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/