Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Monthly Archives: January 2018

Tips for achieving your best! Part 6 - Guest blogger Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Our final blog in this series of "Tips for achieving your best!" Guest blogger Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences 2107) talks about how getting up early helped to achieve his goals and why he decided to turn down a more exciting social life to reach his goals!

10.    WAKE UP EARLY!

Everyone has their optimal hours of the day when they work best. But as I previously mentioned in Tip Number 6, your brain operates at its highest rate when you first wake up early in the morning. A tip I would suggest to avoid hitting the snooze button is to change your alarm to your favourite song to get you excited to get out of bed! My alarm is DJ Arafat - Tapis Vélo. Another technique that I learned from tearing my groin in Second Year and being sidelined from playing was to treat studying like training. To get to 7.30am training from town, I would wake up at 5.50am (takes me an hour to get ready and 30-40 mins to get to campus). Being on campus at 7.30am is early enough as it is, and my earliest lecture in Final Year was at 10am. So I played a trick where I started waking up at 6am on the days that I didn't have training and started working at 7am in my room. That meant that I already had a three hour head start over my classmates who started at 10am. I took the game one level deeper and started waking up early on the WEEKEND. This was pretty easy as I didn’t go out at all during Final Year so I didn’t have to burden the pain of attempting to wake up early on Saturday with a Friday Night Hangover. So the key thing is to find out your optimum hours when you work best!

11. Make “No” your Vitamin C!

In order to reach my goals, I found that I had to give up  and ultimately sacrifice certain things by saying “No” to things I would normally say “Yes” to. In First and Second Year, I always used to talk to one of my close friends from school on the phone for 2-3 hours daily. This was mainly because I only did work on the days that I had training and lecturers. So, when I would go home after lecturers, I would phone him, watch shows online or have a nap. In Final Year, I had a different mentality and I knew that my work ethic had to quadruple. I worked everywhere that I could. On the 403 National Express back home to London; in the Barber Shop; on the coach to Away Games; and making mental notes in the shower (Weird!). People would look at me as if I was mad when I worked in certain spaces but I knew I was working towards a bigger picture which would come in small steps.

"Do you want to go out tonight Keon?"

In Final Year, if I spoke to my friend on the phone it would be briefly or my phone would be unavailable as it was on Flight Mode. I remember he asked me on WhatsApp when he could call me and I replied, “When I graduate”. I could tell that he was annoyed, but he said “OK, do your thing”. I respected that he gave me space and understood what I was doing was temporary to get to the point where I could finish all my work on time without the need for extensions (as I relied on extensions for EVERY essay in Second Year). Likewise, he respected me because I told him the truth and set it clear that I just need to give up our phone calls for a short period to focus on getting my work done. I made a commitment that I would not request a single extension in Final Year, and I had to say “No” to phone calls, partying, link ups. All of it. The last party I went to was in October 2015. I even got to the point where I had to temporarily give up certain apps on my phone. I deleted Snapchat and Instagram because I found myself procrastinating on these apps when I wanted to take a “break”, and my break ended up being more than one hour looking at everybody’s Snapchat and replaying it again just to avoid my work. It takes a lot of guts to say "No" especially to things that you enjoy and are so used to instinctively saying "Yes" to. But if you want to achieve your goals, you are going to have to give up your short-term “needs” for long term achievements.

What's Next Keon!

"What have you been doing since you finished University?"

Since graduating and returning home from my eventful summer, I secured a full time role as Disability Officer at Palace for Life Foundation (charitable arm of Crystal Palace Football Club). This is my dream graduate job and I have loved every minute of it so far! I am responsible for developing and delivering the “Inclusive Eagles” Disability Football Programme in the London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon and Sutton. This involves: establishing PE curriculum sessions in Special Schools, leading football sessions for the Crystal Palace Down’s Syndrome Eagles; line managing a team of Foundation sessional coaches who deliver on the Inclusive Eagles programme and liaising with external partners such as Surrey FA and Royal Society for Blind Children.

Outside of my graduate job, I am a Gold Scholarship Programme Alumni Mentor and continue to manage the communications for IBSA Blind Football. I have published six IBSA articles on the development of Blind Football across the world, of which five have been re-published by the Paralympic Games. I recently went to Nantes on behalf of IBSA Blind Football to write an article on the first phase of the French Blind Football Championship. As for what’s next, I want to continue developing my expertise in disability as well as coaching and developing blind football. In 2018, I will be going to Enugu, Nigeria to deliver a Blind Football Coaching Clinic to Bina Foundation Blind Football Club and running the social media pages for the IBSA Blind Football World Championships. One of my long-term goals is to manage the communications for IBSA Blind Football at the 2019 African Championships and Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. In the small amount of spare time that I have, I’ve been learning French, Igbo and Swahili on YouTube (I enjoy learning other languages and hope to become fluent in one of them!).

For me, I'm not only proud  that I've obtained a degree and not become another society statistic. I'm more proud of the fact that I stuck to what I am passionate about and now I'm beginning to reap the rewards. I'm happy that I can pursue what gives me joy and peace of mind, rather than be involved in gang wars, knife crime and the all rest of it.  I don't look down on anyone who does that as everyone has different circumstances but growing up and especially today more than ever, a  lot of young black males go down that route without knowing the long-term consequences. University is financially and mentally draining, but there are so many fantastic experiences that you can gain than just a degree. Whoever or wherever you are, take your approach to your education how Buster Douglas took his approach to defeat Mike Tyson! Be brave. Be bold. Be Brilliant. Whatever you want in life is achievable!  If you would like to leave feedback or need any further advice, email me at: keonrichardson@hotmail.co.uk or follow me on Twitter: @FinallyKeon. Asante Sana and Kwaheri! (Thank you and Goodbye in Swahilli)

 

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 5 - Guest blogger - Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Our guest blogger Keon talks about the importance of writing down your goals, finding someone you trust to support you in reaching those goals and importantly ignoring those who may criticize you along the way .....

7.    Write down your Goal(s) and TEN reasons WHY you deserve it!

The motivational tapes, that I mentioned in my last blog, were key to helping me get through my dissertation, but just listening to them would have been pointless if I didn’t have clear goals to work towards. The tapes resonated with me a lot better when I could relate to the motivational speaker’s trials and tribulations towards reaching their goals. I had two pieces of paper stuck to my wall. One was a list of everything that I wanted to achieve by the time that I left the University of Bath. The other (and what I needed more than the former) was ten solid reasons why I believed that I deserved to graduate with a First-Class Degree. This took a lot of immense soul-searching and deep reflection to draw out ten firm reasons. Although, when the tough times came (a week with no heat or hot water in my student house; my Laptop breaking; and walking with a bruised toe for two weeks like an injured pigeon), I could return to my wall and look at why I should continue despite the struggles. At the bottom of my list I wrote “I OWE IT TO MYSELF!!!” in block letters and underlined to ensure that I would do whatever was necessary to obtain my goal. To quote Les Brown again – “You can either have reasons or results. Reasons don’t count”. Even though it was bitterly disappointing not to receive a First Class Degree, I got a 2.1 Degree and a First in my Dissertation, which is the next best thing. As I said before, who you become in the process is bigger than the goal itself!

8.    Find someone that will make YOU responsible for your goal!

If you just write down all your goals and you don’t tell someone, then it’s easy to feel guilt free if you don’t achieve them. Why I suggest telling someone who you trust about your goal is that this person will make you accountable for your actions. In Semester 2, I became best friends with a student who is studying Pharmacy. At the end of March, I told her that I wanted to get a First in my Dissertation and I mentioned the date that I would have my dissertation completed by. She challenged me to have it completed four days before my personal deadline. It took a lot of confidence to tell her about my goal and she rightly tested me to see if I was serious about my goal. There were occasions where I was in the library watching Futsal on YouTube and she would say, “so you are wasting Student Finance to watch YouTube”. As funny as it was, it kicked me back into action to get on with my work. To quote Les Brown again, "we have so much energy that can take us so far – it’s necessary that you hook up with some other energy that can take you to the next level." I ended up finishing my Dissertation a day before our agreed date and my Dissertation was finished a week and a half earlier than the actual deadline. This gave me boundless time to proofread my work before handing it in.

9. Use your "haters" as a goal!

You have to believe that you deserve your dream. MANY people will attempt to derail you from your dream. I’ll never forget when a teacher from my secondary school/sixth form said that I have an attitude problem and that I won’t last in Bath. One summer, my friends suggested to this teacher that I should speak to the students at our old school about my university experience, and this teacher said that I must have a “hidden agenda”. When I went to school a week later, he asked, “haven't you dropped out of Bath yet?”. As much as this angered me, this motivated me because I said to myself that I’m going to make sure that everything he thought about me was a lie. The day I received my First in my dissertation I 'pulled' up to see him. He asked how I was doing at Bath and I told him that I received a First in my Dissertation. The only words that he could utter was “MY GOD!”. It was an unreal feeling knowing that I made him eat his words and all the negativity that he said about me was a lie. People are going to criticize you when you’re working towards your goals, but you have to believe in yourself that your goals are possible, your goals are necessary, and you achieving your goals will help to inspire others.

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 4 - Guest Blogger- Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints

Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences graduate 2017) continues with his tips for achieving your best with his own personal strategy for dealing with exam stress (chocolate!) and how he used motivational tapes to keep him on track ..

5.    Create a coping strategy to deal with essay and exam stress!

Mmmmm chocolate!

Following on from the wise quote that “Final Year is a marathon not a race”, I really recommend that you develop and implement a coping mechanism to deal with those moments where you are in your room at 11 pm panicking whether your all-nighter will be handed in on time or not. Each student deals with stress differently. However, I believe that we have consciously or subconsciously developed a method to counteract the stress that we face within education and everyday life. The options for students to relieve stress are endless: smoking, drinking, partying. The list can go on forever. For me, none of the above was a viable option because of how seriously I took playing Futsal. Futsal training for an hour and a half three times a week allowed me to get away from the books and channel my energy in something that I love. It also prepared me for the day as training was from 7.30am to 9am (except Thursdays). However, after the season finished in a heart-breaking cup loss to Northumbria University, I decided to take a rest from playing to recover from Patellar Tendonitis. Consequently, the only alternative I felt that I had was food. A 114G bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble was my sacred haven to get away from the fear of completing a 15,000 dissertation in three months, the anxiousness of waiting to find a full-time job in Disability Football Development, and the other stresses in life. The moment that the blocks of soft melted chocolate biscuit swirled in my mouth, all my life fears went numb and I was entrenched in a Tango Dance with the sensation of the Galaxy Cookie Crumble. I would eat chocolate when I was writing essays, when I wanted to get away from my thoughts or when I rewarded myself for working hard (my room was full of Cookie Crumble and other treats especially when I received my Assignment Feedback). Although my chest would be heavy for a few days, it calmed my nerves and gave me comfort in the periods of Final Year where I went into isolation mode to complete my work!

6.    Listening to motivational tapes every morning an every night!

For me personally, I believe this is my KEY point to doing well in academic studies and succeeding in life. As I alluded to in the last tip, chocolate was my instrument to counteract my overthinking. But what really got me through Final Year was listening to motivational tapes.  No matter who you are, at some point during University (particularly in Final Year) you will get tired. Everyone reaches their plateau where they feel that enough is enough. What motivational tapes did for me was that it distracted me from my current situation and elevated me into a positive mindset to get through the day. There are three Motivational Speakers that I listen to: Eric Thomas, Les Brown, and Lisa Nichols; all three are renowned global speakers from the US. Eric Thomas ("WAT UP! WAT UP! WAT UP! IT’S YOUR BOY E.T!") would give me the fuel to do work when I didn't feel like doing it and the desire to push through the moments when I was getting writer’s block in my dissertation. He was the go-to-person when I was in the writing mode. I would put on his hour long tapes and let it hit the back of my mind as I was writing. Les Brown and Lisa Nichols are much older folk so they aren’t as hyped as Eric Thomas. Their motivation is a lot more soothing and the first thing I played in the morning and would listen to whilst I was falling asleep. This helped block out all the doubts and questioning myself I would usually do while I was tossing and turning in my bed. It gave me the faith that I would graduate, as Les Brown says “faith comes by hearing and hearing; death and life is in the tongue. Watch your words. Watch your thoughts; for they have magnetic powers”. Although I do not know them and have not physically seen them, they were mentoring me and developing my psychological strength to get through the workload. I found it helpful to listen to motivational tapes when I first woke up in the morning. Scientifically speaking, your brain operates at a 10.5 wave cycle per second, which is the highest it will operate across the whole day. The first 15-20 minutes you wake up you’re in an unconscious mind zone, so why not fill your brain with positive messages? Alongside this, you can write down your short-term and long-term goals! I know that you may have other ways of motivating you to get through challenging times so think on what these are for you .......

Support from Student Services - If you would like to discuss coping with exam and essay stress or struggling with workload, then do have a chat with a Wellbeing Adviser or see information on their website http://www.bath.ac.uk/departments/student-services/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 3 - Guest Blogger- Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, inspire, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Today Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences graduate 2017) continues his tips for achieving your best with why its important to write something that you are passionate about and to speak to people who have been there and done it.

3.    Write about something that YOU are passionate about!

What I loved about my course was that there is no right or wrong answer. Studying how sport and societal issues intersect is different to studying Maths, where there is one definite answer (e.g. 1+1=2). With this in mind, we had complete autonomy to study whatever we desired for our 15, 000 word dissertation. After completing my placement year where I delivered community football programmes in local estates, I decided to analyse the degree to which participation in Premier League Kicks could enhance the social mobility prospects of ‘hard-to-reach’ young people from BAME backgrounds in Haringey. Sport-mega events and Health were the main areas of study that my fellow students completed their research on. Initially, I felt put off from my study as mine was unorthodox from what everyone else was studying and I was the only student completing research in Community Football Development. Albeit, completing my dissertation was surprisingly fun because I was reading concepts (Social Capital, Social Mobility, Neoliberalism) that I was competent in analyzing and it was enjoyable to read/write because of how it was connected to my own life. My dissertation gained unexpected attention on LinkedIn as I wrote an article about the study. Sport Professionals from the UK, Canada, America, Trinidad and Tobago (my homeland) and Kenya (my favourite country in Africa after Zambia) liked my post and created a snowball of professionals sharing my post and abundance of messages came through asking to receive a copy of the study once I had finished. This gave me further motivation to not only complete the study, but to take quality care of every single chapter from the Acknowledgements to the Final Appendix as the study was of meaning to people involved in sport across the world. I've had my dissertation praised by two senior worldwide research authors (Ramon Spaaij and James Oloo).

4.    Speak to people who have been there and done it!

Most of my friends graduated last academic year whilst I was on placement at QPR in the Community Trust. Although I was ready to conquer Final Year by myself, the Final Year hit me back and it was reassuring to have advice coming from people who had graduated. Whenever I had my doubts and felt like quitting University, I messaged my sister who studied Photography Science; my cousin who studied Economics and is currently completing his Masters; and two of my closest friends who studied Cardiovascular Physiology and Drama Studies. I particularly contacted my two closest friends as they had most recently finished University, so their memory of Final Year was still fresh in their mind. What was most beneficial was my friends and family studied degrees that were different to mine but I could draw from some of the techniques that they used for their course and apply what was most applicable to mine. This came from academic to general everyday techniques, like turning my Phone on Flight Mode when I went to the Library to study, or pace myself with writing essays – “Final Year is a marathon not a race”.

Read more on Keon's tips tomorrow........

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 2 - Guest blogger Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Applications, Diversity, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Today we continue with our guest blogger Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences graduate 2017) as he puts forwards his 11 tips on achieving your best whatever you are studying ...

1 Make Use of ALL the Services At University!

I alienated myself from societies, students, partying, lecturers and my personal tutor when I first started University. This was because I was quite nervous living away from home and I also wanted to focus on becoming the best Futsal Player that I could be. This came with its positives and negatives. Although I was seeing great strides in my technical ability, I often fell asleep in lectures because of my intense training schedule and I hardly read any Journal Articles that were on Moodle. But when I continued to struggle to write essays and saw Thirds littered across my Assignment Feedback, I decided that I needed to have a better balance of being a 'Student-Athlete' and use the support services that were available to me.

Ultimately, the question I asked myself was – "Why do you pay £9,000 a year to suffer in silence?" Grammar and concise writing were the main areas that I needed to work on to improve my grades, and my personal tutor recommended that I should go to the Writing Centre. At first, I was embarrassed because I perceived that he felt my writing was that poor and I pre-judged the Centre to be for foreign students who were struggling with their assignments in English. But after a few sessions, I saw improvements in my grammar, paragraph structuring and writing flow. At the same time I was in the Careers Services working on my CV. This also added to my writing development as I had to structure three pages (two page CV and one page cover letter) which summarised my experience, personal skills and why I wanted the job advertised, coupled with why I wanted to work for the organisation. As I became a regular face at the Writing Centre and Careers Service, staff members were willing to spend more time with me because I was eager to develop. Not to mention that these services are FREE.

2 Plan Plan Plan!

 

My Dad's favourite quote is, "if you fail to prepare then prepare to fail" and I couldn't agree more. Carefully prepare a plan for your essay or exam which outlines the following: topic, limit, focus, essay/exam instruction word(s), your main argument(s), opposing sides to your argument, key authors to support back elements of the argument, and a conclusion that connects to your introduction. Creating this plan will require a lot of reading and making notes which could take up to 7 days. But once you have your plan you'll be able to write your essays and attack your exams with ease. I had to constantly revise my plan for my 15,000 word dissertation as the data that I collected from my interview changed sections of my Introduction and Literature Review. Even if you are not 100 per cent confident in your plan, at least you have a foundation for your essay/exam and can continue to revise your plan as you go along. Show your plan to your lecturers to gain reassurance and ask them any questions that you unclear about for your essay/exam. I'm certain that my lecturers were sick of seeing me time and time at the end of every seminar to hound them with questions. But I'd rather know that my plan is in the right direction than have no clue what I am doing and unable to contact my lecturers over the Christmas holiday (I've been there before!).

Read more on Keon's tips tomorrow........

For further information on the Careers Service and our resources check out http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/

For information on  Academic Skills Centre (previously Writing Centre) Drop in Sessions available 12:15-14:05, in the Skills Zone. Check website for further details.

 

Tips for achieving your best! Guest blogger - Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Happy New Year to all our readers! It's a time of the year when we often think about whether we should make New Year's resolutions and then if we do whether we can actually keep it longer than the month of January! Our Career blogs over the next few days will feature a recent graduate, Keon Richardson, who did decide to make some changes to the way he did things during his student life and for him personally this helped him to go on and achieve many awards that he had not thought possible at the start of his journey. Keon wrote a blog on his experiences at University and so over the next couple of weeks we will be featuring different aspects of his blog. Find out how Keon successfully managed his time to achieve what he wanted from his University experience. Read his tips for succeeding, his low points and how he handled this, and the challenges of being a black student at a University like Bath.

Keon Richardson graduated 2017 from the University of Bath with a Second-Class First Division Bachelors Art Honours Degree in Sport and Social Sciences with the Bath Award and Half Blues Award. By the end of 2017 Keon started his dream job as the new Disability Officer at Palace for Life Foundation.

 

Posing at the River Avon!

"My four years at Bath has been special and full of memories that I will cherish forever. I was the only student from the University of Bath to complete a professional placement at QPR in the Community Trust; to achieve the London FA and The FA Young Volunteer of the Year; the only student from the University of Bath Football and Futsal Club this season to be presented with the Half Blues Award; and one of two University of Bath students to represent Team Bath in the Zambia IDEALS Project last year and compete for Bristol City in the FA National Super League. Last summer I was awarded a football coaching scholarship by Team Archie to shadow a football coach educator deliver Premier Skills across China and support the delivery of the Federation of University Sports of China High School Girls’ Football Final from 22nd July for four weeks.

Despite the amazing accolades, I was hugely frustrated of just missing out on a First-Class Degree. Nevertheless, I am personally proud of my own personal development over my four years of academic study. As hectic as my studies and extra-curricular activities sound, it gave me discipline to prioritize my time wisely and balance “work and play”. And with God’s grace and a plan of action, I received a First in my 15,000 word dissertation.

The purpose of my blog is not to impress you that I received a 2.1; my message is to impress upon you that you have greatness within you more than you are currently expressing. You have something special in you that eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor hearts that have not felt. I know from my own personal life that anything is possible if you have a vision and you are dedicated to working every day to make that vision into a reality. I went to a state school in North London where I was told more about my ­limitations than my potential. “You’re not socially ready to go to University”; “You’ve never been in an academy. How can you play at University Futsal First Team Level?”; “You’ll never get into Bath”. This was a typical reaction that both students and teachers threw at me to derail me from going after my dreams to both study sport and play first team futsal full-time. As a young black male living in Tottenham (London Borough of Haringey) which is outlined as “one of the most deprived authorities in England and ranks as the most deprived in terms of crime” by the Department for Communities and Local Government, drugs, gang wars, knife crime, and robbery has been impinged on myself and other young people throughout our adolescence. But I got to a point where I realized that I should not deprive myself from obtaining knowledge nor experiencing the best life that has to offer just because I live in deprivation. Adding further to the plight, the Independent Commission on Social Mobility highlighted that “there are more young black men in prison in the UK than there are UK-domiciled undergraduate black male students attending Russell Group institutions”. In the summer 2007, I was robbed for my Sony Ericsson and Apollo Mountain Bike by one of Tottenham's rivalry gangs and that was the day that I decided that I won't fall into this type of lifestyle and I will overcome this negativity.

When I began University in 2013 I decided to set my goals high and aimed to receive a First Class in my degree. In the moment, I set that goal for the sake of it. However, between finishing my placement year at QPR in the Community Trust and preparing to coach football in Zambia, my motivation to receive a First was to take my work ethic to another level that I had not been to before. I realized that to get a First I would have to do things I had never done before, such as: preparing lists of questions for my Dissertation Supervisor; reading Books and Journal Articles with a close analytical eye; sticking to a weekly work schedule; working on days that I didn’t have lectures; and setting myself personal deadlines to finish my essays. What I have now come to believe is when you set extremely high goals for yourself, who you become in the process is much more important than the goal itself.

Even if you don't achieve the goal, your personal development through the process outweighs the goal itself. I know that's easier said than done. I cried and was very upset for most of the day when I received the email stating that I received a 2.1 and not a First. However, I am slowly coming to understand that the person I've matured into physically, mentally, spiritually and socially over the past four years at University is greater than a First Class written on a piece of paper. So how did I do this?! Over the next few days I will share with you my eleven tips to achieve your best in whatever you are studying……"