Hello! Salut! Hola! My name is Taisha Maneus and I am a first year student from Hillsborough College. I am on special internship here in the geography department as a research assistant. The role involves carrying out a project on university subject choices as well as student’s views on geography. After applying for this position, I had an interview with Charles Pattie, a geography lecturer of the University and was awarded the internship and I will be here every Wednesday until next March.
Geography has always been a subject that I have enjoyed, hence the fact I study it now as an A Level course. From my experience of talking to other students that perhaps don’t do this subject, I get the perception that many view geography as simply knowing where different countries are located on a world map. I must say after studying this subject for almost four years, I still struggle at locating eight countries! Geography is clearly more than that! It involves the physical aspects of geography, for example understanding plate tectonics. But it also involves the human aspects, such as the social impacts of migration and the distribution of standard of living on a local scale and global scale. It touches on the impacts in which external factors such as a countries crime rate can have on an individual’s quality of life. The idea of equality, which is evident in today’s society, is also discussed and analysed. Geography really gives an overall perspective of the world that we live in.
From the first two Wednesdays I spent in the geography department of Sheffield University, I have found that geography is studied more in-depth. Secondary schools as well as colleges provide a more general overview of certain geography based topics; however in university you learn much more information specific to a topic. For example, I went to Charles Pattie’s excellent lecture today and learnt all about correlation analysis and two methods of measuring the relationship or correlation between two variables. The first method is the Pearson’s r and the next is the Spearman’s rho. I had no idea that methods such as these even existed!
I think that this project will enable me to learn various skills, such as data gathering and analysis. It will also help enhance my communication skills, as I will be expected to communicate with other staff members as well as students in order to obtain and collect the information required.
Whilst carrying out this project, I would like to meet various subject lecturers including university students in order to find out more about university life as well as gain a better understanding of why students made certain choices regarding courses and choosing the right university. I would also like to analyse and produce demographic data and potentially construct my own map based on where students travel from to get to Sheffield University. I am interested in looking at whether there has been on University applicants. And most recently the impacts of rising tuition fees on the choices students were making regarding University courses. I would also like to analyse whether family life has an impact on whether students go to university and also whether it has an effect on subject choices. Student views and concerns will also be vital for this project, therefore I am hoping to carry out some interview sessions with current university students and also produce a questionnaire to be filled out by my geography class in Hillsborough College.
As I carry out this challenging yet fulfilling project, I will make it my aim to keep you posted on a weekly basis, on what I have done and learnt.
Watch this space!