Two nights in Norway – a perfect weekend break

As any science PhD student can probably tell you, having things to look forward to at the weekends are what gets you through the days when science seems to be taking it all out on you.

So this past weekend I jetted off with my mum for a brief holiday away to Norway. The trip was a Christmas present to anywhere in Europe for a weekend so I chose Bergen, Norway. A 1.5hr plane trip from Gatwick took us straight to Bergen and 30 minutes later we were right in the middle of the city. Our lodging for the weekend was a hostel 5 minutes from the old fishing port. Hostelling is an amazing way to save money as well as meet other travellers and we managed to stay in the best hostel in Norway! In our room we had one Argentinian lady who had been travelling through Ireland, Scotland and now finishing her trip in Norway; we wouldn’t have met her in a hotel! Continue reading

The Malaysian Career Fair (or ramblings of a final year student)

As a final year student (a fourth year at that, I feel so old!), the topic of jobs is unavoidable.  Final year Malaysian students the UK over look forward to the Malaysian Career Fair, an event whereby Malaysian companies fly to London and Malaysian would-be graduates flock there to try their luck at securing a job offer. This is how it works. Pay close attention on Facebook. About 2 months before the event, you’ll start seeing posts from UKEC (United Kingdom and Eire Council of Malaysian Students) informing you of the date and venue. Sometime after, they will open the CV drive for you to submit your CVs. After this, you wait to hear from companies interested in offering you an interview. If you don’t receive any interview offers, don’t despair. Make your way to London anyway. Continue reading

Four meat-free meals for meat eaters

Last week Danielle Martin wrote a great post about her transition to vegetarianism, and the challenges she has received about her choices. I thought I’d put together a follow-on post with some meat-free recipe ideas to:

  1. Help people start making changes to their diet if they were inspired by Danielle’s article but don’t know where to start
  2. Give a few ideas to anyone still skeptical – proving it’s not all rabbit food, and providing a few ideas to try – treat this as a challenge!

Continue reading

Where to study during exam time

Not everyone works well in their room, where there’s a plethora of distractions, and it can definitely be a good idea to get out of your room for a bit and take your books elsewhere. You might get a bit disheartened when you arrive at the Information Commons at 9 in the morning to find over 1000 people already there during exam period, but don’t fret, there are several alternatives! Continue reading

Attending the Research Festival 2017

In March, I helped deliver the 2017 Research Festival, staged jointly by the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. Here’s some of my recollections of the day’s sessions.

Although I regularly enjoy attending a wide range of talks, sessions, and seminars – in subjects often far from my ‘home’ discipline of Journalism – I might not necessarily have come to the Research Festival, were it not for my involvement with it through the SALT scheme. Continue reading

Work experience: choosing and applying for a placement

Summer Internship or Year-long Placement?

The choice between a summer internship and a year-long placement is one well worth considering. The most important advice I have is that you don’t have to choose in the beginning. If it seems like something you would like to do, apply for it. If you would rather decide first, go for it. Either way, there are two main factors to consider:

  1. Time – Does a year out feel like a huge undertaking? So much so that you’d rather take up a six-week internship during the summer holiday and have time for other commitments? Have you been feeling the urge to get a glimpse into a career that has piqued your interest? Or do you just want to explore whatever is out there because you really have no clue what you’ll do with your degree? These are all questions that will steer you in the right direction.
  2. The details – Given a choice between two different work experience options of varying lengths, it is important to make sure that time is not your only yardstick. You should seriously consider the job descriptions. Ask a lot of questions if anything is unclear! You are going to have to do the work anywhere from 6 weeks to a year and it would be even better for you if you are excited by what you’re signing up for.

The Application Process

Application form – You probably know that the Careers Service can help with application forms for free. I understand that it can be tempting to send off your first draft because it was stressful enough to put that together. Don’t. Take advantage of the service – multiple times if you want.

Online tests – You do get better with practice. I promise that this much is true. Take your test in an environment that you are completely in control of. Someone in the silent study at the Diamond can suddenly get the urge to eat their crisps ‘quietly’.

Interviews – Find out what type of interview it is and prepare accordingly. Listen to the questions and take time in answering confidently. Prepare as many questions as you can because some interviewers may answer a couple of them in their introduction before the proper interview even begins.

Deciding to Accept an Offer

1 & 2 above apply as well as the following:

  • The company – Employers often mention that the application process is for you to get to know them too. It is true. There is only so much you can tell from reading around company websites and doing general research. As you progress from application form or CV and cover letter to Skype/telephone interview to an assessment centre, you get a better sense of how the company likes to do things and maybe what the corporate culture is like.
  • Openness – If you decided to apply for work experience that is not exactly related to your degree or that seems like it might be a bit of a challenge, it is normal to experience a bit of cold feet. If you catch yourself trying too hard to justify your thoughts of saying no to someone, that may be a red flag.

Good luck!

A completely honest account of second year

I’ve learnt a ridiculous amount from this whirlwind university year to fit everything into one blog post. Arguably, some of the most important things I’ve learnt have had absolutely nothing to do with my degree at all. This seems strange considering English Literature is, essentially, my purpose for being in Sheffield. But anyone who has been to university can tell you that the degree is only one aspect of a much larger experience. Continue reading

“No is not forever, it just means not now”

Rejections are never easy to accept. The reason we often apply to positions in the first place is that we feel suitable or sufficiently qualified for a role. When we have painstakingly spent hours on an application, a rejection even before an interview or assessment day can be brutal. However, Robin Huggins who is currently the Head of Business Development at MBN Solutions was a recent speaker at the Creative Data Academy in Edinburgh and he told us something that really struck a chord with me… “no is not forever, it just means not now”.

Continue reading