What have you found to be most useful during your time at Sheffield?

When first posed with this question, I was not quite sure what to write about. There have been many details, some big some small, that have affected my time and how I have chosen to use it at Sheffield. Then it became blindly obvious – what I have found to be most useful is my support network and the people I have spent my time with here in Sheffield.

When starting my degree, I was bloody terrified. I was purposefully moving away from my hometown, my family, and friends to start a new life in a gritty Northern city. I had only made contact with one girl from my flat and we had got on like a house on fire, it later transpired that the other boys in our flat hadn’t been bothered to find us in the Facebook groups – typical! We all soon became a little family, watching shows, cooking together, and going on nights out. It is incredibly adorable and sickening I am aware, but we have continued to live together throughout our time here at Sheffield. The simple times we have spent chatting absolute nonsense have been invaluable to make me feel less alone in the strange new situation of university life.

It is important to remember that not everyone gets along well with their flatmates or housemates, that you have the choice to change or move. Being lumped together with a group of random people across the country can sometimes feel like a potluck. We all find our support network in different areas and people. Our course mates are equally a great place to look for a connection. A wide range of likeminded students to debate, to work with, to challenge and to learn from. I have made three of the most wonderful friends from my course, we have been together through the tricky essays and confusion of new mind-bending topics. I can quite happily admit that I would not get through my degree without the motivation we share– they constantly remind me of the passion I have for my subjects. Plus, wow, they can make me laugh. And that is an unbelievably valuable quality when you are in the throes of academic work.

In the same strain, the staff and tutors have also been a significant part of my support network at Sheffield. I could not count for you the copious amounts of emails I have sent back and forth to my module tutors to ask questions about my work. Especially through this Coronavirus pandemic, all the staff have been so enthusiastic and accommodating in difficult times when I struggled to do my work. I have built special connections with various experienced staff who have challenged and inspired me to do better. Thank you again to the wonderful staff!

Some have found their support in completely new society groups. From the burlesque to the bee keeping society, there are plenty of society groups to capture your interests and hobbies. Societies give you the freedom to widen your support network and find an entirely new crowd. I have personally created fantastic friendships from all years and experience at the University’s Pole Fitness Society. You can get stuck into society life as little or as much as you like, it is more comforting to know there are always more people to interact with at university.

If you want to find out more about our clubs, societies and sport, check out this link: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/study/clubs-societies-sport .

Our support networks are the glue that holds us together in our life, they have no set face or nature. The beauty is that your support network can be anyone you want it to be, however few or many you want to keep in your company. While also having a lovely family and friends at home to help, having a support network specific to Sheffield is crucial. I found it to be most useful as my personal support network helped me navigate through the challenges that adapting to university life has offered. We all help each other through the good times and the bad, I am incredibly grateful for that. So, wherever you decide to go for University – find the people who make it worthwhile.

– Hannah (Third Year English and History)

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