The Social Side of Higher Education

31st January 2019

Sam studied Sport Business Management at Sheffield Hallam University. He is originally from Sheffield but still moved out when he started his studies. He worked as a football referee when studying, starting out at a level 7 grade. He is now a level 4 referee as well as a Higher Education Engagement Assistant at Hepp.

Social Benefits of Higher Education

Higher education isn’t just about getting a degree level qualification. Obviously, it’s a very important aspect, but, you can get so much more out of higher education than just a qualification. You gain independence, meet people from different places and get opportunities unlike anything you will have experienced before.

Personally, the best part of going to university was moving out. I instantly gained more responsibility, such as managing my own finances, deciding what I was doing for every meal each week and balancing my time between studying and socialising. I knew from the beginning that if I ran out of money, I couldn’t run to my parents for more, so I had to budget everything I was given from the off. Luckily for me, I lived next door to an Aldi, so the price of food wasn’t a major concern! Also, the nightlife in Sheffield is known for being cheap, so again, I was in a good position to enjoy my time without feeling guilty. This couldn’t be said for a friend who bought a takeaway every evening for his first month at university!

Throughout my time at university, I had a £50-a-week budget so keeping track of my spending was an important thing to get used to! I tracked exactly what I spent on my Notes on my phone – if I’d spent £20.52 on my food at Aldi for the week, then £10.85 on a night out, I’d simply note £31.37 on my phone. Easy? You’d think. It was a struggle, but everyone was in the same boat so we all shopped together at the cheapest places. A great way to save money was by getting my NUS card. It gave me some great discounts in shops, restaurants and on travel around South Yorkshire.

Another aspect of higher education that was completely different for me was the academic calendar. To start with, I averaged 10 hours a week in university, compared to the 25 hours a week I had at school. Also, my holidays were much longer. Summer lasted from the beginning of May through to the end of September each year. I was determined not to waste this time so I used it to earn money, travel to a few different countries and play more sport. I’d come from a group of friends from ‘home’ whose sole sporting interest was football. I loved football but wanted to try other sports. I tried table tennis at the Students Union, played badminton in the gyms and also played squash at other sporting facilities around the city. Having this spare time meant that I could focus on my hobby, football refereeing, which I was starting to take seriously. My spare time allowed me to work through 3 promotions alongside my studies.

If you want an experience like no other, and still get an incredible qualification, then higher education is for you!

Categories: Graduate Interns.

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