Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

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

  , , ,

📥  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

  , , , ,

📥  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

  , , ,

📥  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

  , ,

📥  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

  , , ,

📥  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……"

 

Christmas Careers Advice Corner

  , ,

📥  Advice, Tips & Hints

Christmas Careers Advice Corner

Snowy christmas norway

 


In just over a week’s time I am off home to Norway for Christmas. It is one of my favourite times of the year going home, and this time my sister tells me there is snow on the ground! So here I will share some of what I am looking forward to at Christmas and how this can help  you in your career planning.

  • Decorating the tree – we always decorate tree on the 23 December, a lot later than most of my friends here in the UK. Decorating the tree always takes a lot of planning, but it always looks nice at the end. So how are you going to plan to gain awareness of potential career pathways or job roles for 2018? I suggest you use a couple of hours researching our wonderful careers resources and explore the tree and branches of sectors and jobs out there.
  • Reflecting on the year gone by – I always have a lot of time on my hand during Christmas as I have a very small family. With a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and a pen in the other, I sometimes write down notes of reflection in my diary. What went well, what went not so well and how can I improve things for next year? Reflection is a useful careers tool too – here is a great article by Open University on self-reflection which may help you think about how this last Autumn  term went for you.
  • Spending time with family and friends – I can’t wait to see my sister again and spend some quality time with her and also see an old school friend in Oslo. You never know how seeing friends and family can inspire you in thinking of new career ideas or support you in getting new contacts in your job search. I also know that sometimes seeing family can be difficult, especially if you feel low as you have not secured a graduate job… yet. There is still time to find one! Here is a previous blog entry on coping with rejection which you may find useful.
  • Having a cup of tea in front of the fire – well, this is my favourite past-time. Staring into the fire, feeling warm and fully relaxing, perhaps reading a book at the same time. I think my most important piece of advice over Christmas is to take a few days out to really relax and take your mind off exams, job hunt or university. Go for a walk, sleep in and spoil yourself with a food and snacks, play in the snow! That way you will come back more refreshed for a new semester. If you still are finding it difficuly getting your mind away from exam stress, this earlier blog entry on managing your time around exams may help you. The Wellbeing Service here at Bath are also available to support you before and after Christmas and have a range of activities for  you who are staying in Bath during Christmas.

Lastly, here is a reminder of our Christmas opening hours, please do contact us if you need any further support or inspiration. We are closed from Friday 22 December to 3 January. Please see at the bottom of this link for details of our opening hours.

 

 

 

 

 

Postgraduate Study and Personal Statements

  ,

📥  Advice, Applications, Postgraduate Study

Postgraduate Study and Personal Statements

 

I have seen a few students in quick query appointments worried about their personal statements and I therefore thought I would write a quick guide with regards to writing personal statements for postgraduate study.


Event Alert: For those of you interested in postgraduate study in the humanities and social sciences sector, the faculty is running a great information session this Friday December 1st on applying for postgraduate programmes locally, nationally and internationally, and where to look for funding sources. Book your place through MyFuture.


The slight differences in personal statements

Pretty much all postgraduate courses and institutions will ask you to write some sort of personal statements, but be aware that the word limit may be different from institution to institution and each department may also ask you to answer specific questions. It is therefore vital that you always read through the application instructions on the university website before starting. You don’t want to write a two page personal statement and later realise you only have 4000 characters to use.

There are different application formats with regards to different career pathways, for example some postgraduate courses use UKPASS. However, you should always find specific application instructions on the individual university websites, so these are therefore key to research.  See some great information from University of Manchester with regards to personal statements for PGCE and medicine. Getting into Teaching also has great advice on writing personal statements for PGCE.

What not to do in personal statements

Typical errors in personal statements is not being clear about why you would like to do the postgraduate course, poor structure and bad spelling and grammar. It also shows if you have not done the research needed with regards to the university and the course you are applying for. Even if you are applying to similar postgraduate degrees at different universities the particular universities and programmes would still like to know why you are choosing them.

Typical content for your personal statements

Again, always read the specific application instructions for your chosen programmes, but this is the typical content of a personal statement. See our careers resource for more details.

  •  Why this University? Why this programme?

As said above there needs to a clear reason for why you are applying to that particular University and that particular postgraduate programme. Is it the location, what about particular research interest of the academics in the departments? Have you been to campus before? Does the department have good alumni networks or industry opportunities? What about the subject motivates you? Are the particular modules or course options that interests you?

  • An insight into your overall abilities (academic, work, extra-curricular and more) and how these experiences have prepared you for the course

What have you done so far that will make sure that you are successful studying the postgraduate degree? Have you completed any relevant research projects, dissertation, relevant module work? It is important to connect what you are doing now academically to what you would like to study on the programme. Have you had any relevant work experience or any senior roles in societies or clubs at University? Or perhaps you have had some personal achievements that should be mentioned? These experiences should also include examples of skills that are essential to be successful in the course such as communication skills (presentations, written reports, group work) or relevant scientific techniques, analytical or research skills.

  • A sense that the course links to what you have done in the past and how it relates to what you want to do in the future

It is important to connect your past experiences and what you hope to get out of the course to what you want to do in the future. Where do you see yourself working/doing after the course has finished? The admissions tutor won’t find you in a couple of years’ time to see if you are in the job role you describe in your statement but they would like you to have an awareness of career pathways and an understanding of the reasons for taking the course

  • Last but not least, they want to see motivation and enthusiasm!!

This is key to a good personal statement. Your motivation and enthusiasm should shine through and the reasons should be clear. No need to be too emotional, but a reflective and enthusiastic approach and backing these up with evidence is what they would like to see.

Final piece of advice, have your personal tutor read through it as well! Their academic perspective is very valuable when writing a statement.

I wish you the best of luck in writing your personal statement.

Further resources:

 

Living Successfully with Psychosis

  , , ,

📥  Diversity, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

This year I had the privilege of providing career support for Neal who has just completed his MA in International Security. It's not easy to live with a condition like psychosis and yet despite setbacks in his life, Neal recently started as a consultant for Alten. He kindly agreed to be interviewed and this is his story.

From the age of 14, I had started to feel unwell and then one day I found myself climbing on the school roof – I was completely deluded and didn’t know where I was. It was like watching the TV programme Quantam Leap or The Truman Show film with Jim Carey. Medics had no idea what caused this as I had never taken drugs, or alcohol and I was diagnosed as having psychosis. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer from any hallucinations, but I ended up being hospitalised for the next six months. I found myself being one of the first people to try Risperidone – an anti-psychotic drug which had great success. I guess during this time I was incredibly lucky and had a great childhood. I was one of seven children with very supportive parents but it was really hard for my parents to see me so ill. I was taken off the medications but then relapsed again at 16 and then 18. But despite everything, I still achieved 4 A levels ABCC from a State School. I somehow knew that Maths would open doors for the future. It was my best subject and I thought it would impress people. I was really happy to get to University of Bath to study Mathematics and Computing from 1998-2002. I spent my year placement at Motorola and then they sponsored me for my second year and final year which was excellent. Somehow, I had managed to get through university without telling anyone about my psychosis. I didn’t tell anyone because I was so worried about the stigma and how I would be received. I survived because I had the support of a long-term girlfriend and by getting a lot of sleep as the drugs made me feel so tired. I wasn’t sporty so didn’t do much exercise, but looking back realised that probably would have helped me. Anyway, I just paced myself and was glad to have got a 2:2. I was also very fortunate that I didn’t have any psychotic episodes during this time.

It wasn’t until the final week of my final year that I told my personal tutor about my mental health as I had asked him to be my referee for MBDA.  The tutor actually put on the reference – “this student is extremely good at keeping secrets!” MBDA (part of BAE Systems) offered me a job on their graduate scheme and I worked my way up to principal engineer on their missile systems. I had disclosed my disability when I joined and it had taken 11 months to get my clearance which came with certain restrictions on how I could work, but the organisation was always very supportive and wanted me to do well. I worked on some really interesting and diverse projects including an internship for RUSI (a big think tank).

Suddenly out of the blue in 2006 I had another psychotic episode and this time diagnosed as having Schizo-affective disorder with manic type, now labelled as Recurring Psychosis. I guess it may have been kicked started by the fact I had been under a lot of stress outside of work, and also my drug dosage had been reduced yet again. This time I was so bad that I couldn’t even look after myself and I was eventually sectioned 24/7 for six months. In this breakdown and other later breakdowns, I suffered with hallucinations and delusions.  It wasn’t a great time in my life and it was hard for my family who visited me regularly. I have never taken drugs (other than my medication), never smoked and never drank and yet here I was again.

My company were great and they paid me for those six months and then I went back to work. I worked successfully for another five years and I was still on medication but I hardly had any time off. Then in December 2011, I fell ill again and I just couldn’t get well and was sectioned three or four times and by October 2014 I lost my MOD clearance which was devastating as it meant I lost my job. Looking back this time, the doctors believe that I ended up with a chemical imbalance, as I was now exercising a lot and spending a lot of time in the gym and somehow this had diluted how the drug worked.

I was finally put on a new drug which is working really well and appealed to the MOD on my clearance but I couldn’t get it back. So in 2015/16, I decided to take some time out and went travelling.

I thought about what I wanted to do and realised that I had always had an interest in military science and I think my time at RUSI had inspired me on that as I would often attend lectures. I had always enjoyed reading magazines such as Foreign Affairs. It was a friend who recommended the Masters in International Security at University of Bath and so I thought “why not!”. I mainly did it out of interest and really enjoyed it although I found the essays hard though because with my STEM background I didn’t have that much experience. My dissertation was on The Ethical Mandate of Autonomous weapon systems in a UK context. If I ever manage to go back into the Defence industry, then I think my Masters will prove to be extremely useful.

What’s different about being at the University of Bath again for a Masters? Well, this time I decided to disclose my disability and it’s been really great to have support. I saw a Counsellor from Student Services every week who helped me to deal with any stress/anxiety I may have had on the course, although I do know that stress is not related to any relapse I might have in the future. I also used the Skills Centre and had my essays checked. As well as this I have used the Careers Service - a lot! I attended a workshop on Developing Resilience to Support your Career run by Careers and Student Services and found this particularly useful. I attended a webinar on To Disclose or Not to Disclose your disability which included information on where to find disability friendly employers. My personal view from having a mental health issue is to disclose after you get a job offer! However, I appreciate that for every individual this will be different. I also had several one to one appointments with a careers adviser. This was useful as I had thought about going on another graduate training scheme but realised through the guidance interviews that I had a load of experience and needed to find a higher-level role. As well as discussing career options, I used the career meeting to seek advice on improving my CV which was actually a challenge to do as a mature student and so the advice was useful. I eventually decided that my career goal was to be a consultant or chief engineer with a particular technical specialism. My longer-term career goals, well I have even thought about going into politics! I really admire those people going into politics later in life even if I might not agree with their political views. I’ve even thought about doing another degree in my spare time.

So, my advice to anyone who has a disability is to get the support you need but also get involved. This time round I joined the Debating Society and the Philosophy Club as well as took part in activities within POLIS attending extracurricular seminars on campus and also at BRLSI in Queen Square.  Don’t be secretive either about your condition. I don’t publicise my disability but I will talk about it if asked. The way people view mental health conditions is changing and I think high profile people like Stephen Fry help to do this. It’s really important when things get tough to look back at your previous achievements and remember what you have accomplished. Despite my condition, I have achieved a lot – a 2:1 for my final year project and I am very proud of my French GCSE. And just remember there is nothing wrong in being ill for a year – sometimes that just happens, or taking a gap year to recover. Don’t see these things as a fail – it will in the long term help you to do better grade wise. Repeat a year too if that’s the best thing for you. Most importantly, stick to your medication.

After CV checks/applications checks, and support I ended up with two job offers and had to book another careers appointment to help me with deciding which job! I have just started working with Alten – a multi-national software engineering consultancy and currently working for Rolls Royce designing engines for private jets – really interesting work. So as I start on another career journey, I hope my story will encourage you to do the same!

(For information on support offered by Student Services visit the Welfare and Wellbeing Advice Team. Drop in sessions run daily.) 

 

Interview practice - any time, anywhere!

  

📥  Advice, Interviews


Ah, interviews. Sooner or later, we all have to have them - whether it's for a placement, a summer internship, postgraduate study or the graduate job of your dreams. But they are not the most looked-forward-to of events. Or the most thoughtfully timed. Ghislaine Dell, Careers Adviser, shares her thoughts on how to practise for a video interview in this apt blog entry.

Does this sound like you?

"Yay! I have an interview! Oh no, it's the day after tomorrow and I really need some practice!"

Or...

"Oh no, it says that the interview is a video one and I have no idea how that will work let alone how I am going to come over on camera...."

As you know, in the Careers Service we are always very happy to help with interview preparation in our quick query appointments and do offer practice interviews, but there are times when we can't offer practice interviews, you don't have the slots free, or you don't have gaps in your timetables, or actually you really really want to practise using the video interview format.

So, we are delighted to say that we can help you with that as well!

InterviewStream is a video interview platform which offers you the opportunity to build your own video interview from a bank of thousands of questions, take the interview, and review your performance and comment on it at a later date. Or maybe you can send the video file to a friend or a family member for comments? We have also built you a portfolio of ready-made interviews that you can choose from.

Thanks to the generosity of the Alumni Fund, and supported by the MBA Careers Office, all registered Bath students can access this package on an unlimited basis. Simply register using your Computing Services email and take it from there. You'll find fuller details and login instructions on this page.

There is even a handy 'um, like' counter to use when you watch back your interview so you can see how many of those dreaded filler words you are using!

So, have a go! And do tell us if there are targeted interview sets that you would like us to build. Your feedback will be very gratefully received and it will help us build a more useful service.

You can find more interview resources on our Bath Careers page.

 

Introducing the Careers Fair app - Summer Internship Fair

  ,

📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Internships, Networking, Uncategorized

Introducing the Careers Fair app - Summer Internship Fair


On Friday 17th November we are running our much anticipated Summer Internship Fair in the Founders' Hall from 10am - 3pm. At this event you can find out everything about summer placements, some are also open to all years and all degree disciplines, so there is something here for all students, whatever year or degree discipline. I hope to see you there!

This year we are trialing the use of a new app. You can download this to find out more about the Fair and the exhibitors by searching the App store or Google Play for "Career Fair Plus''. Then, select University of Bath from the list of universities and you'll see the Summer Internship Fair. Download and see for yourself!

Today, browsing through, I found information about 27 different employers, what their target degree disciplines are, what opportunities are available and even how to apply, all in a couple of clicks. In addition, it gives you a direct link to the fair map layout and where the employer is situated. This way you can walk directly up to the employer without having to lose time finding out where their booth is.

You can also find more information about the event and the employers present on our Bath Careers website and on MyFuture - Summer Internships Fair

What are your next steps?

  1. Read the information about the employers on the app or on the above link
  2. Plan which employers you want to see and where they are situated in the fair
  3. Prepare questions in advance - if you are wondering what to ask then we have an excellent previous blog entry and a careers guide - Prepare for the Fair (both cover advice for our main fair in October but a lot of the information is still valid for the summer internship fair).
  4. Bring a CV - just in case
  5. Show up - learn about organisations, explore summer job opportunities and have fun!

See you on Friday!