Posted in Intern advice, Uni work, Written by Tom

Juggling a Joint Honours Degree

So you’re doing a combined degree. I too combine History and Philosophy, and let me tell you that a dual honour is certainly an honour. You’ve had your first few weeks of lectures, and deadline season will be soon. You’ve maybe got into the hang of how different subjects are taught, but have you gotten the hang of how to deal with your deadlines or workload?

I mainly talk from experience of Humanities or Social Science dual honours, and so I can’t tell you too much about the differences in science-related dual honours (although our MASH service certainly can!). However, I hope that my experience will prove useful nonetheless.

First thing’s first: don’t fret. You haven’t made a terrible mistake in doing a joint honours. You don’t have the workload of two different courses on top of each other – you still have 120 credits to complete, same as everyone else. You’d also be surprised how many people do dual honours. When I joined philosophy in first year, nearly half of the course studied a different subject as well.

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Joint honours are great. You learn a larger variety of knowledge and skills, and get to know many different teaching styles (and people on your course)! Switching from doing lots of History reading to going to a Philosophy lecture is a nice refresher which helps one course break up the other. I’m looking to do a masters in History, but  if I did nothing but History reading in my three years here, I’d definitely be put off! (Hopefully this paragraph isn’t read in my application).

However, to have a truly positive experience of both, you need to know that you’re doing well in them. The key thing to remember about doing a dual is that your work will be marked differently within each subject.

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If you’re worried about writing an essay for a different department, the Departmental Study Guide is your bible.  You should usually be able to find this on your subject or module’s MOLE page. This will tell in what way to write for your course, and also your referencing system (which is incredibly important!).

Secondly, there is a large amount of support available for dual students. You will have a personal tutor for each subject. If you have anxieties about doing two different subjects, consult them (its what you pay 9 grand a year for)! And finally, if you’re still feeling a bit out of your depth…there’s someone else you can turn to. Your knight in shining armour – 301 Glossop Road!

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How? If your second subject is philosophy, a difference might be that you might need more training in developing your argument or critical thinking skills. Well, we have workshops on just those things! Does one of your subjects require much more group work? We’ve got you covered. Is the reading for History colossal? Check out our speed reading course! All these things are available to book on our website.

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At the end of the day, just know that you’re not alone doing a dual honours, and that both your department and 301 are here to help. Have a good one!

 

 

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Posted in All things 301, student life, Written by Jun

A few tips for Chinese students

 

Hello everyone, I am Jun. I am currently a PhD student working in Information School in the University of Sheffield. I did my Master course in Information Management degree here as well. Having been in Sheffield for five years, I am now delighted to work in 301 and give my help to students who need advice. 

There is a significant number of Chinese students studying in Sheffield every year. I can totally understand that you may feel struggled when you just started your life in the UK because of language barrier, completely different learning approach and brand new social network and so on and so forth. However, these challenges can actually be tackled after you have formally kicked off your course. Today, I am going to give a few tips to Chinese students who are struggled in their study, who are facing a dilemma in making a decision about their study, and who are not good in English communication.

Preparation for the lectures

If you are a new student and in difficulty getting used to English teaching in the class, I suggest you preparing for the content of the class a bit beforehand. Once you have got yourself briefly familiar with what you are going to be taught, you would be able to easily follow the main points in the class. To do the preparation, you can follow the steps below:

  1. Make sure you understand the module outline inside out. You should bear in mind that the aim and the objectives stated in the module outline allow you to have a ‘big picture’ of what you can learn from this module. By capturing this, you will not lose your general understanding of this module subject.
  2. Read through the lecture/seminar slides. The module lecturers or tutors normally post the slides that they will be using in the class a few days or a week in advance. You can definitely access to it through your student online portal on MOLE. Reading the slides beforehand will let you navigate yourself towards the right orientation.
  3. Try to ask questions in the class. Believe me, this is a very effective way to get yourself always on track. Not only would this help you overcome your potential resistance to speak, but also would enhance your critical thinking and brainstorming skills. So please just stop the lecturers speaking whenever you have a question, I am really sure they will welcome your questions.

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Involvement in group activities

Different to Chinese teaching and learning style, here you need to do quite a lot group work every now and then throughout your study. Such group collaboration might be a group discussion session in the class, or part of your module assignments, or even a long-term training project. I have a few suggestions that you may want to follow:

  1. Do not keep silent in a discussion. No matter what ideas you have, just let other people know. It is not good to remain silent when you are asked to discuss with your partners. Involving in the discussion will let you overcome your fear or nervousness to speak out in front of people. Such involvement will also enhance your knowledge-sharing ability and will allow you to get the core content of the class.
  2. Try to avoid speaking Chinese! When you are asked to make a group with other colleagues, you should encourage yourself to part with other international students. The cross-cultural partnership will strengthen your communicative ability in the course, enhance your team-working skills, and more importantly allow you to think really in non-Chinese terms using non-Chinese ideas.
  3. Grasp the opportunity of extracurricular group activities. Here in this university. we have many workshops and team activities available for students to take part in. You should keep an eye on these events. You will have chance to talk to people who are not in your departments, whose study is totally different from you and who may come from a place you have never heard of. This is fantastic, especially when the event is to do a short-term or long-term project.

301 Academic Skills Centre

Having talked so much above in terms of how Chinese students find a way to better adapt to their study, now I just want to introduce our 301 student academic services to you. From here, you can get further guidance and help to all of the points I mentioned above. You may be struggled in searching for 301 website or have no idea where the 301 building is. I am happy to give you a link as well as a map here to easily navigate yourself to us. Here you go:

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We have plenty of academic services in 301 that are available and open to everyone. We have 301 academic workshop across various respects of study, 1:1 study skills tutorial and Maths and Statistics Help (MASH) tutorials. I highly recommend this to new students as I am 100% sure this will be helpful to your study. I will welcome you here!

Hope to see you soon!

Jun

 

 

Posted in Intern advice, student life, Written by Arinola

Final Year and Thinking Ahead

The start of final year is overwhelming. Everyone’s asking what you want to do after university, graduate job vacancies are live (some might have even been up for a month!) and many Master’s degree applications are open. To top it all up, you are acutely aware of the dissertation you have to write and that your grades count twice this time around.

Yes, you can successfully navigate your way through to the end of the year while thinking ahead but first, you need to breathe!

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There are a couple of things that can be made easier by taking advantage of the resources that the university has to offer. Dissertation planning is one of them as there are workshops you can book and attend to help as you go along. Tom’s blog-post offers a lot of good advice derived from his own experience of writing a dissertation.

Now to your post uni plans. Making the decision about what you want to do is very personal and should be about you and what you want. Bear in mind that not having a clear idea is not unique to you. A lot of other third/final year students feel the same way.

That said, there are many routes you can take:

  • Graduate jobs – This doesn’t just mean graduate schemes with the Big Four or training contracts at law firms. Internships or fixed term jobs are worth looking into as well. There are a lot of vacancies on Career Connect at the moment and the Careers Service is there to help with application forms, CVs and the like. You can also get some help with numerical reasoning tests at 301.
  • Further study – There is always more to learn so consider getting a Master’s degree here in the UK or anywhere.
  • Gap year – A lot of people decide that a break after university is exactly what they need. Whether that takes the form of working, travelling or volunteering abroad or giving yourself a year to exclusively pursue your more creative outlets like music, writing or vlogging.
  • Entrepreneurship – While this is probably even more scary than all of the others above, investing in an idea you have been nursing can lead to something very exciting. The University of Sheffield Enterprise or Business Sheffield may be able to provide the support you need in getting started.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list – just some words to get you thinking 🙂 

 

Posted in Taste of work, Uncategorized, Uni work, Written by Jun

How do you do a social science research?

Hello everyone. I am Jun, a new member of 301 intern team for 2018/2019. I am currently a third-year PhD student working in Information School. My PhD research is a socio-technical study of Chinese smart transportation system initiatives from various stakeholder perspectives in a social science point of view. Is it looking to be quite complicated? Yes, it is, so are most other social science researches I believe. But complicatedness does not mean it is difficult to do. Today, I am gonna give you some tips of doing a social science research, which requires you to do from the very beginning of your study.

Social study language skills

Academic writing and speaking skills are significantly important to your research. If you are an English speaker, you probably just need to think about how to use the correct words and expressions in social science particular in both writing and speaking. But if you are a non-English speaker, I suggest you getting some academic writing trainings from wherever you know. In the university of Sheffield, there are many places where you can develop your writing and speaking skills; some of them are open to some particular departments only or students in a particular level of study while some of others are open to everyone in the uni. In 301, you can get this greatly improved by taking 301 academic workshops. e.g. Academic Writing Self-diagnostic Session and Critical Thinking and Writing. Here you can also make an appointment with a particular tutor to learn some suggestions and useful tips from them.

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Meanwhile, reading academic materials is also a helpful approach to develop your language skills. Spend a bit more of your spare time reading through some research-related text books, papers, articles etc. to A) get your language skills improved, and B) get yourself familiar with your research field. Once you have read a substantial amount of resources, you will be able to use right words and expressions within various circumstances. If you want to know how to efficiently work with yourself in learning this, a good choice is to come to 301 academic workshop – Independent Study – where you can get more useful tips to studying independently.

 

Familiarisation with existing related studies

Being unique and valuable is very important to a research. Especially for a social science research, you should identify a gap of the current literature and existing studies so that you can raise your own research aim to fill that gap. At the initial stage of your research, a key step is to do a significant range of review of literature with regard to what similar topics have been already studied, what research methods they use in their studies, and what the current trend is in the field of your research, and so on. Digging up these questions will help you accurately navigate yourself towards the correct direction of your research.

However, if you are very inefficient in reading materials, you shouldn’t spend a lot of time wasting on this. Now you might want to consider how to enhance your reading speed. You might want to quickly capture the point without using so much time. In 301, they provide everyone with a Speeding Reading workshop session from which you definitely will be able to acquire many tips of reading quickly without loosing main points. I attended this at the beginning of my PhD, it helped me a lot. I was really grateful to this workshop.

 

Critical thinking and argument development

Doing an academic research is different from writing a school-level composition. It requires you to see everything critically and use strong arguments to uphold your statements. Particularly when you do a literature review, you can’t just list whatever you have found from the literature. You should instead critically analyse the existing studies by pointing out their limitations and when possible state how they are useful to your research argument development. When writing your own argument against the current literature, you should be able to make it as concrete as possible. In terms of how to get these two skills improved, again, I am still recommending 301 academic workshops for you – Academic Writing and Developing Your Argument.

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Well done! These skills are quite important and I believe you will have had these skills greatly developed by following the above points based on my own experience. 301 academic workshops are really good resource for your own academic development. Don’t hesitate anymore, just come!

Hope above tips are helpful.

Hope to see you soon.

Jun

Posted in All things 301, Intern advice, student life, Written by Tom

What if I struggle at university?

Hello everybody! My name is Tom and I’m also part of the 301 team. I am a final year History and Philosophy student. Sounds pretty deep and difficult right?

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult. A lot of people can come to university, having worked tooth and nails to get into one, and yet find their friends seeming to breeze through work which they struggle with. This can be incredibly off-putting: why are they so good at this? Are they just extremely clever? Am I not cut out for uni?

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But if you got into this university, then you deserve to stay here and get your degree. Some people do seem to be just naturally smart. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t train yourself to be just as good as them. And the fact that you had to work harder to be as good as them, if not better? Don’t tell anyone, but it kinda means you earned it more.

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Let’s be real. Uni has only just started. It’s a crazy new experience you want to make the most of. You’re probably more bothered about partying, getting to know your housemates, and joining societies right now. And that’s fine – that’s what university is all about! But as your course continues and the party lifestyle dies down, you might feel a bit lost without it if you start struggling with your course.

So if you’re finding you’re course difficult within these first few weeks, start getting help with your course soon before deadline season arrives. Talk with your course tutors and your personal tutor as well. Practice in your own time. And you know another good way to get the skills to deal with your university course? Come along to the 301 Workshops and book 1:1’s with our tutors.

But working hard doesn’t exactly sound like having fun at university.

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But just because you work a bit extra than others in your spare time doesn’t forfeit your social life. In fact, working hard from the start means that, come deadline and exam season, you’ve already worked hard enough and developed skills to deal with the difficulties that everyone faces during that time. Doing a bit of extra work throughout the year means that you’re not having 3am library sessions the week before your project is due.

But how do I get better? You might not know what areas to improve on. In fact, me going on about spending extra time working and maintaining a social life might seem impossible to you! Who is this guy talking about hard work and extracurricular workshops as soon as uni starts? A crazy person no doubt.

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But that’s exactly what 301 specialises in. We have workshops about Time Management, so you know exactly how to improve academic ability alongside being able to play for your sports team, or making that society bar crawl. Just sacrifice a couple of hours to a workshop or 1:1s now,  and you won’t be sacrificing valuable hours of socialising or doing loads of extra work at a later date.

Time is very important as a student. You’re only at university once. So you want to create the best possible academic work you can do, but you also want to do it in as less time as possible. For my course, I have to do a lot of reading. I don’t mind it, but the issue is that I’m a slow reader. I can take hours and hours to read a couple of articles for a seminar if they’re pretty long. And when my flatmates are going to Corp in an hour and I’m not even halfway through a chapter I’m meant to read by tomorrow, I feel torn about what to do and stressed out that this could be a recurring problem.

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But 301 also offers a workshop on Speed Reading, so reading for your course doesn’t became a chore that you dread, or a barrier to doing other stuff in your life. Not only this, but a separate service runs at 301 known as MASH – Maths and Statistics Help. If you have problems knowing how exactly to solve certain problems or create the right algorithms, then the 301 building has got you. We offer so many workshops, relevant to each aspect of every course and aspect of academic life, that it’ll be foolish to at least not give our website our look and see if you’d benefit from anything that we offer. Our workshops run all year round and are bookable through our website here.

Universities is about giving stuff you’ve never done or considered before (like living with fellow students, try American Football, and so on), so why not give us a try? Especially as we can help balance your university life and make your time here easier! No one studying in Sheffield should feel like they unable to complete their course or to balance a social life. So we are here to help.

Hope to see you soon!

Tom