Posted in Intern advice, Written by Sophie

Dealing with rejection (it’s not as bad as it sounds!)

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Recently I had to deal with the fact that I will not be going on to work for a £22k graduate job after interviewing (*sob*), but I’ve learnt that it’s totally fine. The feeling when you find out is, admittedly, difficult at first, and it’s hard not to think that all of the preparation was for nothing. After a bit of self-reflection, I’ve learnt that (1) it’s okay to not be okay about something, and (2) whatever the outcome of something, you can grow from it.

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Emma Blakey at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (Twitter: @EmBlakey), who is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology here at Sheffield. She reminded me that rejection is a common part of life, and it’s completely normal to experience it throughout your student life and career. To prove it, she asked us to google ‘CV of failures’ – a professor at Princeton, Johannes Haushofer, had started a movement by uploading a CV documenting his failures throughout his academic career. It’s actually incredibly inspiring to see a successful professor list failures and be proud of them, because otherwise, you wouldn’t be where you are today. An excellent quote can be taken from Johanne’s document: “Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible”.

When everyone else around you seems to be getting on so well with their lives, completing milestone after milestone, it’s difficult to see the underlying failures that we’ve all been through. The failures often outweigh the successes, but it’s only the successes that shine through. However, it’s important to be proud of what you’ve been through, and to acknowledge what you’ve gained from failing, or being rejected.

I left the interview knowing I wasn’t going to get it. Perhaps in my head I had prepared for the blow, but either way, rejection does not have to set you back. What did I learn? I learnt that working with children is probably not the right path for me, and I learnt that (maybe) performing a role-play isn’t a great representation of what I can actually do. I learnt that interviews are not good on the hottest day of the year so far and I learnt that it doesn’t matter if your hand is clammy when shaking the interviewers hand. I also learnt that applying for jobs in the midst of completing a Masters course and having two part-time jobs is probably not the best thing for me right now – I will have time to do it eventually!

Rejection is hard, but everyone goes through it in all walks of life. All we can do is reflect on it (no matter how trivial the reflection may be, as above!), and be kind to everyone!

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Posted in Intern advice, Uni work, Written by Katie

Making the most of Easter!

Easter has come both too early (as exams are around the corner) and too late (as we all need a good break)! This is the time to start preparing for exams and having some well-deserved relaxation. This guide will help you make the most of your break.

Come into 301!

Okay, this may not be the first thing on your list over Easter but trust me it is a good tip. We have handouts on our carousel in reception for all things study skills including exam revision planning, mind maps and exam technique.

Library

Create a Balance

We have 3 weeks off over Easter so I try to plan my time so that I take one week off, one week to catch up on work and one week to get ahead and prepare for exams.

Time off

This semester has been tough with the stress of the strikes and extra-curricular activities so you need to take some time off! This can be easier said than done but you don’t want to burn out before exams hit, especially considering these are final exams for a lot of us. See your family and take long walks with your dog. Appreciate the little things before having to get back into the swing of university.

*I had to include more than one photo because these dogs are too cute!

Catch Up

I mean this in many ways: catch up on sleep and catch up with friends and family but most importantly catch up with any missed classes. I must admit, I’m a typical student and fall into the trap of not attending lectures whilst telling myself I’ll catch up tomorrow (which I never do). Then I skip other classes to catch up with my missed classes. It now means I have around 12 hours of lecture recordings to catch up on. You don’t want to start the next half of the semester with last semesters work hanging over you so do it now.

Get Ahead

This is the perfect opportunity to also get ahead for next semester and ensure you have done the reading in advance. This will really take the pressure off when you are doing exam revision and is my top tip for the Easter break! Be careful not to over-do it. You also need to follow my tip above about taking a break to avoid burning out.

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Revision Plans

Get a solid plan in place as soon as possible for revision because in the Summer exams come around very quickly once teaching has ended. You can use getrevising.com to make a study planner where you enter each module along with all of your commitments and it makes a plan for you. If you have any other time available, make sure to start making revision resources.  This can be in the form of revision cards, mind maps or whatever works best for you.

Posted in Intern advice, student life, Written by Sophie

Funding your Postgraduate Degree!

If you’ve applied for a postgraduate degree, you might be thinking about how you are going to fund it. The funding avenues are very different to those at undergraduate level, and it is important to know what sources of funding would be appropriate for you. As I am currently undertaking a Masters degree, these avenues will be most appropriate for Masters degrees, but you would find PhD level funding in similar ways.giphy (26)

The main way to find out what funding a university has is to check their website! They will likely have a list of funding avenues that you can browse and check their requirements. For instance, the University of Sheffield has a ‘Postgraduate Student Funding Table’ with a list of sources (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/finance/pg). Depending on the type of degree you would like to study, there will be different routes for different departments. I applied for the Arts and Humanities scholarships, as I am studying English Language and Linguistics, but there also scholarships within departments such as Law, Management, Dentistry, etc.

There may also be university-wide scholarships, such as the Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarships, with 100+ scholarships worth £10,000 each for students that meet part of the widening participation criteria, or that have high academic success. Each university is likely to have set aside some money to fund postgraduate degrees, so be sure to see what they have on offer.

A source of funding that is not often utilised is the ‘Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding’, which gives you access to charities and external bodies that would like to fund students regardless of subject or nationality. You can register via your student email address or simply login while you are on campus to gain access to the site. You can search for specific criteria that you meet, such as where your usual home is, what your parents’ jobs are, whether you come from a widening participation criteria, and even, whether you are a vegetarian/vegan (some students have been funded via this charity before!). It is worth having a look through the website – the amounts that charities give may be a lot smaller than the scholarships but if you manage to secure a number of these, you could be receiving enough money to fund part of your studies.

Finally, there are Postgraduate Government Loans which are providing loans of up to £10,609 for postgraduate taught Masters students aged under 60. If you are wanting to take out a loan via this route, be mindful that when paying it back you will be doing so alongside your undergraduate loan, as opposed to it being added on top of your first loan.

Make sure when applying for funding that you really put across your passion for the subject and how the degree/funding will help you (and the wider community) in the future. What are your short-term and long-term goals? How will others benefit from your study? Do you have any particular dissertation ideas in mind?

I wish you the best of luck in applying for any postgraduate funding!

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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 Intern advice, student life, Uncategorized, Written by Britt

Having a Productive Winter Vacation

By the time the Christmas holidays arrive, I often feel burnt-out from the Autumn Semester and can find it tempting to do nothing but binge-watch Netflix. You can do this for a few days over the break (especially if you’re feeling particularly fragile after all the festivities), but it’s also important to make sure you’re being productive. Here are some of my top tips for doing just that!

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Get the important stuff done first

If you’ve got deadlines in January then these should be your priority. I have a 4,000 word essay to write and a difficult exam to revise for but I’m going to try and get a lot of this work done before Christmas so that I can fully enjoy myself. You don’t want to be worrying too much about all the work you have to do when you should be relaxing and having fun!

Look ahead

If you’ve got lots of reading to do for the Spring Semester then it might be worth trying to tackle some of this early. Or, if you’re in your final year, you might be looking to apply for grad jobs but just haven’t had the time at uni – so now is your opportunity!  For other years, it might be good to think about your Summer plans – do you want to do an internship, go travelling, or work part-time? Start applying before everyone else!

Catch up with family and friends

Don’t waste your break being in your room on your own (though, as discussed above, this is often tempting!). The Winter Vacation is a great time to properly meet up with family and friends that you probably won’t have spent quality time with in a while.

Get into a good exercise routine

Nothing helps to spur your productivity like exercise. If I go to the gym, I often feel more energised and able to tackle the various other things I need to do that day. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym to do this – you could work out at home, or go for a run in your spare time.

Relax!

It’s so important to enjoy yourself and give your mind and body some well-deserved relaxation time. If you need to sleep a little longer than usual, go ahead! It’s Christmas!!!

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Sophie

My Essay Timeline

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Hi everyone! I thought I would share with you a short blog post about how I go about planning my essay assignments. I have been at Sheffield uni for three years now (scary, where has the time gone?) and I have discovered a planning timeline that works for me and helps me balance my workload.

I give myself at least four weeks to complete an essay, and that means that I don’t end up stressing near to the deadline:

Week 1: This is when I gather all of my readings and make preliminary notes on each one, with references to why it is relevant to my essay/argument. It is also a good idea to think of your essay question at this point (if you have to make up your own), so that your reading and argument is focused from the start.

Week 2: I then create a plan and structure for my essay. This picks out the main themes throughout the essay, and how I will go about laying out these themes. It is always best to do this before starting to write, as you can end up having bits of writing here and there which isn’t coherent.

Week 3: The write-up stage. I start writing my ideas and thoughts down under each theme, and try to reference other relevant sources as much as I can. I try not to restrict myself too much at this stage, because it can end up taking longer if I am bothered about sentence structure and typos.

Week 4: Finally, I make sure to proofread and edit my work appropriately to ensure that my writing is concise and that everything makes sense. Try to leave a couple of days to step away from your work in the middle of this week, so that you have a fresh pair of eyes to edit it again. You could even get your friends/flatmates/family to help you spot mistakes/understand your argument!

This is by no means the most perfect way to plan your essay but it has worked for me so far! Be sure to go to some 301 workshops to help with your essay, such as: Essay Planning and Structure, Developing Your Argument, Critical Thinking, Academic Writing and Time Management! You can see the calendar here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/services/workshops

Posted in Intern advice, student life, Written by Katie

Up Your Procrastination Game

What to do when you’re done with studying!

Do nothing

Just do nothing for a while, lie in bed and stay there until you feel like getting up and doing something.

Sleep

The truth is many students are always tired. How many times have you missed a class because you’re tired? Prevent this by napping like a boss. Try different napping times and techniques to see what suits you best. Some people like 7 minute naps, others like 90 minute naps. Personally, I’m a 20 minute power napper.

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Learn a language

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Duolingo, you can learn so many different languages. Impress recruiters with your High Valyrian skills or stick to the more traditional languages like French. It’s also something you can impress your family with over the table at Christmas.

Tidy

Tidy house, tidy mind. Put on your favourite music, get the Marigolds on (or Sainsbury’s basics- we don’t discriminate) and dance the dirt away. Your housemates will love you for it too.

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Do some food prep

Research the foods that freeze well and batch cook them. You can freeze them for a quick and healthy meal. You can also bake some cookies or other snacks if you still don’t want to leave the kitchen.  Again, this is best done with your favourite music.

Write a blog

You can get creative and write your own blog. WordPress allows you to do it for free. You can do anything from fashion to chess strategies. Pro tip: include memes- everyone loves memes!

Netflix

Watch back-to-back episodes of your favourite show or get ready for Christmas with incredible movies. Pro Tip number 2: The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear- if you don’t get that quote you have not lived and must watch Elf for procrastination!

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Go to the IC

This may be the last thing you thought would come up but the IC is a treasure trove of books. One thing I have always wanted to do but never got round to is to go to the IC and learn something other than my subject. You can read about policing strategies, feminism, archaeology, business or whatever interests you. Have a look on starplus and find something interesting. Who knows, you may even end up doing a masters in it.

 

Posted in Intern advice, Uncategorized, Uni work, Written by Britt

How to stay motivated

It’s November and the days are dark, rainy and veryyyy cold. You have deadlines looming but the only thing you want to do is put your fluffy pyjamas on and watch endless episodes of the latest Netflix series or Louis Theroux documentary. Whilst this is ok to do some of the time, it is important to remember that uni work is your priority! So, here are some of my top tips for staying motivated during the dark times ahead:

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1: Create a study timetable.

Having a study schedule written down on paper makes your to-do list feel more manageable. Prioritise the most important tasks (e.g. revision for an upcoming exam over general course reading) and ensure that your timetable is realistic and achievable.

2: Reward yourself.

If you’ve been in the library from 9am-5pm and got loads done then you are more than entitled to go to the pub with your mates that evening! You can also give yourself small, short-term rewards, for example allowing yourself another piece of chocolate if you write another 150 words of your assignment. Little things like this get me through a difficult essay!

3. Think about the end result.

Whilst it sometimes may seem tempting to sack it all off, think about how far you’ve come. You’re already at a Russell Group university studying for a degree so don’t give up now! Just picture yourself on graduation and remember how proud you, your friends and family will be knowing that you stuck it out.

4. Get support.

Ask housemates to proofread your work, speak to the library about referencing information or come to us at 301 for study skills help! Putting yourself out there and accessing support makes you feel like you’re being proactive in your success – a great motivator!

 

Posted in Intern advice, student life, Written by Katie

Grad Scheme Applications

If you are in your final year, I bet you are stressed out right now about getting a job after you graduate. Maybe you are swamped in grad scheme applications or maybe you have been rejected from all your favourite schemes but fear not. Here are my top tips for dealing with it:

Plan your time

Be proactive in planning your time and set specific times aside to work on your applications. If you set aside 1 hour a day, you should start speeding through them. It is also important to be flexible as often you get just 3 days to complete the next stage.

Think outside the box

So you have your heart set on a specific job? How do you know you won’t enjoy something else. I went to the careers service and found several career paths linked to my degree that I had not previously considered but that sound really interesting. Try something new.

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Look at smaller companies

Okay, so the pay may not be as good but the training will probably be better as the team will likely be smaller so your manager can focus more on you.

Visit the careers service

They know so much about everything! You go in with a simple question and come out with a bag full of leaflets. Don’t let that put you off, they are super useful.

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Get feedback

Know what you did wrong so you won’t do it again.

Don’t get disheartened

Rejection can be tough but it’s a part of life and it gives you an answer for the next interview when you are asked ‘Give an example of when you have been resilient’. Use it as a learning curve for the next job.

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Posted in Intern advice, Written by Sophie

Finding your house for next year: Don’t stress!

It’s that time of year when landlords and agencies start to advertise their properties for the next academic year. giphy.gif

This is often a stressful time for students, and it certainly was for me in my first and second year, when I didn’t have much knowledge about renting houses. Here are some tips for finding houses, and try not to stress too much as there are always options for living in Sheffield!giphy 1

  • Be certain about who you want to live with.

This is my most important point, and that’s deciding who you would like to live with. It might seem that the people you are currently living with in halls are great, but sometimes arguments can occur later down the line, and you might have already signed for a house with them. Even if the house you end up going for is not as nice as the houses earlier on in the year, at least you would be living with people that you enjoy being around! Think about people on your course, societies, work, etc. and ask what their current plans are. Even if you don’t intend on signing for a house soon, it’s often good to get an early start when it comes to knowing who you want to live with. Remember that hanging out with your friends may be different to living with them, so really think about it.

  • Find a reputable landlord.

There are many reputable landlords in Sheffield, but sometimes you can come across less reputable ones. A big tip from me would be to go to propertywithUS in the Students’ Union to discuss the options for the area you would like to live in. Check the landlord/agencies’ reviews online too – even though an agency might appear reputable, the reviews may tell a different story. Also, check through their systems for deposits and admin fees. Usually, the deposit will be put into a protection scheme, which handles potential disputes towards the end of the tenancy and keeps your money safe. It’s often good to pay a deposit to cover you for damages, and sometimes there may be hidden admin fees (check the small print!).

  • House hunting events are fab!

The University often puts on events for those who are still looking for houses. There is always one early on in the year, but this is mainly for agencies and landlords to advertise their properties. After this event, often houses get signed for quickly. Do not worry about this – there are always properties, especially for groups of four and five. Most properties are also in walking distance or a bus journey from uni, so there will be something, somewhere. If you are looking for housemates, there are often events advertised even later in the year, for groups that are looking for individuals or individuals that are looking for groups. Check the Sheffield uni Facebook groups too – a lot of students advertise properties on there, but make sure to meet up with them with a friend. It could be unsafe to go on your own!

  • Check everything in the house.

When you are arranging viewings for houses, be sure to check every room in the house, and look for things that may need repairing (such as broken furniture, facilities, mould, general fittings, etc.). Ask the current tenants about any problems that may have occurred there – don’t be embarrassed to say this in front of the estate agent. They’re human too, and even though they’re trying to sell you the house, they wouldn’t mind if you asked lots of questions! Don’t be pressured by pushy landlords too. Only sign if you are happy with everything (or if there are solutions to any problems that have arisen), which leads onto my next point!

  • And finally… only sign when you’re completely happy.

After making sure you know who you want to live with; checking the landlord/agency; and going through every aspect of the house, you can go ahead and sign. Ensure you read through all of the contract (as it is legally binding!) and ask the landlord if you are unsure on any of it. Also make sure that they have a repairs and maintenance team in place, and ask about insurance for the building and your contents. You often have to buy your own contents’ insurance, but it’s often good to ask about it.

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Happy House Hunting! And don’t worry about it – there are always places to live and people to live with. It’s just about finding the right ones.