Posted in Uncategorized, Written by Britt

Part-time work and transferable skills

SUMMER is finally here, yay!!! Exams and essays are done and it’s time to relax and take a break from all things uni.

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Whilst it is very important to enjoy yourself over the summer, it’s also a great time to get some work experience. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a summer placement or internship – though these are great ways to get experience that is specific to a certain field. However, part-time work in sectors such as retail, hospitality and care are also fantastic opportunities to develop those all important ‘transferable skills’ that graduate employers are always talking about! Here are some of the skills part-time work can equip you with:

  1. Working under pressure. This is particularly the case in shops, bars, pubs and restaurants as these places tend to be pretty busy over the summer period. You will learn how to keep your cool in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, proving to employers that you’re able to cope with the demands of the working world.
  2. Motivation. Nothing says ‘I’m motivated’ like making yourself go to work when the temperature is in the 20’s and all your mates are sat outside at the pub. Whilst this may seem a bit rubbish at the time, it will show employers that you’re driven to succeed as you’re willing to work over the summer period when many others aren’t.
  3. Communication. Most jobs involve some level of communication, whether this is with customers, other team members or in writing. Being able to communicate effectively is a vital skill in our modern world and one that is highly desired by many graduate employers.
  4. Problem solving. Maybe someone has received the wrong meal, a member of staff has phoned in sick or just everything seems to be going wrong on that particular day. It is your job to assess the issues and come up with a reasonable solution so that the working day goes as smooth as possible. This shows that you can think on your feet and don’t simply panic whenever there’s a problem!

I hope this has inspired you to think about the part-time job opportunities that are available to you over the summer period! So, go out there and look for some work – you won’t regret it!

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Amber

Useful things to do over the summer

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I can’t believe the year is finally over! With a long summer break stretched out ahead of me, I’m looking forward to some well deserved rest and relaxation!

However I do often find myself getting bored over the summer so I’ve come up with some ideas on how to use all this free time in a productive way to prepare myself for studying next year!

 

Find a job or work experience

Finding a job over the summer can massively reduce your stress levels next year if you can save up some money! This gives you more time to concentrate on your studies and more freedom to enjoy doing things with your friends.

A work experience or summer placement is also a really good idea, particularly if you are lacking in relevant experience to your degree. This could give you a taste of a certain area of work to help with your career plans if you are unsure, and can strengthen your application by providing relevant experience and a range of transferrable skills. Not only this but you are likely to meet new people who could come be useful for your future career plans!

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Reading

If you have been given a reading list for your next year of study then you should probably aim to buy these books during the summer if you can afford to, rather than at the last minute during freshers when you are already going to be busy. It may be useful to take some time to familiarise yourself with the content of your books, particularly if there is a subject which will be new to you.

In addition to recommended reading, you may want to read for pleasure during the summer. This is a really great way to relax, take a break from technology but also allows you to keep your mind sharp and stay in practice of concentrating and reading ready for the next semester. You may not have time to read for pleasure during the term time, or may not want to (I get sick of the sight of books during the semester!) – so summer is the perfect time to read at your leisure. Grab a book and sit in the garden with a nice cold drink.reading-seuss

Updating your CV

Not as interesting as reading, but updating your CV while you have free time in the summer can save you time when you need it at a later date. In addition to this, reading over and updating your CV provides you with a really great opportunity to reflect on the skills you have developed in the last academic year and look back on your experiences. You can use this reflection to consider what skills and experience you may still be lacking in, and concentrate on building on these areas next year!

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Create a LinkedIn profile

Creating a LinkedIn profile allows you to connect with professionals which allows you to keep in touch with lecturers, network with new people and showcase your own achievements. This could provide amazing opportunities and out of all the ideas listed here, is definitely the one that I need to get done over the summer!

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Posted in Written by Sophie

A few tips for applications and interviews over the summer!

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Hi everyone!  I’m Sophie, one of the new interns at 301.  I’ve just finished my undergraduate degree in English Language and Linguistics and will be studying a Masters next year.  Looking forward to meeting some of your next year at 301!

I thought I would write a post on applications and interviews for those of you who are job-hunting over the summer holidays.  I was looking for work over the summer too, and was incredibly anxious as I needed to save up money for the next academic year.  Hopefully these tips will help you concentrate on finding work, and will make your search slightly easier.

  1. It is better to apply for fewer jobs and put effort into them!

In the past, I often didn’t take care over my applications, often repeating some of the things I had previously written in other applications.  This time, I found that taking the time to find jobs online that suited me meant that I was much more successful in being called to interview.  I took the time to read through each job description carefully, and went through the criteria to check I met each one.  Just because a job is in a sector that you have worked in before doesn’t mean that it is right for you! Be very critical of the job postings you apply for, as you do not want to ruin your time-off with a job that you don’t like.

  1. Meet every job requirement.

Even if it is briefly, make sure you meet the job description/person requirements in either the application or interview.  For instance, one of the requirements may be “has a keen eye for fashion” (if you’re applying for a retail position!).  I have never had a permanent job in retail, but I did help with the sales stock at Next one time.  So, I made sure to mention my ability to position stock in a way that was appealing to customers, which shows my interest in the latest trends (etc.).  Turning seemingly small experiences into significant ones is something that helped me during my job hunt!

  1. Ask someone to check through your application.

You have probably heard lots of times throughout your degree that another pair of eyes will help you spot mistakes/typos in your work.  The same goes for job applications – employers may become disinterested if they see a grammar error or something misspelt.  The person checking may also be able to see if your wonderful personality shines through the application, or whether you should change the style of your writing.

  1. Remember to breathe before your interview.

No matter how many I’ve done, I’m always nervous before an interview.  I always try to remember that the interviewer is human and that they’re not there to trick you (if they are, maybe you shouldn’t work for them).  Pretend you’re going to have a conversation about your hobbies, personality and skills with your friend; even though it will be someone you’ve never met before.  And remember to take some deep breaths before entering the room – at the end of the day, you can always try again or apply somewhere else.

  1. If you don’t get the job, don’t worry!

Being rejected the first, second, or fortieth time is not a reflection of who you are as a person.  After all, you’re being questioned on one occasion, and the person has never met you before.  If you couldn’t get across what you wanted to say the first time, just remember to say it next time!  Being rejected from a job is not the end of the world, as there are much more important things.

 

I hope this post helped at least some of you remain calm during your job hunt!  Everything will work out in the end.

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Jenny

UG vs. PGT: the differences

Deciding whether or not to do a Master’s degree is a big decision! But what is the difference?

My take on the Master’s students life:

In the table below I’ve noted down the key differences between my two degrees to try and make the distinction a bit clearer.

UG (Biochemistry) PGT (Molecular Medicine)
Application via UCAS Application to the University
120 credits 180 credits
9 month academic year 12 month academic year
Guided study Self-directed study
Build on assumption of low level knowledge Assume a high amount of previous knowledge
Low expectation of technical skills Higher expectation of technical skills, improvement sought
Highly supervised (laboratory) Supervision present but self-directed research
Short laboratory project Extended laboratory project
Guided opportunities for direction and feedback Expected to seek your own opportunities to ask questions and direct your learning
Wide discipline knowledge Sub-discipline knowledge
Set hours (laboratory) Expected to manage your own time
Lecturers/ researchers are seen as senior, with a clear power dynamic Lecturers/ researchers are still seen as senior but the dynamic is more of colleagues
Research seminars may be a requirement in third year Increased invites to seminars/talks and lab meetings- expectation that they will be of interest
Large class size Smaller class size
Slow moving Fast-paced


The big differences summed up:

  • Master’s level learning comes with much higher expectations of your drive, knowledge and dedication.
  • Master’s level learning is a lot more independent. You are in control of your own work and expected to manage your own time.
  • Master’s level learning is intensive, with a heavier workload and faster pace than at UG level.

This progression is cheekily summed up below:

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The main take-home message is that a Master’s degree should not just be something you undertake as you don’t know what to do, it in itself is a choice.

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Maddie

How to have a rewarding summer without an internship or a job?

The pressure of gaining experience in any possible field is increasing year after year. And every summer students from all degrees run around trying to be accepted for a  great internship scheme, get a job or a do any other activity that might increase your employability prospects after they graduate. This is all understandable, considering the competitive job market we all have to face after we have obtained our degrees.

But what do you do when you end up in a situation where you were unable to secure any internship or job over the summer period. How do you ensure you still make the most of your 3 months and develop not only professionally, but personally too?

Well, I got you covered. Below you will find a list of different activities that can be undertaken both when in Sheffield or while travelling, that will help you have a productive summer.

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  • Attend a summer school

 

This one requires a bit of preparation in advance but it can add up so much to your CV. If you have an area of study that you are interested in, but which you have not had the chance to engage that much with, then have a look at the summer schools that are running at the moment and choose that one that could be most helpful to you. You can start by looking at summer schools organised by different universities across UK and Europe (especially if you want to pursue a Master in another European country) or have a look at some think tanks and see if they organise any summer programmes. The options are endless, all that’s required from you is a quick Google search and you are ready to go!

  1. Learn a new language

This one might require a bit more self management, but everyone can agree that knowing more than one language is an incredibly useful skills to have. Maybe you studied one for A levels but haven’t practiced it in ages, or you are going on an Erasmus programme and would like to lay out the basics, or you know that in order to get your dream job you should speak more than one language. No matter what your motivations are, learning a new language is a very rewarding process. You can start with one hour per day and also mix in some more fun ways to understand the language such as watching movies, listening to songs or getting immersed in their culture. You can also build on your efforts once the summer ends and sign up for a Languages for All programme at the beginning of the year. (more details here:https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/languages/lfa )

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  1. Volunteer with one of the local charity shops

This is a great one if you like to get out of the house, meet new people, while also being passionate about social impact. Sheffield has some great charity shops that are constantly looking for volunteers such as Oxfam, Save the Children or Age UK. This experience would allow you to engage with some of the biggest charities out there and gain amazing volunteering experience, while also meeting great individuals and giving back to the community. Their opportunities are not always advertised on the usual university pages but you can easily go in and ask if they need a helping hand. I am sure they will be more than happy to take you on board.

  1. Volunteer with one of your preferred organisations

If you have a group of organisations you are interested in working with, but haven’t managed to get an internship with them, or they do not have an internship scheme at all, then this is a great way to get involved. Most of these organisations would love to have brand ambassadors in different campuses around the UK and you can facilitate that for them. Most of them are able to offer you training and provide you with more knowledge about how the organisation operates and what kind of people they are likely to recruit. If you are social sciences student looking to work with a charity, this is a great way to get involved in the sector. All you need to do is pick up the phone and offer your help!

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Overall, all these suggestions rely on your sense of initiative. There are so many other ways through which you can gain valuable experience in the field you are interested to have a career in. All you need to do is spend some time thinking of what the best course of action is for you and then start looking for opportunities. Google is always there to help you!

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Amber

Summer and Exam Services at 301

Although our workshops have ended for the summer, did you know that there are still a range of services and resources available here at 301?

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Photo by Euysuk Simon Kwon (Insagram: es_kwon)

Resources

If you have ever visited 301 you may have noticed that we have a wide range of leaflets advising on the various services of the university. If you are looking for something in particular, feel free to ask us at reception and we will do our best to help you. In addition to these leaflets, we also have a range of handouts to help with your academic skills. These are free for you to help yourself to and if you have missed a workshop for a particular topic, may be able to offer you some alternative guidance. They are found in a carousel on the right hand side of reception, as you walk in the front of the building. We also have a range of study skills books for students to read, although these must stay in reception so they can be used by any student who needs them.

 

Services

Many of the tutors who run the academic skills workshops are continuing to deliver 1:1 sessions if you need guidance with your academic skills. These sessions might help you with any work you have due or with improving your skills ready for next year! The sessions are really useful but it is important to note that our tutors can give general help (for example, the structure of an essay) but cannot give subject specific advice or comment on the content of your work.
MASH (Maths and Statistics Help) continues to run during the exam period and can be found opposite the flexible workspace. The drop in sessions allow you to be flexible with your time or you can make an appointment to ensure that you are seen. Opening times for MASH are weekdays 10am-1pm and again on Wednesday evenings 4pm-7pm (drop in only) for statistics and weekdays 1pm-4pm, with a drop in only session until 7pm on Wednesday for maths.

 

Summer 1:1s and MASH sessions are likely to run on a revised timetable so please keep an eye on our website, or pop into reception if you have any queries. https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301

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Posted in Intern advice, Written by Miranda

End of year checklist

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Can you believe it’s already June? The end of another year at uni is almost here and it’s time to start moving out of your Sheffield house for summer (unless your doing a placement!).

May is always a hectic month for uni students, with lots of revision, deadlines, exams and no doubt lots of celebrating too (or to come if you’re not quite finished!). However this means you might not end up leaving much time to think about the things you need to do before you move out for summer. Luckily, this blog is to help take that stress away in providing you a simple checklist of things to remember to do before moving home. You’re welcome!

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1. Handing in your keys!

Probably the most important thing – sort out when and where you need to hand in your house keys before you leave and check all your housemates are doing the same.

2. Leaving your house/flat

Definitely the most boring thing on this list is the dreaded end of year flat-clean (particularly if you’re living in halls!), but it’s got to be done. Make sure you sort out a day in advance when everyone’s free so that everyone is helping!

Whilst your packing your things and cleaning your house, it’s wise to take some photos of the house such as any scuffs or marks so you have a record of everything.

Make arrangements for moving your stuff (there’s always so much more than you’d imagine!) and see if its possible to move it straight from your old accommodation to your new one.

Finally, make sure you sort out when there will be a final house inspection and how/when you’ll be receiving your deposit back

3. Make summer plans to meet up

You all promised to see each other through the summer but before you know if everyone’s made different plans and it’s the end of August! To avoid going all summer without managing to coordinate the groupchat make it a bit easier by sorting a date and location now.

4. Return any library books

Kind of self-explanatory! If you’re a final year student you need to return books by the 10th June 🙂

5. Donate or throw out unwanted items

You might find you have lots of things at the end of the year you no longer want or need (or simply can’t fit in your suitcase/ car). If this is the case make sure you take advantage of the Sheffield Donate, Don’t Waste scheme!

There’s lots of sites you can donate unwanted items such as food and kitchenware (see the site above) and as a last resort you can collect 2 extra red bin bags for waste (from the Student Advice Centre or Propertywithus in the SU), to be collected from your house. Make sure you don’t simply allow your normal black bins to overflow as this is a nuisance for other residents and you may get a fine!!

6. Have a one last final meal (until September…) at your favourite Sheffield eatery

Last but definitely not least.. It could be over 3 full months before you next get chance to experience the joys that is a Notty house pie or Harley burger so take full advantage!

 

Posted in Written by Kim

Representative Committees and My Experience Being Part of One

Hey everybody! Kim here. Today’s post will be all about Representative Committees and my experience.

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I was the Marketing and Publicity Officer of the International Students’ Committee (ISC) for 2016/17. To be honest, I didn’t know that the ISC was one of the Representative Committees in the Students’ Union when I first joined them. I just thought that it was just another society and I was wrong because Representative Committees serve a bigger purpose for members of the Students’ Union.

Representative Committees exist to promote the views and interests of, and organise activities for, specific sections of the Full Members of the Students’ Union. There are in total, 7 elected representative committees at Sheffield’s Students’ Union: Black & Minority Ethnic Students’ Committee, Disabled and Dyslexic Students’ Committee, International Students’ Committee, LGBT+ Students’ Committee, Mature Students’ Committee, Postgraduate Students’ Committee and Womens’ Committee. These committees are run by students who wants to represent and receive specialist staff support.

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I was elected on October 2016, which is quarter way through the role term. Any student who fits the requirements of the roles in Representative Committees can try to run for it. I was basically in charge of the ISC’s social media platforms and marketing strategies of all the events and campaigns. I also had personal goals to achieve as the officer, which was to implement more sustainable marketing practices for the ISC. The ISC had all kinds of events and campaigns, such as World Week, World Food Festival, International Cultural Evening, Refugees Week, TV Marathon for Climate Change 2017, and Women in Leadership and Entrepreneurship. While I did not totally eliminate flyering as a promotional tool, I reduced the amount of waste by only buying the necessary amount needed. Besides that, we increased the amount of online paid promotions.

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The 2016/17 ISC Executive Committee Farewell Dinner

I have already officially retired from the role. I believe the future committee will achieve much more than the committee of my year. Majority of the ISC members are passionate about their roles and making a positive impact. If you would like to get involved (I would recommend!), follow the ISC’s Facebook page and sign up to be part of the subcommittees. We have a subcommittee for events, welfare, publicity and media. By being part of the subcommittee, you get perks, like free entry to our events and campaigns. And who knows, you might even take up an official committee role in the future.

 

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Jenny

Finding that motivation

Motivation in these final weeks or months of your degree can be tricky. It’s hard enough finding the motivation during it but seeing the sun outside and thinking about a heavy workload isn’t exactly helpful! Here are five light-hearted nuggets of advice to help motivate yourself for the final push. (They might sound stupid but give them a go).

  • This is going to sound odd but work out how much you have roughly spent on this degree so far. Even first years will be set back ~£13,000 on loans alone! Do you really want to waste all of that money by messing it up now? I didn’t think so! Whatever your situation you can still make a difference.

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  • Write down your goals on post it notes and note how your degree helps you get there! Put them all around your room! Regardless of whether it is ‘make my mum proud’, ‘get a PhD’ or ‘earn a lot of money’, a good degree is a step in the right direction.

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  • Do a big picture timeline. Think about where you are now, how you got there and where you want to be. It helped me realize that whilst knowing how a particular protein channel opened may not help in the long run, it is what is needed now to keep moving forward.

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  • Make a plan for once this semester/ your degree is over! Whether it is booking a holiday on a tropical island, organizing an end of semester night out or scheduling nothing for a whole week so you can binge on TV, it might help motivate you!

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  • Get competitive. As a twin I’ve always had a fierce competitive streak, if you are similar then use it to your advantage! Do an extra hour of revision to beat your course-mate, ask them what they’ve done so you can beat it, use their grades as motivation for the future. Get crazy with it!

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Good luck with the rest of your degree, now go forth and conquer! 

Posted in Uncategorized

Why attend a 1:1 meeting

Did you know you can book 1:1 meetings with our tutors here at 301? If not, you definitely know now! But what exactly are the 1:1 meetings offered by 301 and how might they help you?

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During a 1:1 meeting you have the chance to sit down with one of our tutors and ask them for support according to the issues you have been facing in your studies. There is just the two of you discussing and the tutor can focus on your questions regarding academic matters such as not being sure how to deal with exam revisions, or how to reference and essay properly or even how to perform in a seminar and take notes properly so you get the most of your degree. They will be there to support you through all.

But if this information is not enough to get you to have a look at what I’m talking about, here is a list of why I think you should make use of this service:

  1. The support you receive is personal

 

And I am aware you can get that from your department as well, given that you have a personal tutor and you can also go to the office hours of any of your lecturers. The 1:1 meetings at 301 do not come to replace that, but to add an extra layer of support. The matters you will be discussing with the tutor are not directly related to your subject of study, but more to the way your study and any questions you might have about academic support.

  1. They are flexible

We are aware that some student have classes all day long and are only free later in the day, while others have less contact hours so they might be more available during the day. With that in mind you can book a 1:1 appointment from as early as 10:00 or as late as 16:00. There are different times available during the week so you don’t have to worry you won’t be able to fit one into your schedule.

  1. It’s time efficient

While the workshops are great if you want to gain more knowledge about a certain subject, the 1:1 meetings are amazing if you are in a hurry, or just want to squeeze one between two lectures. In 30 minutes you have the chance to discuss specifically the issues that interest you and focus on finding a solution!

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  1. You get access to additional resources

On top of the personal advice you get during the meeting, the tutors can also recommend specific resources you can look at if you would like to gain more insight into certain matters, or if you are really concerned about a problem and would like to really make sure you have it covered!

  1. You can be open

The meetings are organised in such a way that the only two people in the room are you and the tutors. The information you share with them is treated with utmost confidentiality so you do not have to worry about anything. The more open and honest you are, the more they will be able to help you!

And here you have it! A brief overview as well as some of my top reasons why you should definitely make use of the 1:1 meetings at 301. If you are definitely interested you can check it out here and make a booking: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/services/studyskills

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