11th November

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Good morning! Welcome to another update from the world of Bradford and libraries.

Last week was a good one – I definitely felt a bit more settled, and less like a headless chicken than in my first two weeks. I managed to help out in a couple of Plagiarism Awareness sessions with some foundation years, and even answer some questions (shock horror!). I think the course and test is a really good idea for those setting off on the path of higher education: the research and academic writing process was so alien to me when I first went to university. I seem to remember mostly having the fear of god put into me (regarding plagiarism, that is) when I started, which definitely worked, but a practical exercise and test seems a more appropriate way of getting students to think about how they’re using research and what is expected in good academic practise.

I also attended a university training course on stress resilience. Bradford’s occupational health service seems to be geared towards a CBT kind of approach, which I am a great fan of, having come through the other side of an intensive course. It was especially good addressing these issues in a group setting – the most important thing is to be able to talk about mental health, or specifically stress and feeling like you can’t cope, because we’ve all been there. Even if you have CBT or counselling, it’s generally a one-to-one experience and only once a week, so I felt like doing group tasks and chatting openly with each other was really helpful in fostering a welcoming and supporting environment. Although I didn’t learn much that was new about coping strategies (ahh, coping strategies) and stressor-related behaviours, it was good to have a refresher session and to see how far I personally have come. Most importantly, there were biscuits!

I think it would be interesting to do something or learn more about how the university helps out students as well as staff – going away to university can be absolutely terrifying, in a personal as well as academic sense. I’m  thinking of having a chat with LSS folk about the work they do here (as I haven’t met everyone yet!). I’m sure I saw some kind of headline about library workers being the new counsellors – anyone know where this article was?

I attended my first meeting of the ASG staff on Wednesday morning. Contrary to the tongue-in-cheek warnings I received, I came out mentally unscathed! I honestly found it quite interesting  – which sounds like I’m trying to be teacher’s pet, but it’s true! A lot of work goes into making the students happier with their library and responding to feedback, and it seems like all the hard work on Summon and things is paying off. (I also managed to demonstrate that last week to a student – as she didn’t have a specific topic in mind, I whacked in ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald’ and ‘alcohol’, like the American Literature kid I am!)

In other news, I also experienced my first Bradford curry (opted for a mild, which was of course quite hot)! It was nice to see some people out of work, even if only for a short while, although I’m pretty sure I owe someone for it (I’m paying in labour, apparently!). I’ve also started the first of my university applications, eek! I’ve still got about a month, but the UCL application process seems a bit weird – I get the impression I can’t go back and add/change things (if anyone out there knows, please advise!). My official MA grade and transcript isn’t released until the 27th, which is cutting it a bit fine to add it in! But I shall crack on nonetheless.

Anyway, I think I’ve blabbered on enough for one week – over and out!

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