OPINION: Students give us a lesson in charity

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Students, eh? They spend their time sleeping, partying, drinking, eating baked beans and maybe, just maybe, attending the odd lecture. Right?

Wrong. Although surely plenty of that goes on, today The Star is shining a light on another side of the city’s student population: the young adults who are giving something back.

A staggering 33,550 hours back, to be precise.

On pages 10-11 you can read about the University of Sheffield students who have given up their time, sacrificing their valued lie-ins and a few nights out in order to benefit more than 200 local charities and voluntary groups.

This half-term, children will be able to take their teddy bears to The Teddy Bear Hospital project, a scheme set up by a group of students to make youngsters more familiar with doctors.

It’s a brilliant idea and a truly worthwhile endeavour, and these students deserve praise.

These particular students aren’t time-rich youngsters studying humanities either (spoken from personal experience…), but medical students who have chosen to give up their free time despite balancing the intense workload involved in becoming a medical professional of tomorrow.

Many of these people, despite being buried under books and working shifts in hospitals and medical centres - never mind if they’ve got another shop or bar job on the side to help pay the bills - are making this sacrifice just because they want to.

And it’s having a direct, positive impact on the lives of Sheffield people.

It’s often flagged up how much money students bring into the city, at both our universities, through the cash they spend on somewhere to live, food, drink, entertainment, clothes and the rest, and the work they do in part-time jobs

Of course, that is very important in helping to support Sheffield’s economy and we can only hope that both universities continue to attract strong numbers from across the country and, indeed, across the world.

But it’s fantastic to be able to put other, less trumpeted but nevertheless important contributions students make into the spotlight today - and it’s not just medical students, but young people from all walks of life undertaking all sorts of degrees.

Maybe these students can teach us something.

If we could all set aside a little more of our time to help others, imagine the difference that could be made across the city.