Posted in All things 301, Written by Ellie

Being a 301 Intern is the Best Job I have had at Uni!

So there are currently four 301 Intern positions open for next year, and I’m sure that means that there are plenty of people looking at our blog to get some extra info about the role. Well, you have come to the right place, because I am going to share with you why this role is the best role I have undertaken during my three years at uni.

301 is a great environment.

It usually helps to like where you work and like the people that work there too! Well, I haven’t worked in a nicer place. Everybody here is friendly, driven and consequently, fantastic to work with. You can really tell that the people at 301 love what they do, which is something crucial to an environment where you enjoy working!

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Cake!

In correlation to my first point, there always seems to be cake, for all to share, in the office! Doesn’t get much better than that, eh?

You get to engage with students and staff.

Throughout this role, you engage with many different people from the university, many of whom you would likely not have contact with usually! The role gives you the satisfaction that you are a part of a department that really makes a difference to the people that use it.

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You learn skills that employers are looking for.

Whilst working here you learn: customer service, organisational, communication, and administrative skills. These skills are so helpful when looking for a full time job after graduation, and gaining experience in them whilst at uni can make you a top candidate.

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You can achieve the Academic Skills Certificate

This is a HEAR recognised award that you can achieve by attending four workshops. The 301 Academic Skills Certificate acknowledges your commitment to enhancing your academic and employability skills and personal development.

Good hours

Either taking on 2 x 3 hour shifts, or 1 x 4 hour shift per week means you are earning money, but not taking time out of your studies to do so!

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I cannot recommend highly enough applying for these positions, because there is not one negative aspect of the intern role!

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Posted in All things 301, Written by Katie

British Conference of Undergraduate Research

You may have seen a lot of references to BCUR on our twitter page recently and this blog will explain why. This year, the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) is coming to Sheffield. I hadn’t heard of BCUR before this year but it is a fantastic scheme and I would encourage other students to take part. I’ve created this blog to answer the 5w’s in the hope that you will consider applying next year.

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Who can take part in BCUR?

Undergraduate students in any discipline taught in Higher Education can share their work in BCUR.

What is BCUR?

It is a conference to promote undergraduate research in all disciplines so no matter what you study, you can take part. Your course may have opportunities to develop your own research which you could use. Our 301 Intern Sophie submitted her undergraduate dissertation and you could do the same if you have a dissertation. This is also a slightly smaller commitment than the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) scheme which takes place over the summer for penultimate year students. Therefore, BCUR is a better alternative if you have an internship planned over the summer.

Where is it and where can I find out more?

The conference takes place in a different university each year. This year is Sheffield University but next year it will be at the University of South Wales. BCUR have their own website with lots of information: http://www.bcur.org/

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When is it?

BCUR takes place in April each year. This week is BCUR here in Sheffield and next year it will be 15th and 16th April.

Why should I apply?

Undergraduate research is always an interesting thing to talk about in job interviews and looks impressive on your CV. It also means you can contribute to the research in your discipline whatever that may be. It is also an opportunity to share your work on a national scale and to interact with other students.

 

 

Posted in All things 301, student life, Written by Britt

How to deal with leaving Uni *sob*

Leaving Uni can be a difficult experience. Although we’ve only just started the Spring semester, I’ve already been emailed regarding registering for Graduation and the thought of leaving Uni is a very sad one for me! However, I’m trying to think positively, so here are some of my tips in case you have been feeling the same.

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Keep in touch with friends

I’ve made some truly amazing friends at uni and I know that we will be friends for a long time. In our society we have so many ways to keep in touch with people, such as Skype, Facebook etc. This means that even if your friends are at the other side of the country (or the world!) then you can still be central in each other’s lives. Also, these people are going through the same experience as you so you can rely on them to help you through it!

Don’t be afraid of change

Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Although it may seem scary at first, there are so many opportunities available to you and you should really try and seek these out. Whether you want to get a job, undertake postgraduate study or simply go travelling in an attempt to figure out what on earth you want to do with your life, you are encountering exciting changes that will help to shape your future.

Establish a routine early on

Try not to fall into the cycle of doing nothing. In a situation like this where everything is changing (see the above point), it’s important to establish a daily routine and keep yourself busy.

Do something fun in the summer!

After Graduation it would be great to meet up with friends and do something fun together. You could go to a festival, go on holiday or go to their hometown for the weekend if they’re from a different area! You deserve a break after your years of hard work at uni!

These are just a few tips but I’m sure there are many other ways in which you can get through the process of leaving Uni if you’re worried about it! Remember, Graduation is a day of celebration and it can only lead to more exciting things!

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

Exam Revision

IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!! My favourite and least favourite part of the year all in one. Whilst the decorations are fantastic and you get to spend time with family, it has also been a time for  important exams for the past 7 years of my life. So what are my top tips for balancing Christmas celebrations and revision?

Take a break

It is called the Christmas holidays for a reason. Take some time to chill with friends and family. Admittedly, I have never done this before this year. Exam stress gets in the way of taking a break. This year however I am taking off two weeks off in the hope I get back to my studies refreshed.

 Do all your reading before you leave uni for Christmas

I have friends who stay until Christmas eve which is actually a great idea. You can use the books you need in the library and catch up on any reading you have outstanding. This means you don’t need to lug heavy textbooks on the train home. It also means you won’t need to study too hard over the break (see point 1).

 Get colourful

I write all my notes in colours, it makes them easier to read as the black on the white is quite harsh on your eyes. You can also make colourful revision cards.

Make things memorable

Add drawings to your notes and revision cards. You don’t need to be Picasso, they can be simple drawings that relate to what you are trying to remember. For example there is a contract law case that every law student in the country knows called Donohugh v Stevenson. It’s about a woman who got sick drinking ginger beer as it had a decapitated snail in it. Guess what I drew on that revision card? Ginger beer and a snail.

Mind maps

Okay trust me with this one, you may think you need too much detail for mind maps but if a law student can fit enough detail on a mind map so can you. I do one per topic (sometimes two if it is really detailed) and add the case names from my revision cards. Then I keep re-drawing them adding the things I missed in red. After 5 or 6 goes I’ve remembered it. I also say everything relevant from the revision card out loud and check over it if I can’t remember. You can even buy whiteboard paper that sticks to your wall via static leaving no marks behind so your not wasting paper- it’s on amazon.

Posted in All things 301, Uncategorized, Written by Britt

Get off to a good start – brush up on your study skills!

The summer break is pretty long and once September comes I often find myself feeling a little unprepared for the year ahead. For me, it takes a while to get back into the swing of writing essays, reading literary criticism and contributing to seminar discussions.

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A great way to positively start your academic year is to brush up on your study skills with our workshops here at 301. Whether you’re a first year or third year, it’s likely everyone feels slightly rusty!  I found the workshops really helpful in developing my writing skills as they provided key hints and tips related to essay structure – something that I found particularly difficult to grasp during my first year.

We have a number of workshops coming up, all focused on different study skills – you simply choose the ones that suit your needs! Examples include Speed Reading, Time Management, Note Taking, Presentation Skills and Mind Mapping (and these are just some of the options we have!).

Also, it’s worth noting that attendance at the workshops is recognised by the university under The Academic Skills Certificate. You are simply asked to reflect upon your experience at each of the workshops in a 2,500 word reflective piece. This goes on your HEAR and can be used as evidence of extra-curricular participation – which almost always comes in handy for job interviews!

To book, simply go to our homepage at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301. It’s completely free!

 

 

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

Should I Write A Dissertation?!

So it’s the time of year where everything seems to be coming to a huge climax. Exams are looming near, course-work is due in soon and those of us who are coming back in September have to start making plans for our next year of academia. I am currently coming to the end of my second year, so in the midst of all the madness happening around me, I have to make a huge decision: Should I write a dissertation?!

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My department is asking us to have our dissertation proposals in by the end of this month, meaning I have not got long to make my decision as to whether I will do a dissertation or not. In my opinion, writing a dissertation is something you will only ever get the chance to do once – unless you go onto postgraduate study – therefore, would it not be best to just grab the opportunity that you have been presented with? However, it is an extremely daunting task, having to find something that can motivate you enough to put hours upon hours of time and energy into – 10,000 words is a lot!

Here is the list of pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

A research project you are passionate about. It is easy to get lost, or alternatively to never get sufficiently lost and remain too superficial in your essay.
The opportunity to develop an interest studied in little detail on your degree. Not good if you struggle with deadlines.
The chance to develop your writing style and the ways in which you can structure extended essays. Essays of this length can be difficult to structure.
Good preparation for the MA or potential PhD. It can be hard to manage the number of sources you have read. Or find a sufficiently exciting thesis (argument you are making)
Your grades can go up. Your grades can go down.
Independent means no one will be making sure you are working consistently  

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Things that have helped in my contemplation’s have been the knowledge that there will be plenty of support available to me if I do chose to take on a dissertation.

Most departments will provide a supervisor, who can read drafts and evaluate my work and offer feedback on ideas.

The 301 is readily available with many workshops that will help with dissertation writing, such as: Dissertation Planning, Academic Writing, Proofreading, Searching for Researching and many more.

In my journey of contemplation I have been reassured that once in the swing of writing my dissertation, my biggest worry will be having too much to say and therefore feeling restricted by the word count.

It seems, at the end of the day, it has to be a personal decision, you need to take into account whether you think you are capable or not to work independently, and whether you are passionate enough about the research project to delve so deep into that topic.

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Posted in All things 301, Written by Maddie

Why sign up for the Academic Skills Certificate?

The Academic Skills Certificate is a way to enhance your skills, to show you are productive and to do something beyond your degree!

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The initiative started by 301 gives you the chance to use and reflect on all the knowledge  you have gathered from the workshops offered by us, that you’ve attended and gain recognition for it!

All you need to do is go at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/asc and fill in the registration form. Once you have done that, you can either attend 4 Academic, Information or Maths and Statistics workshops or use some of the ones you have already attended during the 16/17 academic year, write a reflective piece that will be assessed by the 301 staff members and you are done! Easy peasy!

But if this is not enough to convince you to register, here are some of the reasons why I think the Academic Skills Certificate is one of the most useful things I’ve done while at university:

  1. It gives you an incentive to attend workshops that will probably help you improve your study skills.

If you are an international student  or are just unsure of what is expected of you while at university, the Academic Skills workshops are a fantastic source of information. But, if you are a bit like me and find it hard to get out of bed sometimes because those 5 more minutes of sleep are so precious, then you will find it hard to actually attend all the things you have signed up for. Having registered for the Academic Skills Certificate will give you that extra push to attend the events, as you know that now you are striving to achieve something tangible!

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  1. It gives you a chance to fully engage with the content.

We have all been in a situation where we‘ve attended an event and took loads of notes because it was incredibly useful and then never looked at the notes again…. Ever… maybe even lost the notepad.That doesn’t seem very productive…

Because you will have to write a reflective piece on every of the workshops you’ve attended, you will have to turn your room upside down and find that notepad you took notes on and actually reflect on what you think were the most useful parts and even try to put them in practice. You’re welcome!

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  1. It shows you are proactive!

We are quite fortunate to have a university and a students union that has an activity for everything and anything. This can also be a bit overwhelming as you don’t really know where to go and what to choose. The Academic Skills Certificate is a particularly good activity to start with, as it helps you with your studies and because it can also go on your HEAR and Sheffield Graduate Award, which will ensure that your proactivity is showcases to employers too!

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And here you have it! Some of the things that I think make this initiative particularly useful to students that decide to sign up for it.

If you want to find more about it why not go for it yourself? The deadline for submission is coming up on the 26th of May for undergrads and 30th of June for postgrads so hurry up! There is still plenty of time for you to attend some of our workshops in preparation for your exams! Here is the link again: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/asc

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

Getting back into the swing of things- revision back at Uni!

The theory goes that after a 3 week break you should be full of life and ready to revise, submit assignments and get straight back into the swing in of the final semester. But any student or former student knows that this is not really the case, the first week back is often a bit of a nightmare. Most likely the Easter break was a mix of gorging on chocolate, doing less revision than planned, catching up with ‘home friends’ and perhaps even having a mini holiday abroad. Or it may be that swamped in deadlines you didn’t really have a real break at all.

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With that in mind here are some tips from me to you on how to get those creative juices running and maximise the revision time that’s left and get back into the swing of things, with a focus on wellbeing.

  • Get some exercise. Be it a stroll around Weston Park, a half day in the Peaks or trip to the gym. Exercise has been shown to help lower stress levels and refresh your mind.

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  • Get a good sleeping pattern. Aim for around 8 hours each day, and tailor around your schedule and preferences to be an early bird or night owl. To enable this to actually happen you want to avoid screens for about an hour before you want to sleep and avoid caffeinated drinks after dinner.

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  • Put down the highlighter. A controversial opinion but some research indicates that the go-to stationary item may be less effective than thought, isolating instead of connecting information.

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  • Ditch the phone. If you’re anything like me having your phone on the desk is a distraction in itself, you want to check your messages, twitter, instagram and before you know it FOMO has kicked in and half an hour is gone. There are loads of great distraction minimising apps available (check the end of this post) if having your phone in another room is too much.

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  • Take proper breaks. Not ‘fake breaks’ that consist of eating and reading slightly slower or going to the toilet. In my opinion a proper break needs to be at least 20 minutes long and should occur every 40-90 minutes depending on what you’re doing. Think of all the things you can do; catch up on your favourite tv, crazy dance to Beyonce, have a catch up with a friend the possibilities are endless. (Just don’t let it go on too long).

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  • Don’t compete with other people. This can happen all too easily as the conversation moves on to revision, who cares if they’ve done 5 hours already or spent all night in the IC. You don’t know how effective it really was and everyone is different.

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Good luck with that revision!

Top distraction avoidance (free) apps:

  • Freedom.
  • Flipd.
  • Focus keeper.
  • Power Focus.
  • Study break.