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.

 

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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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Posted in Intern advice, Written by Amber

Applying for a Masters

Whether you’re applying because you love your subject or because you aren’t quite ready to give up being a student, here is a short guide to applying to a masters programme!

Choosing your course

Picking the right subject is really important as you don’t want to end up stuck doing a course you don’t enjoy! For many people, a masters may be progression into the same subject as your undergraduate degree, or a branch of the subject. Or perhaps you have found a new interest which you would like to pursue. Regardless, do your research and make sure you will enjoy it.

Research or taught? If the subject is new to you, a taught course may be more appropriate. If you want to go into research or are considering a PhD, a research course may prepare you better and give you a taste of whether a research career is for you.

Once you have decided, do lots of research online and talk to current students, if you know any. The university should have lots of information on everything from modules to course fees (but don’t let these put you off)!

If you are keen on a partiuclar course, it may help to visit the university on one of their open days. This also allows you to ask any questions, and as masters courses are usually much smaller than undergrads, it may give you the opportunity to get to know the staff – which can be useful if you need to contact them with any future queries.

Applying

As with your undergrad, keep a close eye on application deadlines! If your chosen course does not have a deadline, then don’t be tempted to leave it too late, as often places are given on a first come, first served basis and popular courses may fill up early!

Your application may require you to submit a CV, which should be tailored to the course you are submitting to. With help writing a CV, the Careers Service have lots of helpful resources and you could also book a 1:1 session with an advisor to improve your CV.

As with CV writing, the Careers Service offer lots of helpful resources as well as 1:1 sessions to help guide you with writing your personal statement. Your personal statement should show your passion and enthusiasm for the subject and is likely to include areas such as ‘Why are you applying?’ and ‘What makes you a good candidate?’. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet, but don’t be tempted to lie as you may be asked questions relating to the content of your personal statement during an interview!

You may be required to submit a number of documents with your application. For help with these, you can visit SSID who have access to your student records and can print documents such as your transcripts (although these may incur a small cost!).

You are likely to require at least one reference for your masters application. Choose the member of staff wisely, you should aim to pick academics who know you well and are familiar with your work – dissertation supervisors and tutors are ideal. Make sure that you ask your referee before submitting their details!

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Student finance

Make sure you have some idea of how you will fund your masters degree. Dont be put off by course fees as there may be bursaries and scholarships available, and if you are a UK undergraduate you are likely to be eligible for the new Student Finance England postgraduate loan which is up to £10k. Unlike undergraduate student finance, postgraduate student finance opens much later in the year so keep an eye on the website and don’t be afraid to ring them with any queries (they are very friendly!).

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Waiting!

Once your application is complete and your references have been sent, there can be a long wait for an offer. If, like me, you have been waiting for what feels like a lifetime, then a follow up email may help. If you have made contacts with any staff at an open day then dropping them an email shows you are enthusiastic and may speed the process up a little.

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Good luck!

For more in depth information visit:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/masters-degrees/applying-for-a-masters-degree

https://www.ucas.com/ucas/postgraduate/postgraduate-study/why-study-postgraduate/faqs-about-postgraduate-study#

https://www.topuniversities.com/blog/how-apply-masters-degree-uk

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Ellie

Why Staying Calm During Exam Period Is Important, And The Best Ways To Do It!

It has finally arrived… the dreaded exam period! Although on the bright side, the fact it’s here now means that it will be over so soon!!

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So here are my tips for making these next three weeks super productive:

  • The most important thing, I would argue, is to keep healthy. Although these are obviously very important exams, they are not worth forfeiting your health for. You need to take time in the day to cook, to eat and to do some exercise – a healthy body means a healthy mind and will stand you in good stead of being capable of dealing with the stresses of the season! 

I would maybe recommend some light exercise such as yoga, or walking, just to make sure your body is active after long periods of sitting down to study. It is not wise to stay locked in your room during exam period!

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Don’t lock yourself in your room. Make sure you talk to people and socialize – they could help take your mind off your exam for a while – which is not a bad thing. The world still turns; you cannot let the pressure of exams make you retract into yourself and forget everything else. If you are worried, then a friend may be able to help. 

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If you feel that you need additional help, the Uni provides many great services that can help with exam pressure:

Things not going right service:  https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/sos

Counselling Service: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/counselling

All of the general information you need from the exams service: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/exams         

 

  • You have to work at a pace that is right for you. It is not worth piling on the workload until the night before an exam; make sure you are ready for it in advance so you feel calm as each one draws nearer. The night before an exam should be a time of calm contemplation, not absolute panic!

The reality is, you can do this, you have done exams in the past and survived. As long as you keep some perspective and stay calm – and also follow my advice – you will do great!

Good luck!

Posted in All things 301, Uncategorized, Written by Miranda

What is it like to attend a 301 workshop?

As it’s coming to the end of semester I decided to attend a workshop to try to improve my exam skills. In summary it was really helpful and I would definitely recommend attending a workshop.

Unfortunately, the workshops have now finished for this academic year, however this can be a heads up for booking on to ones next year and making sure you can get organised nice and early!

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Exam Technique (Essay Writing) Workshop

I attended the Exam Technique (essay writing) workshop and found it to be very helpful and engaging. It was just over an hour long which I thought was the perfect amount of time to squeeze lots of important information in – without being too long or too overwhelming!

The workshop is general enough to be relevant to all types of degrees (which would have essay questions in an exam) meaning almost anyone could attend.

We went through different types of exam essay questions, determining the different aspects within a question – its Topic, Instruction, Aspect, Restriction and Viewpoint. Doing this helped to clarify what a question is actually asking – and how to go about formulating a structured answer in a limited amount of time.

There’s lots of group work in the session so this is particularly helpful for people who learn through talking and doing! The leaders make the session as engaging as possible by making lots of little activities throughout it.

Reasons to go:

It gives you that much needed boost of motivation to kickstart your revision / essay writing / whatever you’re working on!

It improves your confidence in the area. This workshop assured me that I would be comfortable to tackle any exam essay questions by breaking in down into steps.

The workshop conveynors give you handouts and tips. For example one of the workshop leaders (both of whom mark exams – so know what they’re talking about!) suggesting writing page numbers on your answer booklet so you can refer to previous parts of your answer and to help the marker.

Workshops Available:

As I mentioned, workshops have now finished for this year. But next year make sure you go to the 301 website to see all the workshops available to suit everyone’s needs/ modules! Such as…

  • Academic Writing
  • Time Management
  • Critical Thinking
  • Dissertation Planning
  • Exam Revision Planning
  • Independent Study
  • Presentation Skills
  • Proofreading
  • Reading for Memory
  • Speed Reading
  • Scientific and Lab Reports
  • And more (!!!)

How to Book:

Visit the 301 website page and login with your Sheffield details to see all the workshops available and make a booking. At the beginning of the year why not drop into the 301 office and pick up a leaflet with the workshops on so you can make the most of them! If you attend 4 workshops you also qualify for the Academic Skills Certificate which is recognised on your HEAR.

 

Posted in Written by Kim

Get on Twitter!

I have been an avid Twitter user since 2011 and still is one. I have 2 Twitter accounts: 1 for entertainment and professional use. Here is 4 reasons why you should get on it:

  • Follow celebrities:

The beauty of Twitter is that it gives users the opportunity to tweet to celebrities with public Twitter accounts. If you’re lucky, they might just roast you or pay your student loans.

 

  • For the giggles:

There are accounts for all sorts of reasons.

For when Big Ben strikes:

 

For high quality pixel gifs:

 

For relatable Japanese and English tweets:

 

  • Follow University of Sheffield services accounts:

They will bring you up-to-date news regarding the university or community. The 301 regularly tweets about the services and workshops they provide.

Now that it’s exam season, the University of Sheffield Libraries account tweets about available study places.

There’s also a Twitter account where University of Sheffield members take turns every week to tweet from that account. So, if you like to read other people’s daily tweets, this is the account to follow. Currently, it’s one of the graduate interns of 301, Jess, tweeting!

 

  • To tweet all day:

You can literally tweet however much or little you want on Twitter. Twitter is a micro-blogging platform, unlike Facebook, so you have a lot more freedom in posting as much or little (as long as it’s within the 120 characters limit!). Some people post long threads on Twitter to tell a story and that’s perfectly fine. The thread can’t be displayed by embedding the first tweet, so click on it and have fun scrolling through it!

 

Hope that was convincing enough for you! See you next time!

Posted in Uncategorized

A few bits about me!

Hi I’m Brittany (or Britt, for short) and I’m one of the new Interns here at the 301 Student Skills and Development Centre! I’m a 2nd year English Literature student so a lot of my time is spent reading books, writing essays and doing independent research – all of which may not sound particularly fun but I do really enjoy my degree (most of the time!).

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Aside from my degree, I’m a Volunteering Ambassador for Sheffield Volunteering which involves promoting and getting involved in various volunteering activities around the university. I also enjoy going to the gym, going out with friends and finding new places to eat in Sheffield (who doesn’t?!)

You’ll probably see me drinking tea at reception if you come to 301 for Study Skills Workshops, individual meetings or MASH help – so feel free to ask me anything 301-related and I’ll do my best to help.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I’ll hopefully see you soon here at 301!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Maddie

A guide to learning how to do public speaking

Makes you shiver just at the thought of it!

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Public speaking is a fear most people have, and it is perfectly normal! It take a lot to present your ideas and views in front of a crowd, especially when we are talking about assessed presentations in university or work related public speaking where your statements do matter!

At the same time, public speaking is also one of those basic transferable skills employers are looking for. Either for a job or if you are pursuing a Master or PhD, stages in your career progression will depend on you captivating the audience through your speech and delivering a good presentation.

How do you make sure you have this skill fully mastered right from the start? Through personal experience and through noticing other people develop, I can say that’s a bit of a challenging one, but I am almost certain that through practice and patience you can learn to get rid of those nerves and nail your speech every time, no matter how impossible that though might sound now.

Knowing that myself was there at one point and that I managed to challenge my fears and be comfortable with public speaking, here is a guide on how to get you started working on this skill:

  1. Let’s start with an easy one- ask yourself why you don’t like to speak in public

More often than not you will realise that those reasons are not as logical as you might have though. When I first thought about improving my public speaking skills, I know I was afraid of starting because I thought people would judge me. On what? I had no clue but I knew people judge and I was terrified of that. When I delivered my first speech I realised things are not quite like I thought they were. On the contrary, most of the time people do listen to what you have to say, and even give you constructive feedback. Worst comes to worst they would just look at their phone and not even pay attention at what you’re saying, so no worries! Just go out there and give it a try!

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  1. Now that you have that sorted, try to put yourself in situations where you know you will have to speak in front of a crowd.

Start small by joining a society and taking the lead on a project, do a presentation in class, sign up for some short time courses. Anything works, as long as it gives you the chance to go out of your comfort zone, while you are still in a safe space where you can make mistakes and learn from them. And never be afraid to ask for help! Either from a friend or family member, or from people that you know are really good a public speaking, ask them for tips, advice, ideas on how you can do better, ask them how do they get over their fears. You will find that you can translate their practices to your own experience and just learn through trial and error.

  1. And finally make it a habit!

This is the challenging part. Now that you’ve tried public speaking once or twice and you are a bit more comfortable with being on the spotlight, try to do it as often as possible. Join a society that has public speaking as one of their main activities. Debating Society and Model United Nations are amazing opportunities for you to enhance your skills while also discussing fun topics and keeping up with what’s happening in the world. Take on an opportunity where you teach a subject or train a group of individuals. The PASS programme here at 301 is a particularly good scheme in this sense and you can check everything about it here:https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/peerlearning/pass

These are just some suggestions but with an SU as active as ours I am sure there are plenty more opportunities for you to discover.

And here you have it! A guide on how to start working on being an incredible public speaker. As a closing thought, I can attest it’s not something that happens overnight, but it is definitely worth the effort so good luck and don’t forget that 301 has a workshop on ‘Presentation skills’ that can give you a good starting point! You can check it out here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/services/workshops

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Posted in All things 301, Intern advice, Written by Amber

Writing a Blog

As I’m sure you’ve realised by now, part of our role as a Student Intern here at 301 is to write blog posts! I’d never done any blogging before applying for the role here, and it can be quite a scary prospect as it’s an entirely different style of writing to anything I’d done before! Here are a few tips on blogging, whether you need to blog for a job application or you just fancy starting up your own blog for fun!

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Keep it simple

Your readers don’t want to have to work too hard to understand what you are saying! Even in a longer blog post you can keep your language and layout simple and clear to allow for easy reading!

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Keep it informal

This follows on from the previous point – your blog should be easy and fun to read so don’t write it like you would an essay. Keep the writing style informal and lighthearted!…. But don’t go too far, swearing and slang can be a big turn off for some of your readers and are certainly not appropriate for a blog affiliated with an organisation (like this one!)

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Use pictures

Engage your reader with the use of pictures, particularly memes or GIFs. These maintain the fun and easy vibe of your blog, draw the reader in and can enhance the points you are trying to make… And who doesn’t love random pictures and GIFs of cats?!

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Share your experiences

Although it may feel odd to talk about yourself and share your opinions to begin with – don’t be afraid or embarrassed to share your experiences as that is what blogging is about!

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