SSLCs – I’ve got a hunch that most students at Exeter wouldn’t be able to tell you what the acronym stands for, let alone what the bodies are actually responsible for. Yet, Student-Staff Liaison Committees are one of the cornerstones to ensuring that the student experience at Exeter is continuously enhanced and improved wherever necessary.
So, who are they, and what do they actually do? Student-Staff Liaison Committees are made up of a handful of student Academic Representatives, a Subject Chair, and a discipline’s Director of Education. Meeting at least once a term, Academic Representatives are charged with putting forward praise and/or concerns from their peers about their academic experiences. The aim is simple: to reach a positive outcome for all students. Admittedly, whilst that may sound a little opaque, SSLCs work tirelessly to ensure that students’ concerns are addressed and remedied wherever possible; often by seeking clarifications on methods of assessment, suggesting improvements to specific modules, or highlighting areas in which a department could improve in its engagement with students.
To delve a little deeper, I recently sat down with Filipa Torres, a third-year International Relations student who currently serves as Subject Chair to the Politics SSLC. Initially answering “what don’t we do?!” in response to a question about what the role entails, she provided the following summary of a Subject Chair’s responsibilities.
“A Subject Chair is the contact point between the student reps, the student population as a whole, and the department. I attend meetings, write agendas, keep up with the feedback that student reps are reporting, and engage with lecturers.”
Filipa’s duties are primarily carried out during meetings of the SSLC. From my experience as an Academic Representative, these meetings are thoroughly productive and worthwhile. On chatting to Max Jablonowski, a second-year International Relations Representative, he too described the meetings in a similar fashion.
“The meetings are very chilled. We discuss any questions, the Director of Education comes along, and there’s no pressure whatsoever; you can speak whenever you like, and you won’t be limited in what you do say.”
It’s important to remember that these meetings aren’t a forum for simply expressing negativity, but instead, they provide a unique opportunity to propose creative and innovative solutions to the issues that are raised.
One example of this is the recent creation of a Peer to Peer Mentoring Scheme within the Politics Department. Having received feedback from first-year students that they feel ill-prepared for January exams, the SSLC, in conjunction with the Politics Society and various members of staff, set about recruiting volunteer second and third years to lead workshops on exam technique. The scheme will begin piloting two sessions this December. This is just one case that highlights the positive change that can arise as a result of SSLC action.
So, if you’re not convinced of the good that SSLCs do on your behalf; get involved and stand for election to one when the next cohort is recruited. Or, take it from Max, who reflects that being on an SSLC has provided him with opportunities to “meet plenty of new people, allowing you to build greater relationships with staff and students”, Filipa, who stated that a lot of the satisfaction she draws from being in her position is that “you’re representing a lot of students, and that keeps you going”, or me, in that I wholeheartedly believe that they’re the best way to go about affecting academic change at Exeter.
In the meantime, be sure to reach out to one of your Academic Representatives if you have any concerns about your academic experiences at Exeter; we’re always willing to listen.
One of the hardest things about the Christmas period is that whilst there are so many deadlines and January exams to study for, this is also the time of year with the most festivities. It seems impossible to get it right; on the one hand, staying in and studying means you are doing your best in your degree. However, on the other hand, knowing friends will be getting mulled wine from the Christmas market while you sit inside on a dark, cold evening is enough to make you lose interest in working completely. With seasonal changes in light affecting mental health and overworking meaning you can be at risk of burnout or anxiety, getting the balance right is vital.
Here are some tips which I’ve found helpful in keeping on the right track.
1. Make sure that when you are studying, you are doing it effectively, and right
Understand the way that you work best. For me, waking up at a regular time and working in the morning is easiest – it’s when I have the greatest amount of energy, clarity and focus.
2. Establish a routine at the beginning of each week
Use a weekly planner – free online with a quick google search – and decide when you are going to work, what you are going to work on, and when you are going to stop and relax.
3. Don’t be overambitious
Be realistic about what you can actually get done in a day.
4. Pomodoro your way to greater focus
Human beings are incapable of focusing for large lengths of time without breaks, so try the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25-40 minutes and work solidly. Take 5-10 minute breaks in between these chunks and step away from your laptop, make some tea, put up some decorations or do something else you enjoy.
5. Start your assignment today!
We’ve all been there; a deadline feels like months away but before you know it there is only a week to go! Don’t be the person stuck indoors over Christmas because of deadline procrastination, get going now!
6. Eat that Frog!
I use Brian Tracey’s Eat That Frog ABCD method to prioritise my work starting with the most important, scary tasks – the ‘A’s’, things you absolutely have to get done – all the way down to the ‘D’s’, bits which you could leave until later. You tackle the most horrible things at the beginning of the day when you have the most energy, and then that spurs you on to do the others. It also means if you don’t get the D, C, or even B tasks done, there is no guilt sucking your motivation the next day, and when you stop to enjoy coffee with a friend, you aren’t stressing about work.
7. 10 minute time trick
Struggling to get started? Just put on a timer for ten minutes and tell yourself that you will work steadily for just that tiny amount of time, no matter how terrible what you achieve is. Switch your phone off, close your door and do it. Telling yourself you just have ten minutes removes all the pressure of perfectionism, and before you know it, you’ll be pressing repeat on the timer and getting stuck in.
8. Don’t overwork
No matter what you might think, as long as you are doing your best that is enough. We are only human. Don’t completely cut out downtime just to get your deadlines in. Your mental health and wellbeing comes first…
If you need support now or over the holidays, speak to your lecturers or reach out to the Wellbeing team.
Written by Evanna Kappos, studying English Literature.
I’m sitting in the train, and it suddenly hit me. “How did half of my Easter break fly by? My exams are in less than 3 weeks and my essays are due in a week!”
Being at the University of Exeter, you might’ve realised that we get pretty long Easter breaks and we often finish all our lectures and seminars beforehand. With about 5 weeks of holiday or more (depending on when your exams start), how do you organise it to get the balance of both work and down time?
This is something I’m still figuring out as I go along this Easter break but I think I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of how I probably should’ve spent the earlier weeks and how to make the best out of the remaining weeks. (more…)
One of the really cool things about studying BSc Business at the Penryn Campus is the field trips!
I am currently in my third year, and have just come back from an incredible field trip to NYC for my BEP3090 Research Module. The premise of the module was to perform a mainly ethnographic study on an independently proposed research topic.
The idea was to give students the opportunity to observe business operation and internal dynamics in real life, in a national or an international context. On the trip, we were given access to international organisations and institutions through visits, guided tours, networking and informal interactions.
For my topic, I chose to observe the ways in which different organisations brand themselves to be ‘sustainable’ and whether or not these brand images held true in reality.
Read below to see a bit more of what we got up to throughout the week. (more…)
I have almost finished my degree. I’ve submitted my last assignments and finished my lectures. The only thing I still have to do is to finish my dissertation. To make the most out of my last days as a student, my friends and I decided to explore Cornwall a bit more and visit these three amazing places. (more…)
Olga April 9th, 2019 Cornwall, Exploring Devon and Cornwall, International, Life in the South West, Life on Campus, Lifestyle, Penryn Campus, Undergraduate cornwall, exploring cornwall, international, life in the south west, life on campus, penryn campus, travelling, undergraduate, university of exeter
One of my favourite things about being on BSc Business is the wealth of fun field trips we get to go on throughout the three years.
To give you a better picture of some of the cool places you could be visiting if you go on the course, I’ve decided to compile a list of my highlights from the past three years so far. (more…)
Looking for something to do after you’ve reached a deadline? I have a perfect suggestion for you! A day out in Exmouth, which is one of the most picturesque seaside towns in Devon. While you’re there you can take a long scenic walk along the sandy seashore, reach the rocky cliff-tops and end your day in one of the local inns serving the regional specialty – Exe Mussels. In this blog entry, I will provide you with a short guide of how to get to Exmouth and make the most out of your time there! (more…)
Whenever I meet someone new here from the UK, the first five minutes of conversation inevitably involves the question: “Why did you come to Exeter?” To be frank, I always need a moment to pause and think back to the time when I sat in front of my laptop making my UCAS choices.
At the end of Year 12, applications for universities were creeping up on us. Unlike many of my friends, I was still clueless about the degree I wanted to pursue, let alone which university. The panic was starting to set in and I decided to look up the ranking tables for Economics which was the A-level subject I really enjoyed. Universities like Warwick, Durham, St. Andrews and Exeter popped up and after all the train journeys, brochures and getting lost at Open Days – I put the University of Exeter down as my firm choice in UCAS.
I know that deciding what university to attend is an incredibly important and difficult decision – I’ve done it. That’s why I’m here to tell you some of the reason why I chose the University of Exeter. (more…)
Just had an exceptionally stressful exam? Finished and handed-in a lengthy and demanding assignment? Or are you just feeling a bit bored and want to do something fun in Exeter? If any answer to those questions is yes, then this article is especially for you. In this blog post I want to show you my favourite places around Exeter, as it’s always great to get out for a walk and explore the city. Whether you just want to let off some steam, sit down and enjoy your favourite book in the same spot that Jane Austen did or do some sports such as kayaking, then I’ve got you covered! After living in Exeter for over a year I have travelled, on my old rust (but vintage!) bike, to many interesting places. However, there are places I always love to come back to and from those I tailored and chose my favourite three. I selected places that are close to University of Exeter (I swear!) and to get there won’t take longer than 30 minutes’ walk. So, without further ado here is my complete guide of 3 places that you should visit in Exeter.
I worked at several education fairs last summer on behalf of the University of Exeter and there were a few questions that were popular from prospective students and their parents. I have compiled a list of questions and answered them here, hopefully it is helpful to all international students who may be wondering some of the same things.
Jasmine December 18th, 2018 Clearing, Exams and Assessment, Food and eating, Freshers Week, International, Lectures and Seminars, Life in the South West, Life on Campus, Preparing for University, Studying, The city of Exeter, Undergraduate
Starting your new life at university might be scary but here you can find a little bit of information about what to do first when you’re on campus, where to get more information about Freshers events as well as get some tips from the current students. (more…)
“So what do you study?”
“Oh cool… but what IS Liberal Arts?”
This is the conversation I have with everyone I meet at university and is why I am dedicating this blog post to explain what Liberal Arts really is and why I enjoy my degree so much.
For every student studying at the University of Exeter, travelling can be a blessing that can make you want to cry sometimes but you hold it in because in the end you have to travel anyway. As an international student, I tend to travel a lot and it’s become second nature to me, which is why I thought to impart some of my wise knowledge to you – even if you might already know this.