I don't my lecturers well enough to ask for a reference Watch

thinkishould7
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I don't know my lecturers well enough to ask for a reference and I don't think they like me.

I’m already in my penultimate year but I don’t know my lecturers well enough to ask for a reference for volunteering and internships. Also, my particular department doesn’t provide personal tutors at all, so I’ve never had the opportunity to speak to a member of staff about my progress. It’s holding me back from applying to opportunities.

I don’t know they like me either. I’ve been a problem student, having submitted loads of assignments late due to mental health problems and perfectionism issues. They're all going to sit on a panel soon and decide whether to accept my medical notes and allow my extensions. They do this for all people who have applied for extensions, but it's so embarrassing. I feel like they're going to think I'm a liar or exaggerating my issues

My average grade is a 1st so far, but I think they will struggle to vouch for my time management, and therefore my character. I’d also really like to apply for a masters in the future, but I think they might refuse to give me a reference? I will be able to ask my (future) dissertation supervisor for job references next year, but what could I do in the meantime? I can easily put down references from my part-time and summer jobs, but leaving out an academic reference may give potential employers the impression that I am trying to hide something.

Any advice please?
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claireestelle
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(Original post by thinkishould7)
I don't know my lecturers well enough to ask for a reference and I don't think they like me.

I’m already in my penultimate year but I don’t know my lecturers well enough to ask for a reference for volunteering and internships. Also, my particular department doesn’t provide personal tutors at all, so I’ve never had the opportunity to speak to a member of staff about my progress. It’s holding me back from applying to opportunities.

I don’t know they like me either. I’ve been a problem student, having submitted loads of assignments late due to mental health problems and perfectionism issues. They're all going to sit on a panel soon and decide whether to accept my medical notes and allow my extensions. They do this for all people who have applied for extensions, but it's so embarrassing. I feel like they're going to think I'm a liar or exaggerating my issues

My average grade is a 1st so far, but I think they will struggle to vouch for my time management, and therefore my character. I’d also really like to apply for a masters in the future, but I think they might refuse to give me a reference? I will be able to ask my (future) dissertation supervisor for job references next year, but what could I do in the meantime? I can easily put down references from my part-time and summer jobs, but leaving out an academic reference may give potential employers the impression that I am trying to hide something.

Any advice please?
They can't write a bad reference from a mental health point as that would be discrimination, it's best to ask a lecturer than to not have an education reference at all.
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agrew
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You need to ask, generally if someone doesn't want to write you a reference they would just refuse.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by thinkishould7)
I don't know my lecturers well enough to ask for a reference and I don't think they like me.

I’m already in my penultimate year but I don’t know my lecturers well enough to ask for a reference for volunteering and internships. Also, my particular department doesn’t provide personal tutors at all, so I’ve never had the opportunity to speak to a member of staff about my progress. It’s holding me back from applying to opportunities.

I don’t know they like me either. I’ve been a problem student, having submitted loads of assignments late due to mental health problems and perfectionism issues. They're all going to sit on a panel soon and decide whether to accept my medical notes and allow my extensions. They do this for all people who have applied for extensions, but it's so embarrassing. I feel like they're going to think I'm a liar or exaggerating my issues

My average grade is a 1st so far, but I think they will struggle to vouch for my time management, and therefore my character. I’d also really like to apply for a masters in the future, but I think they might refuse to give me a reference? I will be able to ask my (future) dissertation supervisor for job references next year, but what could I do in the meantime? I can easily put down references from my part-time and summer jobs, but leaving out an academic reference may give potential employers the impression that I am trying to hide something.

Any advice please?
You don't have any evidence that they 'don't like you' - this is just a hunch. It's not an option to not give your personal or academic tutor as your primary reference for a job application: they'd immediately want to know why you were using a part-time job as a reference.

University staff are used to dealing with problem students; they are professional enough not to let them cloud their judgement when providing a reference. At the end of the day, you've got to use them so there's not much point in worrying about it. At the very worst it might not exactly be 'glowing', but it's very unlikely to be 'bad', in a meaningful sense of the word.
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thinkishould7
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Thank you My department doesn't have personal or academic tutors - things would be easier if they provided them.

In what situations would it be best to provide an academic reference? Obviously its a must for internships/volunteering? But if I'm applying for just another summer job, is an academic reference necessary?
(Original post by Reality Check)
You don't have any evidence that they 'don't like you' - this is just a hunch. It's not an option to not give your personal or academic tutor as your primary reference for a job application: they'd immediately want to know why you were using a part-time job as a reference.

University staff are used to dealing with problem students; they are professional enough not to let them cloud their judgement when providing a reference. At the end of the day, you've got to use them so there's not much point in worrying about it. At the very worst it might not exactly be 'glowing', but it's very unlikely to be 'bad', in a meaningful sense of the word.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by thinkishould7)
Thank you My department doesn't have personal or academic tutors - things would be easier if they provided them.

In what situations would it be best to provide an academic reference? Obviously its a must for internships/volunteering? But if I'm applying for just another summer job, is an academic reference necessary?
You have a 'tutor' though, surely? Someone who you meet with periodically? He or she would be the usual person who'd write your reference. Failing that, your dissertation supervisor is a good alternative, as you've already suggested.

As for which situations need an academic reference, then an application to do a masters is an obvious case. Another would be a serious career application, like any graduate training scheme - a reference from your university would be expected. As you say, an application for a summer job is probably less stringent regarding references, particularly if you can provide one from a previous part-time job; indeed, it might actually be preferred to an academic one.
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Notoriety
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They'll shoot off a ref anyway. I am sure ours was saying they have to provide them to students and alum under their contract of employment.
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thinkishould7
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(Original post by Reality Check)
You have a 'tutor' though, surely? Someone who you meet with periodically? He or she would be the usual person who'd write your reference. Failing that, your dissertation supervisor is a good alternative, as you've already suggested.

As for which situations need an academic reference, then an application to do a masters is an obvious case. Another would be a serious career application, like any graduate training scheme - a reference from your university would be expected. As you say, an application for a summer job is probably less stringent regarding references, particularly if you can provide one from a previous part-time job; indeed, it might actually be preferred to an academic one.
No, I don't have a 'tutor' - things would be so much easier if I had one. That's partly why I am struggling to decide who to approach for a reference. My particular department/'school' within my university decided to do away with 'personal tutors' and create a small team of specialised 'tutors' (chosen from a range of subjects) to advise on module choices/changes of degree. All the other schools have kept personal tutors. I have literally never had a conversation with an academic about my progress or how I am coping with uni, and I am due to graduate next year. Perhaps if I had the opportunity to meet with a personal tutor a couple of times a year, I would have had a better support system in place to help with my mental health issues. On the other hand, it's partly my fault since I haven't sought them out. It gives the impression that the uni/department doesn't care about its students - I literally could skip all my lectures and nobody would notice.

Thanks. I am not at the stage of applying to master's or graduate jobs yet (will be doing this time next year), but I have seen internship positions and volunteering opportunities which are related to the skills taught on my degree. I think I may need an academic reference for those?
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Reality Check
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(Original post by thinkishould7)
No, I don't have a 'tutor' - things would be so much easier if I had one. That's partly why I am struggling to decide who to approach for a reference. My particular department/'school' within my university decided to do away with 'personal tutors' and create a small team of specialised 'tutors' (chosen from a range of subjects) to advise on module choices/changes of degree. All the other schools have kept personal tutors. I have literally never had a conversation with an academic about my progress or how I am coping with uni, and I am due to graduate next year. Perhaps if I had the opportunity to meet with a personal tutor a couple of times a year, I would have had a better support system in place to help with my mental health issues. On the other hand, it's partly my fault since I haven't sought them out. It gives the impression that the uni/department doesn't care about its students - I literally could skip all my lectures and nobody would notice.

Thanks. I am not at the stage of applying to master's or graduate jobs yet (will be doing this time next year), but I have seen internship positions and volunteering opportunities which are related to the skills taught on my degree. I think I may need an academic reference for those?
Gosh, what a funny system - no tutors! This must be most infuriating for you - and I can't imagine what it must be like not to have any general academic support and guidance. I hope they rethink this policy!

Yes, I think internships certainly would need a reference from your university. Given what you've said about the setup of it, it might be worth asking at Student Services who exactly would be expected to give you a reference, and whom you should approach
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thinkishould7
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I hope they rethink this policy too.

Thank you very much for your advice I'll get in touch with Student Services.




(Original post by Reality Check)
Gosh, what a funny system - no tutors! This must be most infuriating for you - and I can't imagine what it must be like not to have any general academic support and guidance. I hope they rethink this policy!

Yes, I think internships certainly would need a reference from your university. Given what you've said about the setup of it, it might be worth asking at Student Services who exactly would be expected to give you a reference, and whom you should approach
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hallamstudents
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Hey,

Like some others pointed out in the thread, I really doubt they are able to discriminate based on your mental health. Sounds like your grades are spectacular - nailing firsts! I wouldn't worry, they probably have hundreds of students. We as people are selfish, our life revolves around us. They probably don't even make much note of 'problem students', they have their own life and things going on in their own sphere.

Best of luck, I'm sure they'll give you a great reference!
Josh
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