Storying Sheffield

Current year abroad

03/12/2019 My 2nd year experience so far

Uni is so stressful at the moment but it’s also brilliant. I never seem to be at home, I’ve nearly always got plans with friends or am training for the team, and I know loads of people on the team, so everything is so jokey, and the socials are great. This week I had to wear a giant crab costume. I’m a bit disappointed because at the moment I’m only socialising with 2 of my housemates so it can be a bit awkward. I have so many lectures, but I feel so motivated to attend at the moment, and I feel kind of forced to concentrate because it’s so easy to miss key bits of info. I feel up to date with everything and have a really good work mindset, with a nice commute to uni and regular library visits which is keeping me going.

02/08/2020  How I managed the national lockdown

I’ve stayed in Sheffield during lockdown with 3 of my housemates and it’s been surprisingly really fun, and I don’t feel my social life has been especially hindered by covid compared to my friends who went home to their families. It was 4 months since lockdown started and I’d finally been told my year abroad in Australia won’t be going ahead. I was definitely expecting this though and weirdly I’m sort of relieved. I’ve always said I’d rather go in 4th year anyway because my friends from previous years would’ve graduated so I wouldn’t feel like I’m missing out, so in a way it’s a bonus to get to spend another year in Sheffield and it would’ve been pretty rubbish going in a pandemic anyway. I wish the department had told us what was happening sooner. I know it’s absolutely hectic at the moment, and they’ve got other things to sort out, but they seemed quite unaware that we had other arrangements to make, like finding the house, so gave us less time than we needed and securing a house at the end of July was way too stressful and it’s not exactly what I would’ve chosen in a normal year, it looks pretty mouldy. I’m staying positive though and being grateful that I’m friends with my new housemates because if we’d had to live in Endcliffe or with strangers everything would’ve been a whole lot worse and at least we’re getting half price rent over the summer. I’ve been given the opportunity to go next year instead which I’m really happy about because now I can rethink about my modules based on what I like this year and I’m excited to start looking at places to go as a nice stress and work break. I feel the department has made such a big effort to ensure we can go by changing the course requirements and I’m really grateful they’ve been sympathetic with the situation. The communication from the department was quite lacking but I’m surprisingly not that bothered because everything worked out the way I wanted it to, and unlike other departments, it hasn’t been completely cancelled. I’m worried for blended learning because I really haven’t enjoyed online learning. Although I got quite a bit done, like 3 lectures a day, and was so motivated in the run up to exams, (which may I add, are way better than in person ones), I got too distracted in the house so really want to be back in a lecture theatre. I still haven’t received feedback for 2 of my lab reports which I’m finding so frustrating and I’m worried it’ll affect next year’s grades. Our registration details have still not been updated and its approaching the deadline and SFE have already charged us the wrong amount of tuition so I’m currently feeling incredibly stressed. 

30/10/2020  How I’m managing blended learning

At the moment uni isn’t going well. I’ve had a long summer of not doing any work and now coming back to no physical uni, means I’m still in a no-work mindset so I’m waking up late and getting hardly any work done, so I’m behind on the content so can’t attend the live Q&A sessions. My motivation is scarce. I can’t be bothered to go the library because of the limited opening hours and having to book, and I’m worried about my grades because this year we don’t have the safety net policy and my work has already been affected and it’s only week 5. I think this has majorly stemmed from the lack of social life I now have. I see hardly anyone outside of the house, and because everything is with my housemates, I’m worried I’m going to get tired and annoyed at them which is depressing. I miss meeting my friends for socials or around uni and there feels like there’s so much pressure on uni because I can’t seem to get a break. There’s a massive lack of a regular routine and my working environment just doesn’t feel supported because I don’t feel encouraged to do work and I feel it’s so easy to procrastinate. On the upside, I think lectures being pre-recorded is much more effective because although they take longer to cover, I understand things the first time round and working at my own pace reduces my stress levels. Not having in person lectures has allowed me to prioritise and focus on deadlines which I’ve noticed has reduced my stress compared to last year. I do miss the social aspect of lectures and feel a slight strain on my mental wellbeing so would prefer that at least one or two lectures would be live again and I do find it’s harder to focus. It’s such a weird balance; I learn more from the videos but don’t do as many videos so in the end I think everything will cancel out. The house has awful WIFI so it’s virtually impossible to all be in meetings at the same time which is really frustrating and making uni even harder than it should be. I had to isolate for nearly 28 days and let me tell you, this was not a fun experience. I missed one of my lab weeks and had to join another cohort at 2 days’ notice so now I feel so far behind because I’ve had loads of weeks where I couldn’t do my lectures or other work. The cohort was huge compared to my original one, so it was hard to get the help I needed which made the labs stressful and unenjoyable. I think isolating messed up my routine and my work ethic changed completely because of not going outside for so long. Things were made worse by the suspension of face to face teaching because I missed another lab day and didn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing and only had one day where I could get the demonstrators help so that was so stressful. A second lockdown is on the horizon which means I can’t train anymore so I’m disappointed and think my mental health will be affected badly by this and we’ve had limited updates about the year abroad, with no one replying to our emails so I’m still unsure whether I’m going or not which is stressful too :(. We’ve been told nothing about our exams so far and I’m aware that they are approaching but surprisingly I don’t really care that much anymore and am not really stressed about it because I know that they should be online and open book, so I won’t to need to revise as hard. Because everything is online, I feel like my degree isn’t real anymore, so I don’t feel that pressure to do well which is concerning me slightly, so I do wish I knew how exams were to be conducted so I felt more confident.