Lucy’s 2 Week Placement at the Daily Mirror

Italian Studies student, Lucy, tells us about her recent editing and marketing placement at the Daily Mirror…

Day One

On the first day of my placement I was incredibly excited yet nervous about it all. I had looked up where the offices are in Canary Wharf and realised that they are in One Canada Square which is the second tallest building in the UK and the big building they often fly past on the Apprentice! At first I had to go over all the boring stuff like health and safety, but afterwards I got to go into the offices. The whole floor was open plan with row upon row of shiny Macs. As we were on the 22nd floor, the view was stunning. I have no idea how people manage to get any work done with a view like that!

 

My first task was to read over the papers that morning so that I could be aware of what was going on but also get used to the style and tone of the Daily Mirror. My next task was to do some research for an article for the next day on how Easter is becoming the new Christmas. I had to find products with a direct link to Christmas, for example Easter crackers. I then had to write a small piece about Easter becoming a more celebrated festival. It was published the next day in the paper. They had cut what I had written down massively and my name was not on it, but I have taken credit for it!

 

Day Two

Again, I read the papers until I went into Daily Conference (this is where all of the editors decide which stories will make it into the paper). This was very interesting as I learnt about some stories that no one would have known about, and it felt very strange the next day when I was watching the review of the papers in the morning, whilst already knowing what would be in there! I was given my first task of the day a while after the conference had finished. I would be helping another team write an article about the difference between low fat and standard food products. Despite asking if I could help throughout the day, there were several periods where I hadn’t got anything to do. I managed to plan the whole of my Italian oral exam during this day, so I could say that I was productive, just not in the way that I was expecting. I spent a lot of time thinking about how my peers in smaller companies were probably getting way more experience than I.

 

Day Three

On day three, I felt worried that I would spend my day doing not very much when I could have been finishing assignments. However, when I walked into the office and spoke to my supervisor she told me that she had managed to secure me a day with the Fashion department. Luckily the fashion team kept me busy throughout the day. I first had to look for leather trousers to accompany an article about how they had come back into fashion. This was perfect – I was online shopping (one of my favourite pastimes) for work! I then had to make a mood board for the shoot they would be doing the next day which featured jeans and blazers. I spent the day doing odd jobs like this but I enjoyed it because I felt valued for the first time since I arrived at The Mirror. At the end of the day I was asked if I would like to attend the shoot the next day – how exciting!

 

Day Four

The shoot was at Holborn Studios in Shoreditch. I helped with all of the basic jobs such as steaming the clothes and writing down all of the different combinations of garments. It was very interesting watching how Didi and Amber (the fashion editors) put outfits together so easily. I had a really good day at the shoot – the only downside was the fact that by the end of it I wanted to buy so many more clothes! The next day was Good Friday and editorial still work on a bank holiday but I was told that they did not need me in the office, so I had a lie in to look forward to!

 

Day Five

After a relaxing Easter weekend, I prepared myself for a new week in the marketing department. I felt relieved when I received a friendly welcome from marketing and was given a task straight away. I had to look through the competitor papers and see what offers and promotions they were doing over the Easter Weekend, for example the Daily Mail were giving away a free motorhome. My next task was to come up ideas that The Mirror could do to advertise the new show ‘Judge Romesh’ which is a “micky take” of shows such as ‘Judge Judy’ with the comedian Romesh Ranganathan. In the afternoon I was with the Insight team. The Insight team do an array of things, amongst them include sending out surveys to the audience of The Mirror in order to better understand them, rebranding other publications under Trinity Mirror, giving feedback to brands on how their advertisement has performed in the paper and how they win pitches to convince brands that advertising with them is worth it. My afternoon here was particularly interesting. To finish my day, I wrote a piece about the opportunity to win a brand new TV in conjunction with a new TV show ‘Deep State’ which FOX have been heavily advertising in The Mirror.

 

Day Six

The races at Aintree present The Mirror with a good chance to promote their publication, because they can offer free bets which then makes more people buy the paper. Paddypower were offering free bets on each day of the Aintree festival and so I had to write a short and chatty piece about the offers. Another task I had was to come up with ideas for a campaign. Tesco are planning on doing a campaign with The Mirror about body confidence and positivity with the end goal for people to buy F&F bikinis. I came up with many ideas on how to advertise this, for example a spread in the paper of normal people advertising the bikinis instead of a photoshopped models.

 

Day Seven

Today I went to a meeting called T&T (I’m still not entirely sure what this stands for!) which basically acts as a bridge between editorial and other departments such as marketing, sales etc. They hold this meeting to discuss what each department is doing and so that editorial have an idea of this too. The departments are on different floors and so it becomes easy for them to become separate. Today we also did a wider brainstorm for the Tesco campaign. The main idea that came out of the meeting was to do an ‘anti-page 3’ with normal people in normal holiday destinations advertising the bikinis. In the afternoon I went along to a meeting at the UKTV offices in Hammersmith about a new program featuring Emma Willis. The offices were very cool – they had a balcony and ping pong tables in the office and it had a warehouse vibe going on, as if you were in Shoreditch! The meeting only lasted fifteen minutes so we spent more time travelling than talking! Nonetheless we got back to the office with time to do other things. I spent the rest of the day doing some analysis of the competitor papers’ tablet editions and what each of them offered.

 

Day Eight

I felt sad that it was my last day because I really enjoyed my time with the marketing department. I spent my morning doing edits on advertisement for the program Deep State, before I got to go into the Sunday Mirror conference. The people in the department were so lovely and everyone was really sociable which contributed to it being such a nice working environment. At about 5 o clock each Friday they have a “treats trolley” that is wheeled around with treats such as crisps, sweets and donuts for everyone to enjoy. They also have drinks in the office after 5.30 where everyone can catch up and discuss their achievements of the week. All of the above contributed to the fantastic week with the marketing team and I learned a lot. I have also discovered that I would like to go into marketing once I have graduated. I was very chuffed when the marketing director asked me if I would like to go back do to a paid summer placement with them and it massively boosted my confidence to know that the team thought I had worked hard and done well.

 

Overall, whilst I didn’t have a great first week, my second week more than made up for this. I now feel like I have direction and something to work towards. It has given me a drive I have never felt before to go out and get my dream job and this is something I really value.

 

Revision Tips for the Exam Period

HISTORY STUDENT, BEN, SHARES HIS TOP TIPS ON STAYING FOCUSED WITH REVISION…

As the exam period draws ever closer, the need to revise becomes more and more urgent. But as any student will tell you, forcing yourself to revise is no easy task, as the abundance of free time the study period offers most students leads to a high risk of distraction. But there are definitely ways you can keep focused on studying!

 

Separate your work space from the place you relax

It’s hard to convince yourself to do work when you’re in a room or place you’re used to sleeping or having fun in, so putting yourself in a new environment is a great motivator for ensuring you get your work done. For some, this can be as simple as moving into a different room in the house, but there are also numerous study spaces open on campus if you prefer a starker change, such as the temporary library in URS or the Students’ Union building.

 

Take focus breaks

Remaining engaged with your work is a struggle of its own. Everybody has their own individual tolerance for being able to focus, and figuring out how long that period is – 15, 20, 30 minutes, or higher – is vital to knowing when to take a small five minute break and compose yourself before returning to your work. During this break, it’s also important to not do anything that will distract yourself longer than your allotted break time. Do something short, sweet, with a strict time limit, to avoid trailing off from your work.

 

These are two small tips, but both go a long way as far as to ensuring you have a solid revision schedule which keeps you on top of your work and focusing for as long as you need to. It also helps to be healthy, so your mind remains clear and open to new information, so be sure to eat and drink water regularly, as well as not to study too late into the night.

 

Further information can be found on Reading essentials:

 

 

 

Be sure to keep all this in mind during the exam period. Good luck!

 

 

8 Tips On Relaxing And Unwinding This Term

THEATRE ARTS, EDUCATION & DEAF STUDIES STUDENT, ALEXANDER, SHARES HIS TOP TIPS ON STAYING RELAXED THROUGHOUT THE EXAM PERIOD…

It’s the Summer term – which marks the start of a busy period for a lot of students, however don’t fret because you can get through this! Sometimes it can feel like you have to be working non-stop, but the work/life balance is key. National Relaxation Day is on 15th August, but everyday should have a period of relaxation, even on the really hectic days! Here are some ideas to help you rejuvenate…

 

  • Release any tension that may be in your body. Stretching, yoga and pilates can be beneficial. Classes for these (and Yogalates) are available at the uni SportsPark.

 

  • Researchers at the University of Essex have discovered the 15- 20 minute walk at lunchtime can improve well-being and sleep, which as we all know are important areas to look after when we’re studying hard.

 

  • To do lists and done lists. Some people hate to do lists, or may dismiss the idea, but it can have great benefits! It can help you feel less stressed and more focused. A ‘done list’ can improve your mood and make you feel a sense of achievement – I’ve certainly found both very useful.

 

  • Adult colouring books. Most of you are probably aware of the recent trend of adult colouring books. I have found colouring really relaxing and a useful activity to do before bed. I want to encourage the men among you, that it’s totally fine for a guy to enjoying colouring and arts and crafts in general! Even if you think you’re not very creative or skilled with arty things, give it a go. You can buy a variety of colouring and craft materials cheaply from The Works.

 

  • Listen to music. I certainly find listening to music relaxes me, especially when it’s one of my favourite songs and I know it well and enjoy the lyrics and rhythm.

 

  • Tea and a chat. Sometimes just a quick catch up with your bestie over a cuppa is a great way to have a break from studying I usually go to Coffee Under Pressure (C.U.P) in town, tucked away next to Reading Minster, on St Mary’s Butts. Highly recommended!

 

  • Eating foods that contain tryptophan, for example nuts and cheese. Check out this article that explains more, and gives other tips for relaxing.

 

  • Try to go as technology free as possible. This is a tricky one, and one that I definitely haven’t cracked yet, but I want to! It’s not just eye-strain, but screens are so stimulating and our devices are full of distracting apps, that’s hard to switch off. Of course, there is nothing wrong with sitting down and watching something to relax, but sometimes it can be good to try tech free relaxation.

 

Obviously we all relax in different ways, and what works for one person might not work for another. Some of us find it easier to relax alone and others prefer to relax with others. This could vary from day to day and I believe that trying to get a balance, between time alone and with others is important. If you want more information and advice on relaxing and unwinding, check out the Life Tools talks at the University. If you have tips, post a comment below! Good luck for this term and I hope it will be a happy and health one for you!

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!

 

 

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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