Weeks 1 and 2 – Semester 2 – Year 1

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I’m two weeks into Semester 2 so here’s a run down….

I’m still doing the long and thin Management module that I started in Semester 1 and I’ve started a new module: Academic and Workplace Libraries.

Management has become much more practical, which I’m half enjoying half ‘might be the death of me’ feelings. We’re doing a Service Quality Evaluation project, which is a group work assignment worth something like 40% of the overall module. I’ve sort of reluctantly taken the lead on this, but I’ve already created a kind of Gantt Chart, agendas, minutes of meetings and actions and I’m feeling like I’m learning real life skills! I think even if I don’t do well on this project grade wise it’s going to teach me a lot. I’ve never done any kind of data collection or filled out Ethics forms before so I do feel like I’m upping my skill set. Though getting 5 people together all with different lives is HARD. Some of us are part time, some full time, some of us have other commitments. The organisation aspect is taking up a lot of time, but again enjoying the challenge.

We’re also having to do an ungraded project, which is that we are put into 5 groups of 5 and all have to apply for a fake job using a CV and cover letter. The 5 groups swap in a circle and we have to short list applicants for a different fake job to the one we’ve applied for. It’s been really interesting! And also I’m going to be honest and say it’s hard not to apply bias! The CVs and cover letters haven’t been anonymised and I’m trying to read these documents as objectively as possible… but it’s hard! Those in my group who’ve made their choices have picked almost completely different candidates to the ones I’ve picked. Again really interesting as I was like ‘This person is great!’ and obviously someone has thought someone else was great. Next stage is each group selects 2 candidates (a first choice and second choice) then we do real interviews! By real I mean one group interviews their choice of candidate.

The Academic and Workplace libraries module I’m really enjoying! Mainly because it contributes directly to what I’m doing in my job, which is working with the repository and knowing the ins and outs of OA compliancy and the REF. It’s so nice to finally feel like I’m reading things that relate to my job and I have a clearer idea of how everything works (both in my course and in my job). There are two assignments for this module. An essay on OA with a question that we can form ourselves. I have 2 ideas for questions, but I need to research into them to see if they are even possible! I’d prefer not to pick something that has next to no literature on it! No matter how appealing that might be we only have 1,500 words so it has to be concise! The other project is a Briefing Paper, which I’m really excited to write because this is something non-academic. We have to pretend we are working in a library (real or fake) and the director has found an area of the library which is behind the curve. We are then tasked to write an evidence-based briefing paper to the senior management team that outlines the current situation and how we can move forward in that area. We have a list of topics to pick from so again I’m going to do some research before I pick my topic. This could be something I have to do in a real job one day so I think this is going to be a really useful assignment. 

Still a Part Time Commuter Student
I’ve decided to be THAT person. I’m now that person that at any opportunity that comes up I’ll say … ‘By the way I’m a PART TIME STUDENT THAT COMMUTES FROM LEEDS AND WORKS (almost) FULL TIME IN HUDDERSFIELD’. I kind of decided this before having a meeting with my personal tutor, which was really uplifting (thanks Jo!), because I’d been getting so annoyed with people thinking I can do the same things as the full time, based in Sheffield, students. I still feel the course ignores the part time students. An example being when we were sent an email for Academic Writing Tutorials. We were given a choice of slots and there were loads to pick from, but none on days or times that would work for me (my only free time in Sheffield is Monday after 4pm…. not exactly ideal!) But there was no information on what I should do. I contacted the organiser and I was given the advice to class myself as a Distance Learner. That advice wasn’t in any emails though. Tell us that in the email! We exist! We are here! We are trying to learn and take as much advantage as the resources as we possibly can!

I’ve had a few people ask me recently ‘Why can’t you work part time and then you’d have more time for the course?’ and I really want to ask these people ‘What’s your magical money secret?’ To half my wage per month that leaves money for my rent and bills and like £200 left over. Not possible with crazy transport costs. Sorry magical money people it’s a no go.

Can’t think what else to update everyone on. Work has been extremely busy recently so I feel like I’m being pulled in 12 hundred directions. I’m channeling a bit of Liv Tyler from Empire Records (without the speed!) right now that yes I can do all my uni work, my actual job, see friends, eat, sleep and exist all at the same time. Let’s see how that goes!

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