Making the most of your academic department

I’ve heard it said a few times that just having a degree is no longer enough to get in to most jobs. You need to show a special interest in your field, or have the relevant skills. This year I’ve tried to kill two birds with one stone (so to speak!) by starting to attend my departmental (Animal and Plant Science) seminars. These seminars are lecture length talks given by members of the department and external researchers from universities all over the world. As well as getting the inside scoop on cutting edge research, there are also talks on the more niche areas of science, such as science writing. 

Feeling inspired by the seminar on science writing, I decided to start my own science blog ( and summarise each of the seminars that I go to. As I eventually want to go into academia this is really good for me, as I get to see what kind of research other universities are doing, and it only takes me 50 minutes every Monday! I also hope that by writing a blog on each of these seminars I’m improving my communication skills. Some of the talks are pretty technical, and I’m trying to explain them in a way that someone with very little back ground knowledge would understand. 

So far I’ve found it a really rewarding thing to do because, not only am I learning a lot more about my subject, I’ve also come out the other side with something that I’m actually kind of proud of. I found my department’s seminars just by Googling ‘University of Sheffield APS departmental seminars’, and a lot of the timetables for other departments were up there too. I’d also recommend looking out for posters around your department's buildings, and if you see something a little interesting, definitely turn up! Overall, even if you think it’s a little boring to add an extra hour on to your contact time, just go to one or two and you might change your mind…

Ed (Careers Service Student Ambassador for the Faculty of Science)

To find out more about what you can do to make the most of your time here at the University of Sheffield, visit the Experience Sheffield website.

Careers Service

Careers Service

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