Freshers’ Week: the details nobody thinks of

Coming up to starting University, your older brother will probably scare you with stories of his wild Freshers antics, your mother will probably scare you with her excessive fussing, and everyone else will probably scare you with a wild array of contradicting advice. The only thing that you need to remember is this: just be yourself.

Aside from the emotional advice, I have compiled a practical list of all the details that would have made starting University so much easier had I known about them beforehand: Continue reading

Another side of Sheffield

Student life can easily become an affluent bubble. My daily commute during first year meant that I hardly strayed from Endcliffe and the University’s world-class facilities. If I did, it was often only to Division Street, for lunch breaks in hipster cafés with my student friends who were equally immersed in this world. It is very easy to create the illusion that Sheffield is entirely made up of large, tree-lined boulevards, where life is laid-back and comfortable for pretty much everyone.

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Migration Matters

There are some conversations that you do not want to overhear. The bile was already rising in my throat as the train commuter opposite verbally dissected a female friend for his mates’ enjoyment. As he crescendoed into pitiful excuses over why our tiny island has “no room for immigrants”, I was ready to walk out of the carriage.

During Refugee Week, volunteering at “Migration Matters Festival” was a powerful way for me to respond to this rampant xenophobia. Celebrating how immigrants and asylum seekers enrich our society, Theatre Delicatessen came alive with stories, sounds and smells: humans from all over the world clustered together freed from labels and stereotypes and prejudice. Our common humanity united us. Continue reading

Frehiwet Habesha

When revision makes life feel incredibly monotonous, what better to do than go on a culinary adventure? I was ridiculously excited to discover that on Exchange Street, “Frehiwet Habesha” restaurant sells my all-time favourite food: Injera-b-wot.

During my first few years after arriving in England, Ethiopian restaurants were hard to come by. This was partly because the bread injera is traditionally made with the gluten-free supergrain teff (ጤፍ), which is hard to find outside the Ethiopian highlands. It is easy to find in London, and has now moved its way up to Leicester. Frehiwet Habesha still uses wheat flour, but it is definitely a passable alternative. Hopefully with the rising recognition of teff‘s (ጤፍ) superfood properties, it will become more widely available.  Ethiopian food caters for everyone. As well as being gluten free, the fasting food is vegan friendly, but there are also plenty of traditional chicken, lamb and beef dishes. Continue reading

This Girl Can

The most important lesson that I have learnt during my first six months as an undergraduate, is the importance of failing regularly.

Before University, the idea of starting from nothing terrified me; especially the idea of being “incapable”. Therefore, I simply continued with what already knew: I never tried anything that could result in failure.

Sport was one area that I never dreamt of venturing into. At school, P.E. was incredibly elitist: you were either on the A team, or a waste of everyone’s time. Leaving school, I was certain that University would be exactly the same, if not worse. Continue reading

Radical generosity

I left 2016 with the desire to better understand generosity. Christmas presents can seem so much like exchanges: “They spent £x on me so I had better spend the same”; “I must buy … a present otherwise…”

Student income creates extra complications in the quest for generous living, as like many, I do not have an abundant bank balance to give away. I also have the joyous problem of having more friends to give to than money in the bank. Continue reading

An introvert’s guide to Fresher’s Week


You may be surprised to know, that for a considerable number of people, dancing awkwardly in a claustrophobic room full of incredibly drunk strangers, is not the epitome of existence.

Frankly, I would never relive Freshers Week. As an introvert who prefers deep and genuine relationships with a select few rather than shallow, automated acquaintances with masses, the week was incredibly exhausting. Continue reading