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.

As a person who came to University with 100 questions and 1000 doubts, I thought I’d put together a post for that might start to answer any questions you have – or at least, might point you in the right direction.

First things first: get a mentor. Mentors are people like me – really friendly students who have offered their time to help you get settled in to your new university. They really don’t expect anything of you, and will be happy to answer any question you might have, no matter how stupid it may seem! We’ve all been in your position, and we just want to make sure your transition to university is as easy as possible. You can apply to get a mentor here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/mentoring/mentees/apply

The 120 bus is your friend. Especially if you’re living in Ranmoor or Endcliffe, the 120 bus will take you pretty much wherever you need to go. From a handy stop outside accommodation, you can get to the train station (located near the Bus Interchange) and into the city centre. If you show your U-Card (which you’ll get at your Registration) to the bus driver, and request a ‘student single’, any single ticket to any location on the bus route will cost you £1 on ‘Stagecoach’ buses, or £1.20 on ‘First’ buses. The buses all have contactless payments available now, so you won’t even need change!

The University of Sheffield operates a safe taxi scheme. If you need to get home safely, but don’t have any cash on you, you can phone the university’s partner ‘City Taxis’ on 0114 239 3939, and hand your U-Card to them rather than cash. The next day, you’ll be able to go to the Student’s Union Welcome Desk to pay the fare, and collect your U-Card.

Do your pre-registration tasks. They will massively speed up the time it takes you to register, and improve the experience for you (and everyone else involved)! It’s probably not at the top of your list of things to do, but getting through them will really make life simpler in the long run.

Have a look at all the Give it a Go events on offer. Give it a Go operates during every semester, and is a fab opportunity to try out some new things! All the activities work on a pay-as-you-go basis, and the events range from day trips to small workshops and rehearsals. It’s a great chance to sample any societies you think you might be interested in! Check out some more information here.

Bring things that will make you feel at home. It’s okay to admit that going to university might be hard for you. It’s okay to admit that there might be things you’ll miss, and it’s a great idea to try and bring some things with you that’ll make you feel more settled in your new city. Be it photographs to put on your new noticeboard, a massive blanket that makes you feel all cosy, or a cardboard cut-out of your dog – anything that makes your room, your space. While you’re on that, check what’s provided in your room, so that you know exactly what to expect when you arrive (and so that you don’t forget anything important!).

Please (please please please) don’t worry about having the ‘normal Freshers experience’. Whatever you feel when you arrive, is a perfectly legitimate thing to feel. Some people settle in instantly, but for lots of people, it takes much longer. If you feel homesick, you’re not the only one. If you feel scared, you’re not the only one. If you feel alone, you’re not the only one. You’ll get there, I promise.

I hope you all have an incredible time and feel comfortable as you start the next stage of your education here in Sheffield. However, if you have any issues, please don’t hesitate to approach someone. It could be your mentor, someone from home, a new friend, or someone in your department at university: just please don’t feel alone. Links to help with mental wellbeing can be found here should you need them.

Look after yourself, try to feel confident – and most importantly, be excited for all the wonderful things the next few years will bring. Even if you can’t see it right now, I promise, you’re going to have a fantastic time here.

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