Residence Life. It’s a concept every University of Sheffield student is familiar with. And if you’re not? Then shame on you for neglecting the brochure you were given the day you moved into halls. Residence Life allows university students to attend sport sessions and activities for free. This privilege, however, is only valid for your first year of uni of which I realised until it was almost too late.
I had always intended to get involved with Res-Life but, taking it for granted, never did. All this changed when I learnt that in second year, I’d have to pay to attend the same activities Res-Life had offered me before. This was the motivation I needed and on 13 May this year, knowing that Res-Life was running for one more week, I decided to give it a go. This is how my week went.
On Monday I attended a yoga class which seemed as good a place to start as any. Whilst I had never been to a class before, I had downloaded an app that taught me some of the basic moves. This was all I felt I needed to know.
The class was dominated with what I later realised were regulars. A woman named Pam with abs of steel ran the session and instructed us to fold ourselves into impossible shapes. Whilst I was the only novice there and the only pose I could manage was downward dog, it didn’t seem to matter. No one took themselves too seriously and we all shared a few laughs (at my expense) along the way.
Against my better judgement and two left feet, I signed up for a Zumba class on Tuesday. I felt a little less like a duck out of water on this occasion as no former experience was required to keep up with the routines. The instructor stood at the front of the room and danced to pop music as we mimicked her movements with slightly less rhythm. The remainder of the session followed the same format and would be perfect for anyone who is looking to burn easy calories. If I can do it- you can.
On Wednesday, I tried my hand at ‘residence spinning’. I had never been spinning before but I had always feared it. Spinning seemed to be a popular activity and I had claimed the last vacancy when I signed up online. It’s popularity, however, is about all that can be said for this class. Whilst I am a huge advocate for Res-Life I hated every minute of spin and had been right to fear it for so long. I couldn’t feel my legs for days afterwards and I still shudder when I see an exercise bike. The less said about this one the better.
Apparently not exhausted enough from spin the day before, I opted for the ‘residence gym’ session on Thursday. This gave us full access to the equipment at Goodwin for one hour, although I only managed 45 minutes. The gym was busy but the wait for the machines was minimal as Res-Life cap the number of attendees at each activity. This meant that enough gym-bunnies were there to make me feel like a slob but not so many that it was over-whelming. Overall, the experience was a positive one and after three days of structured classes, I appreciated the freedom to exercise at my preferred pace.
Everyday Res-life offers a selection of activities to choose from and on this day, I chose swimming. I was still feeling a little achy from Wednesday and hoped the splash-about might loosen my muscles up. When I arrived at the pool it was split into 4 lanes and naturally, I gravitated towards the ‘slow’ one where I performed the front-crawl. The session was held for 2 hours during peak time at the pool, which would usually cost £4.50 per entry. Access to the pool also gives access to the sauna and it was here that I sat to reflect upon my one week of Res-life.
And what had I learnt from the experience? That I should have engaged with Res-life sooner. There really is so little to lose, even if you do try it the once. Whilst I discovered that spinning wasn’t for me (although it might be for you) I’ve given Zumba another go since. I enjoyed swimming so much I’ve bought a membership for the pool this year. Occasionally, you can even find me at the gym. But what can you learn from the experience? To become a regular Res-lifer, from someone who didn’t.
If Residence Life does appeal to you then a more extensive list of the activities available can be found here https://www.sport-sheffield.com/residence-sport as well as greater information.