Both my academic and personal tutors have been extremely helpful
What first attracted you to Sheffield?
I chose the University of Sheffield because I really like the feel of the city and the friendliness of the staff in the department when I first visited. One of the biggest drawing points though was the structure of my programme, Physics and Astrophysics.
The University of Sheffield is one of the rare few that provides a 50/50 split between Physics and Astronomy. I liked the fact that the University is spread out throughout the city which makes it unique such that it is not just a University town (i.e. there is a lot to do outside of University) but the activities that happen within the city are interwoven with the two Universities. You get the best of both worlds!
What are you enjoying most about your course?
I thoroughly enjoyed my current third year project (Physics Education and Outreach). This module has allowed me to look into how to be a better communicator of science (especially Physics) in schools and to the general public. I had the opportunity to visit schools to observe lessons and create astronomy-based activities for an outreach project in Sheffield - helping the general public learn more about different aspects of astronomy through our five senses.
Both my academic and personal tutors have been extremely helpful, which is great because it is nice to know at the back of your mind that someone will ultimately be there for you to talk to or help you in time of need. I have a meeting at least once every semester with my personal tutor to talk about grades (and how I can improve) and future prospects.
Apart from that, most of the lecturers in this department have an open door policy and we call them by their first names which definitely made things more casual and because of all of that it is easier to pop by their office if we are having troubles.
PhySoc (Physics Society) has also been great as there were many fun socials planned throughout the years! And the Hicks Ball every year!
What are you enjoying most about University life?
I love the fact that there are literally hundreds of societies that we can choose from! You name it, the Students’ Union got it (most likely)!
Being an avid lifter and a competitive powerlifter before coming to Sheffield, I joined Strength Sports (which is essentially a club for the Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Strongman strength disciplines) since first year and I was ultimately in committee during the second year. I enjoyed every aspect of this as I was able to pursue my passion outside of Physics and the being in a club offers many opportunities to compete internally and nationally.
I also love the nightlife in Sheffield as there are plenty of clubs open throughout the week around the city and within the Students’ Union, they are so affordable and great fun!
In first year, I lived in Ranmoor (one of the Uni accommodations spread out across the city) and this itself was a great experience as the accommodation itself is very clean and perfect for students. It was especially great/fun during freshers’ week when I realised very quickly that everyone’s as nervous as I was! Ranmoor is a small but has a nice vibe to it, plus it’s also quiet when you need it to be (night time and during examinations).
I found the support structure in the University to be extremely helpful. As a student who uses the The Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) in the University, I found it comforting to be able to have the indiscriminatory and comprehensive support available, be it online or in person.
Su Yuan Wu
Physics and Astrophysics BSc
Finally, what would you say to someone thinking about choosing your course at Sheffield?
Try out all the societies that that interest you in first year because it is the best time to do so! Then during second year you can choose which societies that you like most, stick to it and have fun. It is useful to have an outlet from work.
Be prepared to work hard throughout the degree course, it will be tough at times (a lot of the times). Because of this, it is important to enjoy what you do and keep motivated. The professors and staff in the Physics and Astronomy department are fantastic at what they do and always remember that they are there to help you, so do not be afraid to ask for help! Don’t forget to have fun too!
For international students, don’t be afraid to mix around and meet new people, everyone’s just as nervous as you are when you first step into Uni! There are also nights out in the Students’ Union for international students (ONE: SU International Club Night), be sure to check that out!
Find the right course for you.