International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Boy with Chocolate Cake: By Hemanshi Galaiya

Now before you all start speculating, let’s just get this out of the way; Yes! This is a love story – just not the kind you are imagining.
On the fateful afternoon of 24th May 2017 I had decided that it was enough. My life seemed like it was crashing around me and I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t keep up with any more of it and I just didn’t want to read another word of the document in front of me. Dear readers, you have reached the part of a Chemical engineering student’s life where the steps down the McCabe Thiele graph feel like you slowly walking into a basement full of ghosts.
It had been 5 hours, 10 graphs and several incorrect answers before I decided that today was not going to be my day. It was exam season and everyone around me was bursting with tension. I needed an escape from this and I needed it now! So I packed my bag, put on my sneakers and packed myself a small snack. As soon as I walked out of my door I was unsure of where I was headed. I let my instincts take over and it led me right into a wonderful life.
Since I couldn’t study at home, I made way to the Ponderosa park that is a few minutes away. The place was lively and felt refreshing. There were several children far on the other side of the field playing and their laughter and chatter felt like the happiest sounds in this world. I found a spot under a tree far enough from the crowd so I could focus and yet near enough so that I felt like I was a part of something. There were families picnicking and enjoying the sun (on the rare days of summer). Somewhere on my right there was a young couple playing an outdoor game and behind them a young lady practicing her holla hooping skills. I let out a big breath told myself I must do it and slowly removed my book again to have one last battle.
During exams, there are many times I hit a road block and at those times I convince myself to take a small stroll, walk to the variety of parks we have around campus such as Ponderosa, Weston Park and Devonshire Green. I often, bribe myself with a good ice cream from Baskin Robbins or a nice meal from Taco Bell. Little did I know that today’s road block was going to be special.
So, I was there seated in the park, going through pages and pages of notes reminding myself of various calculations, theories and concepts when I heard a voice, ‘Hi, here have this.’ I looked up through the strands of my hair and that is when I first saw him. Curly hair and a wide smile, he extended his hand towards me and there was a slice of cake in his palm. I looked at him and was taken a back, not because I fell head over heels for some random stranger but because this boy was a 3 maybe 4-year-old young child who was offering a very stressed out student a chance of taking it easy. I told you! It was not the kind of love story you were expecting. This is a love story between the local community and students at Sheffield.
When I first applied to the university, I heard many times that the local community is incredibly supportive and welcoming of the students and university life in general. Many times, I questioned how true this was and over the years, several small and big experiences have reiterated this reality to me. Be it families welcoming students for Christmas meals or locals reaching out for student welfare.
I know many of you would think that I was simply over reactive or over joyed by this small incident but to me this was one of the kindest gestures. The young boy went out of his way to share his piece of cake with a total stranger because she looked distressed. To me this was an indication of how generation after generation of the local people have reached out and supported students from the university.
This experience left me happy, positive and even more productive – and if that doesn’t make Sheffield one of the best cities to study at I don’t know what counts.

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