Storying Sheffield


Before Lockdown

  • 30th Jan 2020

Phew, exams are finally over and I am so ready for a break. I can’t wait to take it easy now after 3 straight days of exams. I spent my holidays back in my home country studying and now I’m so excited to reunite with all my international friends here in Sheffield again and have fun! I miss my society as well, I want to get back to training and going on drinking socials down West Street!

  • 15th Feb 2020

Life is going great at the moment. I’m enjoying my social life perhaps a little bit too much – I’m in Pop Tarts almost every week and seeing my friends at house parties every other day. Uni is going well too; I’ve managed to wake up and go to all my 9am’s so far this semester and I’ve gotten into the good habit of spending the time in between lectures finishing my lab write ups and tutorials at the library with my other Chemistry friends. My labs and tutorials have been quite fun – I enjoy speaking to my classmates and seeing the same people on a regular basis. It’s really getting me through the year. Plus, the professors are super approachable and helpful whenever I have a problem.

  • 15th March 2020

I have no idea what to do. There has been so much talk about the new coronavirus in Wuhan, China. My group chat with my international friends is so active – everyday someone announces that their country is going into a lockdown and the borders are closing. I don’t know if I must just stay here, and if I do, will I be able to go home over summer? I could try and book a plane ticket right now and pack all my stuff up quickly, but I keep hearing from my friends that flights are getting cancelled and that it’s not safe to travel. Plus, I won’t be able to study so well at home. I need access to the library, good Wi-fi and frankly, my house back home isn’t the best study space.

During Lockdown

  • 24th April 2020

So, I ended up staying in Sheffield. I didn’t really have much choice – the UK announced a lockdown and me and my family decided that it was safest for me to stay. Everyday feels the same – the university has closed, and no-one’s allowed to meet up with each other. I don’t even have the motivation to wake up and start my day. I keep sleeping at 5/6am and waking up at 3/4pm. It’s not healthy I know, but since gyms are closed and I can’t do any exercise, I don’t feel tired enough to sleep early. I feel like I’m just living a deadline-to-deadline kind of life. Some professors are doing online lectures which I really appreciate since I can’t interact with other chemistry people in any other way. I really feel like I’m doing this degree alone.

  • 1st June 2020

Exams are coming up and luckily, we’re given 24 hours to complete them, thank God! I think I will get so distracted trying to do the exams in my student house – the walls are so thin so I can hear everything from next door and there is some building work going on just beside my room. Hopefully my Wi-fi won’t disconnect, we have the cheapest one after all – we never knew we would have to rely on good broadband this much! It looks like the lockdown will be coming to an end soon, maybe I’ll be able to go home. But honestly, I could really do with finding a job since I haven’t been able to work this whole time and I need money for rent. It is very difficult for international students to find UK based guarantors, and without one we are victimised to needing to pay 6-12 months of rent upfront, plus the deposit (usually 5 weeks’ worth of rent) prior to the move in. All this is very stressful.

Post Lockdown

  • 5th October 2020

This is my second week of university and it doesn’t even feel like I’m at university at all. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss lectures and even 9am’s! Going to lectures allows you to very easily follow the course, ensure you get the content in sizeable continuous amounts, and also ensure you get the printed notes so you can physically engage with it, but this is much more difficult at home since I don’t have a printer so I’m basically staring at a screen all day. All my lectures have been online so far. I like that I can pause the lectures and go at my own pace, but I’ve found that some professors have gone a bit overboard with their videos by making several shorter videos for one topic which just ends up taking more time. And when I need to email about a question, it takes so much longer to get a response whereas before I could just go up to the professors at the end of lectures and ask them directly.

  • 30th October 2020

I was supposed to have my labs this week, but my housemate’s friend tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, so I only managed to complete the first experiment. I don’t have any symptoms so according to government guidelines I can’t get a covid test, but I do have to self-isolate. Luckily the department has been very understanding and they’ve got procedures in place so that I can do the experiments at a later week. Being in labs was strange – there’s not as many people rushing through the Dainton building. And there’s a one-way system and they’re trying to implement social distancing, but we can’t wear masks for safety reasons. At least it was nice seeing other chemistry students and being able to catch up with everybody for once. Now I don’t feel so alone. That’s also why I was looking forward to going to the library again – even if I have to book a slot beforehand and only go between certain hours.