Jenni Hanford – week16

Lent Term, Week 16 Blog

 

So as I am writing this I have just seen that the exam timetables are out, which is very scary but also a little exciting, as it will mark the end of my four years here at Lancaster Uni. Although I will be sad to leave, I feel like the time has come for me to move on with my life and to follow the path to my next adventure.

 

I have been very lucky this year as most of my exams are quite spread out, giving me time in between to focus and revise for specific exams. A lot of people don’t like Saturday exams and, whilst I found the idea strange in first year, I don’t mind them as exam season is what it is, you’d be revising on a Saturday if you didn’t have an exam! My birthday is also in May and I am pleased to say that this year, I don’t have an exam on my birthday and only one left at the end of that week, so all in all it’s a great result! I have my Gold D of E presentation in May and my exam schedule has allowed me to attend this, which I am so excited about, especially as it’s the 60th year anniversary this year!

 

All the above being said, the exam timetable highlighted that final exams are approaching, and fast. However, you shouldn’t panic as you still have time, you need to focus on your modules this term, understand them well and put in the work now as then revision becomes a lot easier.

 

Over the years at University I have attempted to improve and develop my exam technique and I think I’ve got a lot better! Before coming to university and even in first year I was very anxious about my exams, which caused me to feel ill beforehand and during the exams. I always used to panic and as soon as that happened and my performance was most definitely affected. This frustrated me as I knew I had put the work in so could do the exams better, therefore I decided to do something about it.

 

I looked online at different calming techniques and spoke to my mum about it, but ultimately it came down to personal preference/what worked for me. As the exams went on, I decided that I needed to make a conscious decision I could do them and be positive. Therefore I ate healthy each exam day, meaning I wouldn’t feel ill, and I took deep breaths before each exam. (This sounds obvious/a little silly but it really helps to just concentrate on your breathing and put yourself in a focussed mood). I also allowed myself 1 minute of ‘panic’ time in every exam, so if I opened a paper and couldn’t see the wood for the trees I’d panic, then stop myself, breathe and think, let’s do this as best as I can. This works for me and I am a lot better at exams now, resulting in higher grades which is naturally very important.

 

Perfecting your exam technique can be really helpful as, you need to know your facts to answer the test questions, but if you know how to answer them successfully and how to achieve ‘easy’ marks, then your results will be a lot stronger.

 

One of the modules I study is AcF.317 and it’s one that I really enjoy. There is a one-hour lecture each week and then a two-hour seminar in the form of a case class, which is the part I really enjoy. Each week we are given a case study, which we then have to read over, analyse and answer questions on. I find this really interesting, looking at control systems in practice and how different businesses in different industry achieve success/manage their staff. The classes are small, around 12 people, which is really good as everyone has a chance to voice their opinions and it’s really interesting when others think of points you haven’t considered/analyse at a fact in a different way.

 

As part of Lancaster University Gospel Choir, I sang at the World at Lancaster events on campus and it was really fun! It was amazing to walk around the different stalls and see so many different cultures and learn new things from different languages and foods to all about the Chinese zodiac signs and New Year celebrations. I was actually in London last weekend for the Chinese New Year and it was amazing; the parade was so cool and there were lots of people, from all different areas and backgrounds chatting and sharing stories.

 

Thanks again for reading and hope this was interesting for you guys, speak soon, Jen J

 

 

 

 

 

Week 4 – Jenni Hanford

I can’t believe we are already at the end of week 4 in Lent term, where is the time going this year?! I realised I’ve never spoke about what a typical week at Uni is like for me so I thought I would discuss that with you guys this week. I’d also like to talk about what some of my friends are doing who graduated last year, to give you an insight into life after University and show you it can be anything you want it to be, sometime the most unexpected!

So I took a placement year, meaning a lot of my friends graduated last year and they are doing a variety of things. One of my friends has gone on to post graduate studies, which she is really enjoying, as it is a different type of work and offers a new perspective on University life. She has joined a new society and made lots of new friends. Some of my other friends started out with retail jobs and bar work straight after they graduated, but now they have applied for graduate schemes and started to look into areas they want to work long-term and can see where their life path leads. One girl has gone travelling, wanting to take new adventures in life before she settles down/decides where she should go next. Finally, my best friend got a temporary job in the subject area she wants to be in, Finance, and has applied for different schemes, looked back at her work experience and really focussed in on what she wants to do and where she wants to work. She is also getting married this year, ready to start an entirely new chapter in her life, which is beyond exciting!! I really wanted to share these personal experiences with you guys as it shows how diverse the world is, there is something out there for everyone. You shouldn’t feel anxious about next year, especially if you’re not 100% sure what you want to do. Try what you think is right for you and go from there, there’s no right answer except just being you. We all have to grow up eventually but just don’t forget your friends and what you learnt at University, because it’s made you the person you are today.

So after that little snippet into the adventures awaiting you after graduation, here is my typical week.

Mondays, the start of the week, the day everyone dreads. I, fortunately, don’t have any lectures on a Monday this term, most of the time, so I have a lie in till about 8am (I’m an early riser), get ready and then head onto campus. I love the booths in the library, as I’ve said too many times before, so I normally head straight there and get to it. I have breaks throughout the day, meet up with friends or catch up on an episode on Netflix before going to Art society in the evening.

 

Tuesdays I have a seminar and a lecture in the afternoon, so I make the most of my ‘spare’ time in the mornings and study, sometimes in the management school as I like the atmosphere and I can meet my course mates, discuss work/life and have a coffee. I attend my classes and then head home, usually for a nap and then complete any work that I didn’t earlier/needs doing.

 

Wednesdays are my 9am days so I get up; grab a coffee and head to my tutorial. I then spend the rest of the day in the library or nip into town if there is anything I need, before going to Lancaster University Gospel Choir in the evening. I love choir, and not just because I’m the president, but the people are always so cheery and it always puts me in a great mood.

 

Thursdays I have 11am – 3pm, so lunch is always tricky, but I always try to remain focussed and then I make sure I have a break before doing some work in the evening when at home. I also attend Mandarin classes in the evening on campus, as I wanted to try something new and challenge myself.

 

I have exec meetings on a Friday and a pretty relaxed day in terms of timetabling, as I only have a 4-6pm. I try to take breaks during the day and eat healthily so I am still awake by 4pm, then I know by 6 the weekend is starting and I can take a break in the evening.

 

Weekends I typically study in the day and take breaks in the evenings/lunchtimes, trying to also exercise regularly and feel healthy, but still having treats now and again.

 

Hopefully this was quite interesting for you guys and has helped to show that work is very important, but so are breaks and other activities to keep your weeks balanced. Thanks again for reading, until next time, Jen J

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jierong Zhu

This week is the ‘easiest’ week I ever had since the Lent Term begins. There is no coursework I need to worry about in this week and next week. I am the person who prefers putting my all attention into one particular coursework 7 days in advance before the deadline. I am a ‘faster’ learner. There is no doubt that deadline is always No.1 productive force. It makes me be urged to learn, and constantly to concentrate.

I have no idea what’s wrong with the facilities in the library in this week. On Monday, the printers did not work. I printed the documents three times by three different printers, which makes my printer account fell from £5 to negative amount. Bad luck! However, every coin has two sides. It was my first time to know that I actually could return the printer fee via the website. Thanks to technology, my printer account became positive again. In addition, on Tuesday, I changed two printers since both of them could not identity my ID card. Moreover, on Thursday, every time I found the computer desk, the computers could not boot. There were at least 6 computers that did not work on the second floor of the library.

On Tuesday, the weather was so terrible. The wind roared from day to night. And iLancaster even gave an emergency notification for flood warning. After getting the piece of information, I discussed with my friends, who travelled with me during last flood time, about where we should go, what we should bring and when we should leave here and so on. However, after around 5 minutes, the alerts were cancelled. I do not know why I felt know a little bit ‘what a pity’.

Chinese New Year is coming. I even could hear this information on the bus during the talks between two foreigners. There were varieties of activities in campus and in the city centre to feel the atmosphere of Spring Festival in advance. On Friday, there was an event about Chinese traditional games, such as hoopla, paper-cut for window decoration, guessing the riddles and so on. On Sunday, another event was held in the city centre. The weather was not so nice. When I arrived in the city centre, it was a little bit late so that I can only found the game facilities, like in a children’s amusement park. So cool.

The biggest thing for me in this week is the paintball event on Saturday. As a planner of this event, it was such a hard day for me. I woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning on that day although I did go to bed fell in sleep until 1 o’clock. This is because there was still a few works need to done. For example, due to the weather problem, few people cancelled this event, which means the group member and number should be reallocated. When they are playing the paintball, I need look after their clothes and belongs in the wind. There was no extra room for us to stay. During the interval among the games, I helped them clean their dirty faces and sticky hair, which was the result of being hit. Thanks to God. Since most of them had limited power to continue to play the games, the event was finished at 2 o’clock. On Sunday, the feedback from participators was generally wonderful. A little bit of proud and having more motivation to correct the mistake in this time. I believe next time I will do better.

Applications – Jenni Hanford

Blog – Applications

 

When people mention Graduation, final exams, the final term, I always start to switch off then I realise, wait, that’s me!! It’s such a strange feeling to think that this will be my last undergraduate year at Lancaster because it feels like yesterday when I was just a nervous bundle moving into Pendle College. But it’s not, that was 2012 and now, over 3 years later, I’ve changed, grown up and I’ve learnt a lot, academically speaking and in life. That also means that now is the time to decide what I actually want to do, long-term and, although it is scary, it’s also a little bit exciting.

 

Applications are really really important and they are definitely time well spent. I covered CV’s in an earlier blog but these are important again at this stage as many online applications have the option to upload a CV, so if yours is ready and up to date you’ll be good to go and apply for jobs before they’re snapped up.

 

From my experience, applying for an accounting firm to do audit/assurance has been similar each time, following a typical format. There are variations and each of the stages is different, dependent on the firm, in one way or another but, at the core, they’re the same.

 

The initial stage is the application form, which is vital as it decides if you can progress pass the first stage, which is an important hurdle to overcome. The key mistakes people look for are spelling, sentences that don’t make sense, inappropriate language etc, all easy errors to make but can mean the difference between a yes and a no. Therefore getting someone to proof read your application, especially if it’s someone without ‘technical’ knowledge about the area, is a good idea as they will be able to tell you if it reads well/makes sense.  Also ensure you paint the best picture of yourself; include all your achievements and things you’ve done over the years that you’re proud of. Try to keep things relevant, always link an activity/skill back to the firm’s values or ethos, to demonstrate why you should get the job and how you’d adapt/fit into the team.

 

After you’ve passed the initial stage, hopefully, you may be invited to take part in psychometric tests. These are pretty standard tests in numeracy, verbal reasoning and logic and you may be asked to complete a combination of the tests, depending on the job. They test your ability to face situations and attempt to glean how you would react to different situations/logically see a way through. They require a specific type of answer/way of thinking so it’s importance you practice beforehand. There are practice examples online you can try from accountancy firm websites and other places and I bought books with examples in which really helped me. The more practice you do, the more prepared you will be for any variation of the tests.

 

The next stage can vary dependent on the firm/programme etc. It could be a phone interview, an initial face-to-face interview/Skype interview or perhaps straight to an assessment centre. Phone interviews can be very tough as you aren’t physically meeting the person and can’t give them a first impression by your body language or your smart look. Therefore it’s important you sound positive and formal on the phone. Make sure you are somewhere quiet and with good signal when they ring so it doesn’t cut out halfway through and you can hear them clearly. When answering the questions remain calm, keep your answers clear and to the point, there may be a silence as they are writing your answers down so don’t feel the need to keep talking, once you’ve said what you wanted and evidenced your skill leave it at that.

 

Face-to-face interviews are very important, as you need to make a good first impression. You need to wear appropriate clothing, smile, make eye contact and have a good, firm handshake. During the interview try not to fidget, remain calm, keeping good eye contact and take your time when answering questions. If you are struggling to answer a question take a breath, reword the question back to them to give yourself some thinking time, and then clearly deliver your answer.

 

After one of these stages above you will hopefully be invited to an assessment centre. These are make or break in the job process, where you can really evidence why you should get the job. It’s a massive achievement to get to an assessment centre and when you get there you need to prove why you’ve made it that far and why you’re the right person for the job. The day will consist of both individual and teamwork tasks/challenges related to key skill development/tasks you may have to do in the job. You need to get involved in everything, excelling in each area but remembering all the time the values of the firm and demonstrating these through your actions. Teamwork is always an important factor in every job so it’s really important to demonstrate this skill and showcase it well.

 

If you pass the assessment centre there can be a final interview. This is your final chance to impress the firm, likely a senior staff member, so use everything you have learnt in the process and show the best that you can be in that 40mins-1 hour.

 

I hope this blog has been somewhat helpful in those applying to jobs/will be in the future. Thanks again for reading, Jenni.