In total, Sheffield has been my home for three years, over a period of 6 years.
I first fell in love with Sheffield when I came to visit my Uncle, before I had even finished my GCSEs. He drove us around the city centre, pointing out all of these cool bars, pubs, shops and then up past the Uni of. I don’t know if he mentioned Hallam or not, I guess he probably did… but from that morning onwards my heart was set on Uni of.
Unfortunately, I missed out on a place by 3 IB points and I was devastated. Although I worked extremely hard to get the points I did, I could have, and should have, done better. Anyway, that dream was set aside until I finally found out I was awarded a 2:1 in my Undergraduate degree and my tutor congratulated me with, “you could do a masters at some of the top universities!”.
That moment brought Sheffield back into my sights and I started writing my, very last minute, application for the MA Chinese Studies programme. I was accepted, and offered a full scholarship, and that was that. I was going to Sheffield.
Sheffield has been my home.
It was the first time I’d lived on my own after a very negative few years in my life.
It was the first time I had to admit I was seriously unwell.
It was the first time I realised that university could be fun.
It was the first time I realised I loved having a social life.
It was the first time I fell in love with coffee (thanks Steam Yard).
When I finally moved into my first (awful!) student house in Sheffield I had 3 weeks without any housemates and it was great! On the third or fourth day I decided to walk to the University (it was still warm and sunny and I wasn’t keen on taking the bus.)
So from my house in Walkley, I walked up to Crookes, down through Broomhill and around the ‘back roads’ to the University (as in, not via Weston Park). I remember seeing the church, which I would later find out was in front of my Chinese building) and then I almost passed the student union until I looked up at this massive grey (ish) building.
I was next to was where I’d be spending most of my time over the next year. I remember feeling stunned, excited and disappointed that I had another 3 weeks before my induction day!
Over the course of the year I struggled to keep up with my language classmates, as they had just spent a year studying, and travelling, in China. I felt weak, patronised and quite pathetic, but in the end I made it and could not have been prouder of what I achieved during my Masters degree. I took on placements, participated in the Graduate Award Scheme, was a student rep, played football, was a ‘One World’ ambassador, and so much more. I loved being part of the Asian society, the gardening club and the language exchange. I went to parties, I went out for coffees and I also tried to learn how to dance. (Yes, the key word is tried. I was told numerous times that I was failing. Which was even more embarrassing than the failing itself.) I babysat, I nannied, I spent time with family and friends that are now all around the world – China, France, Belgium, Mexico and more…
Since moving back last March, I have felt really at home here in Sheffield. I hate hearing people call it a town or a village, and it upsets me when people say it’s boring and there’s nothing to do. But Sheffield is becoming more and more centred around the students, and unless you enjoy partying and drinking, there’s not as much to do anymore. In my opinion, that is. There aren’t as many jobs or social clubs, except for the Sheffield Plant Swap which is absolutely amazing!
So unfortunately, it is time to move on to a bigger city (who thought I’d be doing that?!) with more opportunities and adventures, and out of a student area at last!
Some of my favourite places in the UK are here in Sheffield and along the way I have met some genuinely amazing people. There are not many places in the world that have as friendly people as Sheffield does, and that is something so heartwarming about it.
Steam yard ignited my love of real coffee, and places like Marmadukes, Upshot and Gaard kept it going. I also loved sitting in the old Costa on Division Street (before I discovered Steam yard), watching the world go by as I studied.
I’ll miss seeing a church on every corner, and walking past the uni on my way to town – which always gives me an immense feeling of pride, and I’ll miss the friendly faces of Broomhill.
As I’ve been journey-ing back through my Sheffield years, I have also been reminded of many negatives. Friendships that went sour, the odd boy that upset me, jobs that didn’t work out and landlords that were complete douchebags.
However, those negatives were hiccups that made me so much stronger and are so few in comparison to all of the happy memories I have.
After all, it was the university, and Sheffield itself that meant I crossed paths with Jonas (cue: awwwwwwwwwwww) and in the last 12 months we have shared many amazing moments – first official date, movie marathons, drinking cider on the doorstep, trying as much coffee as possible, teaching him to cook (sort of!), two houses…
Now is the right time for both of us to be moving on, and I know that Sheffield is just a train journey away, but it’s a journey I have done far too often in the last 12 months and I’ll be taking a break from for a while (for my sanity, and my bank balance).
I’m a little teary eyed and it’s time to finish off the packing, the van arrives in an hour!.
Thanks for the adventures and see you soon xx