Posted in Written by Sophie

Finding support when you need it! Part 2

Happy Monday everyone! 🙂 Here is the second part of my blog post on finding support across the University, as promised! Hopefully some of these services will be of use to you, if you’re having concerns about any aspect of University life. Check back to last week’s post if any of these services do not relate to your current situation.

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Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS)

DDSS assist students with any kind of impairment or condition which makes it difficult to study or undertake assignments. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism spectrum condition, physical impairment (not an exhaustive list), then speak to someone at DDSS who will be able to help you. There are a number of different ways they can help you, and it is all based around your needs, such as 1:1 support, copies of lecture notes, extra time in exams, etc. DDSS are located in the Alfred Denny Building near the university concourse.

English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC)

There are a number of English language courses and services available with ELTC for students who may be wanting to improve their English. The facilities consist of modern classrooms, well-equipped computer suites and audio-visual equipment and learning resources. All of the staff are experienced in teaching international students both in the UK and overseas too. ELTC are located at 78 Hoyle Street if you have any English Language-related queries.

Personal Tutor

Your Personal Tutor is someone you can talk to about any academic worries, or any personal circumstances that could be affecting your academic study. They may have expertise in the subject area that you are concerned about, or can give general advice related to essay feedback and structure, exam revision and managing your workload. You will have some dedicated time to have a general meeting with them (and potentially with other students too), but you can schedule as many meetings as you wish with your Personal Tutor, as and when you need to. There may be a specific way of setting up these meetings, whether that be through Doodle Poll or through their Google Calendar, or I am sure you can send them a quick email.

Careers Service

The Careers Service is now located in Edgar Allen House at 241 Glossop Road (as of recently!) and is dedicated to careers information such as graduate jobs, part-time jobs while you study, developing your CV/applications, and much more. They are helpful for any year of study, and can also help you once you graduate. They hold a number of different events that you can attend, whether that be Careers Fairs, talks, and networking opportunities. You can schedule one-to-one appointments too, to go over anything you may be concerned about, such as personal statements, CVs and applications. There are online courses too, called Career MOOCs, which help you to succeed when writing applications and attending interviews. There are so many resources available at the Careers Service, so check the website out: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/careers/index.

That concludes my (non-exhaustive) list of services that could help you across the University! If you are still not sure where to go, SSiD are excellent at signposting and can point you in the right direction, especially if there is something you need help with and is not mentioned here.

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Posted in Written by Sophie

Finding support when you need it! Part 1

Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to go if you’re in need of support. There’s so many support services available on campus and it can be overwhelming when you’re not sure what each one specialises in. In this blog post I have listed a number of services that may be beneficial to you, no matter what your problem is. Hopefully I have covered most grounds here!giphy (8)SSiD

SSiD are here to answer the majority of your questions about all aspects of university life. If they cannot answer the question for you, they can direct you to appropriate services that will be able to. During your time at university, problems may arise where you’re not sure which service would be best, so SSiD can help. They’re also there to print new UCards, results, certificates of student status, and are able to confirm your student status too. SSiD are on Level 3 of the Students’ Union.

Central Welfare and Guidance (CWaG)

Central Welfare and Guidance support students who are experiencing personal difficulties that may be impacting study or their university experience in general. They have direct links to external agencies depending on your situation, such as: Rape Crisis, SY Police, Domestic Abuse and Community Mental Health. Some situations that CWaG include, but are not limited to: serious ill health, bereavement, bullying and harassment, mental health problems and domestic/sexual violence. They’re your number one service for anything welfare related, so pop in to see them on Level 6 of the Students’ Union.

University Counselling Service (UCS)

As well as the University Health Service (UHS), the University Counselling Service are available for anything Mental Health related. Not only are there appointments available for all students, but there are many online resources and sessions running. There are Mindfulness Stress Reduction sessions, Group Therapy and Individual Counselling sessions, and various workshops. You can access Self-help resources here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/counselling/self. If you think you’re having any mental health problem, the UCS can help you at 36 Wilkinson Street. To book your first appointment, you can register with Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS) for triage appointments: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mental-wellbeing.

Nightline

There are sometimes evenings when you just need to talk to someone about something that has been troubling you. Nightline, a volunteer-led association run by Sheffield students, is an excellent service who will listen to you, and not lecture. No problem is too big or too small, and all of the students are trained to keep things non-directive, confidential and anonymous. They operate between 8pm and 8am any night during term-time, on the number 0114 222 8787. You can also call 0114 222 8788 for information. They also have a listening service via email if you don’t mind waiting longer, on nightline@sheffield.ac.uk.

301 & Maths & Statistics Help (MASH)

The place to be for anything academic skills-related. Whether that be wanting to beat procrastination, brush up on your writing skills, or deciding which statistical test to use in your research, 301 and Maths and Statistics Help can help. You don’t have to be an undergraduate either, postgraduates are also more than welcome and you can be from any degree background. We have workshops, one-to-one sessions and online tutorials, so however you would like to work we have it available for you.

On top of all of these great services, there are SU officers that can help with any of your concerns and complaints, and can make change happen. There are also societies within the SU, such as LGBT+, Black and Ethnic Minorities students committee, and more that you could get specialised support from and meet like-minded people. This is not an exhaustive list – there is plenty of information on SSiD’s page via the university website too!

Check back next week for Part 2! 🙂 giphy (9)

 

 

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 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 Intern advice, Written by Sophie

Student mentoring: a rewarding experience!

If you’ve applied to be a student mentor (whether you’re in your second, third or fourth year) you will probably be emailing your mentees very shortly, and I hope you’re looking forward to it!  I found this to be an incredibly rewarding experience, as you’re able to give your own personal, honest account of your time at university so far, and really put your mentees at ease.  You may also want to put something back into the community that once helped you too!  It looks great on any type of CV and I found that student jobs/positions across the university value it highly.  I thought I would just talk to you about some of the things that worked for me while I was a mentor, and how you can signpost them to 301 if they’re struggling with any study skills!

  1. Use a template for your first email, but make it personal.

A template is an excellent way to write an introductory email to a mentee, but making it personal ensures that the new student feels welcomed to the university, and can rely on a friendly face when they move here.  Take the time to look at their profile and see what interests them – you may find that they share similar interests to you, or you can direct them to the societies we have on offer at Sheffield.  I always recommend the Activities Fair in Intro Week, as it’s a great way to get students started on an activity they may not have tried before!

  1. If you’re not sure, signpost.

A mentee may want really specific help during their time at university, and it is often best to signpost them to the appropriate service if you do not know the answer yourself.  For instance, if they’re having specific worries about any study skills, such as Academic Writing, recommend some of the tutorials and workshops we have on at 301!  Not many people know that MASH (Maths and Statistics Help) and all of the other services here are for people across all disciplines, so do let them know!  This goes for other services across the university too – always direct students if you’re not confident in giving the answer yourself.

  1. Arrange for your mentees to meet together.

When you offer to meet up with you mentees during Intro Week, it could be a good idea to get them to meet with you together!  That way, they may have a friendly face during lectures, and they could discuss their worries with each other if they would like.  If one of your mentees does not feel comfortable meeting with others, arrange a separate meeting.

  1. Always check in on them.

During the most stressful times at university, or if you haven’t heard from them in a while, remember to check on your mentees to see if everything is going ok.  They may not know where to turn to, and you may be able to offer the most appropriate support for them.  Sometimes people just need someone that looks out for them!

I hope this post has made you feel excited for being a mentor – I remember being very eager to get started and to help students within my department!  I hope you’re all having a lovely summer. 🙂

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Sophie

Getting a head start with your research over the summer

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I hope you are all having a lovely summer holidays!

Are you moving into the final year of your degree and will be writing a dissertation?  It *could* be a good idea to start researching your main idea, if you’re feeling productive.  When I first started preparing, I had to send in an idea so I could be matched up with a supervisor.  If you haven’t done this already, or if you just want to carry on developing your idea, this post may help you!  It’s not necessary to do lots and lots of research over the summer, but it could help you get a head start before your supervisor meetings, and you may have more developed questions to ask them.  Here are some tips for early research:

  1. Figure out what you’re interested in.

If you have some sort of idea of what you want to do, then great!  You can probably skip this step.  If you don’t, then no worries!  Start off by making notes/diagrams/mind-maps on topics you’re interested in within your subject.  I got my dissertation idea just from attending a lecture!  There might be something in one of the lectures that hasn’t been researched enough, you may want to apply a new concept to an already existing theory, or you may want to combine different areas within your subject.  Whichever way you decide to go about it, it all starts by deciding what area you’re most interested in and working on from that.

  1. See what’s already out there.

Start off with a simple Google Scholar/Star Plus search.  If you still don’t have a concrete idea, but you do know what you’re interested in, this could be a good idea to see what others have researched.  You may stumble across some interesting, recent articles that haven’t done X, Y and Z.  If you’re looking at a specific topic, make sure to view all recent articles written about it, so you don’t start claiming you’re filling a gap in the literature that isn’t there!

  1. Get advice from your tutors.

Even though it’s the summer holidays, you could write a list of questions as you go along, ready to ask your tutors/supervisors when you start the next academic year.  You might even find that you answer the questions yourself, just by researching.  Remember that it’s not a requirement to start research so early (unless you have been instructed to by your tutors) and that even making a list of questions is a good way to get a head start.

Disclaimer: if you feel at any point that doing research is not helping you, and that you would like to wait until the start of your next year, do not feel guilty for stopping.  I did tiny amounts over the summer, and the amount I researched did not affect my progress throughout the academic year.  Also, drop in to 301 at any time during your final year!  It’s not just for first or second years here – in fact, I only utilised the workshops/study sessions in my final year when I needed the help!  There is support in every section of the university, so don’t panic!

Posted in Written by Sophie

A few tips for applications and interviews over the summer!

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Hi everyone!  I’m Sophie, one of the new interns at 301.  I’ve just finished my undergraduate degree in English Language and Linguistics and will be studying a Masters next year.  Looking forward to meeting some of your next year at 301!

I thought I would write a post on applications and interviews for those of you who are job-hunting over the summer holidays.  I was looking for work over the summer too, and was incredibly anxious as I needed to save up money for the next academic year.  Hopefully these tips will help you concentrate on finding work, and will make your search slightly easier.

  1. It is better to apply for fewer jobs and put effort into them!

In the past, I often didn’t take care over my applications, often repeating some of the things I had previously written in other applications.  This time, I found that taking the time to find jobs online that suited me meant that I was much more successful in being called to interview.  I took the time to read through each job description carefully, and went through the criteria to check I met each one.  Just because a job is in a sector that you have worked in before doesn’t mean that it is right for you! Be very critical of the job postings you apply for, as you do not want to ruin your time-off with a job that you don’t like.

  1. Meet every job requirement.

Even if it is briefly, make sure you meet the job description/person requirements in either the application or interview.  For instance, one of the requirements may be “has a keen eye for fashion” (if you’re applying for a retail position!).  I have never had a permanent job in retail, but I did help with the sales stock at Next one time.  So, I made sure to mention my ability to position stock in a way that was appealing to customers, which shows my interest in the latest trends (etc.).  Turning seemingly small experiences into significant ones is something that helped me during my job hunt!

  1. Ask someone to check through your application.

You have probably heard lots of times throughout your degree that another pair of eyes will help you spot mistakes/typos in your work.  The same goes for job applications – employers may become disinterested if they see a grammar error or something misspelt.  The person checking may also be able to see if your wonderful personality shines through the application, or whether you should change the style of your writing.

  1. Remember to breathe before your interview.

No matter how many I’ve done, I’m always nervous before an interview.  I always try to remember that the interviewer is human and that they’re not there to trick you (if they are, maybe you shouldn’t work for them).  Pretend you’re going to have a conversation about your hobbies, personality and skills with your friend; even though it will be someone you’ve never met before.  And remember to take some deep breaths before entering the room – at the end of the day, you can always try again or apply somewhere else.

  1. If you don’t get the job, don’t worry!

Being rejected the first, second, or fortieth time is not a reflection of who you are as a person.  After all, you’re being questioned on one occasion, and the person has never met you before.  If you couldn’t get across what you wanted to say the first time, just remember to say it next time!  Being rejected from a job is not the end of the world, as there are much more important things.

 

I hope this post helped at least some of you remain calm during your job hunt!  Everything will work out in the end.