Why you should be a Frontrunner

While the Frontrunners initiative is a highly successful and beneficial programme that has been in place at the University of Essex for a number of years, few humanities students are reaping the benefits.  I’m going to tell you why you should consider going after a position.

  • Experience

The amount of training that is available to Frontrunners is  highly beneficial to anyone wanting to add a little more depth to their CV. The role you choose varies which training you get, however every Frontrunner attends workshops to improve their skills. These include social media workshops. Being proficient in social networking is becoming increasingly important for finding information/ advertisement/ and spreading messages and is an added bonus to any potential employer. Training also involves building on your communication skills and your confidence in a work environment, including how to showcase your values in interviews and job applications. Had it not been for my Frontrunners role, I would never have gained this experience.

  •  Getting involved with your University Community

A departmental Frontrunners position is a sure way to integrate yourself into your university. With this comes a better knowledge of all of the opportunities available to you to make the most of your time at university, and a greater sense of belonging in the University community. Furthermore, the staff become much more familiar and after realise they are actually very approachable people, talking to them will feel much less daunting. S1030007

  • Improving Yourself

Along with the skills you gain in this position through training are others you gain through practice. If you don’t feel too confident with public speaking, or wish you could manage your time a little better, this is the position for you. I myself have gained huge amounts of confidence with communication and public speaking through working on University open days where I speak to potential students and their families. This has given me skills that I can carry forward into any job role, (and life in general) and is my most valued achievement from my Frontrunners position.

  • Convenience

Every Frontrunners position is run by the University. That means the people who are in charge of what you do realise that your education is your first priority, and no job can get in the way of that. As a result, despite the position only being for a manageable 8 hours a week, should you need any time to study or if your deadlines are mounting up, a quick talk with your overseer will sort out your workload and allow you to work on your degree to the best of your ability. Furthermore you are not limited to a role in your department. Want to gain experience in advertising, organisation or communication outside your department? No problem. There are many different positions that you can apply for.

Frontrunners positions are a great opportunity for improving yourself and enjoying the experience in the meantime. My Frontrunners role has really made my year stand out, as well as being an addition to my work experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and believe that it is the best decision I have made involving my time at the University of Essex.

For more information about the Frontrunners positions available to you, visit the Frontrunners page on the University of Essex website.

Good Luck to all of you that apply for a position!

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Stress Management

Exams are nearly upon us and everyone is feeling the pressure. Months of lessons, coursework and revision have built up and this is the final push before the summer. I’m going to provide you with a few ways to help you to retain your sanity.

If you are a student you are most likely familiar with all of the following worries, but if you’re not then before you read this post and get the impression that university is terrifying let me clarify; it isn’t. 99% of the time it is the most fun and enjoyable time of your life, but like anything worth doing, it isn’t always easy. So here’s how to make that other 1% a little easier.

Don’t Stress…

…Just kidding. It’s perfectly OK to be stressed out sometimes by coursework or exams. Just remember that even though at times it doesn’t seem like it, everyone is in the same boat. You should also keep in mind that people deal with their stress in different ways. Just because someones seems chilled to you, they could still be secretly terrified of their coming exams. But even though it’s alright to worry, it isn’t pleasant. So just remember that everyone at your university wants you to succeed and will help in any way they can, and try the following to help you keep calm and carry on revising.

S1030056Breathe 

Sounds pretty straightforward doesn’t it? But sometimes it’s not that easy. After spending six hours straight in the library and draining your fourth cup of coffee, things can start getting to you. Just stop, take a few deep breaths, and look away from the books. It’s no good trying to power through your nerves, you’re not concentrating and can’t take in any information. Give yourself some time. Take a five minute break every half hour or so to keep your composure, check facebook, grab some food… It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you give yourself a few minutes to wind down.

Exercise

Probably one you’ve heard before, but it works. Can’t be bothered to go to the gym or for a jog? That’s fine. A walk will do. Put your headphones in and drain out your fears with your favourite songs. Or visit the ducks, they’re always happy to see you (if you bring them food). Getting some fresh air is good for you and the little bit of exercise will help tire you out so you can get to sleep easier, however worried you are. S1030075

Plan

By planning out your time for revision you can know exactly where you are and how much work is ahead of you. That way you won’t end up in a panic a few days before the exam feeling totally unprepared. Also plan out some down time around your revision so you can relax.

Eat well

Think you don’t have time for good food? Think again. It’s important to keep your body working to the best of its ability. Any lack of decent food, water or sleep will affect you badly. Even more so when you’re worried. If you’re having some revision sessions, take some lunch, or schedule time to visit a restaurant.

Think Ahead 

It’s good to remember that this is only one step in getting your degree. You’re going to put in a lot of work to reach your end goal and every piece of work you do gets you one step closer. You will get there!

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Summer Time!

It’s coming towards the end of the academic year and if you really want to make your degree stand out, doing something during the summer is a must. Whether its paid work for a little more experience (and a little spending money for your summer) or volunteering. There are so many options available to you. But how do you get organised?

wp2First, you need to decide what you want to do, paid work, volunteer, apprenticeship?

Think about your priorities. If you are going to need money this summer, paid work is necessary, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else. Take a week out to do a placement that will add to your work experience in your future career. And volunteering is highly flexible, you may be able to work something into your busy schedule.

Find your placement.

Next you need to do some research. Have a look yourself for options that are available in the area you will be living in over the summer, or if you’re having trouble, visit the employability and careers centre. Alternatively, take a look at What’s On? There you can find employment opportunities and free workshops on how to make an impression on an employer.

Tips

Even though its good to get experience, don’t spread yourself too thinly. Allow yourself some time to do some Uni work, as well as relax and enjoy your summer!

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Spring Cleaning

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The sun is shining- sort of- and it’s feeling a little more like spring. So maybe now’s a good time to have a clear out. One of the major problems faced by students when it comes to organisation is a lack of space, so here’s a few tips to help you clean up and also to maximize the space in your room so you don’t end up living in a pile of laundry and books.

First, the clean-up.

-Clean together

If you and your housemates all do the cleaning at the same time it will go much quicker, and a little music on in the background will make it much less of a chore. Also it’s easy to see if someone’s slacking on their cleaning duties. You can try a cleaning rota but having learnt from experience, this doesn’t guarantee it will be followed, nevertheless it could work for you.

-Cleaning wet wipes

These are your new best friend. Instead of taking forever to clean up the surfaces, a quick wipe and you’re done; great for kitchen, bathroom and bedroom surfaces (just make sure you buy them when they’re on sale).

-preventing mess

Although it may not be top on your list of priorities when you’re at Uni, a laundry bag hung on the back of your door means your room won’t be covered in unwashed clothes and that you can easily take your stuff to be cleaned.

Collapsible boxes are also useful, not only for books but for electricals that would otherwise be laying around all tangled up. They’re easy to store when not in use and really helpful when you move too.

Organising

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Shoe organisers can be bought fairly cheaply and just hang in your wardrobe out of sight. They make it easier to find shoes and free up the space that would otherwise be used for them.

Roll instead of fold. If you roll your clothes into small bundles not only are they less likely to crease, but take up less space and can be arranged on shelf space so you can see all of your clothes.

-wall/door organisers

These are made to either hang from the wall or over the door (but could easily go over the edge of a shelf) and are particularly useful for books.

You can also get small jewelry organisers that attach to the wall on hooks with stickers that are strong but easily removed (don’t want to lose any of our deposits!) and available in most department stores and decorating shops.

-desk space

Small desk organisers to keep all of your materials together instead of scattered over your work space are useful to have.

No desk? No problem. Lap trays are cheap and great for doing your work in bed on those days when you don’t feel like moving, or for doing some late night revision. It also means desk space could have other uses (like for a place to put those used cups you really need to wash instead of ignoring).

 

What to do with your degree

It’s a common misconception that the subject of your degree will limit you in your career choice. This may be true for some subjects, but not history.

A history degree is one of the most versatile. The analytical skills that you gain in history, as well as the project management skills you learn doing your final year dissertation are sought after by employers. We’re also great at arguing (but we knew that already), which is a necessary quality in many jobs; the ability to effectively put your point across, or deal calmly with a difficult customer are what will set you apart. On top of this is the problem solving, time management, and independent research skills gained in any good degree.

So what jobs can you get?

Retail, analysis, accountancy, banking, law, publishing, writing… there are so many possibilities.

Take a look at the Prospects website to give you an idea.

And to the people who don’t know yet, no problem! Take the quiz on their website to find out the perfect career for you.

University is also the time to gain valuable work experience in the field you are interested in. Take your degree and tailor it, and your experiences at Essex to the life you want to lead.

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To take away from the stress of considering your future, here’s a picture of the campus ducks!

 

Hugo has landed

Hugo, the History Department’s new Mascot to promote Green Impact has arrived. He’s chilling above every light switch to remind you that every time you leave a room without turning the light off a polar bear dies…. just joking…. BUT Polar Bears International says that Scientists predict that as the Arctic continues to warm, two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could disappear within this century. So don’t forget to do the little things like turn the light off when you leave the room, recycle and turn the radiator off when you open a window.

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Love Rosie x

A Guide to Societies

At Essex there are societies for almost anything you can imagine with more being created every year. From the Cheese and Wine society (I recommend it), to the Harry Potter society. There are also societies for most, if not all, departments (so of course there’s a history society, and yes, it’s amazing).

The first event that I went with a friend to- because I was a little scared of turning up on my own- was in the Top Bar. After spotting a few familiar faces across the room my friend walks over and asks if this is the history society social, and it turns out there was nothing to worry about! Instantly the history society members shuffle up and make room for us, make introductions and ask us about our courses. They were all warm and welcoming, and a good laugh as well. By the end of the night there I was agreeing to walking around Wivenhoe in fancy dress for a 1920’s themed pub crawl!  But it wasn’t just the friendliness and fun of the night that surprised me, it was also how much I could learn from these people. Throughout the night people talked about their subjects, their dissertations, and what they’re doing with their time at Uni, and I realised I was picking up a lot of useful information as well as enjoying great conversation with interesting people. And it turns out not all of the socials include pubs… We were also invited to the upcoming trip to the National Archives and the society, plus they do workshops for students to give them guidance on their modules. So there is much more to be gained from joining a society than the socials- although they’re definitely a factor!

There’s so much you can gain from joining a society, and there are plenty to choose from.

Have a look for yourself on the University of Essex Student Union page  where you can also join the different societies.

 

Go Green Week!

So thglobal-303172is week is Go Green Week! We’ve already had everything from a Post-code coffee morning, Make a green Chinese New Year’s resolution, the Big bike sale and Dr. Bike to Green Games and an SU Swap Shop. So far this week has been pretty amazing!

The History Department is even getting involved in Go Green Week! We’re hosting a Stationary Amnesty where all of the staff have to return the stationary they’ve borrowed to stop the department from getting more which they don’t need. We’re also getting some thermometers for their offices to ensure that we’re keeping the radiators down.

Still to come this week is a Transport Stall, Waste Electrical items Amnestry, Lunch time bike ride, Film showing of Cowspiracy, Meat-free Friday, and Prizes for cyclists!

You can find out more about Green Week here

Tweet the History Department about what you’ve been getting up to in Go Green Week, even if it’s something as simple as putting your recycling out for collection or walking to campus!

Love Rosie x

 

Procrastination

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As you sit here knowing you have a hundred and one things you need to do, but just haven’t got around to yet, lets consider procrastination.

We’ve all been there. The deadlines are piling up, but so are the module readings, the clothes washing, the dishes, the amount of new films out that you want to watch… and somehow you never get around to doing what needs to be done- until the last minute.

Everyone does it, but we don’t have to. There are ways to stop those ‘just one more episode’ moments, and get your work done. You know that as much as you’d like to have one more scroll through twitter, that feeling of accomplishment when you know your work is done far outweighs it. Also it’s definitely not worth the stress when you have one week left to do 4 assignments.  So what do you do?

  1. attend the Overcoming Procrastination seminar on the 3rd February in the TBC at 2pm (and if you don’t go to Essex yet, see points 2+3)
  2. Plan, plan, plan! By designating a certain amount of time a project you are much more likely to get it done, and hopefully avoid procrastination. A way to make this even more effective is to plan study times with others, once you’ve set a date, you’re obligated to go.
  3. Also set out breaks. You need time to chill and let your mind recover from all of the work you’re doing. A recommended 10-15 minute break for every hour of work helps you to regain focus, as well as preventing eye strain and headaches if you’re staring at a computer screen. If you know you’re working towards a break hopefully you won’t put off doing your work.

Good luck!

History Department Tips

History, Blackboard, Chalk, Chalkboard, Teacher, School

Our history department has a few hidden gems that can help make your life a lot easier, and your time at Essex even better.  So instead of letting you slowly discover them over a few years (it took me two to find the department library) here they are:

  1. The History Department library

I know it looks small but don’t judge a book by its cover, this place is a Tardis of useful materials for your modules. The chances are that for any reading you have to do, for any history course, there will be a copy of it filed under the course title. You don’t even have to spend ages sorting through material, our wonderful volunteer librarians will help you find what you’re looking for.

  1. The History common room

If you’ve been to the History Department you may have noticed the first room on your left as you walk in, with a coffee machine and some chairs and tables, that’s it! And if you’re new and a little shy there’s no need to avoid it if there’s people already there, they’re actually very friendly. It’s a good place to go if you’d like to do some work, either alone or with some friends, or to just hang around for a bit.

  1. Department Office

I’m about to save you some time, check the opening hours before you walk all the way to campus to hand something in, only to realise its closed (While we’re on topic the same goes for the campus post office and post room). But the office is only closed for an hour for lunch (between 1-2pm) and anyone there will be more than happy to help you with any problems or questions you may have about your course.