Around this time of year, I like to take some time out to reflect on everything I’ve done, experienced and achieved over the last 365 days (ish). I did a similar post last year and found it really helped me plan some things I’d like to do in the coming year and feel proud of myself. Unlike last year, I’m going to try and keep this one in order because, there’s quite a lot!
So, here’s my post to summarise 2018 and all I’ve seen and done. Keep an eye out for my follow-up post, with my resolutions and hopes for 2019.
In February, I spoke at an event in the Media, Arts and Communications department at Sheffield Hallam. An annual event, grad talks is an afternoon where graduates return to the university and share stories and advice from their working lives. Since I’d done quite a lot of work experience at that point, I was asked to take part and thoroughly enjoyed speaking to students and graduates and sharing tips. Afterwards, I wrote a blog for Hallam Insiders about the event. In 2019, I’ll be presenting at the event again, whilst also helping to organise it.
Aside from speaking at the Grad Talks event, I’ve also done a few guest lectures this year, sharing my experiences with the next cohort of students. First, I assisted with a media course open day as part of my student ambassador role, talking about life in Sheffield, working while you study and the course in general, I also gave visitors a tour of the University facilities they’d be using. I really enjoy doing the course open days as they’re a little more specific and aimed at students interested in a specific course, to the point where they’ve usually already applied or are in the process of applying.
I’ve also popped in to see the third-year students to talk about the brand-new media technologies module I did in my final year, which the new students are really enjoying. And to talk to the second-year students about the research module they do in preparation for doing their dissertations the following year, I gave them some tips for doing the module and for writing a dissertation using a Twitter Moment.
In 2019 I’ll be speaking at a few more events which is exciting, as well as giving a couple of workshops on research and communications to the undergraduate media students.p
Doctor Who filming
Okay so, this isn’t really an achievement but, it’s something awesome that happened to me this year so, I wanted to include it. In February, the BBC came to Sheffield to do some filming for series 10, Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh and other cast members could be seen filming various scenes and interacting with fans. I managed to say a quick hello to Jodie and catch a selfie with her.
I shared the photo on various social media channels, including Twitter, and that afternoon, the image was used by media outlets, including the Radio Times and BBC Yorkshire. I also had a call asking if I would speak on BBC Radio Sheffield so, I popped into the studio and had a quick chat with them about the filming, before making another stop at SHU Radio to talk to some undergraduate journalism students.
Thanks to the friend I ran into at the Doctor Who filming, I was also able to attend the Season 10 premiere on the Moor in Sheffield in October!
Find a Masters event
On the same day as my trip to BBC Radio Sheffield, I also went up to Sheffield Town Hall to speak at a Postgrad Live event. These events are held in various cities around the UK at different points in the academic year, universities and colleges go along and you can speak to various institutions about postgraduate study, all in one place. I went along as a postgraduate student to talk about my experiences of funding, research, finding the right postgraduate course etc. and enjoyed speaking with visitors and interacting with my fellow speakers.
The Sheffield Hallam Pathways day is an annual industry day in the Media, Arts and Communications department. Although focused on students within the department, it’s open to students from across the university and it’s a great opportunity to speak to and hear from industry leaders. This year I did some social media promotion before, during and after the event through the SHU Pathways channels, as well as on the Sheffield Hallam Snapchat account for Hallam Insiders. I also did a blog post.
This year, as well as assisting with organising Grad Talks, I’m helping to organise the Pathways event, finding speakers and guests, and promoting the event through social media.
LTHE Organising Group
From April to July this year, I was part of the team who curated and organised the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Tweet chats. The chats take place every Wednesday evening (during term time) and all are welcome to get involved, with academics, support staff, students and more offering their advice and talking about their experiences. There’s always a slightly different theme each week and a different person asking the questions. The organisation group is tasked with assisting whoever is asking the questions and writing the blog post for that week, posting the questions and then moderating the chat. I was part of a team of three and really enjoyed the experience and getting to know my fellow organisers and various other members of the community better.
Afterwards, I wrote a blog post about my experience on the team.
Social Media Intern at Sheffield Hallam University
This year I was given the amazing opportunity to assist with social media at the University. When the previous social media manager decided to leave for pastures new, I was asked if I wanted some experience helping with the social media accounts whilst the University recruited to the role. Initially, I was due to stay in this role for around 6-8 weeks; however, due to the length of the recruitment process, I was there for around 3 months. Working alongside the interim social media manager, I assisted with producing content for various social media accounts, including videos, photos and written content.
It was challenging at times as I was finishing off other projects – namely my Masters in Journalism at the University, however, it was wonderful to be in the office and get to know the communications team better, and it led me to my current role (which I’ll tell you more about later). In the role I worked on various projects, including creating several videos and social media posts for International Nurses Day 2018.
Employability Assistant at Sheffield Hallam University
Following the two Hallam internships I’ve done in the last couple of years, this year I decided to go for one more. When doing the scheme, you apply through the University website and then time sheet your hours, you’re given a bursary and are required to do 150 hours altogether, as agreed with your employer. This year I spotted one being advertised by a lecturer in the journalism department and thought I’d go for it. The role involves creating a newsletter for the department, with updates and news from students and graduates. It covers eight courses and comes out a few times a year. I’m currently working on developing a blog to go with the printed version, and I’m hoping to get students working on it as I’m looking to wind down my time on the project from February.
The Media Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group is a group of academics, developers and learning technologists working in the UK higher education system. MELSIG focuses on understanding and developing ways to used digital and social media technologies innovatively within higher education. Since I am interested in higher education and how social media can be used in learning and teaching, I was asked if I wanted to come along this year as a student guest. I was able to network with new faces, catch up with familiar faces and had a very interesting day creating a ‘kit’ for those who want to utilise social media in higher education more.
Masters dissertation submitted
I’ll freely admit that, even though I really enjoyed the process of doing my postgraduate dissertation. It was tough. I had from May until September to do 15,000 words which doesn’t sound that bad but, with everything else I had going on, I found it hard sometimes to find time to do it. And then whenever I did, I had zero motivation and could not concentrate. In the end, due to being in Sheffield for an evening and booking a hotel, I decided to spend a day or two in the library and managed to get quite a lot done so, I booked a few more nights and stuck around, finally managing to get in submitted a couple of days before the deadline.
On the whole it was an enjoyable experience, I’ve always enjoyed research and found the subject matter I’d chosen very interesting – I looked at how global media outlets had covered the Cambridge Analytica scandal. I got really in depth with it, looking at global journalism, data privacy, the history of social media, UK and American law and more. It was good but, I’m glad it’s done! And I’m really proud I achieved a first on it.
Gold Hallam Award
In August, I had the wonderful news that I’d achieved a Gold Hallam Award. The Hallam Award is something you can earn whilst studying at Sheffield Hallam. You choose 1, 2 or 3 skills that you’ve learnt and developed during your time at the University, and illustrate how you did this, through part-time work, volunteering, care duties and more. I completed my forms in June and found out at the start of August that I’d achieved a gold level! In October, I went to the presentation evening at the Sheffield Hallam Students Union which was a wonderful evening to reflect on my achievement and to hear from other students about what they had done, it was really inspirational.
I wrote a blog after the awards evening, alongside a fellow Hallam Insider Rachel who achieved her Hallam Award last year.
Social Media Coordinator at Off the Shelf Festival of Words
Following on from my work with the Off the Shelf Festival last year, they asked if I wanted to take on the role again this year, working within the Sheffield Hallam marketing department, creating social media content for the festival. It was lovely to work on the festival again this year, get to know and work with some new people and meet some more famous faces.
Communications Coordinator at Sheffield Hallam University
After working with the social media team over the summer, I was asked to assist the communications team for a few months, working on press requests, media coverage, press releases and some social media content. I’ve been there for a few months now and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, learning a lot, working with some amazing people and getting stuck into some great work and projects. My colleagues are fantastic, fun, patient and supportive and the work is really varied and interesting. I’ve really enjoyed working at the graduation ceremonies, behind the scenes doing some social media content, as well as volunteering with the alumni relations team to keep in touch with graduates and to interview and produce content around the honorary doctorates that we had this year – which was exciting as we had some really good ones, including Louis Theroux and Sir Michael Parkinson.
Finished working with Hallam Insiders
I won’t say much here as I think this blog post about finishing with the Hallam Insiders team says it for me but, I wanted to put some of my highlights here as well. Since I recently graduated from my Masters, I’ve also finished up my work with the Hallam Insiders as I’m no longer a Sheffield Hallam student. This year I’ve continued working on blog posts, writing about things like studying a master’s course at Hallam, why you should do extra-curricular activities at university and more, I’ve also done social media content around a range of events such as the Careers Fair and taken part in a Twitter chat for commuting students, alongside the Student Union President.
In connection with this role, and working with the student recruitment marketing team, I also took part in a video interview, where I talk about what it’s like to study a masters at Sheffield Hallam. So far as I knew, the video was for social media but, I started to get messages and photos from friends over the next few months as it went up in the main building atrium at the university, which is fun but also slightly embarrassing!
Graduated from my Masters
Graduating from my Journalism masters has been the highlight of my year, it’s been tricky at times over the last 12 months and, I wasn’t always sure I’d finish an MA. I started on a different course in September 2017 but really couldn’t get on with it, I wasn’t in a great place in my life and thought that, since I was just generally unhappy, I was struggling to settle in but, after a few months it became apparent that I needed to be doing something else. I transferred to the Journalism MA and, it’s been really good for me. It was tough at first, since I transferred in week 7 of teaching, I had a deadline the week after I changed courses and then January and May exams which are always stressful.
I managed to get all the assignments done in the first trimester but, my grades weren’t great. The January exams were tough as I’d missed more than half of the lectures, but I managed to pass them. I had some 1-1 sessions with my tutor for the modules with exams which gave me a bit of a boost and, I did well in the May exams. The dissertation was hard as I was out of practice with writing by the time, I came to start it, my motivation was down, and I was working full-time but, I found a groove and managed to get it finished. In the end I graduated from my course with a distinction in my dissertation and a distinction overall for the course. Which I was pretty bloody chuffed with!