way, I was supported right from the off. We were given advice by the tutors, extremely handy handouts and even got pointed in the direction of industry-specific software from giants such as the BBC. This kind of approach, I feel, really is at the cutting edge. It really gives you the tools, tells you how to use them and then lets you practise, even showing you ways from the start that you could impress employers.

My first memory of scripts at Edge Hill was bringing my first short film in to a seminar to be looked over and workshopped by my peers. They were too nice about it, so the tutor came along with a red pen and scribbled alllll over it. After he went away from our table they started saying ‘wow, he was harsh,’ but I didn’t think so at all. He put me on the right path from day one, made sure that I stayed that way throughout the course and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Another great memory (there are almost too many to choose from, believe me!) has come at the end of the course in the form of the module known as ‘The Writers’ Workshop’. It’s not specifically dedicated just to scriptwriters, it’s actually down to each student to choose what they’d like to work on. The idea is that you’re working towards a larger piece of work that you’ll be able to present to employers as a kind of calling card. It differs from other modules in that there’s a bigger focus on the writers’ community and constructive criticism from your classmates. It’s been a great experience (hard work but well worth it!) and all the students can be proud that they’ve helped not only themselves but others too.

I think that’s a fitting tribute to the uni as a whole; it really is a great way to get ahead personally, but there are so many opportunities to get involved with others as well. Edge Hill is not only going to educate you and improve your chances of gettng your dream job, but the community you’ll be a part of will also be part of the reward.

Answers to the Ultimate Questions

I remember this time of year three years ago, when I was applying to my five universities through UCAS. I was as worried about choosing the right place to study as Wimbledon-watchers are about the rain. Still, unlike Andy Murray, I had a lot more success at the end of the process because, for me, Edge Hill is the top trophy. I’ve written a bit about why I went, but today I’m talking about how.

Some of you will probably already have had an experience of Edge Hill’s supportive nature and I hope you trust me when I say it will carry on being supportive all the way through you degree (even afterwards!). Once I’d made my uni choices, all sorts of letters from them, thanking me for applying and whatnot. Some of them included student union publications, which were mainly full of pictures of sweaty, over-hair gelled ravers, not exactly the best impression of a uni’s social scene! There was a lot of information, sometimes too much, but no-one ever answered all my questions.

Edge Hill, however, handled this side of the application process perfectly. They were very much like the third stage of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. There wasn’t too little information, there wasn’t too much. It was just right. And they only contacted with relevant stuff. I remember how important a comfortable campus was for me, and the accomodation, facilities and entertainment information you get sent made it a no-brainer. Of course, now Edge Hill has The HUB building, which has made the campus even better than it was when I came, it’s a great focal point in a thriving environment.

Once you’ve been accepted you’ll also get information on what you’ll need to pack, any things you’ll need to sign up for and a whole load of amazing things you can do during Freshers’ Week. But, if this isn’t enough, why not get in touch? You can do that here http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/contactus, they’d love to hear from you! The uni really does do all it can to give you answers to the ultimate questions, so get involved and find out just how much fun you’ll have here.

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 3

Okay, so here is the third part of my ‘Memories’ series, where I look into the most memorable parts of my English and Creative Writing Degree. I think today I’ll look into the fiction writing part of the course, which is generally what most people I’ve spoken to think about when you mention that you write (specifically novels).

Again, all I can say is that in general Edge Hill has had the most positive influence in terms of challenging stereotypes and letting your passions run wild. When I first came to Edge Hill, I was thinking that I would write novels. Novels are what I’d read for GCSE and A-Level study, so I kind of naturally assumed that fiction revolved around the novel. How wrong I was.

Put simply, I’ve loved every moment of my time writing fiction at Edge Hill, but the time that I found most inspirational was when we looked not at the short story, but at something even shorter: flash fiction. The short story is something that Edge Hill is very passionate about, there are a number of short story competitions, but the fact is that their competitions are respected far more than just locally, and have genuinely improved the reputation of the short story as an art form within the country and beyond. All you need do is check the university’s press releases to see how much impact is has on the local area and even further.

But these flash fiction stories go beyond even the challenge of the short story. I recently entered a ‘flash’ competition recently where the word limit was 250 words. A whole story in 250 words? Believe me, you will feel inspired to tackle such challenges and then feel hungry for more when you come to Edge Hill. Our lesson in flash fiction included ‘stories in a sentence’ (think about Hemingway’s famous flash, as seen here: http://www.sixwordstories.net/2008/12/for-sale-baby-shoes-never-used-ernest-hemmingway/) and seriously, you will not find a more vibrant and inspirational atmosphere as you will at Edge Hill.

I used to be able to write fiction badly. Then I came to Edge Hill. Then I could really write stories. Narratives became easier to create, but then craft appeared and it became easier to write short stories and then flash fiction. I couldn’t have asked more from a course, when most people’s original perception of your creative area is ‘simply’ the novel. That’s why I recommend coming to Edge Hill. You don’t just learn, you’ll become creatively electrified.

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 2

Here lies the second in my series of posts on Edge Hill’s English and Creative Writing course’s ‘best bits’. Today I’m all about the poetry modules, which have all been great and it’s hard to pick out any single moment that’s better than the rest. I think the most memorable moments were at the start and the end of the three years to be honest, but that’s not to say that the second year was sub-par!

In fact, the second year had a well-structured and very inspiring look at different types of sensory poetry. That is to say, we looked at poetry for the ear, poetry for the eye, ‘mind poetry’ (based on unmediated thought, rather than self-censoring) and more. Looking at these different ways of writing poetry not only leads you to enjoy other poetry more on other levels, but also gives you a confidence about writing that is invaluable.

Even more striking than that though, was the module where it all kicked off: first year poetry. I think it could quite easily be described as explosive in the sense that a whole load of preconceptions and things I thought I knew were just blown out of the water. The enthusiasm of the tutors really was infectious (and they maintain that enthusiasm for the whole three years, believe me), and thought the attitude of a lot of people has been that poetry is their least favourite type of writing, I think we’ve all enjoyed poetry more than we thought we would based on their support.

 I’ve talked about the ‘Experimental Writing’ module from the third year before (I’m sure you love my writing so much you’re dying to check it out, so here y’are http://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/martin/2012/02/12/the-forefront/), and I think it just gets the top spot for the best moments of the poetry part of the course. If the first year was explosive in dispelling myths and injecting energy, the third year has gone above and beyond. The look at different sensory poems has been developed in the sense of looking at new ways of performing and new ways of looking at the world and how that feeds into your writing. For example, using other people’s work to make a new poem is explored very thoroughly, and though you may be reluctant to enjoy poetry, this module will seem like something else.

Again, I’ve loved every minute of what Edge Hill’s offered me, and I don’t see how anyone else could fail to!

The Euros Are Here!

 

Yes indeedy, love or loathe football you’re gonna be hard pressed to escape it this next month as teams from the four corners of Europe come together to duke it out on the pitch. Don’t worry though, this isn’t going to be a post about my predictions for 2012, I’d only get them wrong anyway! No, this is a post about beginnings. It’s a beginning for footballers and fans across Europe, it’s the beginning of some better weather here in Ormksirk (it’s been gorgeous for ages but then we’ve had a few wet days lately) and hopefully your new beginning at Edge Hill only a matter of months away.

            I remember when I first started three fantastic years ago. It’s this time of year, when the weather’s nice and there’s plenty of reasons to go out that Ormskirk really comes alive. I stayed in halls my first year and the atmosphere is great. You make friends really quick when a load of you are living together, and in the evenings there were always a fair few kick-abouts happening on the grass on campus (for when the outdoor pitches were full, that is), so you get to know people from other halls quickly too. It’s such a friendly atmosphere, I can’t believe I was ever worried about going!

            Of course, if the kick-arounds don’t quench your appetite for footy, the uni bar will gladly oblige. Yes, my local in the first year was a grand total of two minutes away from my bed. You’ll never have it as good as you will at Edge Hill, I can guarantee you. I used to go and watch Liverpool play down there, the beers cheap and the bar staff are great, what more could you ask?

            If that doesn’t satisfy you, well then you are a true football fan! Liverpool is just a short train ride away and is home to some of the best football on the planet. My first time at Anfield was mind blowing. Really, there’s been nothing to compare it with, no live music I’ve ever seen or even playing sport myself, it was one of the best moment of my life. I suppose I should try and be more balanced in this post, I don’t want to upset anyone. Manchester is also close on the train, but there’s no point going there if you want to watch football… Do they have any teams down there? 😛

            So that’s it folks, if footy fever has got your temperature up at the minute you can’t do much better than come to Edge Hill. The friendly atmosphere and the opportunity to take part in many sports on many different levels are just a couple of reasons why the university is so popular, so supportive and so enjoyable. The future begins today!