From Town to Gown: a new postgrad’s experiences

So it’s been two months since I began my new life as a postgrad here in Sheffield. I’m originally from Sheffield, so I thought I already knew a lot about the University, and what’s available for students. However, it is only since being introduced as a student here that I can really see how the other half live. And so far, I can safely say that everything provided for students makes me feel like I can make the most of  a brilliant environment built for a great work/life balance.

My experience of the learning resources all began with the Information Commons. A library where you can bring in coffee and lunch? Perfect! I’ve found the IC a great alternative to a traditional library, and the more relaxed atmosphere means I can concentrate on my work without feeling like I’m in a massively stressed environment with total silence. Having said that, my forays into Western Bank library have not been unsuccessful. A wide reading room, with a rather lovely view of Weston Park means this library is a peaceful place to settle into a good morning’s work. And I also have to congratulate the library for having such a large database for online articles; this has proved invaluable in giving me access to many more resources from the comfort of my own room!

Well that’s enough about work, now about the social side of things.  The best thing I’ve learnt about Sheffield so far is how amazing the Student’s Union is. There’s so much going on, all the time- whether that’s the club nights, the shop which sells an amazing variety of student necessities, or all the different food outlets. I have to say that the food served in the Union really is great, in particular the wraps from Grill and Go are delicious! Not having gone to Sheffield as an undergraduate, I think it’s brilliant that there’s a place which really is the hub of student life that isn’t just the department or library, and is a place purely to unwind and relax.

Beyond the Union, I’ve found that sport is emphasised by the University not just as a break from work, but as something that should very much be a part of life at Sheffield, to run alongside studying (pun not intended…). Now, this makes a lot of sense to me – after all, sport and other activities (whether that’s one of any number of political and campaigning societies I encountered at the fresher’s fair) are a fantastic way to show employers examples of being a well-rounded person. And not only for CV points, sport has, in my experience, been useful for both physical and mental health, when doing something other than work reduces stress and increases physical fitness, so a win-win situation!

So this just about sums up my thoughts of Sheffield uni life after two months. I’ve relished the experience of a new university, and at the same time a different style of studying as a postgraduate compared to last year as an undergrad. In the coming weeks, I hope to further explore the facilities I have yet to encounter (my aim is to get to The Diamond, which I’ve heard so much about…) and continue getting to know the vibrant student scene which makes Sheffield a truly fantastic place to study.

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