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 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 All things 301, Written by Katie

British Conference of Undergraduate Research

You may have seen a lot of references to BCUR on our twitter page recently and this blog will explain why. This year, the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) is coming to Sheffield. I hadn’t heard of BCUR before this year but it is a fantastic scheme and I would encourage other students to take part. I’ve created this blog to answer the 5w’s in the hope that you will consider applying next year.

Research

Who can take part in BCUR?

Undergraduate students in any discipline taught in Higher Education can share their work in BCUR.

What is BCUR?

It is a conference to promote undergraduate research in all disciplines so no matter what you study, you can take part. Your course may have opportunities to develop your own research which you could use. Our 301 Intern Sophie submitted her undergraduate dissertation and you could do the same if you have a dissertation. This is also a slightly smaller commitment than the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) scheme which takes place over the summer for penultimate year students. Therefore, BCUR is a better alternative if you have an internship planned over the summer.

Where is it and where can I find out more?

The conference takes place in a different university each year. This year is Sheffield University but next year it will be at the University of South Wales. BCUR have their own website with lots of information: http://www.bcur.org/

sheff

When is it?

BCUR takes place in April each year. This week is BCUR here in Sheffield and next year it will be 15th and 16th April.

Why should I apply?

Undergraduate research is always an interesting thing to talk about in job interviews and looks impressive on your CV. It also means you can contribute to the research in your discipline whatever that may be. It is also an opportunity to share your work on a national scale and to interact with other students.

 

 

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.

exams

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 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.