Join us in welcoming Academic Skills Tutor Sam Aylett to the Arden Berlin team. We recently asked Sam a few questions about his role, and what study tips he has for Arden Berlin students.
We’re incredibly proud of our Academic Skills Tutor team here at Arden. They offer our students help in developing the vital skills your need to master to progress and succeed on your course. They offer you tai-lored help from induction to graduation through seminars, workshops, and bookable 1-2-1 sessions.
How long have you been with Arden?
Not long – I started with Arden University on the 8th of March 2021. I was brought on board to support the students at the Berlin study centre. So far, it’s been a wonderful experience, and I am looking forward to being part of the Arden family.
What did you do before joining the university?
Before joining Arden, I completed my PhD in Art History at the Open University, and from May 2020 I was appointed as a Visiting Fellow at the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, working on issues around cultural restitution and histories of empire and the postcolonial.
What's the best thing about your job?
I enjoy being exposed to different subject areas outside of my own research specialisms. I get to learn a great deal about different topics from staff and students who work across a range of exciting disciplines, from business to psychology. Most of all, as an Academic Skills Tutor, I am grateful for the opportunity to help students develop their confidence and academic voice through one-to-one sessions and workshops.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Indiscriminate use of the synonym tool on Microsoft Word. It’s great to see students exercise their vocabulary and to build upon it, but it is important that we choose words carefully when writing essays to ensure we convey exactly what we mean. The synonym tool is useful, but it should be used sparingly (dust off an old thesaurus).
How can students make the most of lockdown for their studies?
Lockdown has been taxing for everyone. I remember the deluge of articles on LinkedIn and elsewhere towards the beginning of Lockdown, encouraging everyone to learn a foreign language, take up a new course, etc. It is important to remember the stress and impact of lockdown on our mental health. With that, I would encourage students to be mindful of looking after their mental health, and to support one another when deadlines loom.
What are your top three tips to students?
Write all the time, even if only for 15-30 minutes a day, and even if you think it’s not very good, writing a little everyday will improve your academic writing and critical thinking exponentially.
Read outside your subject. It is easy to suffer reading fatigue, especially when reading dense academic texts. There is always time enough to read those novels sitting on your shelf, those novels you think must wait till you have finished your assignment. Sitting back with a good book can give you peace of mind for ideas to form in the back of your mind.
Plan your assignments in good time. For each essay make a detailed plan (maybe a simple Gantt-Chart), and plan well-enough in advance for your deadlines. Of course, and every academic will tell you this (if they don’t, they’re fibbing), we all struggle with deadlines. Planning ahead will allow you to adjust if other assignments require attention, or if life gets in the way, as it inevitably does.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I am currently working on my first academic monograph which will be published in 2022/3. This keeps me plenty busy on weekends. Otherwise, I love to read everything from crime fiction (Kathy Reichs books are my guilty pleasure) to history. If I can find the time, I play my guitar, and there are a number of exhibitions I want to visit here in Berlin, such as the ever-controversial Humboldt Forum.
Who are your favourite authors?
Oscar Wilde, Bernadine Evaristo, George Orwell, Caroline Kepnes, Bram Stoker, and everything in between.
What talent would you most like to possess?
Lie-ins. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to sleep past 6:00am.