Title: PSA Student of the Year Nominee 2017 Sam Maude
Hi, I’m Sam, I am a second year student, I study International Relations and I have completed the Advanced pathway for PSA.
Which activities did you undertake in order to achieve the PSA?
I had a part time job this year in the Alumni Relations Office in Aston Webb. I was a fund raiser so I called up Alumni’s, talked to them about their time at the University and asked them if they wanted to donate some money to the charitable projects at the University and I think that got me a lot of points - sort of 100 - so that was really great. Something I have done as well is volunteering with a charity in the centre of Birmingham that teaches people about the history of genocide and aims to create a more cohesive society that’s sort of linked to my course so I am very passionate about that. I have also done things in the department, the Politics department, such as representing them at Open Days, and being a Student Mentor for first years. I also have things like small part time jobs and also a committee position at the society at the Guild of Students, so overall I think I got about 300 points - so it was really good.
What skills have you gained?
I think the activities were very wide ranging, so firstly I gained organisational skills because there were times this year when pretty much every activity seemed to be going at once including the PSA itself, I think in January I was just so busy my social life had basically collapsed and I just had to focus on everything but that really showed me what it would be like when I do graduate, that’s unfortunately what the real world is like. I think in each activity I gained teamwork skills in several activities. My confidence really improved, especially with the part time job phoning people up over the phone, and with the volunteering I learned how to work in a professional environment for when I graduate. It also really improved my social skills because I really mixed in a wide range of circles, I sometimes I had to do presentations, work in teams or organise events, so I just gained a wide range of skills and I think with the PSA itself, all the sessions the PSA team put on about going to assessment centres, interviews and doing application forms really did help my employability and my confidence for when I apply for jobs in my final year.
Do you have any advice for students who are thinking about enrolling onto the PSA?
Plan ahead, it is very easy to complete but there are many steps especially if you do advanced and if you plan ahead you have got a better chance of doing it without missing deadlines. If you can complete either in your second year then that would probably be preferential I think. I have done that and I think that is great because in the third year I can do my dissertation without having to do PSA at the same time. So just plan ahead, organise yourself, which you should be doing as a PSA student anyway, and have fun and try and get as many skills as possible because it is a really great opportunity.