Marrow Night at RUSU

FRENCH STUDIES STUDENT, KATHERINE, TELLS US MORE ABOUT THE ‘MARROW NIGHT’ RECENTLY HELD AT RUSU…

On Monday the 26th of February I attended the ‘Find Your Match’ event by RUSU’s Marrow Society in Monterey Lounge. I hadn’t heard of this society until I saw the posters for the event around campus and decided it sounded like a good cause and a fun night – I wasn’t wrong! Here’s the societies page on RUSU: https://www.rusu.co.uk/societies/13850/

 

Marrow society work alongside Anthony Nolan charity to help save lives of people diagnosed with blood cancer, and the night raised money for the cause as well as a huge amount of awareness.

 

The evening comprised of a lucky dip, raffle, live music and the chance to sign onto the sickle cell donor list. I was very apprehensive to do this, but after hearing that I could potentially save someone’s life by spending a day of mine donating blood or bone marrow, it was an easy decision and I’m now on the donor list. All I had to do was take a cotton swab of the inside of my cheek, fill out a few details and take a free pen, some badges and a Frisbee.

 

My favourite part of the evening was the raffle that the Society had organised. All of the prizes had been donated and included things such as paintballing vouchers, free Nando’s meals as well as bottles of alcohol and goodies from Tiger. Naturally I spent all the money I had in my purse on more raffle tickets and unsurprisingly I won nothing, though did get a lot of enjoyment out of watching the raffle be drawn.

 

I’m so pleased I found out about a charity I wasn’t aware of but now support in quite an unusual way! If you want to find out more about this charity, or many of the other charitable societies at RUSU check out this link: https://www.rusu.co.uk/activities/giag/#SearchClubs

Easter Plans

3RD YEAR PSYCHOLOGY STUDENT, KATE, TELLS US WHAT SHE IS DOING OVER THE EASTER HOLIDAYS AND HOW TO BALANCE STUDYING, SOCIAL LIFE AND HOLIDAYS…

Easter Holidays are the 23rd March- 18th April, just in case you don’t know and are not counting down the days, you have three weeks off. I am going to tell you about what I am doing and how to make the most of your break:

 

Skiing Holiday:

Les Arcs, France skiing for a 1 Week.

Skiing means I get hot chocolates constantly and some exercise, but I also have to balance my university assignments. Tricky I know, but planning is key. Ski from 9:30-4:30 and then before and after dinner, plan in to do assignments – Done.

Exercise which is fun like skiing will benefit your mental wellbeing as endorphins get released, which boosts your mood! You don’t just have to go skiing to boost your mood, any form of exercise is great!

 

Assignments:

So unusually I have no exams – lucky I know. However I have lots and lots of assignments which make up 40% of my degree. Finding the time to do these can seem hard when you have other commitments like holidays, trips, family events and catching up with friends. My main piece of advice is: timetable and plan. When you have one in place everything seems so much more achievable and relaxed. For example:

Wednesday 4th April:
Note: use the Pomodoro technique in the hour slots.

10:00 Assignment 1
11:00 Assignment 1
12:00 Lunch Break 1 hour.
1:00 Assignment 2
2:00 Assignment 2
2:30 Walk to town
3:00 Catch up with friend for coffee
4:30 Walk Home
5:00 Evaluate what assignment needs more work and get settled down.
5:15 Assignment which needs more work
6:15 Assignment which needs more work
7:15 Get ready for dinner
8:00 Out for Dinner with Family
10:30 Organise work area for next day

 

I have even given you a link straight to an online timer: https://tomato-timer.com/ but you can also use your phone timer if you prefer.

 

London Trips:

I am going to London Zoo and Bounce which is a ping pong place. Obviously, lunch is essential so I’m off to Borough Market by London Bridge where there is plenty of choice, and then I am walking along Southbank where there is always something happening.

I’m also treating myself to dinner at the Ivy Soho Brasserie and Duck and Waffle because we all deserve a treat after a long term of working hard living off beans and rice.

London has something for everyone, and it’s super close to Reading, approx. 35 mins to London Paddington! It couldn’t be easier to go so you really have no excuse not to explore the City.

 

Catching up at Easter:

Going home for Easter means seeing your nearest and dearest and enjoying your time with your family.

Make sure you factor in some time to relax as it is the Easter BREAK after all. So make the use of it, if you love lie-ins enjoy some.

 

Overall, Balance is Key. There is so much to do over the Easter holidays which are all important, so don’t forget one vital aspect that makes you happy.

My Academic Placement at the Daily Mirror

ITALIAN STUDIES STUDENT, LUCY, TELLS US ABOUT HOW SHE FOUND HER PLACEMENT AND WHAT ACTIVITIES SHE’LL BE GETTING UP TO…

As part of my studies in second year, I chose a module called Literature, Languages and Media. At first I thought this module sounded rather ambiguous and I wondered what it would entail. Luckily my personal tutor taught part of it last year so could give me some advice and guidance about what it was all about. It turns out it is focused around a two week academic placement which had to be in the area of literature, languages or media. For me this sounded like the ideal module seeing as I have an interest in these fields and so I really wanted to gain some experience in the industry. I also think doing a placement looks fantastic on your CV and is brilliant in preparing you for the world of work that lies ahead.

 

Finding my placement

Finding a placement was completely down to us as individuals. We had to find, contact and organise them with only a few snippets of advice from the lecturers. Whilst this was certainly daunting at the time and I was incredibly stressed about how I would ever find a placement, I am incredibly glad that we weren’t handed everything on a plate. By doing everything yourself, it really feels like an achievement when you do find the placement. In addition to this, it is really good to learn about independence when it comes to communicating with companies and this is a skill I will always value.

After sending email after email to companies that I had an interest in, I began to become rather disillusioned that it was so difficult to find someone willing to take you on. This is another great lesson in life – if you don’t succeed the first time, keep trying and do not give up, it is inevitable something better will come around the corner.

I was chatting to one of my relatives about how my second year at university was going and I was telling her all about my year abroad, my new living arrangements, the different modules I was taking and much more. I was telling her about how I was struggling to find a placement and asked her for some advice about finding one. I had completely forgotten that she has a connection to the Daily Mirror and she therefore had links in the industry. She gave me the email address of someone who worked at the Mirror and put in a good word for me. This was a great help considering it is very hard to find personalised email addresses for people in a company. I have learnt that you do not get much luck in terms of a response if you email a generic account like “enquiries@company.com” for example. So I sent off my CV and my proposal for an academic placement and a few days later they agreed to take me on for two weeks over Easter. Recently I have been considering my career paths and I particularly like the idea of working as an editor in a magazine. Therefore, I was overjoyed at the thought of a placement at an established newspaper because it would be incredibly insightful and it would look excellent on my CV.

 

What I’ll be doing

I will be spending one week of the placement with the Editorial team which I am particularly excited about as I will be able to discover more about the career I may want to go into. I will then be spending the other week in the Marketing department. Marketing is another area that I find particularly interesting and I am keen to further develop my interest in this field.

 

So whilst I won’t be relaxing over the whole of the Easter break, I will be doing something very exciting which will benefit me massively in both my studies and in the long term.

 

Useful resources

Top Misconceptions of British Sign Language (BSL)

THEATRE ARTS, EDUCATION & DEAF STUDIES STUDENT, ALEXANDER, SHARES HIS KNOWLEDGE OF BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE…

Last week was National Sign Language Week! I love learning sign language and I’ve had the privilege of incorporating it in my degree and gaining some qualifications in it. I really enjoy this language because it’s visual and kinaesthetic – and these are ways I learn best. I love the expressive nature of this language and it has tied in well with my theatre studies. It’s always great to see a deaf person’s face light up when you sign with them, even if you make mistakes or sign slowly – they usually really appreciate the effort.  In honour of National Sign Language Week, here are the top misconceptions of British Sign Language (BSL).

 

  • Since March 2003, BSL has been an official recognised language, but still has no legal protection.

 

  • BSL is not just a signed version of English, because that’s Sign Supported English (SSE). BSL carries more weight and is more commonly used. It has a completely different word order to English, with the most important words first. For example: ‘what’s your name’ in BSL would be ‘name you what’?

 

  • Makaton Sign Language and BSL have many similarities, but they’re not the same. Makaton tends to be used in by individuals who have learning difficulties.

 

  • Every country has its own sign language. International Sign Language can be used if you are communicating with a Deaf person from another country.

 

  • There are regional variations of British Sign Language, one sign could mean something very different in the South of England than it does in the North!

 

  • BSL is not all ‘iconic’ signs ie. gestural signs that look exactly like what they are discussing. There are many ‘non-iconic’ signs which means they look nothing like what they are discussing.

 

  • There is not necessarily a sign for every word and even if there is, you don’t always need to sign it. BSL is usually shorter and more simplified, therefore can be quicker to express than verbal speech. However, sometimes a concept may need more establishing, and can take a bit longer. Although there are signs for connective words (e.g. and, but, or) you can usually obliterate or use fewer of these when signing. In some cases, you can use facial expressions (e.g furrowed eyebrows) to show you are asking a question.

 

If you’re interested in learning BSL, there are various courses you can take online or in person. Click here to find out more. A simple way to learn a few signs is to look them up using an online sign dictionary, however it’s better to learn through a course and practicing with others.

 

Did you know that Reading Uni offer a BSL module that any student can take (not just if you’re on my degree)?! Click here for more information.

 

 

 

Dealing with Exam Stress

GEOGRAPHY STUDENT, JACK, SHARES SOME WAYS TO DEAL WITH EXAM STRESS…

So, you’ve made it through all the lectures, seminars, practicals, labs and coursework deadlines but are now rocketing towards your exams feeling about as calm as Trump’s hair in the wind? Don’t fret! By following these 5 top tips you’ll be well on your way to nailing your exams without any undue stress.

  • Make a timetable – Ok so this is hardly the most exciting top tip of all time (unless you’re the colour it in and cover it in glitter type of person…) but will definitely help you in the long run. Having a revision timetable will help you feel like you’ve got everything under control and make sure you’re revising everything in equal amount. Not only that but when you’re panicking about things you can look back and see how much revision you have actually done!
  • Get some you time – Revision is important, but so is making time for you! Just because it’s exam season doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love – make sure you’re still attending society/sports events and don’t cut off contact with your friends. If you cut off doing the things you love, not only are you going to feel very lonely but you’ll also definitely start hating revision even more. Having a well thought out timetable will help massively with this!
  • Don’t neglect sleep – In the run up to exams (especially the last few evenings) it can seem like a really good idea to revise late into the night and burn the midnight oil so to speak, but more often than not this isn’t the best option! Getting a good night’s sleep means you’ll be able to concentrate more effectively for longer periods, not only that but being sleep deprived has similar effects to being intoxicated with alcohol! You wouldn’t go into an exam after a bottle of vodka (I hope…) so don’t go into one sleep deprived either. Rest up – perform better!
  • Eat well – A good top tip for any time of year but especially during exam season! Eating well will make sure you can perform at your best, so cut the chicken dippers and chips and go for a more wholesome and healthy meal; not only will you feel less hungry (which, let’s face it, is distracting at the best of times) but you’ll perform to a much higher standard.
  • Be realistic with yourself – Revising every topic in one day just isn’t realistic (trust me, I’ve tried!) so make sure you’re setting realistic goals. Not only does this mean you’ll actually cover a topic completely but when you look back on your revision at the end of the day you’ll feel a lot better knowing you’ve finished one topic completely as opposed to all 10 in parts!

For more study advice, head on over to: https://www.reading.ac.uk/library/study-advice/lib-study-advice.aspx

Smiles All Around! International Day Of Happiness 20th March 2018

GEOGRAPHY STUDENT, JACK, TELLS US WHAT MAKES HIM HAPPY WHEN AT UNIVERSITY…

With International Day of Happiness finally here, I thought I’d share 5 things that make me happy at University!

 

  • Campus – If there’s one thing I love to do when I’m dealing with a lot of stress and pressure from exam deadlines and a busy schedule, it’s taking half an hour to simply breathe, relax and enjoy our wonderful Green Flag campus. There’s nothing quite like strolling through the Harris gardens listening to birdsong and taking a moment to appreciate the vivid colour and beauty of nature.

 

  • Societies – Societies are a great way to find a group of likeminded people and pursue something you love, and for me that’s radio! As a presenter on Junction11 Radio I get to broadcast the songs I love to the world and interacting with listeners gives me a real buzz! No matter what point in the year it is there’s still time to try something new!

 

  • RUSU – Cheese room anyone? Aside from my favourite nights out of the week, RUSU has amazing facilities including the Stephen Lawrence Media Centre and some great places to get food and drink. Personally, I love making time to play a quick tournament of pool in Mojo’s with their sharing plate of Nachos. As well as pool and Nachos, RUSU is also home to something else that makes me happy – COFFEE!

 

  • Campus Jobs – Work isn’t often described as something that makes you happy but I really enjoy the work I’ve managed to find through Campus Jobs. As a Student Ambassador and Communications Ambassador, every day I work is different. I could be teaching year 6 how to programme robots one day and writing a blog another; the breadth is really invigorating.

 

  • Bagel Man – Now here’s something I’m sure we can all agree on! Bagel Man just does make me happy, no matter what mood I’m in, having a chat to the most sociable man on Earth never fails to put me in a good mood. Oh, and his amazing bagels and milkshakes probably have something to do with it too…

 

So, this International Day of Happiness, make sure you find time to do something that makes you happy!

Remember if you’re feeling low the University has some fantastic counselling and wellbeing services so don’t deal with it alone, reach out and the University will be there to support you.

 

Everything You Need To Know About UROP

3RD YEAR MSCI PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY AND PRACTICE STUDENT, KATE, EXPLAINS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UROP, APPLICATION TIPS AND HER EXPERIENCE DOING UROP…

UROP is the University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme. The deadline is the 29th March, so get applying quick it will be worth it…

Things to know:

  • The project is 6 weeks long, starting from a date which is agreed by you and your supervisor.
  • The bursary is £1,320 (£220/week) – You get paid at the end of your 4th week or the end of July depending on what is sooner. Oh also this money is TAX FREE!
  • You do not need to apply for a vacancy that is in your department. This may be your opportunity to learn about a new field.
  • You need to be in your MIDDLE years of your UNDERGRADUATE study
  • You gain the opportunity to learn about real research which looks great on your CV and definitely gives you something to talk about at interviews.
  • This will be formally acknowledged in your diploma transcript.
  • You will be supported in creating your poster for the presentation in November where all your hard work is evaluated and a best in category is chosen.
  • Those who are selected will be invited to the British Conference in Undergraduate Research and the two overall winners can present a Poster in Parliament.

 

Application Tips:

  • All the placement choices are currently on the UROP website.
  • Read each of the requirements carefully; make sure you meet them and have a genuine interest in the research area. This is 6 weeks of your summer, make sure it is something you really want to do.
  • Go to a UROP Information Session – they will give you some valuable information and you get a free pen! The last session is 21st March 1pm-2pm so sign up at My Jobs online.
    Check out the Student Stories post by Graham which talks all about the Information session.
  • Take time working out what you want to apply for and how many as you will have to usually submit a CV, write a cover letter and if successful go for an interview. Make sure you still have time for your academic work and you’re not applying for tonnes of vacancies.
  • Each placement may have slightly different application processes, so make sure you read the vacancies carefully.
  • Use the support provided by the Careers Centre before and after you have completed the project.
  • Check out the Essentials page for everything you need: Student Essentials

 

My experience:

I have always wanted to get some more experience working within a research field, especially before starting my dissertation. I came across UROP and thought it was a great idea and so I went to the information session to find out more. I did this with friends so it was really enjoyable and also contributed 1 hour towards my RED award.

After deciding on four vacancies to apply for I worked out which ones were due first if they had different deadlines. The ones I didn’t get an interview for gave me feedback such as “your CV and cover letter doesn’t give me enough information about your academic experience on your course” and others were due to other people just having more relevant experience. So I would say make sure you really sell yourself and use the support given by the Careers team to ensure your CV and cover letter are up to scratch..

My project was on whether a special font helps children with dyslexia read more fluently.

I was invited to interview for the vacancy I went for. Make sure you research further into the vacancy brief, the supervisor and come up with some questions before hand. Basically be prepared! I found out later that afternoon that I had got the vacancy if I wanted it. Be aware that the supervisors tend to want to know if you want it straight away. This proves difficult if you have applied for other placements and haven’t had the interview yet, so just be aware of this!

Before I started this placement I was worried because I applied to an Education Department when I was a psychology student- so a completely different department that my own. I then remembered that many people are probably in the same position and I must have got the vacancy above others for a reason. So I needed to be confident in my ability! Through doing my research project I created the materials, I ran the experiment in two schools meeting some fantastic pupils and teachers, I learnt how to use an eye tracking machine and set one up from scratch. I learnt how to analyse the data and came up with some interesting results. Throughout the project my opinions and ideas were valued and I felt like I really contributed.

The realisation in September when I remembered I had to create and present a project to judges was slightly terrifying, however I received some great support from my supervisor, my co-researcher and the UROP team. The photo below is from the Undergraduate Research showcase in November. Each placement was put in a category out of 5. Mine was prosperity and resilience. I had to sell my project in about 5 minutes and I honestly didn’t think I did that well. Unknown to me I did better than I thought and overall, I came second. This meant I didn’t automatically go through to the conference, but I was still invited to attend it due the standard of my poster. So, in the Easter break I am going up to the University of Sheffield for the conference with 6 other UROP participants to present our posters!

Overall, I would recommend the UROP scheme to anyone. I had a fantastic 6 weeks where I learnt so much and I got a great feel of a real-life research project. I met some new people and made a great friend in my research partner. I now feel a lot more confidence with research procedures and this stands me in great stead for my dissertation year!

 

 

Check out UROPs Twitter pages and Instagram for regular updates:
https://twitter.com/search?q=UniRdg_urop&src=typd

If you need any further information look at the website:

http://student.reading.ac.uk/essentials/careers_and_professional_development/grow/urop.aspx or contact urop@reading.ac.uk

How To Save Money At Uni

ACCOUNTING AND BUSINESS STUDENT, REBECCA, SHARES HER TOP TIPS ON SAVING MONEY WHILST AT UNIVERSITY…

 

As an Accounting and Business student, its fair to say I think a lot about money – how much I have and how much (more) I want to have.  These are some of the ways I ensure I’m always in the black and I am financially stress free…

 

The Basics

Firstly at the beginning of the academic year, or term, sit down with a pen and paper and do some basic calculations. In simple terms it’s all about: Money in vs. Money out. ‘Money in’ is simple: loan + job + cash from parents. For me, I like to keep my ‘money out’ as strictly fixed costs: Rent + gym. Thus giving me a spending total for the term/year. I then divide this by the number of weeks I will be at university and create a weekly budget.  At this point, you can perform a quick sense check – does this amount seem too much/too little? If this weekly budget is greater than what you usually spend/want to spend (lucky you!) – shave a little off and put that aside as ‘savings’. If you are struggling to work out just how you can live on the weekly amount, re-evaluate your ‘money in’: Maybe look into getting a job, or asking your parents for a little support.
 

Budgeting can seem difficult, it takes some self control and discipline – but there’s one simple thing that has made is very easy for me.

 

Weekly Budget

I have two bank accounts – my ‘main account’ and my ‘weekly account’. All ‘Money in’ goes into the ‘main account’, and a direct debit set up between the two accounts transfers my weekly budget (calculated above) into my ‘weekly account’ for spending. Thus I never spend from my ‘main account’ and I am always limited to spending within my weekly budget by spending out of my ‘weekly account’. This ensures I never spend above my weekly budget, and enables me to keep tabs to my spending throughout the week and term.

 

Making Cuts

Living as a student can seem challenging as our ‘money in’ is limited (to a loan… which essentially is debt). However, we can manage our finances through controlling ‘money out’/spending. It is good to have an idea of how much money you spend, for example how much your weekly food shop costs, how much you spend on nights out, and travel, and shopping, and eating out… and everything else there is to spend money on! For many, food shopping and going out are the two most expensive outgoings. In terms of cutting the groceries bill: I have found the most efficient way to reduce food waste and impulse buys is through planning meals and writing a shopping list when off to the supermarket/online shop. This limits your spending to what you actually need, which may turn out to be a lot less than what you thought you needed!

 

UROP Information Session

2ND YEAR MATHEMATICS STUDENT, GRAHAM, TELLS US ABOUT A RECENTLY ATTENDED UROP INFORMATION SESSION…

I recently attended the first of this year’s UROP Information Sessions run by the Careers Service.

UROP stands for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme and is an opportunity to do a 6-week paid research internship here on campus this summer.

I knew a little about the UROP programme before I attended the session, from information available online and from talking to a friend who did a UROP internship last summer.  I am seriously considering doing either an MSc or a PhD after my Undergraduate degree and feel this is an ideal opportunity to gain valuable experience doing research and, basically, to see if it is the sort of thing I would enjoy.

The bulk of this year’s opportunities were made available on Monday 19th February from a wide range of schools and departments, with approximately 50 internships available in total.  Unfortunately, there are none from my department, Mathematics, this year so I felt that I probably wasn’t going to get much out of the session.

However, I came away with a number of positives:

  • First and foremost a free pen, quite a nice free pen to be honest.
  • Advice that you are not limited to applying for placements solely within your own department or school. You can apply for any for which you have the necessary skills and/or experience.
  • There is a lot of support available before and during the placement from the Careers team.
  • A 3rd year student gave a short presentation and answered questions about the UROP project that she did last summer.
  • You get one hour for your Red Award by attending.
  • And that if successful in getting a UROP internship, the hours that you work also count towards your Red Award

The session reaffirmed what I understood about the UROP Scheme beforehand.  It is an opportunity to work for 6 weeks on a research project alongside an academic, you will gain valuable research experience that will look great on your CV and the academic gets support for 6 weeks.   All internships pay a £1,320 tax-free bursary, and there are a range of opportunities available across most schools and departments; check out the links below.  The application closing date for the majority of the roles is 29th March.

If you think a summer research internship may be the right thing for you, then the Careers Service are running several more of the information sessions, which can be booked through MyJobsOnline.

Details about the programme can be found here on the UROP home page.

And details about this year’s opportunities can be found via the following link

http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/urop2018/placements/

 

 

 

 

Reflections on International Women’s Day

EVEN THOUGH INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY IS OVER, HISTORY STUDENT, GRACE, REFLECTS ON THE CONTINUING IMPORTANCE OF THIS DAY BY SHARING A COLLECTION OF QUOTES FROM FELLOW STUDENTS…

“In my eyes Women’s day shines a light on the success of women and the continued need for women to pursue their ambitions, it also helps us to encourage and promote each other’s voices.”

“I think International Women’s day is great because it creates a buzz online about equality and women’s rights. I love to read about what it means to other people on social media and news articles. It gets people talking, researching and writing making it a fantastic way to promote issues surrounding gender equality.”

“Women’s day represents the continuous strides made towards the equality of genders. I am proud to be alive at a time where so much has been done to achieve equal rights and, I am glad to be in a position from which I can continue to support this progression.”

“I think it’s important to celebrate how women’s rights have developed throughout history, and to continue to develop today, in order to strengthen women’s position in society! I think international women’s day is vital in raising awareness of the gender gap and discuss ways for creating greater gender parity.”

“Women’s Day is really important to me because it celebrates the work that people around the world have done to further women’s rights and make the world a better and more equal place.”

“Women are half of the human population, they are mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. They are assets in countless ways to all our lives. So having a day to celebrate women is simply brilliant, and a much needed way of showing appreciation to women!”

“I believe Women’s day is an acknowledgment of importance of gender equality and all the people that have campaigned and fought for women’s rights over the course of history. It is also a vital acknowledgement of the work that that still needs to be done globally to achieve equality.”

Why do you think International Women’s Day is important?