Feature: A Visit To Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University

On Sunday the 2nd of November I decided to visit Sheffield Hallam University and further my knowledge of the university. Sheffield Hallam is located in the heart of Sheffield city centre, this means that you are able to properly "get to grips" with the city life. When I arrived at the University I immediately saw the Student Ambassadors that were helping out with the open day whom greeted me and seemed very friendly and helpful. They directed me to the place where you sign in and register for the day, here I grabbed a prospectus (which you are able to order online)

First impressions of the main reception are that it was extremely welcoming and a pleasure to walk around and explore. Once I had completed these tasks I then went on to explore the accommodation which, as a city university, was in the city. The accommodation which I looked at was called "Cluster 1" which was made up of 3 halls of residence. The first halls of residence, "Liberty Court", features en-suite rooms that works out around £97.50 a week, these halls are a quick 7 minutes’ walk from the reception of the university which means you can get up 15 minutes before your 9 o’clock lecture and still make it in time! The next accommodation was by far my favourite. Liberty Works, which is also around 7-10 minutes’ walk from the university, is actually a renovated cotton mill. This means that the building still has little quirks and quaint features that none of the accommodation that I have ever looked at has. This accommodation features a shared bathroom but is shared between small numbers also you are able to apply for a double or a ¾ sized bed. The price of these rooms is £94 a week. The last accommodation that I looked into was Liberty House. Liberty House was a bit of a disappointment compared to the other halls of residence. This is because Liberty House was not as "homey" as the others. I didn’t feel as though I could live there. Nevertheless, the price for these halls are £83.50 a week and they are located directly opposite Liberty Works.

Lastly, the course that I wanted to look into was Journalism. I decided to book a course tour online before I attended the open day so I was scheduled to look into what the course I wanted to do offered me.

Overall I feel as though Sheffield Hallam University is a lovely university to attend. The atmosphere of the university seemed welcoming and an easy place to live and study. I also think that it is ideal place if you are wanting to live and study in the city.

Find out more about Sheffield Hallam on their website and perhaps book yourself on an open day.

Shannon Bruce

Nolan’s Thought Of The Week

Nolan's Thought Of The Week

In this time of remembrance, spare a thought for those men who gave their lives for Britain during WW1 having never even stepped upon British soil. Of the 956,703 British army dead, 251,900 were from India, Australia, Canada and other countries from the British Empire. This truly was a ‘World War’, and many of these countries proudly remember their war dead as we do. Also consider the 338,955 ‘missing’ men of the British Army who were never even buried. We will remember them.

Getting To Know… Mr Henshaw

Getting To Know... Mr Henshaw

Name: Ray Henshaw

Place of Birth: Portsmouth

Favourite Colour: Blue

Lucky Number: 3

Favourite TV Show: The Walking Dead

Favourite Song at the Moment: ‘Shake If Off’ Taylor Swift

Favourite Smell: Fried Onions

Favourite Quote: "If you think you can do it – or if you think you can’t – you will be right" Henry Ford

Favourite Holiday Destination: Barbados

Favourite Shop: eBay

Favourite Animal: Dolphin

Favourite Film: The Shawshank Redemption

Favourite Book: ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ John Grisham

Favourite App: Shazam

Game Review: Borderlands The Pre-Sequel

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Borderlands is back with the 3rd game in the franchise and this time you’re taken to the moon for some low gravity and high flying fun. The main plot of the game takes place between the first and second game and mainly borrows elements and weapons from Borderlands 2 as it acts as the story leading to the game.

The game’s overall gameplay is very similar to Borderlands 2 but not too similar to feel like you’re playing the same game as the lower gravity and enemy variety keeps the game fresh enough to still be playable and enjoyable. The game does stick with the main core of loot that keeps fans playing as you will constantly find the bigger and better gun to aid you on your adventure through the perilous landscapes of Pandora’s moon.

With new weapon group Laser you’re spoiled for choice as not every laser weapon shoots or acts the same and with new element of Ice added to the game it gives you a new way to fight and punish your enemies. But with the moon having no atmosphere you won’t last long without oxygen unless you’re Claptrap but even Borderland manages to turn your vital oxygen packs or Oz kits into lootable item with own buffs and power to help you along. And if you thought you couldn’t be any more of walking weapon of mass destruction even gravity can be used as a weapon as you can throw yourself up to high places to come crashing down with an explosive wave to blast your opponents away.

The game lets you chose from 4 characters and, as always in Borderlands, you’re never just armed with guns but also your own unique abilities giving you the edge in battle as each character can play a different role. There’s the Enforce Wilhelm who can summon two little drones with one attacking and the other healing and his skill trees which focus around damage and health. Then there is Athena who is the Gladiator armed with a shield which can store energy received from enemy fire and then can be thrown right back at them to seriously harm them and her skill trees which focus on making her abilities better. Then there is Nisha the Lawbringer who can rapidly target enemies with superior gun skill and wipe them out with ease with skill tree focusing on improving her strength, pistol ability or overall skills. Then finally there’s the unpredictable Claptrap who is given the Vault hunter exe which analyse the battle field and chose an ability which would suit his scenario most of the time and skill trees help him unlock more power to use during vault hunter exe.

The game is certainly a great for any fan of the series who wants to learn of the event in between the last two games but I wouldn’t overall recommend it to newcomers of the series. The game does have a lot of replayablity for those who love to collect as legendary weapons are scattered all over the land to keep most RPG players interested. Plus the larger involvement of the playable characters through dialogue does help improve the story and let us see more of the personality of the character we play. In the end Borderlands the Pre-Sequel earns a 7/10. The game could improve over time with 4 planned expansion stories and the online co-op to keep fans happy and interested until the next game arrives.

Samuel Whittaker

Feature: Writing A Personal Statement Can Be Difficult

Writing A Personal Statement Can Be Difficult

Here are some top tips which could be helpful when beginning to write your personal statement:

  1. Start with research – exploring your options and deciding what course you would like to do at university (looking at what subjects interest you or ambitions you have for when you finish the course).
  2. Which university? – looking at a wide range of universities can be exhausting but make sure you actually like the university (open days are a great way to experience what the university is actually like).
  3. Listing the skills/experiences – writing down the skills you have or experiences (I.e. the schools enrichment programme ‘Teachers for Tomorrow’ is applicable for applying to teacher training courses). Also going to university open days are an easy and great way to enhance your personal statement.
  4. Why are you suitable for the course? – be sure of your predicted grades before applying to a course as entry requirements vary with different universities.
  5. DON’T COPY! – it’s a pretty simple tip, however you need to make sure it’s all your own work and not from anywhere else (like the Internet), as UCAS have a detection system which checks for copy-right, in which serious consequences could be put in place.

Feature: Next Steps

University Students

University not for you?

There are plenty of other options that may interest you.

Tim Dowey in the MAP office has put together a collection of websites focused around alternative options to university. The links on the job board provide a great deal of information about apprenticeships and possible careers in the armed forces.

Job Board (requires Firefly login)

The careers section includes a variety of information from applying for bursaries to university open day information.

Careers Section (requires Firefly login)

Please take a look at either of these links if you think university isn’t for you or you are unsure of what to do next.

Game Review: Alien Isolation

Alien Isolation

This week’s review is of the new first person survival horror created by Creative Assembly and publish by SEGA. The game is based between the events of the film ‘Alien’ and within the game you play as Amanda Ripley, the daughter of the film protagonist Ellen Ripley who is tasked with searching the Nostromo which is from the original film for the ship’s flight recorder to discover what happened to the crew.

The game’s design and its looks are made to be very reminiscent of the Alien film series with 80’s designed look of futuristic technology and the use of old film effects in the game being used should instantly remind any fan of the film series of the atmosphere of the space station and make it feel more involved in the film’s story. The game also sets up the right atmosphere with its music and sound cleverly used to help make the situation eerie or tense.

The main gameplay works out as you moving around the ship to get to your given objective but along the way you will meet many of the lethal enemies who are determined to kill you. But above them all stands the Xenomorph or Alien as it’s commonly known by others, the Alien stand out as your main threat as it can move around the environment with ease and with heightened sense it can pick you out from the surrounding for the smallest of errors. However, you should be careful of the looters and androids which have be tampered with to become violent towards humans but luckily those foes are more predictable and are able to be taken on face to face. But you’re not stuck with just your wits and feet to move around on as the game has a crafting system allowing you to gather items and create tools to help improve your chances of survival.

The game acts as a perfect story for the fans of the Alien series and the game has good bulk of content lasting up to 15 hours making it great value for money with its content as single player not the only game. It also includes the addition of survival mode which allows you to jump straight in the Alien controlled area of the ship to test your survival skill and stealth. The only down side to Alien isolation is its lack of replayabilty due there being no big choice in game but there is DLC planned to give player a reason to revisit the game when finished. Overall I believe Alien Isolation deserves a solid 7.9/10

Samuel Whittaker

An Interview With… Mr Henshaw

Kicking off the first "An Interview With…" series we decided to start at the top. Being 3 minutes late to our interview we stumbled in finding Mr Henshaw behind his desk waiting for us.

What are your future plans for Post 16?

The first thing I wanted to do was create a Post 16 leadership team and I was told when I first started here that it wouldn’t happen, there would be no students interested. So, we are doing it now and I want to put that team in place so that they can be a direct link between the sixth form and myself and my leadership team so that we can see what needs to go on and what is happening. Also if there are any issues that we need to be aware of and for them to take part and become a part of the student voice.

Have you got any exciting events planned for Post 16?

Exciting events? Not specifically for Post 16 but if the leadership team come up with any ideas for special events then let’s see whether or not we can make that happen. I’m hoping that we can get a core of Year 13’s and then Year 12’s that get interested and become the "shadow" team so that when the Year 13’s start their exams they can take over and the Year 13’s can focus on their exams. The Year 13’s can "shadow them up" and eventually step into their roles.

How are you enjoying it at Minsthorpe?

I love it! I’m a great believer in fate, this is the second job that I applied for at this level and I think I didn’t get the first one because I was always going to get this one. And I think all of the things I have done in my career were now probably, looking back, designed to bring me here. I think the choices I’ve made and the direction that I have taken just made me an ideal fit for this college. I absolutely love it, this is my last job.

What are the best and worst things about your job?

I think the best thing is that, I guess, I can do what I think is right now, not what other people have told me to do. This doesn’t mean I’m always right but now I have the freedom to do so. Now there’s nobody above me to tell me what to do. Well that’s the part I do like but the part I don’t like is telling people what they can’t do. There is always going to be bad news, telling people that they can’t do that and that I can’t promote them even if I wanted to. So it’s tough but I do love it and I thought I would grow to love it because it was quite scary as a deputy because before I had someone to hide behind and say that it was their decision not mine. There was always that fear coming to a job where nobody knew me. I’ve enjoyed it from day one, through even the tough times, because I learn things about myself and things I had to solve and you learn something more about yourself.

Where and what did you study?

I studied at Leicester for my degree and my post-grad. I did a combined honours degree because I knew I was going to teach from when I was about 13 or 14. So I wanted a degree that gave me a wide range of subjects. My main subjects were English Literature and History and I actually started out life as a History teacher even though I haven’t taught it for donkey’s years! As part of that I also did things like Economics, Social History, and Ancient History and things like Psychology and Sociology which complimented the History and the English course. I loved it because it was like a mixture of subjects rather than doing a straight degree. I then stayed on at Leicester and did my post-grad at that university as well.

Any advice for future university students?

You’ve got to make sure you enjoy your experience because it will be the time of your life for sure but you have also got to prepare yourself for it because I don’t think that A-Level students realise how much work there is. I was definitely like that. At A-Level I was getting on really well but I didn’t realise how much extra reading there would be and stepping up to another level. You have to discipline yourself but still have a great time. Although it’s not just 3 years of fun and that’s why most people drop out in the first year, it’s striking a balance. You should take advantage of that opportunity, it’s your first time living away from home; it’s quite testing but it’s a great experience.

What’s your best life experience?

If I didn’t say getting married my wife would probably kill me. It was one of the best days of my life, it was the sort of day when you laughed all day long. It was a beautiful day, beautiful weather, all of our close friends around so yes, I think that was my best life experience.

Where’s your favourite place in the world?

Barbados. My wife’s brother has a restaurant out there so every couple of years we go out, we don’t stay with her family because I think that’s a recipe for disaster. It’s a chance for us to touch base with them. I adore it, I love the people and the laid back lifestyle and the climates fantastic.

Who’s your role model?

I guess one of the most influential people of my life is my old Maths teacher called Mr Right-side, I mean I was only 12 and he looked like a huge mountain of a man to me. If he wanted to punish you he would clear an aisle down the middle of the class room, like a run way, and he would draw a cross on your trousers with chalk and he would run at you with a plimsoll and if you got a white chalk imprint then he had punished you but if he didn’t he do it again. That makes him sound like an absolute head case but he rarely did that, well they could in those days. You used to get caned and the slipper.

If you were the last one in you would often get hit with a metal ruler but with him, what turned me onto teaching was that he knew that I was a fan of the "Dirty Harry" Series at about 14 when Magnum Force was coming out and he knew that I was a fan of Magnum Revolvers and there was the Clint Eastwood thing saying "it’s the most powerful thing in the world" (cue impression) "if you feel lucky punk." One day he asked me if I wanted to join him and my Geography teacher because they were members of the ‘Portsmouth Armoury’ and we can go and shoot some guns. So there was me with a 457 Magnum Shotgun which is so powerful and I just had fun with these teachers and for the first time ever I realised that they were actual people and that never occurred to me. And that’s probably the point when I realised that I could do this. I think we remember our teachers not because of their well-planned lessons, you remember them because they took an interest in you and I think that was a real important moment for me.

What do you do in your spare time?

I swim a lot, every morning. I play golf, not as well as I used to but…

What’s your handicap?

It’s 18, I don’t really play properly just on a weekend. I enjoy reading and love going to the pictures. Just general sort of stuff really.

Who’s your favourite musical artist?

That’s big isn’t it? I listen to lots of different ones but I think probably Frank Sinatra. I love the way he can dominate a song and a close second would be Tony Bennett, I love that swing era but I love the modern songs too, like Sam Smith!

What’s your favourite food?

I think it’ll have to be curry.

What’s your biggest life achievement?

In primary school it was scoring for the school team and the teacher put me up front and my dad, for the last match, said if you score I will buy you a big Hercules Bomber model and I scored the winning goal.

Shannon Bruce and Georgia Wright