Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

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Advice on being a good neighbour this summer

Congratulations to all the students who have finished exams and best wishes to those still studying. We know many of you will want to relax and enjoy the summer before the end of the year, but if you are living in privately rented accommodation, please do be considerate to your neighbours who are still getting up early to go to work and who may have young children going to school. You may also have student neighbours who are still sitting exams.

Landlords and neighbours have also asked us to pass on the message to not sit on flat roof extensions or drag furniture out onto it. Some of these roofs will not support the weight and may collapse. Additionally, this is intrusive for your neighbours.

If you are planning to hold house parties, please let your neighbours know in advance and if it is on a week night, please keep the music indoors with the bass low after 11pm. Terraced housing is often thin with little insulation, so many people will be disturbed by loud noise after 11pm.

We don’t want to stop you having fun as we appreciate you will have worked hard all year, but please respect your neighbours and be considerate when you are socialising late at night.

Update: Gas leak in URS building

Following the gas leak on Wednesday, our Estates colleagues have been working with specialist contractors to restore supply to the Whiteknights campus ring network. So far, supply to the following buildings has been restored:

  • Park House
  • Eat at the Square
  • Cedars hotel
  • RUSU building
  • Little Learners Nursery

Those buildings were identified as a priority for the weekend. Starting next week (Tuesday/Wednesday), supply to the remaining buildings will be progressively restored. The buildings are:

  • Knight Building
  • Minghella Studios
  • AMS basement
  • HBS offices
  • HBS
  • ICMA (x2)
  • Estates Building
  • Old Whiteknights House
  • Archway Lodge
  • Chemistry
  • Park House Lodge (Chaplaincy)

Thank you for your patience and understanding whist we have we have worked to restore the gas to site over the past two days.

PC Julie on consent

This month, PC Julie is back to talk about the importance of consent.

Hello all,

It has been a while since my last blog. I hope you all had a very enjoyable and safe Easter and now back to University for the final push until summer!

I know you will be launched into ‘quiet time’ as this is the term for exams, so good luck.

My blog this month is about CONSENT. This is a big issue, and it is vital to understand that sex without consent is rape. Here are some important points to remember when you are confirming whether or not you have consent from somebody:

  • The person seeking or initiating sex is responsible for getting consent.
  • Ask yourself if the other person is capable of giving consent – if they are on drugs or too drunk, asleep or unconscious they cannot choose.
  • Check the other person’s body language to see if they are eager and comfortable.
  • You can ask them if they are okay.
  • If they seem unhappy, or you are not sure they are consenting,
  • Silence, or the absence of a ‘no’, does not guarantee somebody is consenting.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.

Think about your future, your lifestyle, your friends and family. Anything you do has an impact on others and can ruin lives, including your own.

If you wish to talk about any issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.  As you know, I am your Police Officer for the University and I will make myself available to support you if needed. You can get my details from the Security Team.

For more advice and information on consent, you can visit consentiseverything.com.

Once again, for those of you who are taking exams, good luck, try not to stress and have plenty of breaks when you are studying (this is the mum coming out in me!)

Gas leak in URS Building

Late on Wednesday 22 May we discovered a gas leak in the URS Building at Whiteknights. The building was closed immediately and the Library was kept open overnight to provide study space.

This morning, Thursday 23 May, we have been able to clear all gas from the URS Building and it has been re-opened.

When the leak was discovered, the gas supply underneath the URS Building was cut off as a safety measure. This means there is currently no hot water in URS and a number of other buildings.

We are working with external contractors to restore the gas supply as soon as possible but we have been advised that this may take several days. We will keep you updated once we have further information.

Secure your home and valuables

As summer beckons and days become warmer it can be tempting to leave windows open, but bear in mind if you have expensive items on display, or allow easy access, you may become a target for burglars.

Thames Valley Police has had a number of burglaries reported around Reading, often with entry through open windows. However, there is no need to be alarmed if you take care to secure your house and your valuables.

Please find some tips and advice below.

Tips on keeping your home and belongings secure

  • Always remember to lock your doors and windows when you leave your house.
  • Do not leave downstairs or easily accessible windows open at night, unless attended.
  • Keep laptops, valuables and cash out of sight.
  • Use security cable kits to secure computers, printers and so on to the desk.
  • Mark your valuables with a UV light to deter burglars and record them free of charge using one of the accredited property databases to prove ownership. Find out more.
  • Read the Thames Valley Police Home Security Guide, which has detailed information on how to keep your home and valuables secure.
  • Follow our advice on keeping your bicycles and cars secure. Ensure you use an approved lock such as a ‘D-Lock’ for your bicycle and register it on Bike Register.
  • Read the University’s Security team guidance on personal safety.

 

RUSU Partnership in Teaching & Learning Showcase

The RUSU Partnership in Teaching & Learning Showcase was held on Wednesday 1 May, in 3sixty, to celebrate the winners of the RUSU Excellence Awards.

This annual event highlights the importance of collaboration, and further encourages student-staff educational partnership to promote positive teaching and learning experiences. It also provides an opportunity for staff who have been recognised by students in the RUSU Excellence Awards to share best practice with colleagues from across the institution.

Students are invited to nominate members of staff who they believe have gone above and beyond expectations to improve their teaching and learning experience. The outstanding work of Course and School Reps is also recognised, through the School and Course Rep Awards. This year, over 150 members of our community were nominated.

Award Winners 2019

We are pleased to congratulate the 2019 winners as follows:

Teaching Excellence (Arts, Humanities and Social Science) Dr Jacqui Turner
Teaching Excellence (Science) Dr Sally Lloyd-Evans
Teaching Excellence (Life Sciences) Dr Mirjana Sokolovic-Perovic
Teaching Excellence (Business) Dr Lebene Soga
Academic Tutor Excellence Dr Holly Robson
Support Staff Excellence Sam Bennett
Diverse and Inclusive Teaching Excellence Dr Allan Laville
Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence Dina Ghanma
Course Rep of the Year Leah Napier
School Rep of the Year 2019 Will Page
Outstanding Student/Staff Partnership Award Alicia Pena

Get involved – nominate a member of staff for 2020

All students are welcome to nominate a member of staff for the RUSU Excellence Awards. If you would like to recognise someone who you believe has enhanced your teaching and learning experience, keep an eye on RUSU’s website for information about when the 2020 nominations open.

Are you registered to vote?

The European elections 2019 are fast approaching, and it’s important to make your voice heard. Citizens of the UK and other EU member states resident in this country and aged over 18 can vote, provided they are registered to do so.

If you haven’t already, register to vote by the deadline on Tuesday 7 May so that you can cast your vote on Thursday 23 May.

Why vote?

Voting is about having a say in your future. It can sometimes be difficult to believe that your voice will make an impact, but your vote really does matter. Even if you don’t believe your candidate will win, it’s important not to give up. Your vote can still make a difference. Find out more about why your vote counts here.

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote quickly and easily online through the gov.uk website – click here to start your registration. It usually takes about 5 minutes to complete your application. You may need the following, if you have them:

  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Your passport if you’re a British citizen living abroad, and want to vote in England, Scotland or Wales.

Please note that you do not need to register again if you’re already registered.

Find out more

To find out more about the importance of your vote, how to vote, and to keep up with news related to the upcoming elections, visit https://www.european-elections.eu/.

For the latest information on voting in the UK, you can also follow @YourVote_UK on Twitter.

Looking after yourself during exam season

Exam season has arrived and we know this is a very busy time for many of you with revision, exams and coursework deadlines. It’s completely normal to feel stressed and anxious around this time.

If you’re feeling worried about impending exams and assignments, please know that you are not alone. Feeling some stress and worry around this time is natural – however it’s important not to become overwhelmed with these feelings. Taking care of yourself and paying close attention to your physical and mental health is really important and will help you to do your best in your upcoming assessments.

Look after your health

Focusing on maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing will help you to study more effectively and keep your stress levels down in the midst of exams. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Get a good night’s sleep

Getting enough good quality sleep can make a big difference to your stress levels and your ability to focus. Try to ensure that you’re getting a good amount of sleep each night. Having a regular night-time routine may help you to wind down and prepare your mind for sleep, and avoiding distractions like your phone and computer before bed will help you to relax.

If possible, separate your working space from the place where you rest and sleep. If you find that you’re struggling to fall asleep in the evenings, try to avoid studying in your bedroom. This will help your mind to associate that space with rest rather than work.

  • Eat well and often

When you’re stressed and have a busy schedule to keep it can be more difficult than usual to eat regular, balanced meals. You may find yourself skipping meals altogether or reaching for quick sugar and caffeine fixes to get you through the day, but this can really affect your ability to concentrate and study effectively. Make sure that you eat often throughout the day and choose foods with a high nutritional value. For tips on eating well on a budget, take a look at our Student Stories blog.

Staying hydrated will also help you to feel energised and keep your concentration levels up, so drink plenty of water throughout the day – especially as the weather gets warmer.

  • Stay active

Regular exercise can have a hugely positive effect on your physical and mental health. It also gives you a reason to take a much-needed break from revision and coursework. You don’t need to spend money on a gym membership to reap the benefits. Go for a run or brisk walk by yourself or with a friend to get your blood pumping. The most important thing is finding something that you enjoy and that works for you.

Break up your study sessions

Try to establish a balance between work and rest, and treat both with equal importance. When you have a lot of work to do and are feeling anxious about it, it can be tempting to shut yourself away in the Library and work for hours without a break – but this is likely to do more harm than good. Getting out for a walk between revision sessions can be a simple and effective way to give yourself a mental break and you’ll return to your work with more energy. The Harris Garden on Whiteknights campus is an ideal place to enjoy some fresh air and shift your focus away from you studies for a little while.

Support from RUSU

  • RUSU says Revise – RUSU will be running revision sessions with the Library’s Study Advisers and providing extra study space throughout the exam season from 09:00-17:00 on selected days each week. To find out more and see a full timetable, visit their webpage.
  • RUSU says Relax – RUSU are here to help you get through exam season by running a series of activities and events to help you relax and have fun during the exam period. Click here to see the full list of events, including yoga classes, mindfulness walks, art therapy sessions and even a petting zoo.

Consult the professionals

Having a lot of work to do in a short space of time can lead to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, so it’s important to remember that there are plenty of resources available that can help relieve some of the pressure.

  • The Study Advice team works with students at all levels of academic study and can help you to develop effective study practices and make studying less stressful. You can book free one-to-one advice sessions with a professional Study Adviser, take advantage of their expert study guides and video tutorials, and attend group sessions to get advice on making the most of your revision time and achieving your study goals.
  • Maths Support is a drop-in service available to help you with any maths you may be struggling with. The team is made up of experienced mathematicians who are there to help you in a friendly and supportive environment. They also have a range of worksheets and video tutorials designed to help you practice your mathematical skills.
  • Your subject Liaison Librarian can help you make effective use of all the resources that the Library has to offer. They can provide individual help with research and guide you to the most relevant resources.
  • Our free Life Tools talks continue into the summer term and focus on a range of exam-related topics such as minimising stress and improving your concentration.

Share your concerns

Sometimes when you’re feeling under pressure it can be really helpful to talk to someone about what’s worrying you. This could be a friend, a family member or someone else on your course. You can also speak to a member of the Student Welfare Team if you’re feeling particularly stressed and would like to speak to someone about it. Email the team at studentwelfare@reading.ac.uk or drop into the Carrington building Monday-Friday from 10:00-16:00.

As your key point of contact for your academic development, your Academic Tutor will be able to help you address any concerns you may have regarding your coursework and exam preparation.

The end is in sight!

Remember that it in a few weeks’ time it will all be over and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your summer. We wish you the very best of luck with your exams and assignments and encourage you to make use of the support available as and when you need it.

Career Smart: Take control of your future

Unsure what you want to do? Need to know more about the applications process? Want to get a head start in securing a graduate job? Introducing: Career Smart.

Career Smart is our brand new online course that has been designed to support students entering their final year. You’ll learn more about the graduate recruitment process, how to get started and what actions you’ll need to take in order to secure a great graduate role.

Hosted on the FutureLearn platform, this course will be exclusive to University of Reading students currently in their penultimate year (e.g. those who will be graduating in summer 2020) and is set to take place over the summer break. The course will run for four weeks and will start in the week commencing Monday 22 July.

You can expect to spend 2-3 hours a week studying and will be able to interact with other students who are in their final year, as well as experts in the careers service, recent alumni and a wide range of graduate employers.

During this course, you will:

  • Understand how the recruitment cycle works for graduates
  • Hear about the differences between graduate schemes and direct entry roles
  • Receive top tips from recruiters about what they are looking for
  • Discover the best way to find graduate jobs and how to research companies and industries
  • Find out how to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and experience for applications
  • Learn the foundations of writing a good CV, cover letter and how to prepare for interview

We appreciate that your final year is likely to be busy, so this course will offer you a great opportunity to get ahead! Places are limited, so use the link below to register your interest and secure a place today.

GET CAREER SMART

 

Exam feedback available from July 2019

We are pleased to announce that in response to student feedback in surveys and focus groups, generic exam feedback will now be made available to all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students via Blackboard. This follows a successful pilot last summer, with support from current students, academic and support staff, and RUSU.

Shortly after exam results have been published in July, you will be able to see exam feedback for your module cohort on Blackboard. You will receive an email to your University email inbox letting you know when this is available.

This feedback will highlight areas where the cohort as a whole performed well, as well as areas which the cohort found more challenging. This will not include any individual marks or feedback on your individual performance.

Exam feedback will be available to access on Blackboard for up to a maximum of five years, so students enrolling on modules next academic year will be able to make use of this feedback when revising for exams next summer.

If you have any questions or feedback about this new initiative please contact your Module Convenor or Support Centre.

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