Give it a go: why you should try improv comedy!

It’s Freshers week! That exciting time of year where you sign up to a billion societies and then go to precisely two of them! What fun. Well if you’re looking for a new society to join that you might actually stick with, have I got the offer for you: improv comedy. “What on earth is improv comedy?” I hear you cry, confused but intrigued. Well, if you’ve ever watched an episode of Who’s Line Is It Anyway or Mock the Week (or as I like to call it, six white men and the token minority) you will already have an idea of what improv involves. Closer to sketches than stand-up, improv involves creating short funny scenes based on audience suggestions. The comedy in these scenes can come from silly characters, clever jokes or even the audience suggestions themselves. At its most enjoyable, improv is basically playing make-believe. Continue reading

Year abroad blog: Angela Merkel and the Cockroach Problem

The first twenty-four hours were both terrifying and exhilarating. There was an adrenaline-fueled blur of being collected at the airport past nightfall by a complete stranger, taken to my accommodation where I was then presented with my bedroom, bathroom and kitchen; given my keys and a complementary packet of tea “to welcome the English”, and finally left completely alone.

Stepping out the front gate onto a sandy, palm-lined street the following morning, it all hit me. This was it. I had finally arrived. Dakar was home for the next four months, and I was completely on my own. There was no one there to hold my hand, tell me what to do or help me cross the road. It was completely up to me to function in this brand-new part of the globe. How on earth was I supposed to find breakfast?

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Top tips for preparing for Uni

A Level Results Day has come and gone, and whether it was good news or bad, 18 year olds across the country are starting to look ahead to the next stage in their lives: university. Whether you’re looking forward to university or dreading it, I think everyone can feel a little nervous about big life changes, and that’s mostly because of the fear of the unknown. As I am just finishing up my second degree (!) here at Sheffield, I thought I am more than qualified to pass down my wisdom about what should be sorted out before you hop on the crazy ride that is university. Continue reading

Sheffield 101: Top Tips for New Students

Hey, I’m Annabel – now a third-year student at the University of Sheffield, two-time mentor, and one-time incredibly nervous and uncertain fresher.

First things first: congratulations on surviving the last year! If you’re already a Sheffield student, well done on everything! If you’re coming to Sheffield for the first time in September, this post is really for you. I hope you’re super proud of yourself for the amazing results that got you a place at this university. It’s easy to get caught up in the preparation and organisation of going to university – don’t forget to give yourself the credit you deserve for the work that got you here.

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A year on from my year abroad – tips to those heading out and those coming back

A little over a year ago, I was just heading home from St John’s, Newfoundland, my last stop of a month travelling coast-to-coast across Canada after finishing my year abroad. Now I’ve just received my results from my third year, I have time to reflect again on my year abroad and the following year. Here are a few bits of advice to anyone heading out on a year abroad this year, and those now returning. Continue reading

Is it possible to shop plastic-free as a Sheffield Student?

Even if you didn’t watch Blue Planet 2, you almost certainly know we have a ‘Plastic Problem’: all the packaging we throw away is literally chocking the world to death. The realisation of the environmental costs of our throw-away culture has prompted leaders across the globe to make bold pledges to reduce the use of disposable plastics, but these are so engrained in our society that it seems a very far-off reality. Practically every time we shop we inevitably contribute to the problem. Imagine if all the plastic packaging you used in a year was piled up in one big heap…I’m embarrassed to even imagine how much it would be for me. But I’m not here to make you feel guilty. As students we have tremendous power to drive social change. Currently it is simply much more convenient and easier to buy things wrapped in plastic – and that won’t change unless we demand it. Competition between big businesses is fierce so they have to be attentive to our wants if they hope to benefit from our purchasing power. The way you shop sends them a message and can help to make real change happen. Continue reading

Highlights of the opportunities during my time at Uni

Firstly, I cannot believe how fast the last four years have gone and today I found out my degree classification… It feels like yesterday that I arrived in Sheffield and whilst I am excited to graduate, I will be sad to leave. As cliché as it may sound, I have absolutely loved my time at Sheffield studying LLB Law (with Spanish Law) and the opportunities that I’ve had have really shaped who I am today.

Whilst I’ve had too many great experiences to list, these are my top 10 experiences through the form of opportunities offered by the University, in no particular order are: Continue reading

My first conference

Towards the end of June I set off to my first ever conference as a PhD student. I am a 2nd year PhD student in Biomedical Sciences and have spent the last (nearly) 2 years researching all about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is also known as Motor Neuron Disease. Therefore when I saw that the European Network to Cure ALS (ENCALS) conference was happening in June I thought I would sign up. Continue reading

Staying in Sheffield over summer? Don’t despair…

As a PhD Research Student, summer is the time when the office and labs suddenly empty as all my colleagues depart for exciting international conferences or the holiday they have been dreaming of all through the long dark winter. Sadly, I won’t be joining them this year. With only a few months left to finish all my lab work before my funding ends, I simply can’t afford to take any extended time away from the department. If I was a computational scientist and could take my work with me, things might be different but as a plant scientist, I have to be around to look after my ‘babies’. Continue reading