First years: how a student mentor can help you!

Firstly, congratulations on your A Level exam results and for gaining a place at the University of Sheffield, a place that has been my second home for three years now (and I wouldn’t have had it any other way).

You might have many questions about university life before starting your new course, but might not know who to ask.  My advice would be to apply for a student mentor, which was something that I was very grateful for in my first year.  It’s really simple – all you need to do is sign up for one by creating your own profile on your pre-registration tasks (you should have received a link to this in an email).  It will ask you to tell them a bit about yourself, such as your interests and why you would like a mentor. Continue reading

Starting the long and windy road to becoming a Doctor – how to survive starting a PhD

It is coming around to that time of year again when campus will be crawling with people; excited freshers starting their university experience, 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates back again for another jam-packed year, and let’s not forget, all those new and continuing postgraduates.

It can be just as daunting for a new PhD student as it is for a fresher. Moving to a new city, having to make new friends, starting a brand new course, it can all be very overwhelming, even if this is at least the second time of doing so. But with a few hints and tips, starting a PhD can be such an exciting time for any student. Continue reading

Sweden – an unexpected discovery

One of the best things about doing a science-related PhD is that travelling abroad to attend international conferences is positively encouraged. These meetings are invaluable opportunities to gain experience in presenting work in front of academic audiences; network with colleagues from around the world; pick up new ideas for future experiments and to scout out future jobs. And of course, it’s a great excuse to visit somewhere new!

A VERY busy, bustling conference!

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Another side of Sheffield

Student life can easily become an affluent bubble. My daily commute during first year meant that I hardly strayed from Endcliffe and the University’s world-class facilities. If I did, it was often only to Division Street, for lunch breaks in hipster cafés with my student friends who were equally immersed in this world. It is very easy to create the illusion that Sheffield is entirely made up of large, tree-lined boulevards, where life is laid-back and comfortable for pretty much everyone.

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The General Election: A reporter’s experience

So, what did you do during the war?

It’s a question often asked decades after a conflict. What type of service did you put in? Where were you stationed? See any key battles? Any high profile scalps?

Elections are often similar, if not frequently shorter.

It might be rather trite, but there’s huge similarities. A clear end-goal, seldom a clean-cut result, the day-to-day attrition, the big attacks, the counter-blows, the casualties, and the domination of the news cycle. Continue reading

Gap year 2.0

Back in 6th form I had no real clue what I wanted to when I finished school, so I did the classic and went on a gap year. If you’ve heard enough about gap years I’d probably give this blog a miss.

I spent my gap year in the south of Chile volunteering as an English teacher for the charity Project Trust. I lived with the family of one of the students I taught and I had an amazing time – in fact, it was so good that I’m back here now visiting, I booked the trip in October and it was a huge motivation for working hard at university and it was well worth it. Continue reading

Student summer hack

Summer on a student budget can seem tricky. It’s that feeling of wanting to spend money that you probably don’t have, or should either save. But this summer I started to realise that you can use what’s already in front of you, and still have a great break.

Going to uni made me realise that I hadn’t even begun to explore my home city. It had been over ten years since I’d visited Norwich cathedral (the last time being on a school trip). So I started to research my own city (a weird experience when you consider this place ‘home’, having lived here for 18 years), and discovered a lot. Continue reading

A year on from graduation

It’s almost a year since I graduated from my degree in English Language and Linguistics.  It feels like just yesterday I was holding my degree in my hand and I remember it feeling like such a strange concept.  That piece of paper represented my three hard working years at Sheffield (with a few trips to Corp in between) and there really is no way to describe what that feels like, which isn’t very good for an English Language graduate, is it?!  I’m now waiting for the Facebook Memories to bring out the pictures in a few days, featuring the many attempts of my friends and I trying to throw our grad caps successfully into the air.

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Jog away the summer to avoid dissertation stress

If you are like me, you love reading ‘how to do lists’ and chances are that you never put them to practice. However if, like me, you are spending the summer in the library working on that dissertation or thesis, perhaps you will want to hear how I got rid of my writing-induced stress. My answer in two words: slow jogging.

Running in Western Park is great when the weather is sunny

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