We asked the freshers of Sheffield how they felt about starting uni in corona times

‘It might make students feel lonely’

Freshers’ Week in Sheffield really is seven days of the year like no other. The endless partying, laughing, socialising, and little sleep in between makes Freshers’ Week in the Steel City a truly memorable period for most. It’s a time for making fond memories along West Street, dancing in CODE, and creating those late-night friendships in Chinos over a sharing of cheesy chips. 

Freshers’ Week is meant to be all about firsts, saying yes, and partying hard before university life begins. However, due to the obvious restrictions, Sheffield Freshers’ Week 2020 is sadly looking very different.

Both Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam have released statements on how they plan to begin teaching for the new academic year. These include the compulsory use of face masks on campus and a mixture of online and face-to-face teaching.

With social distancing and other strict Covid regulations being implemented on both university campuses, it leaves little hope for Freshers’ Week even holding a small sense of normality.

The Sheffield Tab spoke to upcoming Sheffield students about their concerns and worries about Freshers’ Week.

Olivia, 17, is hoping to attend the University of Sheffield in September, but is now unsure of how her experience is going to unfold. She said: “Freshers’ Week is known for being fun,  however I’m really hoping I’ll actually be able to have one.

“Looking at the bigger picture though, I’d rather everyone be safe and I’m sure I’ll still be able to go out clubbing at some point.”

Students may have to push themselves even further to integrate into new circles, which may be difficult for those who struggle to mingle socially or perhaps find these situations overwhelming.

Olivia continued: “I was already nervous about entering a new, unfamiliar environment and now that new issues such as social distancing may have to take place I think it may be more difficult to make friends and might cause students to feel lonely.”

Around 15.8 percent of students feel lonely on a daily basis, according to research from The Independent. The impact of a ‘Covid safe’ Freshers’ Week could see a large impact on these figures if social opportunities don’t take place.

Gisela, 20, is considering studying Theatre at Sheffield Hallam. She said: “I get extremely nervous making new friends so I was definitely relying on lectures and events in that first week to meet people in the same boat as me.

“If the week doesn’t go ahead as it normally would, I’m guessing people will have to try and organize socially distanced gatherings through online group chats maybe.”

The uncertainty of Freshers’ Week is something many people are experiencing, whether it be first-year students or third years looking forward to seeing friends again after summer.

Government regulations and Covid restrictions are ever-changing and student areas across the country are entering local lockdowns on a daily basis.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty around how Sheffield Freshers’ Week will pan out. Until then, all students can do is prepare, remain hopeful, and enjoy the City of Sheffield – safely of course.

Other stories recommended by this writer:

• Meet the students who decided to stay put in Sheffield during lockdown

• This list will accurately determine what your fav Sheff clubs and pubs say about you

 We asked Sheff students spending lockdown in the US what it’s really like