SHAPED is a program unique to Hatfield College, and is one (of the many things!) that sets Hatfield apart. However, when I interviewed to be a Junior Representative for SHAPED as a fresher last year, I still wasn’t quite sure what SHAPED was. It was my first interview at University for any role or position or anything, I was nervous, and I wanted to do well: so, I went on SHAPED’s website, and tried to prepare by doing a bit of research. 

What I learned from the SHAPED website was that SHAPED stands for Supporting Hatfielders’ Academic Progress, Employability, & Development. That’s a thorough description, but it is also quite a mouthful. The best way to explain SHAPED is to say that it is a program that helps shape people, but that is a bit abstract, and does not give much of an idea of what we do.

What SHAPED does, is it helps you prepare. It helps you prepare for University life by offering workshops and talks on how to excel academically, socially, and mentally. One talk we had last year in my freshers week, and will be repeating this year when all you new freshers get here, is a ‘What I Wish I Knew As A Fresher’ talk, that gives you the opportunity to ask all the questions you want, or hear others asking them if you can’t think of any, and learn from current students so you don’t make the same mistakes that they did. 

But SHAPED doesn’t just help you prepare for University life, but also for the life after Uni. Whether it’s by practicing your interview skills, or by participating in networking events with the Hatfield Alumni, SHAPED helps you ensure that you actually get out of University what you pay (or take a loan) for – a job after University. 

There will be a lot of different talks throughout the year (there’s a calendar on the SHAPED website that will be updated with all events; you can email hatfield.shaped@durham.ac.uk if you are interested in a specific topic), and it is not expected that you to go to all of them – you won’t have the time! But selecting those of interest, or just going to a few your friends are interested in, can really open doors. It might help you make some new friends, give you some great tips on how to handle life at Hatfield, get you an internship, Lastly, it is one of the ways you can get the Hatfield Award, which is an Award that everyone who fulfil the criteria can get (3, 4, or 5, depending on whether you are applying for bronze, silver, or gold), other criteria include things like participating in things (i.e. societies) at Hatfield, or volunteering.

You don’t have to apply for a Junior Rep position for SHAPED, like I did in one of my first weeks at Hatfield, to be a part of SHAPED – the Junior and Senior exec organise the events (someone has to), but SHAPED is for everyone. Getting the Junior position meant that I went to more SHAPED events, obviously, but I hope I would have gone even if I hadn’t applied for SHAPED, because it came to be decisive in my experience as a Fresher. SHAPED events were where I got to know a lot of the other students, and became familiar with the people, the place, and the support system around me. SHAPED played a very big role in Hatfield starting to feel like home, which is why I am so passionate about sharing it with all of you, when you come to Hatfield this September and October. I hope it can come to have the same role for you, as it did for me. 

With all the best wishes,


Christina Dahl Andersen
 

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