New to Sheffield

University can be a daunting experience at first, with thousands of students and staff on campus. However, whilst it might take you a while to find your feet and adapt to the different ways in which staff and students work together, remember that provided you make sure you are in the right places at the right times then there are plenty of people who will help you settle in.
At the University of Sheffield the biggest differences from your experience of studying at school or college are that:

  • you will be learning with academic staff who are at the cutting edge of research in their (and your) subject
  • you will be expected to take control of your own learning from the very start of your studies.

In practice this means:

  • firstly, the research knowledge and expertise of your tutors will inform the content of your modules
  • secondly, your tutors will want you to develop your own independent learning skills quickly, as this will enable you to get the most out of your studies
  • thirdly, you might have more self directed study time than you are used to

This new learning environment might feel challenging. But remember that there is plenty of help, advice and support available if you need it, not least from your fellow students, who are often a great source of information for many aspects of University life. 301 is just one of the places around the University where you can find support for your learning. Explore our pages further to find out more about what is available.

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Making the Transition

For many, being at university can be a period of great change and personal development. It may entail living away from home for the first time; experiencing a greater diversity of friends and social contacts than before; finding that your idea of who you are becomes fluid and unstable. Maybe even the subject that you’re studying will lead you to think differently about the world. Almost certainly, exams and other assessment that you take will lead to feelings of pressure and strain, not least because they are, self-evidently, important.

While these new challenges can be enormously exciting, they may also cause personal stress or anxiety. To get the most from your university experience, it’s important to come to terms with this potential for stress, recognise it as part of personal growth, and learn to respect and work within your own boundaries. All of this means managing the stress you experience.

One Sheffield undergraduate described studying at University as “like a roller-coaster ride" with ups and downs, highs and lows – quick bursts of activity filled with fear and excitement.

Not everyone will feel like this, but there will be times when you find it difficult to see how you will get to the end of your degree. At these times you need to reflect on where you have come from and where you may be heading. We all struggle to keep going all the time and you will be no different. But there are ways of working to sustain your efforts when you need to most. For many, this will be around assessment periods – when you are revising for exams or trying to grind out the next three thousand words of your dissertation; for others, it might be more about getting started again at the beginning of a new semester.

Whatever the particular challenges you are grappling with, remember that there are plenty of ways to find the support you need.

"The flipbook was drawn and flicked by me. It illustrates how I’ve been able to pursue new and old activities by being self-motivated. I feel this skill has been integral to the progress I’ve been able to make in all aspects of my university life. For most, university is the start of real independence from parents, domestically, academically and socially. Self-motivation has been the key to successfully juggling all the new responsibilities university gave me." Nancy Brown, Level 3 Psychology, 2013.

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