21 Apr Student blogger – Anna Goodman – Student life
University is not the only option after college, but it is an excellent one. It gives you the sudden freedom to explore what you have always dreamt of studying. Even during the first semester, your mind is warped and squeezed and so contorted so that it suddenly views the world in a shockingly new way that you never realised was possible! As a language student, I had no idea just how much Eurocentrism coats our worldview. Piercing through that is an amazing discovery.
There is also something wonderful about being in total control of my time, but it can sometimes be a burden. No one else will motivate me to get up and read those thirty pages on Critical Appraisal: I am an adult and my time is my own. Passion and motivation are crucial at University; there is no point going simply because you cannot think of anything else to do.
On the other hand, the vast array of social and volunteering opportunities available are one of the definite highlights. At no other stage in life will you find such a huge and affordable choice of things to do. The elitism that used to ruin sport for me at school has completely vanished at University; many of the events are set up especially for complete beginners. Residence Life Sport is fantastic: there are innumerous sporting opportunities around your accommodation for you to go to; all completely free of charge.
University also entrenches you in the community. Teaching English to asylum seekers one hour per week has hugely widened my world view. Whilst trying to explain the wording of a tricky maths question to one student, I opened her eyes to the concept of recycling. “This is a very rich country”, she replied, shaking her head in disbelief at the idea that we do not just throw everything in the river.
There is also never a bad time to get involved with something new. I broke my finger in the first week, which massively limited my sporting and musical options. However, in January I joined the flute choir and beginner’s mountain biking, and I have just booked a place on a beginner’s caving trip. With this freedom comes the need for organisation and initiative: the options are all out there, you just need to go for it!
I am just as excited for next year as I am for this one. The School of Languages and Cultures gives you enormous flexibility with what you can study: you can choose up to three languages, as well as modules from outside the department. I have been able to tailor my study to my interests: Francophone Africa and Latin America.
There is no question why the University of Sheffield always wins for student experience. It has everything you could want both as a World Top 100 University, and as a social hub. There is one great risk about studying here however. Once you discover this city, you may never want to go back.