Posted in All things 301, Intern advice, student life, Uncategorized, Uni work, Written by Lauryn

Useful apps/programs you probably already have!

There’s so many great programs and apps out there for student life. From studying to organization, there’s a computer program or a phone app for just about everything. However, the prices or subscription fees for these apps aren’t always student-friendly, or maybe that ancient Toshiba laptop isn’t up to running 18 different lots of timetabling software. Luckily for you, there are loads of apps that you probably already have access to (for free!) that are super helpful. I’m Lauryn, and I’m here to show you a few of them in today’s Intern Advice.

iBooks

It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? But for the first year at uni, I bought all my books for my course second-hand. You know what’s cheaper than buying a used copy of A Tale of Two Cities for one week’s worth of classes? Downloading it for free from iBooks. Not only was it super convenient to be able to read on any device I happened to have with me (no more forgetting my books for seminars!) but I could annotate and highlight passages without getting precious about my beautiful hard copies of books. If you do a subject like Literature, Classics, or Philosophy, getting your books on iBooks is a no-brainer. Some of them will cost money, but a lot of the classics are free, and you’ll be surprised by just how many are on there! If you don’t have iBooks, click here for a great list of other places to find free books for your course (and not just for humanities! There’s some great science textbooks on there too!)

a gif of Damon from Vampire Diaries sarcastically saying

OneNote

Welcome to the program that has got me through three years of university. If you have Microsoft Office, you’ll have access to OneNote and it is so deceptively useful. For my degree, I read a lot of webpages and if I printed them all out to annotate them I’d be paying off my loans for my entire life. With OneNote, I can annotate and highlight webpages, make notes on them, and organise all my different pages into their own notebooks so nothing gets lost. If you don’t have Office, SimpleNote is a great free dupe.

Sticky Notes

This one sounds so silly, but you have no idea how many times it’s saved me. I’m notoriously forgetful and often leave books for seminars at home, or remember in the middle of the night that I have a big deadline coming up. The likelihood is, if you’re a student, you’re always on your laptop (and not always for academic reasons – I see you watching Netflix in your study breaks). For me, attaching a sticky note to my desktop reminding me of deadlines, to-do lists, things I need for classes, keeps me from forgetting them. Plus, the pastel colour scheme is just such a strong aesthetic.

YouTube

Keep reading because I have such a life hack for this one.

YouTube is so useful. I use it to listen to audiobooks for class, to watch educational videos (shout out to Crash Course for getting me through not only my GCSEs and A-levels but for explaining basics like poetic meter to me), and to watch demonstrations of techniques I haven’t quite mastered.

Life hack:

Make a separate account for everything work-related. ONLY use it for studying, and switch back to your normal account for procrastination and watching Vine compilations for nostalgia. That way, your academic account’s suggested videos remain primarily educational, meaning you’re less likely to get distracted by that ten-minute clickbait vlog. Plus, you don’t have to sift through hours of revision playlists in your Watch Later to find that random Buzzfeed video you were searching for.

Box of Broadcasts

You might have heard about this from your lecturers.

a gif oCaptain Holt from Brooklyn 99 saying

It’s such a good resource, so it’s getting a mention here too. You’re welcome.

Box of Broadcasts is a great site that allows you to (re)watch and record programmes from over 75 free-to-air channels and search an archive of over 2.2 million broadcasts. It’s a subscription service paid for by the university, so it’s totally free for you to use. All you need to do is sign in with your university information and you’re free to browse. I recommend making separate playlists for work and personal use. For example, I have playlists for documentaries, my dissertation, and one for old movies I like. You can even make clips from the things you watch, label them, and get personalised email alerts about new programmes you might be interested in. For me, making clips is really useful for presentations, as I can show my audience specific parts of a film or TV show without having to scrub through the whole episode or movie to find the specific part. It looks really professional and saves precious time.

LinkedIn Learning

Another one you have access to through the university now. When you think of LinkedIn, you probably think of job-hunting, and frankly that’s moved away from LinkedIn quite a bit now. I tend to look for positions on sites like Indeed or TargetJobs. However, LinkedIn has not said its final hurrah yet. If you watch YouTube, you’ve probably seen sponsorships for things like Lynda.com and SkillShare. LinkedIn Learning is a free alternative for students, jam-packed with thousands of accessible videos and tutorials for learning new skills such as statistical analysis, deductive reasoning, or use it for developing personal skills. For example, I did the course called Time-Tested Methods for Making Complex Decisions, because I’m super indecisive. The video on that course by Maria Konnikova about how to think like Sherlock Holmes was super useful to me, and helped me see new ways of assessing situations.

a gif from Sherlock of Mary with words overlayed to simulate Sherlock deducing things about her. Words appear such as 'clever' and 'liar' in white as the camera zooms in on her face.

Access LinkedIn Learning through MUSE. Go to View All Services then scroll down to LinkedIn Learning to get started right away.

And that’s all the tips I have for you today. In a world where we’re advertised to constantly about the newest program or the most high-tech app, sometimes it’s good to remember that simple and effective is just as good. Plus, it’s a good reminder we should never underestimate the power of Sticky Notes.

Posted in All things 301, Written by Chimmy

301 Study Skills Online

Did you know that you don’t have to go down to 301 to seek help? You can work from the comfort of your room using our study skills online. This online resource is easy to navigate as it is divided into sections which you would find useful at different times in your journey through university. For students fresh into university, the University Study resources are useful starting points to get you settled and ready to take on this new adventure that is University. At any point during your degree, the everyday skills and communication resources are useful as you can only improve on those. As the name of the section implies, skills like time management, reflective practice and even communication are also useful when dealing with situations not directly related to your studies like job applications!

A study resource I have personally found useful is the lecture recordings, all its benefits are extensively covered under the University Study section. Hey now! this is NOT an excuse to ditch lectures but a good one to use during personal study time or revision just as a refresher on what was taught or to go back to that section you might have missed out when checking your phone (yes, you) or even more enthusiastically taking down notes. Given that we are well into the second semester you should be aware of which lectures would be recorded, so take good advantage of this service if it is available to you. 

At some point at university, you will be required to write an essay or a report. The writing section provides an overview of academic writing as well as information on essay structure and planning, report writing and proofreading your work. Those with maths or statics modules are not left out! MASH (as you should hopefully know about by now) is there to help if you run into any kind of problems or if you just need a refresher or help whilst revising for exams. There are online resources on almost every topic and access to additional external resources like mathcentre. 

Fast forward to later in your degree when you start working on your dissertation (or you might have already started working on it) and you need all the help you can get. There is the research section just for this, that talks about effectively planning and completing your dissertation. It also includes top tips and brief descriptions of what each section of the report entails. Additionally, the Research section includes a link that explores PhD study at the university of Sheffield and the various options and opportunities available to you as a PhD student. 

newCheck out our digital workshops on Independent Study, Academic Writing and Maths Anxiety.

All of the skills section includes top tips how to effectively develop the skill. There also links to book on to the workshops where possible or a 1:1 tutorial if you feel like you need more help. Click the image to explore our online study skills resources.

study skills online

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

Final Year: Survival 101

Its all fun and games until you realise you’re only two months away from final exams,  dissertations are due in, and your degree is over. Money is running low, and your social life is pretty much dead by now. Then try balancing your part-time job at the same time. On top of that, you still haven’t found a grad job whilst it seems like everyone else has?! Stress is inevitable but all-nighters and a last minute cry can easily be avoided by following these simple steps! So first tip: Don’t panic!!!

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1. Get a planner.

Organisation is key. So plan your week ahead so that you make sure you make the most out of your time, it’s SO easy to fall into the habit of binging on Netflix until 3am…  Set reminders, to-do lists, schedule your study sessions, invest in folders, highlighters, notecards… you name it. Any excuse is good to buy new stationery anyway.

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2. Healthy habits

Set yourself a routine. Start early, stay healthy,  work-out and get an 8-hour sleep. Avoid all-nighters and takeaways. We’ve all done it, yeah. But staying consistent with your sleep and diet will make a HUGE difference. And it will save you so many p’s. Having your meals at the same time each day will give you a sense of routine and productivity. Make sure you feel rested and healthy so you can stay on top of your uni work. ~A healthy body is a healthy mind~ remember that.

 

3. Get away from distractions.

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Social media can be great but we all know how distracting and toxic it can be when it comes to getting stuff done. So turn sound and notifications off from your phone, put it away in a drawer, and avoid opening the Facebook tab on your computer..

4. Socialise

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Balance is sooo important. Avoid locking yourself in your room for hours on end. Don’t forget to socialise and still make time for your friends, go out for a coffee or a drink once in a while. There’s always time for a cheeky night out. Just make sure you do it in moderation and you can still get work done on the next day.

5. Relax

Self-care and stress relief are essential if you’re going to avoid burnout.  Light up a candle, listen to music, go out for a nice meal.  Allow yourself to switch-off and zone out for a bit. Don’t feel bad about taking a night off. Do things that make you feel good. Do things you enjoy. Have fun. At the end of the day, you are in your prime so tick everything off your uni bucket-list while you can!

If you want to find out more about time management and other study skills, head to our 301 website to explore our online resouces or to book into one of our workshops!

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

Pretty Fly For a Shy Guy: Overcoming Shyness

I’ve been ‘shy’ for as long as I can remember – or if not shy then awkward. I’m Lauryn, one of the 301 interns, and I have some conditions that mean I find group work and presentations hard; namely, I’m autistic and a variety of anxiety diagnoses. However, since coming to university, I’ve learnt how to make those things work to my advantage and have found a new love I never thought I would do voluntarily: presenting.

That’s right, in just two short years I went from a fear of public speaking to making it something I’m paid for, and here’s how I did it.

Talking to tutors and lecturers

You’d be surprised just how many of your lecturers have stage fright. The important thing isn’t getting rid of the fear, but learning to manage it. Though some of your tutors might find lecturing nerve-wracking, they do it because they’re passionate about their subject. Get in contact with your personal tutor and explain your situation, or email a lecturer you think is really brilliant at commanding a room for their advice – you’ll probably make their day, and you might be surprised how much advice they have to offer. It is their job, after all!

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Photo ID: A gif of a man giving a TED talk asking “How many people here think about orcs?” It pans to the audience to show one enthusiastic man. (From the show House of Lies) [end ID]

Conference buddies

I started my public speaking by diving in at the deep end and doing conferences. Whether you’re presenting or not, they’re a brilliant way of building your confidence. If you’re presenting, they’re a warm and encouraging place for academic exploration and if you’re just watching, you get to observe some truly excellent speakers doing their thing (and maybe pick up some tips!). Many conferences have buddy systems, where a first-timer can be matched with a seasoned pro. These are super helpful because you can get insider knowledge from people who know the conference scene and can introduce you to other people in your field of interest.

Build your way up

I say I jumped in at the deep end by doing conferences, but not all conferences are

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Photo ID: gif of a man saying “Why don’t we take this one step at a time?” (From the show Schitt’s Creek). [end ID]
created equal. For example, if you’re wanting to start small the Student Research Festival is a great one. Click here to find a list of some undergraduate conferences around UoS. These are all great ones to start with as they’re aimed at undergraduates and newbies to conferences. Some of them also have prizes which are brilliant encouragement and motivation. Outside of these, the Fantastic! Conference is a super warm and friendly event (and the place I built up most of my mutuals on academic Twitter). They haven’t got a date for their 2020 conference yet, but follow them here for information when it arrives.

 

301 workshops

You were waiting for this, right? What kind of intern would I be if I didn’t plug our services? All joking aside, 301 really did help me with my confidence, even before I worked here. In my first year, I had to give a seminar and I was sooo scared. I came down to 301 and the team here helped me develop a plan on how to prepare for the seminar. They gave me handouts on presentation skills and how to work in a group, showed me how to book onto some workshops, and recommended ones they thought would be of most help (‘Planning and Delivering Presentations’ and ‘Assessed Group Work: Strategies for Success’ if you’re curious). You can book onto our workshops here and start your path to confidence!

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Photo ID: a gif of many people clapping [end ID]

So there you go! That’s how I went from a shy wallflower to someone who does public speaking for fun (I know just that sentence will make some people laugh with how fake it sounds that anyone could like public speaking). What’s important though is that my fear hasn’t completely gone away. I know I’ll most likely have a panic attack before I talk, and that I won’t be able to stay for too long afterwards because I’ll have so much adrenaline, but I can do it and I really enjoy it despite the nerves. Two years ago, I couldn’t even talk in seminars without my voice shaking. A few months ago I won an award for best paper at a conference. It’s possible – and I believe 100% that you can do it too.

 

Lauryn

 

Posted in All things 301, Written by Chimmy

Workshop Experience – Critical Thinking and Writing

Before we get into it, I think it’s fair to say that students seem to be tired of the “general icebreakers” that we are encouraged to get involved in at the start of workshops and/or seminars. One of the participants in my workshop straight up rolled their eyes when we were asked to introduce ourselves and all that. However repetitive, I guess we can also agree that it kind of works to get the conversation going even though you are most likely not going to remember the name of the person sitting next to you once they are done talking.

a gif of Selena Gomez on the Ellen Show. She holds her hands up and says "I'm just sayin'"

Why this workshop?

The final submission for my research project is a comprehensive report of my findings and writing critically is important if I want to produce a high standard report. I hear that some people receive feedback on their work saying they were not “critical enough”.

The Workshop

It was a very interactive session, which was good because I learnt from other students – the instructor doesn’t always have all the answers. I developed more understanding of what critical thinking was and its role in academic work. For example, in terms of using a source, thinking and writing critically means that you are not just taking what you read at face value but questioning those findings like when was it published? And by who? Is this a viable source of information? Does other evidence support or contradict it? The answers to these questions will vary in relation to the focus of your work.

The workshop also covered how Bloom’s taxonomy can be applied to critical thinking, which broke it down into the steps making it easier to apply to my writing. Bloom’s taxonomy also showed that although it is necessary to give a critical analysis, descriptive writing is also as important. Therefore, the right balance of these two is required for a good report. Another aspect of critical writing I was introduced to was synthesis, which covers the flow of your analysis of an evidence. The instructors also suggested an online resource that we could use as a further guidance to help us be critical in our writing.

I definitely found this workshop very useful and I have started applying it to writing my literature review. The knowledge from the workshop is also applicable to any piece of academic writing, like an essay, it doesn’t have to be a final year report. I would recommend this workshop if you have received feedback about lack of criticality in your work or if you just want to improve the general quality of your work. There is a wealth of information that can be obtained from this workshop including the surrounding features of being critical like being cautious, which was brought up initially by a comment from a fellow student in my session (again showing how participants can direct the conversation). Therefore, I would also advise that you should actively engage and be part of the conversation if you do attend the session, this would increase the benefit you and other participants get out of the workshop.

I’ll not spoil it any further, you can sign up here for upcoming sessions if you are interested to find out more. P.S. sessions fill up quite quickly so might want to save yourself a spot. Thank me later! 🙂