Things I wish I’d known before coming to uni in Sheffield

It’s rainy and everything’s with gravy

broomhill food freshers Freshers Week guide peak district sheffield sheffield student union

Finding out you’re coming to uni in Sheffield is a huge and exciting thing. Before you know it your car is rammed with all your unnecessary belongings and Mum’s broken into tears halfway up the M1. But no matter how many trips to Ikea you make or reading lists you start working on, there’s some things about uni life up here that only an old hand can tell you. Here’s everything you didn’t realise you needed to know before coming to Sheffield:

Go to the Peak District as soon as possible

You’ll say that you’re going to visit the Peaks in the first week, but it will get pushed back to the next… and then to reading week… and before you know it you’ve blinked and Sheffield is in winter (although to be fair, winter starts here around mid-October). If you want to get out in the fresh air and see some countryside before spring, hop on a bus ASAP. The fresh air is a great hangover cure during Freshers’ Week and it’s a good way to bond with housemates without getting drunk.

Leave your heels and going out clothes at home

Seriously, don’t bother. Unless you’re going to a select few clubs on Carver Street, nowhere merits you being so uncomfortable on a night out. Instead, ditch your heels for a pair of ‘going out’ trainers – they’ll definitely end up messier and dirtier than your day-to-day pair. When it comes to clothing, girls can safely stick to the “jeans and a nice top” mantra and abandon their sassy jumpsuits and dresses. Sheffield praises comfort, and that’s something we can all get behind.

Give chips and gravy a chance

This is an appeal particularly to the Southerners. Yeah, we’ve all been to the chippy after a night out, but wait…. having GRAVY… with our chips? It’s a fantastically northern phenomenon, and while you’re in Sheffield you’ve got to give it a chance. If you’re in Endcliffe, grab a Broomhill Friery on your way back from a night out. Your relationship with gravy will never be the same again.

The people you’ll meet at uni will be nothing like your home friends, and that’s okay

It’s a given that almost everyone you meet at uni will be from a different part of the UK, with different backgrounds, slang and even eating habits. The first time you meet your new flatmates you might be tempted to run a mile: they’ve got weird banter and controversial opinions, and they definitely don’t slut drop to Sean Paul during pre-drinks. No matter how feared you are initially, stick with them. The friends you make at uni will challenge you and you’ll probably have the wackiest, most interesting conversations. The sooner you forget about secondary school cliques the sooner you’ll have fun with everyone you meet.

Make the most of the Union

It can be easy to take it for granted, but there’s a reason why Sheffield Students’ Union has been voted the best in the UK eight years running (eight!). The Union nights offer something for everyone and are genuinely the best at what they do. The fact that you can buy a year-long membership to The Tuesday Club and Roar speaks volumes, and even third and fourth years still visit Pop Tarts religiously on a Saturday. Even if you just want to pop in during the day, there’s always a buzz around the activities area and plenty of places to grab a coffee or some food in-between lectures.

Just a typical night at Roar

Explore Sheffield outside of the uni bubble

When you’re in halls it can be easy to just stick to the route between halls and uni, especially when you want something familiar amidst a lot of newness. As soon as you’re comfortable, take some time to explore the rest of Sheffield. You could take a stroll up Division Street and discover the independent shops, or have a look round the Theatre area in the City Centre. Sheffield boasts a huge amount of instagrammable restaurants, so grabbing some course mates to go on a food tour of the city is a great way to try out the best spots and have a good evening.

Bring your school uniform with you

I know, it sounds weird. You just thought you’d gotten rid of your tatty school uniform, but trust us – there’s a whole drunken afterlife in store for it yet. There are many weird things that Sheffield students do, and going to Corporation’s ‘Skool Disco’ club night on a Wednesday is just one of them. Whilst wearing the uniform isn’t mandatory, almost everyone wears it and you can even get discounted entry just from wearing a shirt and tie. Do be prepared for it to get absolutely ruined, though.

three cheers for bad decisions

Be prepared to designate a pair of ‘Corp shoes’

Your Corp shoes will be a different pair to your aforementioned ‘going out’ shoes, as they truly belong in a whole other league of disgusting. Be prepared for this pair to be soaked in the mysterious ‘Corp liquid’ on the floor (a mixture of spilt blue pints, sweat and God Knows What), and to be left smelling sickly sweet for weeks after. People’s Corp shoes have actually gone mouldy before, so seriously, leave your new Superstars at home.

Your calves will never be the same

If there’s one thing to balance out a new-found love of chips and gravy, it’s having to climb the killer hills in Sheffield. Freshers in Endcliffe will soon become well too acquainted with the ‘Endcliffe hill’, and don’t even get us started on Conduit. On a serious note, give it a few weeks before deciding whether to join the gym or not. And if you’re going anywhere that looks close on Google maps – add an extra ten minutes for hill delays.

When your Mum nags you to bring a raincoat, listen to her

She actually does know best. Sheffield is beautiful in the sunshine, but it won’t take long at all to learn that rain is a very frequent occurrence here. And don’t get annoyed if she begs you to bring your ski jacket as well – in the winter it’s cold AND wet, lucky you.

This is Sheffield 70% of the time

Appreciate the all-inclusive bills in halls

Go on, spend an hour cooking a baked potato on a Monday afternoon, who cares? The joy of first year is that your gas and electric bills are all pre-arranged, so there’s no reason for housemates to be nagging each other about running the meter. What’s more, your room can be sub-tropical temperatures all year round, providing the perfect oasis away from Sheffield in the bleak midwinter. Make the most of it before you move into a gusty Victorian house in second year, it’ll never be the same.