Wednesday, 21 June 2017

SURE 2017 and first impressions

Hello, my name is Ekaterina Yukhnovich and I’m a Level 2 Undergraduate here at the University of Sheffield.

Let me first explain what SURE is, as it will be mentioned a lot throughout this blog. It is a scheme at the University of Sheffield (UK), called the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience. Undergraduate students in the penultimate year of education have a chance to carry out a paid project for 6 weeks of summer. They need to find a faculty member that they would like to do the project with and fill out an application form. The process is rather competitive, with about a third of applicants actually succeeding this year. I was fortunate enough to become one of these students.

In my case, I emailed Megan Freeth, who suggested that I meet with Caroline Treweek. This lady is a Ph.D. student that created the entire experiment for her thesis and wanted some help collecting data.

Initially, I was nervous about time management, communicating with both supervisors and participants, and the uncertainty over what was to come. However, as the first week passed, these worries have mostly subsided. For one, I am actually finding it easier to keep to personally set goals (for example, with reading some previous research and keeping on top of emails from participants) than I do when studying. This may be because the work day has time limits, whereas studying can be done at any point in time. Of course, I have only just started and it is probably not representative of the rest of the experience, or any future research I will (hopefully) be doing.

There was a helpful training session on the second day of SURE. We discussed techniques to improve procrastination and other students' problematic tendencies, as well as receiving some nice English food which I mistook for sushi. Although I was already excited, this session made me eager to begin the process. In this session, there were students from multiple disciplines, which made the conversations more fascinating. There was a man studying the make-up of the universe, a woman looking at the change in representations of Eve in pre- and post-feminist literature, and many more that I cannot recall. The girl who was sitting next to me was from the Geography department and we even agreed to take a trip to Peak District at some point. I cannot wait to find out what the others have found in the dissemination evening in February.

To finish this post, I have to say that the first week has gone excellently, and I am already learning skills that will be important through this project and later life.