My Summer School Experience

Prepare yourselves for a very long and chatty post, folks!

I haven’t posted on my Blog in weeks and I can only apologise! It pains me but my life has been so busy yet so boring and I didn’t want to upload posts just for the sake of it. Quality over quantity 🙂

Anyway! This week I went to Liverpool John Moores University for a Summer Residential or Summer School.

It was an unreal experience. It went on for three days and nearly every minute was utterly enjoyable. Before going to the Summer School, I was super anxious and unsure whether going or not would be the right thing to do. I researched it online and I didn’t find much so, therefore, I thought I’d put my entire experience online in hope to offer some insight – also just because why not.

Day One

I had to arrive at Liverpool Lime Street Station between 10:30 to 12:00 and meet the student advocates there. Most people did arrive by train but there were people who got there via plane, coach, bus and general drop offs. Upon arriving at the station, we met outside WHSmiths and there was a fairly big group of other potential students stood outside of it too.

Outside of WHSmiths, an advocate pointed out a group of girls and said that they were doing the same course as me. I approached them and found out that they weren’t doing my course but they were lovely regardless. It was actually very easy to talk to them. And everyone who was stood outside WHSmith for that matter. It wasn’t as scary as I thought. Everybody was in the same boat; nearly everyone had travelled far, nearly everyone was there alone, nearly everyone was nervous and wanted to talk to new people. Everyone was nice!!!

I stuck with the three girls for most of the day. We got a bus from the station to the accommodation we were staying at and that was where we dropped off our bags and were formally registered and given our flat keys, etc. They gave us a lanyard and a free hoody which was very kind of them (my hoody is so cosy and oversized and soft and I’m just in love. And did I mention they were free?)

We were then taken to a Lecture Building where they provided lunch and we had a big welcome assembly. It was just such a warming and welcoming atmosphere where the staff/advocates introduced themselves. Following the assembly in the same venue, the drama department put on a performance for us. They did improv and got us really involved. It truly did help break the ice and got everybody feeling much more comfortable and relaxed.

At the end of the performance, we were split up into groups and were taken to do different activities. One of the three girls I was with chose my activity which was good and on the way to the activity we did buddy up with two other girls. Us four and a boy who also chose our activity formed a team and went on to do our activity. We did an Escape Room and we escaped! Note: When I got confirmation from the University that I got accepted to go to Summer School I was asked to pick an activity. I obviously picked the Escape Room but other options included; Paint Balling, a City Tour, Mini Golf and more.

After we escaped the Escape Room, the Advocates took all of us who did that activity to a Board Game Café – and I promise you, it was a lot cooler than it sounds. They brought us all drinks and my group had a good laugh and mess about together. We were there for about an hour before we met back up with everyone else from the Summer School.

This was when I got to meet the people in my flat. There were only three of us, I think we had the smallest flat out of everyone there and the two girls were already pretty friendly with each other by the time I had met them too. After being assigned our Advocate (who we shared with another flat) we were taken out for tea. Note: All of the flats had six rooms and mixed-sex flats were forbidden. Flats were organised based on the subject you had chosen.

Half of the students went to Gourmet Burger Kitchen and the other half when to Byron Burger. My flat went to Byron Burger and I sat with them along with a boy they had befriended from earlier on in the day. The University paid for everything; Burger, Fries, Drinks, they even bought Brownies for Dessert.

Before heading back to the accommodation, each flat was taken to Tesco and given a £20 voucher. Seriously, I could do a separate post just banging on about how generous the University has been to us because I’m not over it. Anyway, we were given the voucher to buy breakfast for the next two mornings and we could also buy any snacks we wanted, etc. We bought Juice, Milk, Croissants, Crumpets and general Breakfasts foods. Then with me being me, I also got some Chocolate Fingers and Haribo just because. Food.

Then we FINALLY got to see our flats and rooms. My flat unpacked our shopping and freshened up. We didn’t ‘hang out’ as such because we did only have an hour until we had to meet back up to go out for the evening. But in this time, we did have to make up our beds, unpack our luggage and just prepare ourselves for a long night on top of our long day.

Around 9pm we met back up with the other flats and got the coach to New Brighton to play Bowling and Laser Tag. Our teams, like our flats, were organised by what subject we were doing. There were two lanes dedicated to my subject and we were split in to two teams of five. My subject was the smallest subject, with there only being ten of us; two boys and eight girls. Although everybody doing my subject was nice and easy to talk to, all nine of them were already pally and I wasn’t as involved in the conversations as I could be. But regardless, they were all lovely.

Thankfully, the girl who I had met at the very beginning of the day and who I did the Escape Room with was in the lane next to ours. She was in a similar situation to me so I did speak to her throughout most of my game. I came second, by the way – four spares and one strike. After this game, her and I went to locate the other girl we met at the start of the day. She was actually really pleased that we had ‘rescued’ her and we all went to Laser Tag together. To be honest, I don’t really know what happened other than I laughed a lot and bumped into a lot of people.

Finally, we got the coach back to the flats at nearly gone midnight. I then said goodnight to the girls and went to sleep…end of Day One!

Day Two

I woke up. Got Ready. Had Crumpets for breakfast. My flat didn’t really eat together as we were just all trying to get ready as quickly as possible. We chatted in the kitchen when pottering about but in reality, we all wanted to eat at different times and we all woke up at different times. But that was totally fine.

We had to be out of our flats at 08:30 to be registered and my subject was put on a coach to a Lecture Building that was a bit further away from the accommodation than the others. The subject I was doing was Creative Writing, by the way.

The day consisted of the ten of us, our assigned advocate and a former Creative Writing student attending lots of ‘practice’ Seminars. We had three speakers and did various creative activities. We focused on Story Telling, Character Writing and Crime Writing with each of the professors. The day was mainly more discussion and group brainstorming that it was writing with the first two professors but still, I did get a lot of helpful tips and insight. When doing Crime Writing with the last woman, we did do a lot of writing but it was most enjoyable.

Midway through the day we had lunch and seven of us ate outside on the grass in the sunshine with the huge Cathedral towering over us, it was very picturesque. The atmosphere was pleasant and although not all of us 100% knew each other it was still comfortable and relaxed.

We finished the Seminars at around 15:30 and got the coach back to the accommodation. We didn’t have to be out until 17:30 so I took an hour of this time to freshen up and call my mom. My flat decided to go shopping at Liverpool One but I passed. The other hour before we went to do our evening activities, I arranged to meet the two friends I had made yesterday. We hung around in the courtyard for a bit before we all left to go out for the night.

We spent the evening at the Holiday Inn. The University had hired a big conference room for us. There was a food buffet and a quiz night. Our quiz team/table consisted of five people on my course and my two pals – and myself, obviously.

The food did take 90 minutes longer than expected and was very limited. So much so that a lot of the University staff complained several times and although the hotel apologised and made like five frozen pizzas it wasn’t very adequate. The University were very apologetic to all of us students though. It was really cute and I felt bad because it wasn’t their fault and the food was all free anyway? Too generous. The quiz happened a lot later than expected due to the delay in food and it was hilarious. The advocate that ran it was too funny. Honestly. My team did lose though.

We didn’t leave the Holiday Inn until 23:00 and because most of us were still hungry we took a little trip to Sainsbury’s and got a lot of snacks. My friends and I, were in Sainsbury’s for a bit too long. Apparently, they were just as indecisive and forgetful as me which was great. And after our four laps of paying at the checkout we realised that everyone had headed back to accommodation except us and the night manager. It was no problem though. He directed us back alright and when doing us literally told us everything about Liverpool, the University, applications, student life and just everything. He was such a sweet guy!

Arriving back, we registered with our advocates and we then just stayed in the courtyard chatting. It was actually just so nice. I don’t have a word but it was just calm? And it is so cringe and cliché but it felt like I’d known the two girls for way longer than 24 hours.

Eventually, I headed back to my room, took a midnight shower and went to sleep.

Day Three

Day Three was the last day *sad face* so I had to wake up extra early to pack, strip my bed, take out the bins, etc. I didn’t have breakfast but I still sat in the kitchen with my flat whilst they ate theirs.

Similar to Day Two, we got the coach to the same building after meeting up at 08:30. We had a Seminar with a professor where he put 250 newspaper pictures on the floor for the ten of us and we had to create our own stories based on the pictures we selected. It was an interesting activity and really got my brain working. We had quick break and then met up with the second academic outside of the Lecture Building.

He was a published Travel Writer and took us around Liverpool City Centre on a Writing task. We basically walked around like lunatics with pen and paper in hand and had to write paragraphs all about the atmosphere and everything we saw. It was little bit odd and somewhat awkward especially since he made us do ‘circle time’ and read them out in the middle of a busy street outside of the Train Station. Not the best session we had but it was definitely an experience…

This was the last thing we did in terms of our subject. It was around 1pm and we headed to the Lecture Building where we first had our Welcome Assembly but this time it was a Goodbye Assembly.

Before the Assembly officially commenced they had put out a big food buffet for us. We ate whilst the Assembly was in swing. Funny awards were given out, there was slideshow full of pictures of the past few days and a few Advocates were given shoutouts and prizes. And then instead of completely heading off to get our bags and go home, we were given certificates and were each gifted a portable charger with a picture of Liverpool on the back of it. Our last official goodbye was outside on the steps of the building where we had one huge group picture.

I then walked to the train station with the friends I had made and we said our farewells. End of Summer School!

Overview

Why did I opt to go to Summer School?

I decided to go to Summer School for various reasons. I wanted to see the University, get insight into University life, I wanted to see if I liked it. And the outcome is that I did. It was also just a great opportunity. It literally only cost me my train fare and looked super fun. Additionally, it was something that I can now add on to my Personal Statement.

Why did I choose Creative Writing? 

I do A-Level English Language and one of our components is solely Creative Writing so I thought it would help me advance those skills. And to be honest, it has. It has offered me new perspectives and writing angles. Also, Script Writing is something that intrigues me as a potential career path so I just thought it was something worth further looking in to.

How it has helped/prepared me for University Life? 

These few days reassured me so of some much on personal level. It has basically showed me that I can cope on my own in new environments and it has helped me prove to myself that although I do often struggle, I am able to talk to new people and capable of making those connections. It has given me newfound confidence because I was so nervous about how I would be in those situations but it turns out I was fine.

Extra Details?

There were 140 students in total and this was the week two programme. Eleven subjects were offered on week two. They did have a week one programme the week before mine and that also offered eleven subjects. It is run every year in July for anyone aged 16-19 who is interested in any University – not just Liverpool John Moores. Places are offered at a first come first served basis.

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