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!

 

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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 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 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. 🙂