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!!!

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Posted in student life, Uncategorized, Written by Britt

5 Ways To Make Your Student House a Home

You may not think it but your surroundings play a huge part in your happiness and ability to study. With that said, here are my top 5 tips for making your student house feel more like a home!

  • Pick up some decent fairy lights.

I must admit, I do have an unhealthy obsession with fairy lights! But they make so much difference in a space that is otherwise dominated by unusually harsh lighting, e.g. in the kitchens of halls. You can grab them for relatively cheap, in a range of colours and styles and can even get outdoor ones for those evening summer BBQ’s (or just the one BBQ, when the weather is somewhat nice on that one day in the middle of exam season).

  • Bring things from home that make the space your own (especially in your bedroom).

This may sound rather obvious but you’d be surprised how many people turn up to a shell of a room and leave it that way for the whole year. Little things like photos, soft furnishings or souvenirs from a favourite trip can all make your room feel a little bit more ‘you’.

  • Dress up your house for the holidays!

If you love Halloween, carve pumpkins to your heart’s content! If people in your house celebrate Christmas, then give the house a Christmas makeover! Or, ask your housemates about any holidays they may celebrate that you don’t – you never know, you might even learn something!

  • Bring the outdoors in.

Purchasing some easy-to-care-for plants such as small cacti can really help to brighten up a room. Or, if you want to be extra lazy, you can get some very real-looking artificial plants for very cheap. This year, my house got some artificial flowers to add a splash of colour to our bathroom and they only cost about £1.50 from Wilko’s!

  • Add those homely scents.

No one likes walking in to a house that feels fusty and, unfortunately, lots of student houses and flats seem to have that smell, particularly when you first move in after the long vacation period. Candles may not be allowed due to health and safety but that doesn’t mean your house can’t smell nice! Pick up some cheap reed diffusers, plug ins or air fresheners instead.

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.

tidy

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!

Elf

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, 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.

Great

Posted in student life, Written by Ellie

A Blog of Blogs

Here at the 301 centre, we interns have a very active blog that gives our insights into life at university. In the past there have been blogs about getting academic help, what to do over the summer, ways to vary your studying and so on. Blogs are a fantastic medium of the 21st century to help inform the masses on any topic one can think to write of. So, I thought i would give a shout out to some of the other great blogs that belong to the University of Sheffield.

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A great one is the We Are Sheffield Students:  https://shefunistudents.wordpress.com In this blog students from the University blog about life on campus and around Sheffield. Their tagline is ‘Sharing stories of student life at the University of Sheffield’ and that is exactly what the blog does. I would definitely recommend checking it out!

 

Another great blog that explores the student experience from a different angle is the International Blog from the Business Management Schoolhttp://mgt.dept.shef.ac.uk/exchangestudents/?cat=5

In this blog international students from the university share their experience of moving countries to pursue their studies!

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The School of English’s blog gives students insight into the current research being undertaken within the department and explores Sheffield’s relationship with literature and history: http://soeblog.group.shef.ac.uk

The blog dates back to 2013 and has a full archive of posts available from then up until now!

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There is also the School of History’s ‘History Matters’ blog: http://www.historymatters.group.shef.ac.uk This blog contains an extensive range of historical enquiries, from The Trial Of Oscar Pistorius And Gender-Based Violence In South Africa’, to, ‘‘Where My Ancestors Lieth’: Community, Rebellion And Roots In A Yorkshire Church’

This blog is a rabbit hole of information that could keep you reading on all day!

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The Sheffield 10bn blog is an up to date report of the findings that are coming out of the huge project Sheffield 10bn: http://10bn.sheffield.ac.uk/index.php/category/articles/

 

Geography At Sheffield University’s blog: https://shefgeographylives.wordpress.com/ is also a great source of information from the department about their current research and how that affects the wider world.

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The University of Sheffield Enterprise have a fantastic blog: http://enterprise.shef.ac.uk/blog that gives information on the current happenings of the Enterprise and the students experiences of working within the organisation. This is written by students involved within the Enterprise and is therefore a great thing to look at to get a taste of the work they do if you are interested or keen to join in!

 

Blogs are a fantastic way to keep people informed; if your department doesn’t have one then perhaps you could suggest starting one!

Posted in student life, Uncategorized, Written by Katie

Alternative study spaces

Whilst the library is home to many students when studying, life doesn’t need to be that dull. Mix it up and find a better study spot to be the envy of all your friends. If you want a bustling environment here are some of my top study picks.

  1. Spoons

The king of cheap cocktails has much more to offer than you probably ever knew. When it comes to student life, cheap is cheerful making spoons a favourite. Before 2pm there are free refills on coffee. This was only filter coffee in the past but has now been extended to other coffees too. It’s quiet enough without being totally dead making it the perfect study environment. Breakfast and lunch are also cheap so you can study there for a while.

spoons

  1. Coffee Revolution

Every Sheffield Students top coffee shop has to be coffee revs. It has a nice environment and is perfect for studying but it does get very busy so if you can’t find a space try one of our other suggestions.coffee

 

  1. Any other part of the SU

The SU has many great spaces for studying. It doesn’t have to be a café that you study in. There are several great spaces in the SU.

SU

  1. You course building

Lots of the main buildings have nice little café where you can grab a coffee and study. Even of their isn’t a café, there may be little places within the building you can sit and study. I’m still finding nice little study spaces in the maze that is the law school.

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  1. Your room

Make your bedroom into the perfect study space. Endcliffe has huge desks and even if you are not in Endcliffe, most students have desks in their room. The key here is to keep the desk empty apart from your study materials.

 

  1. The Arts Tower

If, like me, you prefer to study in a space with huge open windows for natural lighting the Arts Tower is the place for you. You can study in the computer room on the 10th floor. It’s usually quiet and a great place to get on with your work. There is the added bonus of the paternoster and the café downstairs.

arts tower

  1. Mix it up everyday

My final tip is to keep it interesting. You can find other nice cafes or places on campus. Explore. You can even use iSheffield to see computer availability and try to cross off every space on the list.

variety

 

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:

Yogagiphy

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 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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Posted in student life, Written by Katie

Top 10 Apps for UoS Students

SheffUniHealth

Designed for students registered with the University Health Service or UHS as we call it, this app allows you to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and find other health services near you (e.g. dentist or hospital).

City Taxi’s 

A staple for any Sheffield student. With City taxi’s you can give your Ucard to the driver and pay the following day at the Students’ Union under the Safe Taxi Scheme.

Taxi

Google calendar 

Google calendar is a life saver. Student life can be busy with extra-curricular activities, lectures, societies, part time and of course legendary pop tarts nights out so keep yourself organised with this online calendar. I even schedule meal prep time and gym sessions.

iSheffield

iSheffield is the app for the University of Sheffield. You have your course timetable and resource booking at your fingertips. You can also see how many computers are free in each building to pick the best study location.

People.io

Everyone knows students are poor. This app enables you to earn credits by answering questionnaires which you can redeem into vouchers. I’m now close to a £5 Starbucks voucher. Questions are generic such as ‘Do you use Spotify?’ and answers are just ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Duolingo 

Learning another language is fast becoming a requirement for British Students Duolingo is a great resource to learn another language. Best of all it’s FREE. You can learn 25 different languages from French to High Valyrian. It has speaking, listening and writing aspects and can also connect to your LinkedIn profile so employers can see how you are getting on.Lang

GoConqr 

This is a great little app for revision and studying. You can create mind maps, flowcharts, study planners and keep notes all in one place. It even has a quiz feature and you can use it online as well as the app.

What’s up

Wellbeing is at the heart of this app. You can record your mood, put things into perspective and read useful quotes. I can honestly say this app is really helpful. I did a placement in Ghana this summer and it was really tough. Having malaria and working with someone who thought I was a witch made me turn to this app.

My Fitness Pal 

Keep the fresher’s 15 away with this app. You can record what you eat and see a breakdown of the nutritional information and calories.

Stopwatch

Okay so this is not exactly an app as it will already be installed on your phone. To prevent procrastination, set an alarm and study for 25 minutes. Then set a timer for 5 minutes and take break. It is best to try to get away from your laptop or desk for this. It sounds counterproductive but is really good for keeping you focused.

*PRO TIP frozen pizza usually takes roughly 25 minutes in the oven. You can use your break to cook it and it is ready in time for the next break (although this may need to be a slightly longer break

piz

Posted in Intern advice, student life, Uncategorized, Written by Britt

Getting into ‘study mode’

So it’s now the end of August and before you know it it’ll be time to lug all your stuff back up to Sheffield (if you’ve not already done so). Or, if you’re a first year student, you’ve got your first big moving in day – exciting times!

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Whilst this time of year is really fun, especially with the chaos of Freshers’ Week, it can also sometimes feel like you’re expected to snap straight back into the swing of studying after a long summer break. When lectures start you’re still getting over the dreaded Freshers’ Flu and suddenly you’ve got 6 pieces of reading and a report to write. However, do not fear! Here are my top tips for getting your body and brain into ‘study mode’:

  1. Invest in a diary/planner/calendar. I honestly could not live without my diary – I have no idea what I’m doing on a given day until I check it! I make it a habit to write down all my class times, shifts and social plans as soon as I can to ensure I have my week organised on paper. It really helps you to visualize the week ahead and figure out when you’re going to do that seminar reading (or when you can go to the pub!)
  2. Start any course reading early. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and spend £200 on books that you may not necessarily even need. However, if your module conveners have stated specific textbooks ‘recommended for purchase’ then it may be a good idea to do so, even if it’s a cheaper edition from the local charity shop or a second-hand copy from a previous student. By making a start on your reading early, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed in the first week of term as you will have already got a good grasp of what your tutors are talking about.
  3. Set some easy-to-do small tasks. Things such as drawing out your teaching timetable, familiarising yourself with the course structure and ensuring you’ve got a handy pack of highlighters are all great little things you can do to get yourself off to a good start. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than ticking those things off your list!
  4. Take care of yourself. Of course, Freshers Week is fun albeit a little crazy. However, at the risk of sounding like a concerned parent, it’s also really important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and are eating well. You’re unlikely to feel brilliant in the first few weeks of term if all you have been doing beforehand is going out, staying up until 5am and spending loads of money on takeaway food (though this is fine to do some of the time!). It is crucial to be well-rested and refreshed ready for uni!

I hope these tips have inspired you to feel ready for ‘study mode’ – have a great few weeks before the hard work (and great fun) begins!