IQ Inside Queen's – A Student's Perspective

15Feb/11Off

The results are in…

So, the exam results deadline for semester one has now been and gone. If you haven’t done so already, you can check up on your grades by logging in to Qsis, and choosing ‘grades’ in the drop menu of your student center.

Every semester the publication of exam results leaves some students feeling elated and others down in the dumps. But it’s important to remember that, whatever your grades, there is plenty of support available to help you achieve.

In the Know has touched before on the academic help and advice available through the Student Guidance Centre’s Learning Development Service.  These guys are there to help you reach your academic potential, running useful workshops and scheduling one-to-one appointments to advise you on how you can enhance your study skills. Click here to view a short video about the service, check the information on their website, or call in to the SGC Information Desk to speak to an advisor.

If the exam results you received were not what you’d hoped for then it may be a good idea for you to speak to your advisor of studies about your progress. You should be able to check who your adviser of studies is by logging into you student center on Qsis. His/her name is linked to a page providing a contact email address, which you can contact to make an appointment. Alternatively, call into your School Office, or the Information Desk at the Student Guidance Centre who will be able to provide this information.

Your Personal Tutor is also available to help you review your exam results and may have some suggestions for what you might aim to improve on in Semester 2 or help to put you in touch with other support services in Queen’s which you may find useful.

At this time of year, some students are required to have their progress monitored by what is known as a ‘School Student Progress Committee’ (SSPC) within their School. Whilst this may sound scary, ultimately these meetings are ‘to help students having difficulties with their courses to overcome these’ (Section 1.2.1 of the University’s General Regulations). The important thing to remember is: don’t panic. If you feel you need help and advice you can contact Brian Slevin who covers academic issues, including representation at Progress Committees, complaints and appeals, and is based in the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

Exam results may encourage you to start considering your career options.  Alternatively you may be contemplating whether or not your course of study is right for you. Either way discussing your options with a Careers Adviser will help you clarify and focus on career direction.  Careers Advisers can assist with information about careers and how selecting different options or different pathways of study may affect your career choice. Drop into the Information Desk at the Student Guidance Centre to see the on-duty Careers Adviser anytime between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, for a 15 – 20 minute appointment, or book in advance for a longer 45 minute guidance interview with the Careers Adviser linked to your current School of study.

Lastly, remember that the Information Assistants in the Student Guidance Centre are there to help you Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm. If they can’t deal directly with your query, they’ll always be ready, willing and able to signpost you in the right direction!

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8Feb/11Off

Study Stress? Welfare goodness sake…

Stress can sometimes be beneficial. It can seemingly be the thing that helps us make that high-pressure deadline, bringing out the best in us when we need it. However, years of anxiety built up through late night “cramming” sessions, or 24 –hour essay writing sessions can take its toll on anyone.

What’s more, if you’re anything like me, when an exam or submission date is looming it’s constantly on your mind. And taking a proper break doesn’t always seem like an option. So instead, we flitter in between the work we feel that we should be doing, and various forms of procrastination (Facebook anyone?!). “5 more minutes and then I’ll get back to work”. Is this really a break? Sitting at the same desk, in the same place, with your textbooks staring at you disapprovingly? Surely, it doesn’t always have to be this way?!

It is important to know when stress changes from a force that’s helping to keep you driven, to something that’s holding you back. And so when it gets to this point, a decent break is just as important as time spent studying. So why not get out of the house/library and clear your head.

Walk or Cycle by the River Lagan – OK, so at this time of year, wrapping up warm is a must. But taking a walk or cycling by the river can really help you get away. There are many local businesses that offer bike hire at a reasonable rate. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, then take the afternoon to try out a section of the Lagan and Lough Cycle Way which runs from Lisburn all the way up to Jordanstown – see cycleni.com for more details.

Go and see a film – Ok it’s a cliché, but isn’t catching a flick a great form of escapism? Schedule your study around a film you really want to see and treat yourself. If it’s a blockbuster you’re looking for then check out listings for the nearby Dublin Road Movie House, Odeon at Victoria Square or the Odyssey cinema, or the Queen’s Film Theatre located on campus offers also offers more art-house and independently made films. All of these cinema’s offer some form of student discount.

 Visit a local attraction – Somewhere you’ve always meant to visit around Belfast and just never got round to it? Or why not revisit and take the opportunity to get away for a while? Local sites like Belfast Castle, or the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine in Botanic Gardens offer stunning views and true natural beauty. Alternatively, take a proper look round Belfast’s historic attractions such as St. Anne’s Cathedral or the Parliament Buildings at Stormont.

On your own, or with friends, it doesn’t matter. Just be safe and get some proper time in to relax. Studying may just start to seem that little bit easier! 

If you want to find out more about how to manage stress please click here for a booklet specially created by the University’s Learning Development Service. There are also workshops held focusing on stress management and one-to-one’s can be booked to talk it over with one of LDS’s tutors. Also, if you find yourself struggling with stress helpful advice and support to be found by contacting the university’s counselling support.

Finally, as you might have guessed by now, there’s a reason why this week’s post is focussed on getting away from study stress. Its Wellbeing Week! So check in at the Students Union this week to find out about what’s other events are happening, and what information is available!

Wellbeing Week 2011

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3Feb/11Off

New Semester, New Beginnings

Perhaps New Year’s resolutions don’t always hold strong. Every so often our start of year pledges pop into our head, ‘Oh I must get round to that’.  And then on December 31st we kick ourselves and vow ‘no, this will be the year…’

But at university, shouldn’t this sentiment apply ten-fold?  After all, there is so much going on, and more importantly so many forms of support to help you achieve want you want from your time at Queen’s.

So, after asking a group of students to name three things that they would like to change this semester, here are the top three most popular answers, along with information on what help is available. In true, family fortunes fashion ‘our survey said….’

1. Spend more time studying – It’s important to make a plan and stick to it. The Learning Development Service based in the Student Guidance Centre are there to help you reach your academic potential. They offer web resources on writing, referencing, communication, maths and study skills, as well as time management, exam preparation and managing stress. They also run workshops in these areas which will run every Tuesday evening between 6 and 7pm in the McClay Library. Alternatively, students can book a one-to-one appointment with a member of LDS staff for up to 50 minutes on three different occasions per semester. See the services One-to-One Advice page, or call in at the Student Guidance Centre.

2. Join a club or society – If you didn’t manage to make it to the Refreshers’ Bazaar in the Students Union this week then fear not! Joining a club or society has never been easier! To found out what’s available go to the Clubs and Socs Contacts page, or email current Vice-President of Clubs and Societies Niall Bole on su.vpcs@qub.ac.uk. Find the group you want to join, then Login into Queens Online and select ‘Clubs Membership’ from the left hand menu. Choose the group you want and then add membership to the cart and pay online. Your details will be passed onto the appropriate club or society who will be added to the appropriate mailing list.

3. Become a member at the Physical Education Centre – Regular exercise can help you relax after studying and can be a great way to socialise with friends or meet new people. Queen’s Sport is currently offering a 6 month student membership. However, there are a variety of other packages available, which are outlined on their website. Students can also take a tour of the facilities by filling the appropriate online form or call the membership team on 028 9038 7684/7670. Alternatively, call down to the Physical Education Centre in Botanic Gardens today for more information!

So, what’s your excuse? These are the goals of just a few students, but if you need help finding support with any area of university life, simply call into the Information Desk at Student Guidance Centre for a chat. Email sgc@qub.ac.uk, or call 02890 972727.

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