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.

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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.

Posted in Intern advice, student life, Written by Sophie

Get involved in Social Sport!

No matter what your year of study is, Social Sport (in association with Residence Life and Sport Sheffield) is a great way to get active, make friends and have a laugh. Since being a Residence Mentor, I have found out a lot about getting involved in casual sport which does not require any commitment. It’s free if you live in any of the University Residences (Endcliffe, Ranmoor or City) and it’s really cheap if you don’t – often £2-£3. It doesn’t matter which level of ability you are for any of the sports, just go along and try it out!

You could relive a sport you enjoyed during school, build on your existing skills, or even try something completely new. It’s an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety, to get involved in something if you’re not sure what interests you, and meet like-minded people who want to get active and have fun. If your course is anything like mine, you might want to fill up your hours during the day, or blow off some steam after a long day of lectures in the evening.

Here are some examples of the Social Sport you could get involved in soon, and cater for lots of different interests:

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Amazing for combatting the typical student tiredness, releasing tension or concentrating on your breathing. There’s no need for previous experience, as the experts will take you through all of the correct techniques.

Quidditch

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A unique mix of rugby, dodgeball and tag! Obviously taken from the Harry Potter series, so it is definitely something that caught my eye. It’s exciting to both watch and play so go along and check it out!

Mountain Biking

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Off-road cycling, with a women’s beginners session too! Qualified leaders take you on basic off road trails around the Peak District and all bikes and safety equipment are provided. You will need to be able to ride a bike to get involved.

Ultimate Frisbee

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A fast-moving team sport, played with a flying disc and no referees. Sounds interesting! Some compare it to Soccer or American football, but it definitely has some unique features to set it apart.

Mindfulness and Meditation

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Similar to yoga, but are centred around helping people switch off from hectic student routines. There is a focus on achieving the best results to help you relax, and there is lots of practical advice and tips.

To get involved and book onto sport, visit http://www.residencelife.co.uk/how-to-book-residence-life-sports-and-activities_34103 which tells you all about booking. It’s important to do it a week in advance, as they get full really quickly!

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Valerie

And so it begins…..

Monday was the start of lectures here at Sheffield and the official start of the academic year. So, it’s time to get organised! – If you’re not already.

Make sure you request the books you need from the library and remember you need to pick them up within two days of your request being authorised.

Now is also a good time to think about any academic skills you need to brush up on. It’s always best to stay ahead, don’t wait for things to become a problem. If you have concerns about any of your academic skills book yourself onto an Academic Skills Workshop at 301. Workshops run throughout the academic year and cover various subjects: Time Management, Academic Writing, Mind Mapping and Presentation Skills are just a few of the subjects covered. You can book here https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/services/workshops

It’s also important that you don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed or stressed by your workload. The counselling service runs weekly sessions on stress reduction and mindfulness that are really helpful. The sessions are designed to help you relax and also equip you with techniques to control your stress levels. The sessions are also a drop in, so you don’t need to book. More info here, https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/counselling/services/workshops/relaxation

 

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Posted in Extracurricular, Intern advice, student life, Uni work, Written by Sophie

Balancing part-time work/activities alongside your studies!

For many of you, getting part-time work or undertaking extra-curricular activities is really important for developing your skills and getting that extra cash alongside your studies. Working at the 301 skills centre and as a Residence Mentor has made me realise the importance of balancing various deadlines and shifts, and how much employers value this. Here are a few tips that I have put together which have helped me throughout my few years at University, and how you can reduce stress-levels during exam periods.

  • Find a student-friendly job or activity with managers that understand how important your studies are to you.

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An obvious one is getting a university job. There are a number of different departments around the university that are always employing people, and an easy one to get is an ambassador job. I worked for the School of English as an ambassador and worked on Open Days, UCAS fairs, or introductory seminars. The Students’ Union is also usually hiring, in the various shops/eateries they have. You might even find research jobs or placements that pop up in your department, which require you to work 100 hours, for example. Keep an eye out on the Careers Service ‘Career Connect’ page, which all students have access to. If you do decide to go for a job with an external company, make sure they know which hours you intend to work. The University recommends 16 hours or less, and I’ve found that doing evening shifts allows me to do course work during my free hours in the day. See what works for you!

  • Organise your life!

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Now that I am a Masters student, I know how easy it is to lose track of what you have going on and when. I now have a wall planner, a diary, and various to do lists dotted around my bedroom, because I know it’s the only way I’ll know what I’m doing and when! We also have Time Management workshops at 301 which are now bookable at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/services/workshops, with the first one starting on 27th September, 1.15pm. It gives you realistic and practical tips for managing your time and being more productive, which can help you organise your activities around your studies! I always make sure that I write down all of my shifts as soon as I know them, as well as any deadlines, appointments, society meetings, etc. Even using your smartphone to write everything down is a good idea!

  • Know that it’s okay to have multiple breaks.

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It’s so important to know when you need a break, and when you need to ask for help. There are so many times where I have bottled my stress up and I could have easily talked to someone. There are many services across the University, but even just talking to a friend or personal tutor can really help put things into perspective. It sounds simple but sometimes I just needed reminding that there are people around who can help! Also, never feel guilty about taking breaks throughout the day – you know your own body and mind, and when it needs a rest. If that means taking a full day off your studies/activities, then go ahead! As long as your work or activity is not taking over your studies of course!

  • Just need the skills? Volunteering is an excellent way to get them!

If you just need the skills and development that a job can give you, then signing up to activities at the Sheffield Volunteering office is an excellent way to gain them. I have done a few activities with children and it really helped me to figure out whether teaching was right for me. Not only can it help figure out what you want to specialise in, but it’s incredibly rewarding and the hours you work are not meant to impact your studies in a negative way. I did a few hours a week at a project combatting homelessness last year, and it gave me that much needed boost every week to see that I was supporting people.

I hope these tips were helpful to some of you looking for part-time work and worrying about fitting it around your study timetable. University is not only a chance to study but a chance to get that experience for future employers. But remember, your studies should be your number one priority and you’re not obliged to remain in a job or activity that is making you stressed!

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