If I had to sum up my feelings about moving to Sheffield, I’d say I was hopeful but nervous. Excited but terrified. Exciterrified.
Starting my shiny new course, English and Theatre, was a brilliant prospect, but meeting my flatmates, cooking for myself and the inevitability of getting lost gave me the same feeling of dread I get when a friend drags me onto a rollercoaster. You know the first drop might be scary, but you hope the experience is worth it.
So far it’s been totally worth it.
Why? Firstly my course is wonderfully social. There are 17 of us doing the combination of English and Theatre, so our Theatre Workshop sessions have got the close-knit feel of a class at school, but better and barmier. Secondly, Intro Week (c’mon Sheffield, it’s Fresher’s Week really) didn’t stop for breath. No matter how organised you are, you will end up dashing between events like the white rabbit from Wonderland. Registering for your course becomes an inconvenience because there are so many socials, talks and activities fairs to go to. Your normal routine is completely compromised-apparently it’s not normal to whack out some hula hoops on the Soyo dancefloor because you only had time for a big lunch. I thought everybody’s bubbliness during Week 1 would disappear by Week 4, but it turns out it’s not superficial- people from different flats mix, the lecturers are really approachable and everyone genuinely has a lot of time for you.
One difference I’ve found between schoolwork and uni work is the pace of it- contact hours plus seminar prep plus reading lists leave you feeling shattered. Lectures and workshops can get tedious when you’re sleep deprived and missing home. Does it really matter whether character influences plot, or plot influences character? And why am I being asked to follow my coursemate Isy around the Botanical Gardens for my 10am theatre practical? (Mind you, it was a lovely day!)
When academia gets too deep, though, the Students’ Union is there to provide you with a second childhood. Whether it’s an appearance from Dick and Dom in Bar One, cheesy chart classics at Pop Tarts or something a bit more cultured like SutCo’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’, I’ve been impressed by the amount of stuff the SU puts on to keep your evenings busy. I thought it might be tricky and competitive to get into the uni performance societies, but in reality they’re really welcoming and are always looking to train people up, even if you’ve got little experience. In November I’ll be an Assistant Stage Manager for SUPAS’s ‘Sweeney Todd’, and my coursemates have got involved with acting, tech and filmmaking with SutCo and the uni’s hub for entertainment, Forge Media. And when you don’t feel like going out, there’s always brownies to be made at home instead of studying, officially termed by Jess on my course as ‘procrastibaking’. After all, you can never have too many friends.
Three things I’ve learnt since becoming a Sheffield Fresher:
- Nobody has a clue what’s going on either. Not even the girl at your seminar with the perfect hair and co-ordinated Cath Kidston notebook set. Take comfort in this.
- MOLE is no longer just a small burrowing mammal, but also your online saviour for those lectures where you start daydreaming about cake and end up missing all of the slides. Genius.
- Expect the unexpected. Whether it’s pop-up free pizza, a Warwick coach disaster and a spontaneous trip to Leeds, or a Meadowhall shopping spree, I’ve discovered uni life is about saying ‘why not?’ and washing your hair tomorrow. There’s always dry shampoo.