Sheffield really feels like a home away from home. I love it so much I still haven't left!

A photo of Ailsa Rhodes
Ailsa Rhodes
BA Sociology
Sociology student Ailsa had never studied Sociology before coming to University, but during her time at the University of Sheffield she never felt like she was ill equipped to study the course and loved all her modules.
A photo of Ailsa Rhodes

What did you enjoy most about your course and why?

Personally, my favourite thing about the Sociology course was the expertise and passion of the lecturers. Each module I chose was led by a professor who I felt loved their field, and their clear love and passion was infectious. Not only are the lecturers great at teaching, I found that every single one of them was easy to approach; I never had any hesitancy about Sociology and still feel confident that the module I chose would be informative and engaging.

As someone who had never actually studied Sociology before University, I never felt like I was catching up with other people. The course is designed in a way that allows everyone to get involved, even if they have no prior knowledge of Sociology. In this sense, learning about how broad sociology is, and how specific you can get was another amazing thing about the course. Over my three years I wrote essays about so many different topics - from toilets, to austerity to virginity - I even wrote an essay on Taylor Swift! Sociology really is a course for everyone.

Any favourite modules? Why?

It’s so hard to pick just one! Especially in third year, every module seemed to get better and better. I would have to say that both Digital Identities and Queer Theory and the Media were two of my favourites. The assessment formats were so varied; from making a zine to writing a diary of my social media usage - there was never a dull moment. Ysabel Gerrard is a particularly engaging lecturer and I loved how interesting her seminars were! My friends and I would often talk about the content outside of uni!

What do you think about Sheffield as a city? What is your favourite thing to do here?

This is a difficult question to answer because I don’t think I could ever explain how much I love this city - you just have to experience it for yourself! Sheffield really feels like a home away from home. There's cosy cafes, friendly faces, vintage shops and lots of green spaces - what more could you ask for? I love Sheffield so much I still haven’t left, and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon!

My favourite thing to do in Sheffield is watch the sunset on Bole Hills with friends, maybe accompanied by chips and a few drinks - I have made memories I’ll cherish forever watching the sun set over the city. 

The view of the sunset from Bole Hills.
The view of the sunset from Bole Hills

Were you involved in any clubs or societies? If so, how did they add to your overall university experience and what skills have you gained?  

I was a member of the Sociology Society for all three years of my undergrad degree. In first year, I was on the social netball team which resulted in me making some friends for life! Even just seeing a few friendly faces in a seminar who I knew were also on the team really enhanced my uni experience. The socials that I went on in first year also led to me finding friends, and housemates (who I’m still living with now). 

I loved SocSoc so much I eventually joined the committee in my final year. I was a charity officer and had to organise events and fundraisers to raise money for charity. It was a very enlightening experience and I learnt so much. In fact, the experience I gained being on the committee was crucial in my current job as a Marketing and Recruitment Assistant (and the high vis jackets were a true fashion statement).

The 2021 SocSoc Committee at the end of year ball.
The 2021/22 SocSoc Committee at the end of year ball.

What has your career path been since graduation? How has your degree helped you?

I actually now work for the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield as the Marketing and Recruitment. I enjoyed my time in the department so much that I now promote it as a job! Due to the interdisciplinary nature of Sheffield’s Sociology Degree, I’ve gained a breadth of knowledge and experience I may not have got elsewhere. For example, in the Digital Media modules I chose I learnt about digital analytics and social media (particularly helpful in my current job), whereas in my social research modules I learnt about conducting social research, which greatly improved my final dissertation.  

A photo of Ailsa with a friend at her graduation
Ailsa at her graduation
Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

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