Posted in student life, Uni work, Written by Katie

What I learnt coming back from Year Abroad

Last year I did my year abroad in Slovenia. I had a blast, travelled and found I have a huge interest in International Law (the first time I’d found an area of law I want to practice in). Coming back to Sheffield was challenging but here are the things I learnt coming back from the experience.

I’m grown up

Year abroad was easy for me and coming back to Sheffield was not fun. Not only was the work harder but I felt a lack of support and all of my friends had graduated. I had to find my way back into student life and I found that actually I’d finally left the party stage of my life and was ready to enter the hard work stage.

Grown up

The library facilities here are second to none!

I was literally gobsmacked when the librarian told us we can’t access online books and journals from home. There was a way to take them home, which they were very proud of, you could download 6 pages of the journal at a time and put it on your USB stick. I was unaware I’d transported back to the 2008. I actually used StarPlus rather than the university library on the odd occasion I needed to research. They also only have library opening hours of 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. I’m still undecided if this is a good thing because it creates a work-life balance or a bad thing because you can’t study when you want to.

Uni in Sheffield is DIFFICULT

So it will be the case for most of you that like me, you are not on track for a first- and if you are I applaud you. I found it difficult knowing that actually, I’m not top of the class anymore when I have been my entire life. However, when studying abroad you actually realise how tough it is studying in Sheffield. On my year abroad I got between 80-100% in every exam I took yet in Sheffield my highest grade had been 66.

Hard work

Other Universities are more SPLD (Specific Learning Difficulty) friendly

I have dyslexia and always thought Sheffield were good with SPLDs as I have a dyslexia tutor at the university. However, I have had a few issues at Sheffield and haven’t always felt fully supported. All of my modules are 100% exam and although I did have the option to do some coursework modules, I didn’t actually think they were interesting modules. Abroad, they were very accommodating. No dyslexia assessment was needed they just allowed me the adjustments I needed. Many of my exams were oral which was much better for me and some were more coursework based. The majority of my exams didn’t feel like memory tests like they do in Sheffield which is ideal as people with dyslexia struggle with memory.

Our degree is more valuable

Okay so it’s harder, and that sounds like we are getting a bad deal. After all we are paying £9000 a year for a harder course. But it is actually a good thing. Other universities teach their students everything they need to know for the exam in lectures but we do independent research. This is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, we know how to find information. One of my friends was shocked when I suggested she looking in a book to understand a particularly challenging topic. In Sheffield that is standard practice. Secondly, we can go into a good job without a masters. In France for example, they do their undergraduate law degree followed by 2 masters degrees to get to the same level I’m at now.

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Posted in Extracurricular, student life, Uncategorized, Uni work, Written by Britt

Final Year Reflections

So, next week is my last official week of teaching, which means that I am very nearly at the end of my degree. I have no idea where these past three years have gone! Alas, all good things must come to an end, and with that in mind I’ve recently been doing a lot of reflecting upon my time here at Sheffield and what I’ve learnt during it.

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I (somehow) now know what I want to do:

I was accepted onto the Teach First programme to teach Secondary English last summer (which seems like a lifetime ago!), starting this September. I’ve always thought about teaching but the opportunities I’ve had available to me over the course of my degree, for example various teaching/tutoring volunteer projects, have shown me that teaching is what I really want to do. That said, even if you’re still unsure about what direction you want to go in, then do not panic! You don’t have to know what you want to do right now – I’ve just been a bit lucky, I think.

I’ve met some amazing people:

The people I’ve met during my degree  have honestly made my uni experience. As cheesy as it sounds, I don’t think I would have been able to get through the difficult times without them! I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to make sure that I don’t lose touch with the friends I’ve made as they’re some of the best people I’ve ever met.

I’ve learnt how to be a pro multi-tasker:

I’ve somehow managed to juggle three part-time jobs this year alongside a full-time English Literature degree. People think I’m literally insane, however I’ve actually quite enjoyed the busy days. I think it’s taught me that I am able to handle quite a lot when I need to but it has also proved that resting and having days where you do absolutely nothing is equally as important!

These are just a few of my key reflections that I’ve had over the last few weeks. If you sit and think about yours, I’m sure you’ll see that you’ve learnt far more than what you realise!

 

Posted in student life, Written by Katie

Uni ‘Bucket List’

Uni is now coming to an end for myself and many other students in their final year and this comes with many regrets. I spent my time at university focused on my degree, part-time work and extra-curricular stuff that related to my course. This means I missed out on some of the most popular things to do in Sheffield but I am going to put that right. This is my university ‘bucket list’ which will hopefully give you some inspiration to create your own. You don’t even need to be a final year student to do this!

Theatre

Sheffield has the Lyceum and Crucible which is the largest theatre complex outside of London. They do £5 student tickets and I have been wanting to go for a long time but my friends refused to see Legally Blonde with me last year. I’m intending to go and see the Cinderella ballet.

Theatre

Alpacas

I heard about the alpaca farm back in first year and never made the time to go. I’ve already scheduled a weekend in may when I will go to the alpaca farm.

Alpaca

Peak District

The peak district is so close to the university and I drive through it every time I go home yet I only ever stopped to take an Instagram. I’ll definitely spend some time taking a hike in the peak district and there are even some pubs and tea shops I’ve driven past to stop for lunch.

Peaks

Winter Gardens

I’ve walked through winter gardens but never spent any time in there. I want to spend some time looking through the shops and actually looking at the plants rather than walking through in a rush when I’ve agreed to meet friends. They have over 2500 plants from all over the world.

winter garden

Weston Park Museum

Like most of you reading this post, I walk past Weston Park every day. Sometimes I walk through it to get to Bartolome House. The first time I walked through in first year I saw the museum but I have never actually gone in. Their current exhibition is called ‘Changing Lives: 200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield’ which sounds interesting.

Museum

Steam Yard

I recently admitted to my housemates that I’ve never been to any of the cafes in Sheffield with the exception of Café Nero, Costa and Coffee Revolution. They insisted we all go for coffee and cake at Alyssum and I realised how much I’ve been missing out on. We have made a pact to go to a new café each week for the last half of this semester.

Steam Yard

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, student life, Written by Britt

How to deal with leaving Uni *sob*

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

Image result for crying meme

Keep in touch with friends

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

Don’t be afraid of change

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

Establish a routine early on

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

Do something fun in the summer!

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

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

Posted in student life, Uni work, Written by Katie

Guide to Module Choice

index

This year I have been able to pick all of my modules- a luxury I’ve never before had the chance to experience. Whilst this is great, pick the wrong modules and you risk boring lectures and bad grades (partly because you spend so much time complaining about it to anyone who will listen rather than studying). I’ve got a few tips on choosing the best modules.

Assessment

Assessments may be way in the future for most students but this is a crucial part of the selection process. For example, if you hate presentations you probably won’t get the best grade possible. Similarly, if you struggle with revision you may want to avoid that 100% three-hour exam module. Know which assessment method is best for you.

pass

Topic

This seems pretty obvious but choose something that interests you. If a topic interests you, it is less of a chore. You will do more research into the topic and that will pay off in terms of your exams. Some of my friends made their choices last semester based on career aspirations and they regretted this once exams came around. You can try several different modules this week if you are unsure as to your interest in a module.

Use Add/Drop

If you decide to change your modules, make sure you use add drop properly. Last semester a friend of mine signed up to a module with a second year code and a final year code. He signed up for the second year code which had implications on his other module choices for this semester (you can only do 1 second year course in final year within my department). Add/Drop is now open and closes at 5pm on Friday 23rd February 2018. Make sure you make any changes as soon as possible so you don’t miss too much of a course.

Friends

Some people take courses they have friends in but I advise against this. Yes, it is nice to have someone to walk down with or have a chat in the break but this is not the most important part of the lecture. If you don’t have any friends, you can’t get distracted by them. They won’t be leaning over your shoulder to write the thing they missed from the last slide, which slows you down because you can’t write what is currently being said meaning you miss part of that slide, which your friend also didn’t get because they were copying the last slide from your notes. It’s a viscous cycle. You also won’t miss the lecture just because your friend isn’t going this week.

Friends

Lecturers

This is controversial but I base module choices on the lecturers. If they are interesting, you will listen to more of the lecture. You will also feel more comfortable asking them questions and discussing their research. Also, if they send you to sleep, you pay less attention and don’t want to go to the lecture.

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!

Image result for Work Productivity Meme

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 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.

boss meme

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.

 box

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.

 careers

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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