22 September 2015 - 2:47 pm

An Ex-Fresher’s Guide to Enterprise

Hello everyone! So, it’s my last week in the USE office. Sad times! My projects are being finished off, my endless sheets of paper are being organised and I’ve eaten a few too many of the homemade brownies I’d supposedly bought in for everyone else!

I can’t quite believe that nine weeks of work are coming to an end. Where has the time gone?! With only a few hours until I say goodbye to the Enterprise Zone until September, my mind is filled with thoughts of Intro Week; the bright-eyed freshers moving into Endcliffe, the long-awaited return of Pop Tarts (oh how I’ve missed you) and the rather daunting start of my third and final year. Help!

The infamous Corp

The infamous Corp

And that’s got me to thinking – if I can’t believe how fast my internship has been, I am completely speechless at how quickly my time so far in Sheffield has flown by! It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that I was a fresher myself, getting hopelessly lost around campus, signing up to every conceivable society and wearing in my first pair of Corp shoes – the most essential of items for any Sheffield fresher!

It’s true what they say – your freshers year is unlike any other at university. And because of that, it’s the perfect time to get stuck in, meet new people and try something different before your course gets serious. What’s more, as your first year doesn’t usually count towards your degree classification, it’s the best time to see about developing those enterprising skills that’ll help you succeed when your marks do start to count.

At this point, you’re probably thinking “Jeeeez, it’s not even September and she wants me to sign my life away to some dry, business-related lectures I have no interest in going to”. But, with all due respect you couldn’t be more wrong.

When I started working for USE, I was sure I was a complete newbie to enterprise because I’d always walked past the Zone a million times without giving it a second glance. But, as it turns out, what I did do in my first year had everything to do with enterprise and helped me develop skills that have since helped me no end in and outside my degree. I was completely oblivious to all this and I was having a great time from start to finish!

So, if you’re coming to Sheffield Uni for the first time this autumn, here’s some ways you can get enterprising whilst making the most of your first year and, most importantly, having a seriously great time!


Tip 1 – Come to the USE Fair!

Round up, round up! Come and take part in the USE Fresher’s Fair! If you want some freebies, sweets and the chance to win some wacky prizes – and, of course, if you want to meet new people and discover what my lovely colleagues in the Enterprise Zone can do to help you – you simply cannot miss the University of Sheffield Enterprise Fair on Monday 21st September.

We’ll be outside the Enterprise Zone all day handing out sweets, challenging students to play our fairground games with an enterprise-twist and chatting to all you new students about our events, support and student businesses over a glass of (non-alcoholic) punch. It’s the same day as your registration and welcome talks on campus, so you’ve got no excuse not to pop along and say hello! You never know, you might meet your uni BFF, discover a new passion or win a rather dashing orange wig that’ll make you the envy of any fancy dress party!


Tip 2 – Join a Society! 

SuTCo gave me the opportunity to meet new people and gain some new skills whilst having a great time!

SuTCo gave me the opportunity to meet new people and gain some skills whilst having a great time!

Now, if you haven’t already heard the hype, Sheffield Students’ Union is pretty darn fabulous. In fact, it’s so good that, according to the NSS, it’s been voted the No.1 SU in the whole country for four years running! Part of what makes it so great is the choice of over 300 societies to join, whether you’re interested in historical reenactment, raising and giving (RAG) or real ale, there’s bound to be at least one society you’ll be itching to get involved in.

In my first year, I joined SuTCo (Sheffield University Theatre Company) and their little sister company Headlock Theatre. I was part of two shows, one of which took me to the Edinburgh Fringe where we performed every night for 3 weeks! Performing in Edinburgh had been a dream of mine for many years, so needless to say it was an incredible experience and I had the best time!

I also learnt a hell of a lot about being creative, thinking outside the box, working under pressure, publicising events, networking, public speaking, discipline…the list goes on and on. And what do all these things have in common? Well, they’re all linked to enterprise.

So, if you’re thinking of joining a society, no matter how outlandish it might be, there’s every chance that if it involves meeting new people, holding events, being creative or getting outside your comfort zone, you’ll be developing essential skills without even realising it!


Tip 3 – Take Part in One of Our Events! 

USE prides itself on offering a wide array of exciting programmes for students. And, before you dismiss them as being ‘extra work’, they can be incredibly fun and help you make something amazing out of our university experience.

Take for example, our most recent Startup Weekend in June. If you’ve read my ‘How to Survive Festival Season’ blog, then you’ll have already heard about OverHear. These guys are a bunch of University of Sheffield students who decided to give our Startup weekend a try. And its a good job they did! Since then, their winning idea has evolved and actually became the official app for Sheffield’s massive three day inner-city festival Tramlines, and there’s no doubt there’s a bright future for their now registered business! What’s more, from what I’ve seen of them in the Enterprise Zone, they’ve had a blast.

You never know what might happen, so check out our events here!


Tip 4 – Share your Ideas 

As anyone who used the library during exam time will have realised, campus gets pretty crowded at this time of year. My friends and I revelled in complaining about the difficulty we had in finding desks and free computers, and the time we wasted wondering around a completely full IC  rather than heading straight to Western Bank. And out of all this moaning came an idea. Why not create an app that allowed you to see free PCs and desks from your phone and alerted you if your preferred library was filling up? We were pretty excited by this idea. Unfortunately, no less than a week later a very similar app developed by Sheffield students was being advertised across campus. We just weren’t quick enough!

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that out of our everyday conversations, moanings and ponderings with friends can come great ideas that can really take off! So, when you’re all feeling sorry for yourself after a big night out discussing how amazing a home delivery full-english breakfast service would be (another real life example!), hey presto, you’re getting creative and maybe, just, maybe setting yourself up for an exciting new entrepreneurial venture!


And lastly, but most importantly…

Here's another photo to show you how much fun you could have at Corp!

Here’s another photo to show you how much fun you could have at Corp!

Tip 5 – HAVE FUN! 

Okay, this isn’t enterprise-specific, but, from one student to another, university is a whirlwind. And because it’s a whirlwind, you should use your first year to its full advantage! Get settled, make some friends for life, explore Sheffield, stay up all night, discover some new passions! Make the most of it! Oh, and one little specific piece of advice for you all – go to Corp. I cannot stress that enough.

But in all seriousness, if you’re getting stuck in to your course, your social life and any extra-curricular activities you’re taking part in, and you’re having a great time whilst doing it, everything else should fall into place and you’re bound to get the most out of your university experience!


So, having imparted my wisdom, that’s me done! I’m off for a Greek holiday, a week of sleep, a festival, some quality time with my family and friends and some preparation for the crazy year ahead.

Be sure to come along to the USE Freshers Fair on Monday 21st September and say hello! We’ll be outside the Enterprise Zone (that bright orange building on Portobello) and there’ll be lots of sweets and freebies for you!

Until then, I’ll leave you with a picture of Maria and I getting excited by Photobooth whilst working very hard on USE reception! See, enterprise is fun!

We were working hard, I promise!

We were working hard, I promise!

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer! Over and out!



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  • About the author

    Beth Porter

    Hello! I’m Beth, an International Relations and Politics student about to enter my final year (wahhh!) and one of two interns working with USE this summer. A self-confessed novice in all things enterprising, it was my growing interest in social enterprise and international development that led me to apply for the internship - what better place to learn about enterprise than the Enterprise Zone! So far, I’ve had a great time working with all the lovely people here at USE, and organising two very exciting projects for the coming year! When I’m not at USE you can find me enjoying the summer evenings at my local pub, in the gym or at home eating pizza. I promise I’m more productive in term-time! I hope you enjoy my blog posts!