Rebecca was a PASS Leader for Biosciences.
1. What attracted you to getting involved in PASS?
I took part in PASS in my 1st year at Birmingham and felt like being a leader was something I could do myself fairly easily and it would allow me to meet more first years and help them through things that we may have struggled with when we were in first year. I knew it would be a way that would keep the 1st year material fresh in my mind and in that respect it helped me through 2nd year. It is also a great way to help improve the experience which 1st years get of Birmingham and make the transition from college or high school to uni easier as it is very different way of learning at uni as it was at school!
2. Tell me a bit about the activities you have been involved in with PASS.
In the first semester I spent quite a lot of the time making quizzes for my PASS group, I was lucky as I had a fairly large group which attended - around 10 most weeks - so my partner and I each made separate mini quizzes at home on different topics then split the group into two and went through our quiz with each group. The second semester we went through some of the in course material which they seemed to be struggling with, we encouraged them to discuss what they thought were the answers and why amongst themselves. Towards the exam period they had several MCQ tests, so we asked them to go through the questions which had been put up on WebCT at home and then in our PASS sessions we went through any which they seemed to have difficulty with again encouraging them to come to right answer amongst themselves.
3. What skills have you developed as a result of being involved in PASS?
I feel that I have improved my group skills as we had many group discussions as well as my leadership skills as we had to take control of the sessions and stop them from going off topic. I have also improved my confidence as I don't think that last year I would have been able to stand up in front of a group of students and try to make them understand a topic which they had been taught in lectures, I wouldn't have been able to put my point across clearly and confidently. We had to give a 10 minute presentation in 2nd year and I'm sure the confidence which I gained in PASS meant that I could stand up in front of my peers and give my presentation without being half as scared as I'm sure I would have been without it! My organisation skills have also developed as I made sure that I planned sessions and had everything I needed before they started as I didn't want to be caught off guard and not have anything prepared.
4. How do you think your experience will help you when you start to look for your graduate career?
I think being able to put that I have done PASS on my C.V. will show that I am prepared to give up my time to help others which is a valuable quality to be able to show. Also in an interview setting I think the confidence boost that PASS has given me will allow me to assert myself more and prove that I am the right person for the job. It is also something which you can talk about if you are ever asked to give an example of a situation where you have put yourself out of your comfort zone and what it has done to help you.
5. What have you learned about yourself?
I have learnt that I actually can be prepared and organise myself! I have also found that I do know a lot more now about the 1st year material and it makes more sense to me the second time around which helps as this meant I could explain it the 1st years who came to our sessions in a different way from the lectures which they would hopefully understand too! Finally I have learnt that, for me, working through something in a group helps to make the subject much clearer and allows you to discuss the issues and get to the bottom of the problem faster!
6. Would you recommend PASS to other students?
Definitely! It's something that you can put as much or as little time into as you want but you can get out so much out from it.