Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

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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.

Selecting your optional modules

If you need to select optional modules for the next Part of your degree programme starting in 2019/20, the Module Browser on the RISIS Portal is now online. This gives you the opportunity to look at the optional module choices available on your programme prior to you making your module selections when the Module Selection window goes live on the RISIS Portal on 25 April 2019.

If you are an undergraduate on Part 1 or 2 of your course and are not going on to placement, you will need to select your optional modules. If you are in Part 3 on a 4 year course or Part 3 coming back from a placement, you will also need to select your optional modules.

Please note that the deadline for selecting your optional modules will be 12:30pm on Tuesday 7 May 2019.

If you need assistance with selecting your optional modules, there are lots of different ways in which you can seek advice:

Please also note that this excludes Foundation students who will be progressing to Part 1, as you will be required to complete your module selections in September.

Issuing transcripts over the exam period

Please note that Student Services will be unable to issue transcripts for current students from the start of the exam period until final results have been posted. This is to prevent transcripts being issued with marks that have yet to be finalised/confirmed.

No transcripts will be issued from 5pm on Thursday 25 April until 5pm on Thursday 11 July 2019.

We are aware that some students will require transcripts, for example, to apply for postgraduate study . If you do require a transcript, please ensure you print a copy from the RISIS portal (under ‘Self-service letters’) or request this from your Student Support Co-ordinator before 5pm on Thursday 25 April.

If you are a Henley Business School student, you will need to contact your Programme Admin Team for a transcript.

If you require a stamped, hard copy of the transcript, you will need to request this from your Student Support Co-ordinator/HBS Programme Admin Team before Thursday 25 April or after 11 July.

For BA CDL finalists and PGCE/ ProfGCE awards and progression for BA(Ed) Parts 1 and 2,  transcripts will be unavailable for a longer time period until 5pm on Wednesday 24 July, due to awarding/progression boards taking place later.

For more information, contact your Student Support Co-ordinator or Student Services Reception.

Apply for your 2019/20 student loan

If you are a UK student, you can now apply for a student loan to cover your fees next academic year.

If you received funding last year, please note that you will not automatically receive this next year. You need to apply again at www.gov.uk/studentfinance before the deadline on 21 June 2019 in order to receive your funding on time for the start of the academic year 2019/20.

There is a different process for students from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you are an EU student, you will be contacted by post to apply for continued funding.

If you have any questions or concerns about tuition fees, please get in touch with the Student Financial Support team, based on the ground floor of the Carrington building. You can email them at studentfinance@reading.ac.uk or give them a call on  0118 378 5555.

 

Mumps

There have been confirmed outbreaks of mumps at two UK universities recently, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and what you can do to prevent infection.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that causes painful swelling of the glands at the side of the face under the ears. Other symptoms include headaches, joint pain and a high temperature, which may develop a few days before the swelling.

Mumps is spread in the same way as colds and flu – through infected droplets of saliva. These can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose.

Students may be more at risk than other groups due to spending lots of time in close proximity, for example in halls of residence, lecture theatres and bars/nightclubs.

In the UK, most people receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine as a child which helps to protect you from contracting mumps. However, you it is still possible to catch mumps if you have had the vaccine, especially if you are in close contact with someone who is infected.

A person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterwards. During this time, it’s important to prevent the infection spreading to others by:

  • washing your hands regularly with soap
  • using and disposing of tissues when you sneeze
  • avoiding contact with people for at least 5 days after your symptoms first develop

If you think you might have mumps, contact your GP in advance of going in to the surgery so they can take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection.

More information about mumps is available on the NHS webpages.

Share a Sofa with your Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Gavin Brooks and your Full-Time RUSU Officers

On 21 March your Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gavin Brooks, hosted an open student drop-in event with your full-time RUSU Officers. A number of students stopped by to ask questions and a wide range of topics were covered, from study space to transparency in decision-making. Watch our video of some of the highlights below, if you missed it!

 

Easter opening hours

The end of term is almost here! The University will be closed from 17-22 April, reopening for the start of term on 23 April. With the exception of these closure dates, many services and facilities will remain open outside of term time – please make a note of any changes to opening hours that may affect you.

Library & URS Building

Between Monday 1 and Friday 5 April the Library Building will be open from 09:00-17:00. Between Monday 1 and Thursday 4 April the Library@URS Building will be open from 08:30-19:00.

On Friday 5 April the Library will be open from 08:30-17:00.

Between Saturday 6 and Tuesday 16 April the Library will resume normal term-time opening hours.

Both Library buildings will be closed for the University Easter Closure between Wednesday 17 and Monday 22 April.

Support Centres

Support Centres will be open from 09:00-16:00 outside of term time. This excludes the University closure dates between 17-22 April. You can find your Support Centre here.

Student Welfare Team

The Student Welfare Team will be operating as usual over the break, with drop-in sessions from 10:00-16:00 from Monday-Friday. They will be closed from 17-22 April.

International Student Advisory Team

The International Student Advisory Team will be operating as usual outside of term time, but will not be available on the University closure dates from 17-22 April.

Student Services Reception

The Student Services Reception will be open as usual, with the exception of the University closure dates from 17-22 April. However, due to reduced staffing during this period, please note that there may be a longer wait than usual. Please also be aware that Student Financial Services drop-in sessions do not take place outside of term time.

Counselling and Wellbeing

The Counselling and Wellbeing Service will be open as usual outside of term time, but will be closed from 17-22 April.

Disability Advisory Service

The Disability Advisory Service will be operating as normal over the break, with the exception of 17-22 April, when it will be closed.

RUSU

Please note that Café Mondial will be open from 9:30-14:30 every day with the exception of the University closure dates, and Mojo’s will be closed outside of term time.

Please watch this space for any further changes to opening hours over the Easter break.

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