Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Hello and Some Good Advice from RUSU's Education Officer

When I think of the summer vacation, I think warmth. I imagine most of you are fantastically bronzed, detoxing on sparkling water and sunning yourself in some obscure location just off the coast of Costa-del-anywhere-but-England. Realistically, I have a hunch that one or two of you may have learnt so much from watching too much of the Antiques Roadshow that the temptation to morph into Del-boy and open a Vintage Bric-a-Brac in your local town is quite frankly overwhelming. Either way, I hope you’re all itching to get back to the daily grind that is student life. Pleasantries aside, the next few weeks warrants a massive
Emma Jackson -  Education Officer
welcome back, or welcome to Reading!

After three years as an undergraduate, I will now spend the next year as your Education Officer – representing you on any and all academic issues within the University, locally and nationally.

After being elected into office, based on my manifesto, I made many promises about what I would spend my time lobbying the University for. With major focus going into improving resources, better feedback and trying to attain more support for you, my aim was to hit the ground running the minute I stepped into office.There’s not a second to lose! So far, I've spent the summer not only training, but preparing reports and evidence on various topics, such as; why we need more guidance for dissertation/final year project supervisors and why we need a 24 hour library in deadline intensive periods. These may seem specific, but don’t worry, what may seem like necessary evils (hidden course costs) are not off my radar! A more comprehensive outline of my aims is available on the RUSU website, so please do check it out.

Aims for the year aside, I have found that the benefit of hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing. There is so much I wish I knew when I began my Undergrad. My number one recommendation this year is to get involved in anything you can, be it sports, societies or volunteering. Your time at uni goes so fast, and this is the best way of meeting new people and becoming part of a wider network. It also acts as a great sanity buffer when that elusive workload inevitably increases.

Come to think of it, I have a few more tips that may help you get the Autumn term off to a flying start..... 

  • New studentsOver packing is an issue. There is no need to seize the entire contents of your parents humble abode, but in the same breath I will say don’t worry if you forget to bring anything. Reading is not in the middle of no man's land. There are many shops available when in dire need of a forgotten wooden spoon and we have a shop on campus (Campus Central) that stocks many of those essential items.
  • Get your NUS Extra card sorted so you can abuse your beautiful student discount at your earliest convenience.
  • Blackwell bookshop in the Students' Union building offers discounts on key textbooks for your course. The magic of this being that you can pre-order your books before you get here and collect them when you arrive! That’s another thing off your to do list.
  • For any second years and above, Blackwell also allows you the option to sell back your books. Providing they are the latest edition, you can turn your old books into more than dust catchers.
  •  A stash of Berocca or Lemsip (depending on preference) is a must. No idea why, but everyone seems to come down with the flu a week or so into term.
There are many exciting new changes on the horizon. We have a brand new 24 hour study space located behind the RUSU building (previously known as 'The Lounge'). Gone are the days where students smuggled a kettle into goodness knows where, as 'The Study' is equipped with all sorts of wondrous utilities; comfy chairs, flat desks and even a decked area. Did I mention that it was 24 hours? There is not much more a student could want. Although rest assured, your RUSU President, Mark and I, are still pushing for more 24/7 library provisions, so we will keep you posted on our progress!
So, how can you get involved in the academic representation structure? Become a Course-Rep! The role of a Course Rep is vital in student representation across the campus. It allows students to be involved in the development and decision-making of their departments, permitting that all important student voice to be heard. Aside from the positive change you could make, it is an excellent string to your bow in terms of developing future employability skills. Oh, and guess what – nominations are open in the first two weeks of term! If you feel like taking the reins of your academic experience then why not nominate yourself.

Being your Student Officer is not about quotas or buzzwords, it’s about making sure anything we do this year really counts and makes a positive difference to your education. Of course, if you have any qualms or queries with anything, please do not hesitate to get in touch via email, twitter or feel free to drop in and see one of us. I look forward to working for you this year!

Emma Jackson
RUSU Education Officer