Sponsored feature, words by Fay Millar

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Postgraduate study can literally be life changing. Think breakthroughs in science that allow someone who is paralysed to feel again, new technologies that let people connect across the globe, or the development of cutting-edge teaching techniques that help students to learn better. The things you learn or discover during postgraduate study have the potential to transform lives and even save people.

For example, at Sheffield Hallam University a recovery programme was set up to help people who have previously been addicted to drugs and alcohol to get their lives back on track.

The programme, named <a href="http://www4.shu.ac.uk/ad/changinglives/strong-saturdays" target="_blank">Strong Saturdays</a>, is part of the Life in Recovery research study, which demonstrates the impact of volunteering and teamwork on recovery from drugs or alcohol addiction. It's led by the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam and uses the university's strength and conditioning suite to guide a team of strongmen to competition standard.

Strongman and athlete Steve Horvath overcame his drug addiction by taking part in the Sheffield Hallam initiative. Steve, who has since gone on to qualify as a gym instructor and personal trainer as well as win an Atlas Strongman competition, says: “I never thought I would be where I am today…I’ve come such a long way and I don’t want it to end.”

If you study a postgraduate degree, you can contribute to research like this which has an impact on the lives of real people.

Sheffield Hallam offers a wide range of postgraduate courses. Here's a list of <a href="https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate-study/become-a-postgraduate-student" target="_blank">reasons to do a postgraduate degree</a> showing how continuing your studies could open doors for you and bring a wealth of new experiences.

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<h3>How postgraduate study can create awareness and bring you new opportunities</h3>Postgraduate study can give you access to experiences that have a real world impact. Your postgraduate research doesn’t just mean that you're confined to the classroom, but you'll have the opportunity to get out and about and meet the people it actually affects.
For example, every September, Sheffield Drug & Alcohol Coordination Team (DACT) sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorders, while also spreading the message that help is available and celebrating the people who recover.

One of the highlight events of Recovery Month is the Ride for Recovery bike ride around Derwent Dam. Sheffield Hallam's department of law and criminology provided the bikes for the ride. The department is a leading international centre for research and policy movement around recovery from alcohol and drug problems. This year, the ride attracted more than 100 people, including service users, staff, postgraduate students and stakeholders from drug and alcohol recovery services across the city.
Dr Jamie Irving, senior lecturer in criminology at Sheffield Hallam, says: "We work very closely with the region's key stakeholders involved in drug and alcohol recovery through our applied research and training, so it's fantastic to be involved with the Ride for Recovery to help raise awareness of substance use disorders. Events like these help reduce stigma by showing the public that people can and do recover from addiction."

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<h3>Come to an open day</h3>If you want to find out more about postgraduate study, then pop along to one of the open days that most universities offer. You have nothing to lose, and going to an open day gives you the chance to find out all about the courses available and how it can benefit your future career.

Sheffield Hallam is holding a postgraduate open day on <a href="http://www4.shu.ac.uk/opendays/book-place/new/study-fair/505945E3-40E6-4E44-B72D-2804A0AC379A" target="_blank">Wednesday 19 October, 4-7pm</a>, where you can meet students and staff and learn more about postgraduate study.