Posted in Written by Stefana

Starting a new society

Hello there! This is Stefana with some tips on how to start a society! If you couldn’t find a society that suits your interests you can take your passion to the next level and start your own society!

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First, you will have to read the application criteria on the Students Union website and make sure that your society follows the guidelines. There are some types of activities that aren’t allowed such as sports or high risk activities. Also, you need to make sure that your interest isn’t already represented by another society.

The next step is completing an online application. The application form will be available starting September. One of the questions asks you how is your proposed society different from the existing ones.

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After you submit your application, it will be reviewed by the Societies Committee. If it is approved, you will be contacted by the Student Groups Administrator and you will have to complete 3 documents: A Society Constitution, Committee Details Part A and Committee Details Part B (one per each member of the committee).

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And that is everything! You can check the Students Union website for more detailed information on this.

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Posted in Intern advice, Written by Amber

My Top Uni Experiences

I can’t believe that my degree is over, and how quickly the time went! Now that I’ve finished I’ve been looking back at my time at uni and although it was incredibly busy and sometimes stressful, I’m pleased to say I don’t think I would have done anything differently! I got involved in everything that I wanted to during my degree and my university experience was about far more than just my degree. Here are some of my favourite university experiences, you could take inspiration from these if you are looking for some ideas of what to get up to next year!

Societies

I knew before I came to university that I wanted to make the most of the huge range of societies that the university had to offer. I would advise new students not to rush into buying membership for everything, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to try something new! Societies are great as they allow you to meet people with a shared interest, but from a range of different cultures, backgrounds and fields than the people you might meet on your course. Not only this but classes/lessons through societies are often FAR cheaper than what you would be paying elsewhere! I knew I wanted to find something active and I ended up joining Bellydance Society. I fell in love with the dance and the culture that surrounds it, as well as making so many amazing friends and at the end of that year I applied to be on committee. I got the position I applied for and also continued in my position this year. As Publicity and Events Officer I have gained brilliant experience of marketing and event management including planning and running sell-out shows. Being on committee was one of the most stressful but rewarding experiences of my degree and if you find a society that you love I would really recommend applying for a committee position.

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Volunteering

At the beginning of my final year I realised that I had done lots of things for myself during my time at university, but hadn’t really done anything to give back to the community that have made me feel so welcome. So I went to the volunteering fair and looked into a range of opportunities, there is everything from helping at animal sanctuaries to working with people such as children with disabilities or elderly people in care homes. I chose to volunteer for ‘Clubbing Crew’ which runs nights out at the Student’s Union once a month (on a Friday) for adults with learning disabilities. The experience has required very little commitment – just one evening a month, finishing at 1am which meant it didn’t interfere with my study time but has been one of the most fun and rewarding experiences. The feeling of knowing you have helped someone have a good time is amazing – when you see a shy and quiet individual turn into a total diva, dancing away with a giant grin on their face, is fantastic. I would 100% recommend a volunteering project as it will benefit you and the community.

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Outreach

Throughout my degree I have been involved in outreach opportunities within my department. For me, this has consisted of volunteering at our departmental museum during open evenings (which led to me gaining a part time job as a museum tour guide) and assisting during the Animal and Plant Sciences ‘Annual Christmas Lecture’ which involves 1000 local primary school children descending on the Octagon for a lecture by a member of staff, followed by activities designed and ran by undergrad students. Although I don’t particularly want to go into teaching, the experiences have massively increased my confidence working with children and I have found it really rewarding to help inspire the next generation of scientists.

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End of year ball

The end of year ball for your department is a great way to celebrate the year with your coursemates, and a good excuse to buy that dress or suit you’ve had your eye on! The food at my ball was pretty good and although I have heard mixed things from other departments at least there is usually free alcohol to wash it all down! I would especially recommend attending your ball to final year students. I saved some money so that I would be able to buy photographs so I have memories of my time at university.

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Varsity

Even if sports isn’t your thing, I would thoroughly recommend attending a varsity event. It’s a great way to get into the unviersity spirit, particularly if you have friends competing. In particular, the final event, the ice hockey has a great atmosphere and is really good fun! However make sure you plan to get there early and either leave early or wait for the rush to finish after the event as the trams are usually packed!

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Walks in the peaks

With the Peak District on our doorstep, Sheffield is a fantastic university if you enjoy walking. During my first and second year I went on walks in the Peaks with Natural History Society (now named Nature and Wildlife Society) who run walks once a month out into the Peaks. During my final year, having been so busy I have often been unable to go walking on the dates that the society had arranged, this led me to contact the Walking Club who usually run two walks every week. Both societies are full of very friendly people and walks usually just cost a few £s in bus or train fare. Walking with a society is great if you don’t want to worry about working out transport and planning a route. If you are feeling more adventurous, obviously you can always get on a bus and go by yourself or with friends!

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I hope your time at Sheffield is as great as mine was!

Posted in Intern advice, Uncategorized, Written by Britt

The importance of travelling and working abroad

I’m sure you’ve heard everyone say it, but travelling really is an amazing experience. This is particularly the case if it’s coupled with something meaningful, for example getting involved in a programme that gives back to the community or equips you with valuable work experience.

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Last summer, I travelled to China to teach conversational English skills to 7-10 year olds at a Chinese summer camp. I can honestly say that it was the best experience of my life. After I had completed my placement, I travelled around China with some of the other summer teachers – we went to Beijing, Shanghai and of course climbed The Great Wall!

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Although such experiences are truly incredible, many volunteer/work programmes can be pretty expensive and I did have to save up for a while in order to be able to afford it. That said, the university do offer bursaries to help students fund their placements (depending on the rules of your department). For instance, I’m in the Arts & Humanities Department and I received a £500 bursary from the university which essentially paid for my return flights to China!

These things are often planned in advance so I am not suggesting that you try and get yourself onto a summer placement before uni starts! However, it is something to think about for next summer and, if you’re sure it’s something you want to do, you can certainly start saving early.

I suppose the purpose of this blog post is to encourage you to be brave. Save up, take a deep breath and go out there and see the world!

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Sophie

Getting a head start with your research over the summer

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I hope you are all having a lovely summer holidays!

Are you moving into the final year of your degree and will be writing a dissertation?  It *could* be a good idea to start researching your main idea, if you’re feeling productive.  When I first started preparing, I had to send in an idea so I could be matched up with a supervisor.  If you haven’t done this already, or if you just want to carry on developing your idea, this post may help you!  It’s not necessary to do lots and lots of research over the summer, but it could help you get a head start before your supervisor meetings, and you may have more developed questions to ask them.  Here are some tips for early research:

  1. Figure out what you’re interested in.

If you have some sort of idea of what you want to do, then great!  You can probably skip this step.  If you don’t, then no worries!  Start off by making notes/diagrams/mind-maps on topics you’re interested in within your subject.  I got my dissertation idea just from attending a lecture!  There might be something in one of the lectures that hasn’t been researched enough, you may want to apply a new concept to an already existing theory, or you may want to combine different areas within your subject.  Whichever way you decide to go about it, it all starts by deciding what area you’re most interested in and working on from that.

  1. See what’s already out there.

Start off with a simple Google Scholar/Star Plus search.  If you still don’t have a concrete idea, but you do know what you’re interested in, this could be a good idea to see what others have researched.  You may stumble across some interesting, recent articles that haven’t done X, Y and Z.  If you’re looking at a specific topic, make sure to view all recent articles written about it, so you don’t start claiming you’re filling a gap in the literature that isn’t there!

  1. Get advice from your tutors.

Even though it’s the summer holidays, you could write a list of questions as you go along, ready to ask your tutors/supervisors when you start the next academic year.  You might even find that you answer the questions yourself, just by researching.  Remember that it’s not a requirement to start research so early (unless you have been instructed to by your tutors) and that even making a list of questions is a good way to get a head start.

Disclaimer: if you feel at any point that doing research is not helping you, and that you would like to wait until the start of your next year, do not feel guilty for stopping.  I did tiny amounts over the summer, and the amount I researched did not affect my progress throughout the academic year.  Also, drop in to 301 at any time during your final year!  It’s not just for first or second years here – in fact, I only utilised the workshops/study sessions in my final year when I needed the help!  There is support in every section of the university, so don’t panic!

Posted in Extracurricular, student life, Written by Jenny

#sheffieldissuper

If you’re on social media and in Sheff you have probably seen the hashtag #sheffieldissuper, and trust me there is evidence to back up this claim. I love the steel city so much that I’ve spent four years of my life studying here and am staying for at least one more! Let me show you…

The green space.

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Whilst historically known as ‘the steel city’ Sheffield is also known as the ‘outdoor city’. Why you might ask, well given it’s location right next to the Peaks it’s brilliant for a whole host of outdoor pursuits including hiking, cycling, running, scrambling and climbing. There’s loads to do and see including the three peaks challenge, Stanage Edge, and countless walking routes.

Given this location and an abundance of local parks and woodland Sheffield is one of the greenest city in the UK! It has the highest woodland coverage of any UK city!

The pubs.

Pub culture is huge in Sheffield and there is a real passion for high quality food and drink in the city. The city boasts 23 local breweries which you can often find in the local pubs. There really is something for every type of pub goer in Sheffield whether you are more fussed by the real ale, food or quizzes. What could possibly make this any better? Low prices.

The culture.

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Sheffield is bursting with culture, from museums such as the Weston Park Museum and Kelham Island Museum to two theatres in the Lyceum and Crucible (home of the Snooker). The city hosts food festivals, a documentary festival, the largest city festival in the UK and thriving independent food establishments. And this is all just a teaser.

The University’s.

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Both University’s are great additions to Sheffield, it wouldn’t be the same without them. There is an enormous sense of pride in them held by students, staff and locals alike. Whilst there is of course a rivalry both University’s make valuable contributions that benefit the local communities and beyond.

The location.

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Sheffield really is slap bang in the middle of the country and has excellent transport links within the city and to all round the country. Whether you want to go to London, Edinburgh, Plymouth or the Peaks all is possible from Sheffield train station. When it comes to Sheffield itself you’re spoilt for choice with multiple bus and tram routes, and £1 student bus fares! So getting around couldn’t be easier!

The students.

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Because of over 6,000 students living in Sheffield, Sheffield feels very young and vibrant. No doubt this has contributed to the array of things on offer and Sheffield’s nightlife. You are spoilt for choice on a night out with clubs and bars for every music taste, a whole host of live music and two great unions. 

The locals.

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The local people in general from my experience are unbelievably friendly, so much so that you’ll be shocked if you go back home and a passer by doesn’t say hello!

Sport.

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Sheffield has a strong sporting history, just think of Jess Ennis. With an ice hockey team, two Championship football clubs (and the oldest football club in England), the EIS, indoor and outdoor cricket leagues (it is Yorkshire after all), and a strong history of boxing sport in Sheffield is strong. This is in addition to the two University’s sports teams and the annual varsity fixtures! You’re spoilt for choice!

Despite being told it was ‘grim up North’ etc. it turns out coming up was the right choice because Sheffield really is super! Want to know more? Check these out…

http://www.ourfaveplaces.co.uk/

http://theoutdoorcity.co.uk/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldylanwray/things-to-do-in-sheffield-1oaaj?utm_term=.uopwq1pXN#.axVp2nxYP

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/england/sheffield/top-things-to-do/a/poi/359102

https://www.creativetourist.com/sheffield/

Posted in Uncategorized

The A-Z of Societies at Sheffield University

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Did you know that there’s over 300 societies at the University of Sheffield?!

Joining a society is one way to make sure you get the all-round experience of university at Sheffield. Its a great way to meet new people, learn or develop a skill or interest, give something back by volunteering and just generally have a fun break from uni work!

The beginning of a new academic year is the perfect time to sign up to a new society and see all it has to offer! As inspiration take a look at the 301 A-Z sample of all the weird and wonderful and ever-expanding University of Sheffield societies…

A – Anime Society

B – Black and Minority Ethnic Students Committee

C – Chess Society

D – Debating Committee

E – Erasmus Exchanges Society

F – Film Unit Committee

G – Gospel Choir Society

H – Horticultural Society

I – Ice Skating Society

J – Jewish Society

K – Korea Society

L – LGBT Plus Committee

M – Mental Health Matters

N – Nightline Committee

O – Open Mic Society

P – Pole Fitness Society

Q – Quidditch Society

R – Rock Society

S – Sexpression

T – Tea Society

U – UNICEF on Campus

V – Vegetarian and Vegan Society

W – Women in Business

X – Sorry! even Sheffield uni doesn’t have a society beginning with X! But maybe you could be the first to make one…

Y – Yoga and Pilates Society

Z – Zumba Society

And if none of these appeal to you, have a look on the Club & Societies site to find one that does!

 

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Maddie

My experience with Django Girls

If there is one thing I am incapable of doing, that is understanding science of any kind. Ever since I was little I had an inclination for humanities and social sciences and despised anything that involved numbers. So it happened that in high school I focused mostly on languages and now at university I study politics and international relations. No numbers, no calculations so I am safe. Or so I thought….

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Being focused on one area is great, especially is it is something you really enjoy doing, but being a well rounded individual is also something we should aim for. Even if you think you don’t like something, how do you know for sure if you haven’t even tried it out?

That was exactly what went through my mind when I decided to sign up for a coding beginners class. For the record, I haven’t done anything related to coding in my entire life but here I was, deciding I should give it a go.

So I went! On a Saturday morning at 9 am I went down to the location where the Django Girls workshop was about to begin. We were told that by the end of the day we will build a website. On our own! Seemed a task impossible to achieve give my level of skills.

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The Django Girls project is an initiative going on all over the world with the aim to help women learn a coding language and enter a field mostly dominated by men. The workshops are ran by volunteers that support Django Girls’ mission and all the information and materials they need in order to organise a successful event are available on the Django Girls website. In order to participate you don’t have to have any knowledge of programming (ahem… that’s how I got in) but you must have a desire to learn a new skill and meet some amazing people.

The feature of the workshop I enjoyed the most was the fact that you are paired up with another participant and together are assigned a coach who walks you through the whole tutorial and is there to encourage you throughout the day. This was incredibly useful for me, as it helped me understand what exactly I was doing and give me the freedom to ask any questions that went through my mind.

You might have guessed by now that by the end of the workshop I did manage to build the website and was I proud of myself! Oh yes! Mostly because I never thought the phrase “build a website” and “me” would ever be put together.

So if you are like me and never thought that anything non-social science is for you, you might want to give this workshop a try and see how it goes. It is an amazing opportunity to discover a new community in Sheffield and be introduced to a new skill that might turn into a passion, who knows? The events happen multiple times per year and the best part is that if you enjoy being a participant, then you can go on and organise a workshop yourself in Sheffield or in your home city. Django Girls welcomes everyone who wants to spread the message and support the initiative. If you are curious to find out more have a look here: https://djangogirls.org/

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Posted in Extracurricular, Written by Ellie

My Summer Reads

The academic year is over! This summer has come around so fast, where has the time gone?! However, with no impending deadlines and no course reading to do I am free to read for pleasure once again… and i cannot wait!

So, here are all the books that i cannot wait to read over the next few months and why:

The Circle, Dave Eggers. Image result for the circle dave eggers

Okay, so I have actually already begun reading this novel and I am loving it! Initially, I saw that there was a film coming out called ‘the Circle’ that i thought looked really interesting and was looking forward to the watch. When I learnt that this was based off a book, however, I was desperate to read it, because we all know that the book is always better than the film!

The story is set in an ambiguous near-future, where technology is slightly more advanced than it is today, and social media is at the center of young people’s lives – more so than it is today. Mae, the protagonist, begins working at a huge corporation called The Circle, and although this is deemed the greatest company in the world, things are not all what they seem…

I am so excited to finish this book and then watch the film. The plot seems eerily possible when you consider the directions that technology and social media are heading in at present.

 

The Essex Serpent, Sara Perry

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Well, I know very little of this book, only that it won The Waterstones book of 2016 and that it is set in 1890’s London.

I bought this book after two women in the shop both came up to me imploring me to read it  as I was having a nosy through it. I felt that their passion about the book spoke highly enough for it and i couldn’t resist buying it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

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This read is half for pleasure, and half for studies, but I am going to re-read this fantastic novel because I shall be studying it in September.

I read this book a few years ago, and although parts of it are long and challenging, it is such a worthwhile book to read. The story follows the life of a young boy, who although born into poverty, is left a large fortune by a mystery benefactor. This is a story of coming of age, and tackling the struggles of Victorian high society

 

 

 

 

How to Stop Time, Matt Haig

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I am SO excited to read this book. Matt Haig is a writer who I have loved for a long time now, I found his book The Humans, by complete chance, but i believe that everyone should read it in their lifetime; it gives such an interesting perspective on humanity that really makes you think. Haig has also written many other pieces, one being Reasons to Stay Alive, a memoir that is intended to provide people with mental health struggles, or anyone else, a list (for lack of a better word) of Reasons to stay alive.

How to Stop Time is out in July, and I intend on buying it on the day of it’s release. From what I can gather from the blurb, this book is about an immortal history teacher, who has lived through centuries, changing his identity to stay alive, and living by one rule: to not fall in love.

I am beyond excited to read this book, because I know that Matt Haig is a fantastic writer, who approaches the struggles of life so accurately.

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

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This is another 50/50 pleasure/study book. I have studied parts of Wilde’s plays before, but none of his novels, and I cannot wait to read Dorian Gray.

Having seen the film I know what how the novel pans out – a young man sells his soul to the devil in return for his mortality – but I am excited to come to terms with Wilde’s style of novel writing. Also I’m sure the film missed out some gory details, so I am looking forward to learning the full story within The Picture of Dorian Gray.

So this is my summer reading list. I hope you all find time to do some reading for pleasure in the sunshine, and enjoy everything you read!