Posted in Intern advice, Written by Laura

Delivering a presentation

Standing in front of an audience and delivering a presentation correctly is crucial at university, especially in some fields of academic study like languages or business studies. Especially language oral presentations – you can’t escape them. It’s also very common in a working environment. Whether it’s formal or informal, in front of teachers, colleagues or classmates, Its a nerve-wracking experience.

As a music and languages student, I’m used to have to deliver presentations quite regularly. I’ve done so many over the years and I can safely say I am horrified by them. I freak out. Every. Single. Time. However I can also say that despite being an overly anxious person I’ve got so much better lately. So here you go, 5 top tips to overcome the fear and succeed as a great public speaker.

Practice

Practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the better it will go. Practice until you can’t get it wrong. Preparation is key if you want to avoid nerves and be as comfortable and confident as possible on the day. Nerves and anxiety can really affect your performance and will hinder your self-confidence and might make you panic and forget your speech. But with practice, you’ll deliver the same information even if it’s not with the same words. Also, this will give you an idea of how much time you have to deliver your speech if you have a time limit.

 

Don’t script it

Preparing the whole script and reading it word to word will make it sound like you’re reading it. Instead, make bullet points to remember the key main points in yconfused stephen colbert GIF by The Late Show With Stephen Colbertour presentation. You can also use a stack of cards to structure your speech in different sections. This might make things easier to remember in case the anxiety kicks in and you blank out.

 

Structuring

Always structure your speeches. Start by an introduction, the content and a conclusion. This will make your speech make sense and will help people follow what you’re saying and have a clear idea of where your argument is going. This will also help you to keep track of what you’re trying to communicate and where you are in your speech. At the end, make sure to wrap up with a clear conclusion and give the audience a take home message.

 

And remember…

They don’t want you to fail

One of the biggest fears when public speaking is the fear of how the audience is going to view you. It’s crucial to understand that people in the audience want you to succeed – no one will throw rotten food at you if you make a mistake! People that are interested on your topic will root for you so remember this to avoid any unnecessary nerves.

On the other hand, if you happen to see anyone looking around because they’re bored and they’d rather be somewhere else, don’t let that bother you. They’re not listening in the first place, so whatever you do or say won’t affect them that much – meaning their opinions of you don’t matter.

Before starting, take a deep breath, relax your body and tell yourself it’s going to go well. At the end of the day, we’re all humans and we all know what performance anxiety is – people will understand if you make a mistake! So don’t worry too much.

301 offers a workshop on Planning and Delivering Presentations,as well as online resouces that will help you thrive as a public speaker!

Posted in All things 301, student life, Uni work, Written by Sanchari

Gradients of the Galaxy

Have you ever been really anxious before a Maths exam? Have you ever felt like not being completely prepared for a particular exam because you were unsure of how you’d perform in the maths or statistics section? If so, then all your problems have a one stop solution for you to become an X-pert in Maths and Statistics.

A gif of a man with one finger up. He is saying 'I have several questions'.

Where can you get help?

The University of Sheffield has a dedicated support service known as MASH (Maths and Statistics Help) at 301 Academic Skills Centre that conducts workshops throughout the year to help students improve their skills on Maths and Statistics. MASH workshops are HEAR accredited and attendance in these sessions can help you achieve an Academic Skills Certificate.

A graphic of the 301 logo. It says '301 Student Skills and Development Centre' and is surrounded by smaller graphics such as a pencil, a clock, and a magnifying glass.

What is an Academic Skills Certificate?

You have to attend at least 4 sessions in order to be eligible for the certificate. This certificate would not just be a good addition to your CV but would also reflect
how determined you are to enhance your skills and get the best out of your University experience. This would automatically enhance your academic and employability skills and boost your personal development.

How to achieve an Academic Skills Certificate?

To qualify for the Academic Skills Certificate, you need to:

  • Complete the 301 Skills Audit
  • Participate in a minimum of four workshops during the academic year
  • Select from 301 Study Skills, Maths and Statistics Help and Library Information and Digital Literacy workshops
  • Complete a 2,500 word piece of reflective writing (500 words on each workshop you attended and a 500 word overall summary) and submit online

Where do the sessions take place?

The sessions usually take place at 301 Academic Skills Centre at Glossop Road right opposite to Bar One entrance.

The image shows a zoomed-in section of a map, showing that 301 is directly opposite the Student's Union on Glossop Road. Beside it is a photo of the outside of 301, which has a ca

How will it help me?

The maths and statistics lessons covered is generally useful if you’re struggling to cope with those aspects in your course. These workshops are intended to help bring you up to speed and to help reduce the anxiety you feel before taking a maths or statistics exam. There are workshops specifically dedicated to overcome maths and statistics anxiety which is really useful if you want to learn new strategies on how to take your exams properly and effectively.

There are various ways as to how you can get help from MASH:

What will I gain out of it?

There are numerical reasoning workshops too which is also useful for students who are applying for placements or summer internships since a lot of companies ask the candidate to take online tests which involves numerical reasoning. There are a lot of external resources which you can use in order to further improve your knowledge in maths and statistics.
Basically, these workshops will help you become a Sumdog Millionaire!

a gif of a baby leopard lowering its paw with the words 'dude, chill. Just chill' flashing up as if the leopard is saying it and motioning the reader to calm down.

Okay, I will stop with my puns now but you get the point. If you have any problems regarding maths and statistics or if you know your friend is struggling with those things, just don’t hesitate to come to MASH for help!
For more details, here is the link of their website: MASH it out

Hope this was helpful.

Lots of love,
Sanchari

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

THE RETURN TO UNIVERSITY – AFTER A YEAR IN INDUSTRY

I am so excited to talk endlessly about my Year in Industry experience.

a gif of a woman in a lab coat. She's smiling and raises her arms in the air as if she is celebrating.

Don’t worry I won’t bore you, I just want to share the changes I have noticed since returning back to uni.

I decided to do a placement year as it would improve my employment prospects when looking for a graduate job. Also, after 3rd year in Chemical Engineering I was about ready to take a break from university but it would have been a lot trickier to take a gap year as an international student so a placement year sounded all the more appealing.  At the time I thought to myself – it probably wasn’t going to be easy (which it wasn’t!) but it would definitely be a change from uni. With the whole application process, I finally landed myself a placement in March and I was overjoyed to say the least.

Fast forward to returning to uni, I was excited to come back to no 6 am wake up or weekly meal prep, little did I know that things had changed forever. After my short summer break, getting back into uni life was slow but it felt weird to stay in bed all morning while I run through all I needed to do in my head. The 1-hour slot between lectures that was useless before became precious time because I came to understand what could be accomplished in that little time that always seemed to fly by. I still do suffer a bit from procrastination (so does every student, I hear) but I am so much more proactive.

What is my point? You ask….

As much as I got tired of the daily routine of full-time job over and over and over again, I gained more appreciation of time and in the context of university – a study/social balance if you use your time wisely. I mean maybe it might have to do with being in my final year and having a research project that will literally eat you alive if you sit on it for too long but I am grateful to have this extra drive to get things done!

If you are considering a placement for any reason at all, I do encourage it because worst case scenario you get to find out what you like and don’t like in a professional environment or in the actual work you have to carry out. And we all know the first step to getting this placement is APPLY, APPLY, APPLY.

A gif of Kermit the Frog from the Muppets. He is sat in front of an old-fashioned typewriter in a messy office, slamming his hands frantically on the keys as if typing in panic.

One of the things I struggled with when applying was balancing my course work with putting in those applications, if you struggle with this, you are in luck! – 301 offers a Managing Your Time workshop that can help you with this and additionally help with beating procrastination and managing course deadlines. Also, if you are required to deliver a presentation at any point during the application process, we offer a Planning and Delivering Presentation workshop that can help you excel. Check our website for more information and sign up and start piling those offers!

 

Posted in Intern advice, Uni work

How to finish your essay with grace and dignity

The answer? Proofread. Proofread. And Proofread again.

 

Hi everyone, my name is Lingbo and I’m a third-year Archaeology student. You may be laughing at this blog right now – grace? Proofread when it’s 20 minutes before the submission deadline? Well, let me share with you what happened that one time I didn’t check my essay after I finished.

Imagine this.

It’s 4 am. You are the last person on the 3rd floor of Diamond. Coffee has stopped working a long time ago. You typed in the last word of the conclusion. You look like a zombie. You just want to go home.

So, against better judgement (because your brain can no longer function), you used Microsoft Word’s spellchecker and skimmed through your essay once. You aren’t registering the words on the screen, but you submitted the file on Turnitin anyway.

This, my friends, is how the first sentence of my essay ended up using the word ‘erogenous’ instead of ‘endogenous’. And I only found out when, to my great horror, my teacher posted it on Facebook.

 

I hope this serves as a lesson on the importance of proofreading. No matter how tired you are, no matter how late, you MUST check your writing for errors and mistakes. Look for typos, grammatical errors, unnecessary commas and incorrect citations. Small details matter! It’s easy to overlook these mistakes because your eyes and brain know what they expect to find, and the time pressure certainly makes it more difficult. You can use apps such as Grammarly to help you, which automatically highlights spelling and grammar mistakes, and also makes recommendations on tone and vocabulary choice. Sure, it still won’t be perfect, but you will finish your work knowing that you’ve done everything you can to make it ‘good enough’.

For those who don’t leave everything until the last minute, always try to leave some time between finishing your work and proofreading it. This way the text will seem less familiar, and you are more likely to find the errors. Try reading your work out loud, or put it in Google Translate and play the audio. The most important things to check are:

  1. Sentence structure: Is it complete? Are there too many long sentences in one paragraph?
  2. Word usage: Is the word suitable for a piece of formal, academic writing? Is it the correct word? Have you repeated the same word/phrase too many times?
  3. Agreement: Keep verb tenses consistent. Be sure pronouns agree in number (singular/plural), same goes for subjects and verbs.
  4. Punctuation: Did you use the correct punctuation at the end of each sentence? Is there supposed to be a comma somewhere?
  5. Spelling and capitalisation: Avoid casual spelling and check for careless spelling errors. Eliminate unnecessary capitals.

 

If you want to improve your proofreading skills, take a look at these resources:

Come visit us at 301 Glossop Road to pick up the Editing and Proofreading guide!

 

Posted in All things 301, Intern advice, Uncategorized, Written by Lauryn

Making 301 Work For You as a Disabled Student

You’ve survived the first month of uni (almost) – hooray! However, for some students with a disability, settling in might be a longer process. Not only that, but some of the course demands can feel quite threatening: presentations may strike dread, the idea of having to make own schedule could be nerve-wracking, and taking notes in lectures can be overwhelming. I’m Lauryn, a new 301 intern, and I’m here to give you my tips and tricks as an autistic student who has survived first and second year.

You at the end of working with 301:

Image result for presentation gif
Photo ID: a gif of a man. He is giving a presentation and waves two large colourful flags, dancing happily

Sometimes, studying with a disability can be really tough. For me, having autism and anxiety means that presentations and time management can be difficult. The 301 Study Skills tutorials are a great way to tackle the things that come as a challenge and become a pro at them. In a 30 minute 1:1 discussion with a specialist from 301, you can develop your skills in any area of academic life that you find tricky and find ways to make it easier.

Image result for highlight the important parts meme
Photo ID: A meme showing a photo of someone highlighting everything on a page with the caption “Teacher says highlight only the important parts”

A lot of the time, advice is given in one-size-fits-all approaches, assuming everyone will benefit from learning the same strategies and techniques. However, being autistic, I’ve found that a lot of these don’t work for me. Generic suggestions like ‘only take notes on what’s important’ in lectures doesn’t work for me – everything seems important! Study Skills tutorials will offer more personalised advice suited to you as an individual. For me, this was about deciding just how to prioritise my workload and classes so as not to drain my social battery too much and managing how I worked around times of high stress like exams.

 

More so, Study Skills tutorials are great for developing confidence. It isn’t about highlighting what you aren’t as good at, but about using the ways you work well to frame how you can change your academic approach. If you struggle with focus, but are very good at sticking to a schedule, your advisor can help you use that strength to combat the thing you find tricky. The positive attitude fostered in the tutorials will make sure that by the end of the session, you’re sure you can achieve whatever it is you came in for help with. That presentation you have to give? You’re going to nail it. That essay? Prepared for way in advance.

Coming from someone who used to struggle presenting who now goes to conferences around Sheffield and presents on my research, the Study Skills tutorials have improved my confidence so much. I now have the skills, and the belief in myself, to take myself out of my comfort zone. The skills you learn in a tutorial are applicable in every area of life, so what have you got to lose? Sign up today, and get ready to see those Firsts rolling in.

All of us at 301 cheering you on:

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Photo ID: a gif of  comedian John Mulaney saying “yes” and pointing