Hello all, we’re nearly at the end of term 2 and nearly finished lectures for this year! I thought I would talk about tutorials today because I don’t think I’ve covered them at all so far. Tutorial groups in physics usually have about 5 people in them and meet with the same tutor every week, who also lectures and might be involved in research too. Your personal tutor is there to make sure you’re staying on track and not struggling too much with the course. First year students meet with their tutor every week, then in later years you meet less frequently because you’re more busy and probably need less guidance. In my second year tutorial group we meet every two weeks in my tutor’s office.
The things you do in tutorial time are not set in stone, a lot of the time tutorials are a good time to ask for further explanation of a certain topic or question and sometimes they will have a more specific purpose. In first year one assignment which had to be completed for our tutor was an essay. This was a good chance to get some advice on writing essays and improve our skills for future assignments. It was the kind of skill that we wouldn’t get to practice anywhere else apart from in more major assignments so was definitely not a waste of time in my opinion.
Second year students have to do a short presentation on a topic of their choice in tutorial time at some point in the year. My presentation was last week and I decided I wanted to do it on graphene and its properties because I’m pretty interested in material science and enjoyed the condensed matter core module this year. Before making our own presentations we looked at good and bad things in other people’s presentations. Short bullet points, lots of pictures and diagrams and big bold text were stressed as some important things in a slide show for a presentation.
This must have been the first time I’d made a proper presentation in several years and talking about a topic in front of people, even if only in front of a small group, was something I definitely needed practice at. I am a terrible public speaker and it’s something I try to avoid as much as possible honestly but it’s getting a bit less scary now that I’m older and have become better at controlling my shakiness. The additional challenge with the presentations my group did was that we had to perform our 10 minute presentations with no notes so it would be more professional. All of us pretty much succeeded in remembering what we had to say and answered questions on our topics well.
In my next tutorial we’re going to be looking at how to improve our CVs, another very useful lesson for the future I hope. I just need to give my current one a bit of updating myself first.