Published on behalf of Yuvini Hettiarachchi.
The first weeks away from home at university can be quite daunting. You don’t know anyone, you’re not with your family and you might even want go back home. It’s easy to shut yourself off from the world and stay locked up in your bedroom. But that’s really not going to help you make new friends or get rid of the homesickness. The best thing you can do is to stay social and active as much as you can. Here a few tips that I think will make uni a lot more exciting.
Check out the Welcome Week fairs at the Students’ Union
Welcome week is a great opportunity to meet new people and make some new friends. The Students’ Union has organised a fair every day for freshers’ week from Monday 19th of September to Friday 23rd of September. Monday is the Freebie Fair where you can grab all sorts of fun freebies, take part in lots of games and competitions and score some amazing discounts for the upcoming year. They always give away free Domino’s pizza which is an added bonus. Tuesday is the Societies Fair. This is the perfect chance for you to take a look at all the societies at Hallam. Whether it’s vocational, political or faith oriented there is something for everyone. If you can’t find one that you like, you can even find out how you can start your own. Wednesday it’s all about sports and you can take your first step towards being part of Team Hallam and getting involved in Varsity. Thursday you can meet new people and get to know how you can make a difference in the local community through volunteering. Whether it’s fundraising or taking care of someone, there’s lots of projects you can get involved in. To wrap things up, Friday’s Fair will be at Collegiate Campus and it’ll feature all the best bits from all the other fairs just for those of you who are based on the other campus. I recommend you all take a look at the fairs. I’ve had so much fun at these events. Even though I’m not a first year student, I drag my friends every year to the fairs and we have a blast.
Grab your flatmates and go to Bar Phoenix for the night
Bar Phoenix is the Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union’s very own bar. While night outs in the city can be a lot of fun, it’s hard to get to know each other whilst music is blasting off from speakers at a club. Bar Phoenix is a great alternative, the different nights at the bar from a Big Pub Quiz to Karaoke will surely give you and your flatmates something to talk about.
Take part in SHU GoGlobal activities
Sheffield Hallam is a university that celebrates diversity. With students from over 120 different countries, the university organises lots of projects that helps us form cross-cultural friendships.
Conversation Club is a great start to making friends. All you have to do is show up and take part in all the ice breakers and games. You can make friends from over 40 different countries and learn about new cultures, all in on night. I found this club on my first year of uni and it really helped with my homesickness. Just one evening at Conversation Club made me feel right at home. All the fun activities get you talking to lots of different people and before you know it you’ve made lots of friends from around the world.
This social peer mentoring scheme helps new students settle into university life with the help of an experienced student. If your feeling lost, alone or nervous, your mentor can help you make friends and be a great outlet to discuss the problems you face and help you discover a solution. I started out in my first year of university as a mentee and gradually become a mentor and a supermentor last year. The mentoring scheme helps your develop your confidence in a comfortable setting and offers you an instant friend who can help with your university journey.
Explore the city
Sheffield is beautiful city with lots of exciting new places. Whether its art galleries, vintage clothing, coffee shops, parks or beer gardens, everyone can discover a place they love in the city. The people in Sheffield are also really welcoming and have exciting stories to share. It’s honestly a great way to get to know some truly unique individuals. Start by taking a look at the street art on Division Street, go into a vintage clothing boutique nearby and grab a fro-nut (ice cream filled donut) or an affogato from Steam Yard on the way.
Finally, I’d like to let you all know that you are definitely not alone. We’ve all felt homesick and we have all felt a little like we don’t belong. The worst thing you can do is worry in silence. If you’ve done most of these activities and still feel a little lonely, come to talk to one of the student advisors either at the Students’ Union Advice Service in the HUBS or at the Student Services Centre in Owen Level 5. There willing to help make your Sheffield Hallam journey unforgettable.
By Yuvini Hettiarachchi