Student bloggers

Life as a student in Bath

Surf 2k17 Moroccan Adventure

  

📥  Karolina (Psychology)

During this Inter Semester Break, I have possibly had, what I would call, the best trip of my life. Paying £300 to go Morocco with Bath’s Surfing Society has most probably been one of my best money spending decisions to date. I’ve met so many wonderful people (surf soc and Moroccan surf instructors included), started a new hobby, caught some African sunshine, and on top of that managed to prevent the stomach bug I caught from ruining my trip. T’was a wild 7 days.

The trip started one dreary morning, when I woke up at 6am to get myself on a coach that was soon bound to leave campus.

(pic of fb post here)

Only properly knowing one person going on the trip with me- my housemate Richard- I was a bit apprehensive of how this trip was going to go. Worried about people being up themselves about surfing, I was unaware of the Surf Captain’s promise to make this year’s surf soc “more inclusive”. I was later enlightened about this new surf ethos but to be fair, the ethos could be felt as soon as I arrived. Everyone was lovely.

When we first arrived at our accommodation, it turned out Richard and I had to join up with other people to fill up an 8 person apartment. I knew two other girls, met on previous surf socials, so we had a four. 3 other people joined us. It’s amazing looking back on that moment, thinking how we didn’t know each other at all and comparing it to where we are now. There’s nothing than bonds you more to people than getting collectively crushed by the same waves, getting drunk together nightly and living in the same apartment.

And what an apartment it was! Every day after surfing, we would sit on the balcony, listening to Claudia’s music paired with the background sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, waiting for dinner, and watching the sun set.

Enjoying the Moroccan sun on our balcony

Enjoying the Moroccan sun on our balcony

We would have breakfast and dinner on a terrace with the ocean surrounding us:

breakfast

Del and I eating breakfast during our hangover

Lunch was reserved for the beach. We would spend entire days either on the beach or in the sea, doing our best not to drown. Our surfing instructor, Abdo, is possibly one of the most stereotypical surfers I have met. He would very often come out with the following types of great phrases:

• About surfing: “it’s not a sport; it’s a feeling”
• About smoking: “it’s good for nature; it kills people”
• About the relentless current pushing us in all the wrong directions: “it’s nature man”
• And my favourite: “Enjoy the short life.”

We have since adopted some of these phrases and learnt the meaning of “gnar”, “gnarly” and “shaka”, which were subsequently heavily overused during the trip and for some time after.

Practicing the all important 'shaka' symbol

Practicing the all important 'shaka' symbol

I’ll never forget the last day of the surfing trip, when upon contracting a stomach bug and mistaking it for a hangover, I lay sleeping on my surf board while everybody else enjoyed the last day of surf.

My low point of the trip

My low point of the trip

I felt like death but Abdo managed to make me feel better by sharing a story of one of his nights on the beach, upon which he drank so much vodka he couldn’t walk in a straight line. “Never again.” He said.

The sun setting on a great day's surfing

The sun setting on a great day's surfing

Speaking of nights on the beach, one of my favourite memories from the trip must be when we had a bonfire on the pebbly beach. It wasn’t the softest of beaches but that didn’t put anyone off coming down and lounging around the light and warmth coming from the middle of our circle. At one point, we decided to run down to the water and get soaked. The darkness of the water blurred with the night sky, distinguishable only by the brightness of the stars. I wish I had taken a photo.

Our final night campfire party

Our great campfire party

There are so many reasons why I loved this trip. These were just some of them. I would strongly recommend anyone coming Bath to come on this trip or to join the surf society here; however, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea so I’ll say this: when you go to uni, try that thing you’ve always wanted to try. Don’t worry about not being good enough or the fact you’ve never done something before or that you won’t make friends. You miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take so throw yourself on them! You’ll thank yourself in the end.

Stay gnarly lol

 

Semester two: a mid term update

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

The last few week have been hectic! I’m 3 and a half weeks into semester 2 and I have hardly stopped! It was so strange being back at first; one of the weirdest things about uni is that it becomes difficult to know where home is. After being back with my family for almost 6 weeks and working full time at my old job I felt well and truly settled in and as if I was back on my gap year. But now I feel sooo settled back in here! It’s a bit of a strange feeling but hey having more than one place to think of as home can’t be a bad thing, right?!

Anyway, I’m not entirely sure why but this semester just feels so busy! I started some volunteering work which I’m really enjoying. There are so many opportunities to get involved with things around campus and I feel like I was too busy settling in to get involved before Christmas. This didn’t matter too much because my focus was on making friends and understanding the requirements of the course, but now I’m starting to think more about my CV and it’s time to start taking up more opportunities! As well as volunteering I’ve been to a couple of Amnesty International events and last night went to a really interesting debate about feminism with one of my flatmates. I struggle to motivate myself to go to extracurricular things sometimes but going along with someone else definitely helps!

I also got a gym membership! I’m so glad I did; at the start of the year my parents offered to get me one but I worried I wouldn’t use it enough to make the £289 cost worthwhile. However the rates are reduced after Christmas and so I got an off peak membership for the rest of the year for £99. My accommodation is about 3 minutes away from the Sports Training Village so I really have no excuse not to go! And I’ve been using it a lot so far; my days feel much more productive if I start them with a workout, and I’ve been to a couple of classes with friends too. As well as that I’ve been going to zumba and yoga during the week, both of which are free classes run by the Three Thirty club. It’s a really good way of fitting some sport into your day! And finally I’ve been doing ballet classes at The Edge. I’ve always wanted to do ballet but gave up hope as I thought I was too old to be a beginner, until I stumbled across posters advertising beginner’s ballet classes. They’re so much fun!

I feel very professional with my ballet shoes

I feel very professional with my ballet shoes

The workload this semester has also stepped up. I may or may not be writing this post as a way of procrastinating… I’m not sure if it’s because the semester is one week shorter or if it’s because I’ve taken up a lot of other activities but it suddenly feels like I always have work to do! I love being busy and it’s not an unmanageable amount, but unlike last semester where I felt I had a lot of spare time I now always have reading I should be doing or a lab report or essay to be working on. I guess that’s what to expect when studying for a degree…

And obviously I’m still finding time to socialise. After the initial Freshers' Week and post freshers excitement we’ve toned it down and I’d say our flat averages one or two nights out a week. I sometimes don’t even manage that; to be fair with so much going on I’m pretty exhausted and sometimes being in bed by 11 is much more tempting than still dancing in a club at 3… but only sometimes.

going out 2

Ignoring deadlines for the night and going out

So I’ve found a few ways of dealing with this; I put everything into the calendar on my phone. I always had my lectures on there but now I add things like zumba and ballet so I know when I’m busy and can see clearly if I’ve planned too much for one day. I have also been planning my meals which is sooooo useful! At the start of the week I look through my fridge and cupboards, plan meals based on what I have and what I need, and make a food order based on the stuff that I’m yet to buy. It saves so much time and money and is helping me to eat all the necessary food groups and vegetables without leaving anything to go mouldy at the back of the fridge… Would definitely recommend.

I've saved so much more I can afford avocados again!

I've saved so much more I can afford avocados again!

And finally, I have been trying to normalise my sleeping pattern. Obviously things like nights out affect this but I try to go to sleep and wake up at a similar time every day so that my body adapts to the routine and I don’t find myself needing a nap all the time. It’s pretty much working well (fingers crossed!)

Laura x

 

My top tips for making revision manageable

  

📥  Mia (Business Administration)

Exam results are out tomorrow so after reflecting, I thought I’d share my first university exam experience for my Business Management degree and my tips on revision. First and foremost I DO NOT recommend cramming for exams. It’s not a good idea. Particularly with one day to spare. I’ve never done that…

With Christmas holidays passed, lots of fun had and very little thought on exams, let alone revision, I was feeling happy. Once revision week hit and I sat down to get to work though, I can tell you I was not feeling quite so upbeat. I hadn’t realised just how much I had to cover for four exams. So with eight days to go until my first exam, I devised a plan.

I’ve become pretty good at revision over the last few years and worked out my best way of getting as much as possible done when I was doing my A-Levels. But I’m also one of those people that is far more productive under pressure so you’ll usually find me revising best when I have as little time as possible. However, I feel like my revision plan and tips will work the same whether your limited or unlimited on time (good on you responsible people).

In my opinion, the absolute key to successful revision is organisation and compartmentalisation. Allocate a day exclusively to one subject, and write a list of every single topic that could be included in the exam. Add to this list of topics the key points/ideas in each topic. And, voila, you have yourself a revision checklist.

My second step of revision is topic maps. I grab a wad of different colour paper, grab my 18 assorted colour sharpies (although after good use, only 12 remain) and get to it. I have a map for each topic, and outline or illustrate the key points in each. I aim to fill an entire A4 page but I do have very small writing so if you prefer bigger, double up on paper or invest in some A3. You can make these maps any which way you want, as a spider diagram, as a chart or just a scribbled mess, whatever works best for you. I personally start with a list of definitions for each topic, then divide up the key points and order them on the map.

Essay topic maps

Essay topic maps

The number one tip I would recommend is to use colours. Lots of colours. It sounds ridiculously childish or like those geography lessons at high school, where you’d just sit and colour in maps for an hour (please say I wasn’t the only one who had to do this). But colours really do help you remember things, even if you don’t realise it.

My favourite revision tools

My favourite revision tools

I also find I work a lot better when I hand write things. I type my notes up throughout the year, from lectures and seminars, but when it comes to revision, hand writing for some reason sticks the information firmly in my brain. I don’t know whether it’s from the reading-writing repetition or just the familiarity of my own writing, but it works for me.

Once these maps are complete, that’s the main bulk of your revision done. If you have time, do some practice papers with and without notes. If it’s an essay based exam, write up some essay plans for potential questions based on your maps. You can also make acronyms for all sorts of different information. Or if you’re super short on time, just read through them. I always read through them about 30 minutes before my exam too, especially the parts I struggle to remember, just so they’re fresh in my brain.

Some of my topic maps on markets and competition

Some of my topic maps on markets and competition

Revision-wise, this is what I recommend and it works wonders for me. I found my exams went okay, there were no surprises and nothing I couldn’t answer with some level of confidence. Retrospectively, I should have probably started revising earlier but I’m sure I’ll be saying that for the next three years.

It also goes without saying that sleep and water are so important!! Keep rested and keep hydrated and your concentration levels will soar, I promise.

I hope you find some or all of these tips useful and good luck for any upcoming exams!

 

Thesis...

📥  Faculty of Science, Maho, Postgraduate

So, I guess most of you will know that you have to write and submit a thesis to get a PhD. It’s basically a book on your research, detailing what experiments you did and why, what you found, etc. Now, as you may have gathered from reading my blogs (thank-you!), I’m coming towards the end of my PhD, meaning I’m now starting to write this book... well, at least trying to anyway! It’s something that’s been in the back of my mind since I started, and now it’s time to start tackling it, it’s really scary! – I’ve never written anything that long, so it just seems daunting right now.

Some people will stop doing lab work and concentrate on writing full time – I’m not currently doing that, as I have not finished my projects yet. Now, I originally thought that writing while still doing lab work would be... well, not easy, but... do-able; it’s actually proving trickier than I anticipated. The difficulty is that lab work obviously takes time out of your day, so even if you start writing and get into a good flow, you may need to disrupt that to get back to lab work, which then makes it hard for you to get back to writing. Or, you may only have a short gap between stages of experiments, which makes it difficult to get started. How do you find the motivation in those scenarios?

Another thing that has an impact on me is the fact that my projects are still not complete, therefore what can I write about? Is there any point in starting something that may change anyway? – knowing what research is like, what you think will happen may not actually happen at all! Also, if you are aiming to get your research published, should you be concentrating on writing your thesis or the paper? – I personally say concentrate on the paper, as that will be an important factor when applying for jobs, and also when you come to do your viva (so I’ve heard). You can then modify the paper for your thesis – win-win really! Or put the papers together as a thesis, which I believe is now possible in my department.

One saving grace has been being around post-doc.s; it’s so helpful to hear about how they approached their thesis. Most have said something along the line of “start with your materials and methods/introduction”, and that’s the approach that I’ve taken. And I have to say that it’s great to know that I won’t have to sit down and write a whole materials and methods section from scratch! Of course, your supervisor/other academics will be able to advice you too; interestingly, I’ve had one piece of advice that it’d be better to concentrate on finishing lab work, and writing full time after; now, I can see advantages to that, as you probably gathered from above. However, due to the fact that my project is not finished, I’m currently concentrating on lab work. Who knows, I may finish lab work at some point in the spring, maybe I won’t...

How you approach writing a big “report” like a thesis varies from person to person; I guess the trick is finding what works for you. My advice for those about to embark on something similar, like your thesis or a final year dissertation, would be to start with the introduction and materials and methods, like I was advised. That has definitely worked for me, and that can be started even before you have a definite idea of what the outcome of your project is. Another thing I find helpful (and what I should start doing more often!) is finding somewhere to go and write; library, café, doesn’t matter. It’s better to be away from the office/home with the intention of writing, and I’ve recently discovered the graduate commons areas in 10W (4th and 5th floors); I went there with my laptop and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, as I find background noise distracting and music helps me concentrate better, and was more productive writing there than in the office. If you are still in the lab like I am, just find a couple of hours where you are not doing anything in the lab, go somewhere else and start writing.

Now, do I have a gap tomorrow...?

 

What life is like in Norwood House

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

In March 2016 I went off travelling for a few months, loved it and stayed for an extra 5 weeks. As I hopped from night bus to hostel to plane I hardly thought about Uni, which was a slight issue, because during this final 5 weeks came the day of choosing uni accommodation. I am massively disorganised, and could hardly remember the accommodation I’d looked through in February, but found an email draft where I’d written my top 3 choices of the vast selection, based on pricing, room size etc, so I forwarded it to my parents along with my username and password so that they could apply for me.

It's so important to consider different factors when you're choosing your accommodation. The most crucial one for me was cost; knowing that my brother had had the cheapest accommodation when he was at Uni meant that I didn't even look at The Quads. Ah, the mood lighting, ensuites, and double beds will always just be a dream for me. But also, some of the accommodation is catered. On my first day at Bath I heard a boy say to his mum in Fresh, the supermarket "do I cook pasta in the oven?" And honestly I think if your culinary skills are at that ability, catered accommodation may be the safest option for you. I, on the other hand, really love to cook, and am pretty fussy with all my dietary requirements, so actively avoided catered accommodation as a result.

Ensuite is a real deal breaker for some people. Initially I said I'd pay the difference so that I could have one, but when my mum pointed out that this would be hundreds of pounds I quickly gave up. And honestly, it's been fine. I've never had to queue for either the showers or toilet, they're always clean (I was surprised, too) and yeah, generally I don't think it's as dramatic as everyone expects.

The final big accommodation decision is whether you live on campus or in the city. I didn't even look at city accommodation; I'm lazy and wanted to fully embrace the convenience of campus life. But a friend on my course lives in the city and loves it. She applied late and it wasn't her first choice, but she says that it's so convenient being in the city centre; they're near shops, restaurants and clubs, in a much more central location than most of the student accommodation we'll live in next year. Yes, they have to get the bus in for lectures, but so do all the other years, and given that they don't know any different she says she really likes living there. So yeah, wherever you end up really isn't the end of the world.

There were a lot of things I hadn’t realised about Bath Uni. All I knew was that it was really, really good for psychology, that it was at the top of a hill, that it was a campus uni, and that I loved the city. So when I arrived I learned some fun facts like just how sporty it is (how I didn’t know that is beyond me), and also, that Norwood House is located above the Students' Union. All my flat mates knew, everyone was excited because it meant we could go out without even going outside, and it meant we were right in the centre of everything going on on campus. I tried to remind my mum of this while she panicked that I wouldn’t be able to sleep and hastily rummaged through my bag for ear plugs. I’m not gonna lie; Norwood can be noisy. Score is on a Wednesday and Klass is on a Saturday; the two nights ‘out’ on campus. Score goes on until 2 and Klass until 3, and I could sing along to Mr Brightside or Seven Nation Army from my bed if I wanted to. We also have the added fun that if someone sets off the fire alarm in the SU, we get evacuated too. Good times.

Tthe sunsets from the ninth floor of Norwood House are amazing.

Tthe sunsets from the ninth floor of Norwood House are amazing.

However, I love Norwood and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. All the rooms are spacious student rooms; single bed, wardrobe, 2 little chests of drawers, shelves, a big desk, an arm chair and a sink. Literally what more could you want? We share 2 toilets and 2 showers between 7 of us, and I am yet to have to queue. And our kitchen is massive; we’ve hosted meals for the whole floor many times.

We even got an extra table so that more people can eat in our kitchen

We even got an extra table so that more people can eat in our kitchen

And I’m on the ninth floor and I swear the views couldn’t be better. We’re also so near anything. Ever thought I wish I could go to starbucks without going outside? Well we can. And the library. And Mini Fresh (a convenience store), a cash point, laundry facilities. We have it all, and our rent is one of the cheaper options; I think it’s £122 a week. Also, within a week or two you’re so used to the sound of the SU you sleep through it, if you’re not at Klass or Score anyway.

Aand the best part, getting to live with these guys

Aand the best part, getting to live with these guys

Yes, our corridor looks a bit like it could be in a prison. It really does. But who hangs out in the corridor?? Okay we don’t have mood lighting like the Quads, but you can’t get a more convenient night out than one where you just have to go down 7 floors in the lift to arrive at the club. Norwood is the best. Not that I’m biased or anything.

Laura x

 

First year exams

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

Exams are weird. Personally I hate revising, feel stressed for weeks before and in the exam room, but pretty much always do better in them that other assessments. But after taking a gap year I found myself facing my first exam in over a year and a half, and it was really strange.

Years at Uni are divided into two semesters instead of three terms like a school year. Semester one runs from September to December, and then after the Christmas break you have your semester one exams, then an inter-semester break (one week) before starting semester two. The same thing happens with semester two; it runs from February until the Easter break and then you have exams after that.

Caffeine is a necessity when revising.

Caffeine is a necessity when revising.

The number of exams you have varies by subject. In psychology we were lucky enough to only have one January exam, but other subjects had a lot more (my friend doing chemistry had 8?!). But we had a lot more assessments throughout semester one, so I guess it kind of evens out because she didn't have to have any late night essay/lab report freak outs.

My school were very good at preparing us for exams; we had revision checklists, did practice exam questions for weeks before and had extra revision classes. But Uni is very different and are very much in control of your work. So while we could see previous year's exam questions much of the course content had changed, and we had our lecture notes and core reading to revise from. I found it all very daunting; I'm a creature of habit and I found myself craving the familiarity of exams at school. But this was great practice for the next few years at uni, and it was useful to get back into the habit of revising. Hand writing was also very odd; for the last 18 months I've scarcely written more than customer's food orders at work, and after 2 hours my hand was aching!

My flat mate decorated his entire room with revision.

My flat mate decorated his entire room with revision.

A very useful resource during exams was an exam forum on our online learning space, Moodle. This meant that as well as emailing lecturers with questions, we were all able to post public questions on the forum so that we could all get questions to common concerns. Our whole psychology course also has a Facebook group chat (there are about 160 of us in it) and while it freaked me out a bit to see how much everyone else was revising it was really useful. I'm not sure anyone actually enjoys exams (if you do then I'm impressed and jealous) but it was almost worth it just for the feeling of relief afterwards! And with only one exam I had 2 weeks off to nap and watch as much Netflix as I wanted before facing semester 2!

Laura x

 

Publishing

📥  Faculty of Science, Maho, Postgraduate

Publishing scientific papers is key for career progression, and it’s not until you start thinking about what should go into a paper that you realise how much work goes into one – for example, it’s taken me most of my PhD to get the research done to even start writing the paper. Then it was time for the manuscript to go to our collaborators, and I’m now (still) doing more experiments. And really, that’s only half of the story; once it’s ready, then it may or may not be sent out to reviewers, who might say more experiments need to be done!

The main factor in getting your research ready for publishing is getting the experiments done, and, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, they don’t always work the first time you try it. This then takes time to try to trouble shoot, which means that another month, two months, go by. It’s scary really, how time flies sometimes! You may also be asked to do experiment(s) for other people’s research – I’ve had the opportunity to do this, and it’s nice to know that I’ve been part of different research projects. I enjoy learning about what other research goes on, and it has been great that I’ve been able to be part of projects outside my own.

Once the manuscript is ready to be published, it gets sent to journals – now, I don’t really know too much about journals and their impact factors (rankings, basically), I can’t say much about this – where it either gets sent out to reviewers, or rejected. The reviewers then make suggestions for improvement, or rejects it. Now, this could mean more experiments, and that again could take a month or too! So all in all, you can see how quickly time flies in this process. Next time you find yourself reading a research paper, bear in mind that it probably represents years of work, possibly by a big group of people.

 

Healthier eating as a student

  

📥  First year, Mia (Business Administration)

Pepper, Tomato, Feta and Pesto Pizza

It can be difficult to get into good habits when you live on your own, without your parents moaning at you to not eat the entire family sized bar of chocolate that mum bought yesterday, or to stop binge eating crisps instead of fruit, and to not order your third Domino’s of the week. And the worst sin of them all: ready meals. However, I truly believe that having a healthy diet leads to a healthier mind, more energy, more motivation and a better mood. I’ve written this post to give some tips on how to eat healthy and delicious meals on a student budget, and have included some of my favourite quick and easy recipes.

Food blogs can be an absolute knight in shining armour when it comes to healthy eating. Depending on your diet, allergies and tastes, there is a food blog out there for everyone. Some of my favourites are:

  • Deliciously Ella is great for veggie lovers. My personal favourite recipe of hers, is her Summer Vegetable Risotto. I don’t use the fancy pastes or every vegetable. But it’s a perfect super easy meal, that’s great to use leftover veg in and keep for lunch the next day.
  • The Almond Eater is another great blog for clean eating inspiration. I am obsessed with the Tomato and Garlic Pasta, its so so tasty! She also has yummy pancake recipes for a weekend breakfast treat.
  • I also love Lexi’s Clean Kitchen () and Clean Eating Alice on Instagram.

I personally love cooking and don’t mind spending a little bit longer making dinner when I know it’s going to taste amazing. I feel like if you put some herbs and spices on even the blandest of food you can make a delicious meal. And it’s so simple. Even putting a chicken breast with basil and lemon in the oven for 30 minutes, is going to be so much better for you than any ready meal in plastic shoved in a microwave. You can pretty much go by the rule that if it takes under 10 minutes to cook, it’s not going to be good for you.

In terms of cost, you could consider cutting down on meat (particularly red meat), only buy in season fruit ad veg, do not fear reduced items (they’re still going to be fresher than ready meals) and plan your weekly meals. This means you’ll stick to your shopping list, won’t waste food you bought on a whim and you can keep a track on your food budget better.

This by no means is any sort of diet plan for weight loss or gain. But by avoiding food we all know are full of salt and fat and fake flavours, you can make tasty meals like this cheaply and easily. And I promise, you’ll feel so much better for it.

Here are some of the dishes I have recently made:

Lemon Chicken and Pomegranate Salad

Lemon Chicken and Pomegranate Salad

My favourite- Summer Vegetable Risotto

My favourite- Summer Vegetable Risotto

Pepper, Tomato, Feta and Pesto Pizza

Pepper, Tomato, Feta and Pesto Pizza

Tomato and Garlic Pasta cooking away

Tomato and Garlic Pasta cooking away

 

Why I chose Business Administration at Bath

  

📥  First year, Mia (Business Administration)

When I was first applying for uni, I always knew I wanted to do business because it was the most relevant degree to what I wanted a career in. However, there are a broad range of business degrees that you can do. Most commonly people choose Business Management. Business Studies is also popular. But not many people hear of Business Administration. On this blog post I will outline the reasons why I chose the BBA programme over management and why I chose Bath in particular.

From GCSE onwards I only ever thought about going to the University of Sussex.  They had a great business management course that I was almost guaranteed to get into with my ABB predicted grades and it was a 30 minute drive from my house, meaning that I could save money by living at home. At this point my mum persuaded me the day before I applied to give myself a couple more options. So I went through the uni rankings for business and chose a few in the top 20 that weren’t too far from home. I ended up applying for Sussex, Surrey, Southampton and Bath (twice). I applied for Business Management for all of these choices with the exception of Bath where I also added Business Administration on a whim.

The East entrance to the University

The East entrance to the University

Within a couple of weeks I was fortunate enough to receive offers from all of my choices. I think this was mainly because I applied very early and I had a strong personal statement and reference. After this, I was invited to applicant days. I attended all of them apart from Southampton. Having already visited open days at Sussex and Surrey and loving them both, I was unsure of also going to applicant days, but I am so glad I did. They made my decision 100 times easier!

My first applicant day was Bath in November. After a nice morning shopping with my mum we arrived at the School of Management after lunch and were given thorough information packs in little tote bags. We had talks with a course convener, past student and a placement officer. These talks were very engaging and interesting and every unique aspect of the course was explained to us. The BBA course is a little different from most regular courses in its placement programme, with two 6 month compulsory placements as opposed to a single year-long placement. This stuck out to me as it means that you can gain experience in different functions, different companies and even different industries which I think is so valuable. The strong relationships with large businesses that the department has enable it to offer the possibility of exclusive placements which was also very important to me as well as the fact the course has its very own placement officer, 100% dedicated to you.

The Vice Chancellors building on campus

The Vice Chancellors building on campus

Another selling point for me was the fact that during university time in years 2, 3 and 4, all modules are optional, with an extremely broad range of topics to choose from. Furthermore, in year 4 you are able to study abroad at one of the many partner universities that the course has ties with. The fourth year also involves a live action project where you work directly for an organisation. I thought this was amazing as you can actually make a difference to a company even though you haven’t even graduated yet!

So in the taxi on the way back down to the station from the uni, I told my mum “This is where I want to go”. I still forced myself to go to the other two applicant days, but I found the staff to be unenthusiastic compared to Bath and the courses simply did not appeal to me anymore.

From my experience I’ve found the main difference between Business Administration and Business Management to be that the latter seems to be more focused on entrepreneurship and running your own business as opposed to BBA which focuses on management skills within an existing business. For me the BBA course made a lot more sense in terms of my career prospects.

Waiting for our next lecture to start (very excited!)

Waiting for our next lecture to start (very excited!)

Overall, I am so glad that I chose this course. Although I’m finding the compulsory modules in this first year tough, and housing for next year is causing me stress, I’m very happy with my decision. Even though Bath is about a 4 hour train from home which is much further than I initially wanted to be, Bath is a beautiful city and the university campus is perfect in my eyes.

 

 

Coming home for Christmas... and revision

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📥  First year, Rob (Physics)

I’m writing this from the belly of the beast, the valley of the shadows, the edge of the observable universe. My first exam is a week today. I arrived back in Bath this Monday just gone and I’ve quickly settled back in. It felt like I was coming home, not leaving it! I was overjoyed to see my housemates again and we managed to squeeze a game of risk out of our respective revision schedules, however tight they may be.

The tension of war doesn’t wait for anybody, no matter how excited we were to see each other, or how close our exams are...

The tension of war doesn’t wait for anybody, no matter how excited we were to see each other, or how close our exams are...

Just before the Christmas break I went to the lake district with The Mountaineering Club. It was a special trip for me, as I’ve always wanted to go back, since I first visited as a child. I was under the impression that nostalgia had the best of me, and I’d be disappointed on return, but that really wasn’t the case. I think the views speak for themselves. Here are a few of my favourite photos from the weekend. It’s a destination that I’d recommend to anybody and everybody.

Frosty fields on a cold winters day

Frosty fields on a cold winters day

One of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen

One of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen

A moss covered stone roof, typical Lake District fare

A moss covered stone roof, typical Lake District fare

Could it get any better? The weather was like this all weekend

Could it get any better? The weather was like this all weekend

Waterfalls are everywhere in the Lakes

Waterfalls are everywhere in the Lakes

Video timelapse: Stunning. Shot on an iPhone - not too bad.

It was great to go home. I live just south of London so it wasn’t a quick journey by any means (six hours of coaches with an hour in-between, waiting at a rainy bus station!) but I arranged to link up with a friend from home for the second part of the journey. He’s at UCL studying anthropology. We chatted about our courses and who we live with, and traded stories of the first two months, of which we both had a huge number. It really brought home to me how much I’d become immersed in my life in Bath, and the nuances and personalities of the people I’d been living with seemed even more interesting. I really missed them. I arrived home late that night, and by the look of the smile on her face mum had missed me just as much! I quickly opened the fridge and realised what I’d really been missing for the last two months; excessive amounts of food.

I think it suits me, honestly

I think it suits me, honestly

It’s not quite Bath but sunrise is special anywhere, right?

It’s not quite Bath but sunrise is special anywhere, right?

On the 23rd I went to the city with Becky. We soaked in the Christmas atmosphere that seems to ooze out of the bones of London at this time of year, hurrying around and stopping from time to time to warm up with food or coffee. Maintaining a long-distance relationship is testing, especially at University, but a day like that makes it feel so worth it!

Covent Garden…I loved it as a kid, and still love it now

Covent Garden…I loved it as a kid, and still love it now

I spent Christmas day with my family, and I even managed to do a couple of hours of revision. I spent the next few days revising, and the next few nights at the pub. I went out for a couple of meals, which was appreciated as a rare treat. I went to an Italian with Becky and an upmarket sort of place with Mum. Just in case you’re hungry…

Fish in spicy tomato sauce

Fish in spicy tomato sauce

Eton Mess done properly!

Eton Mess done properly!

Pizza, potatoes and Becky…three of my favourite things

Pizza, potatoes and Becky…three of my favourite things

…sorry if you were.

And almost as quickly as it came, it went…I spent new year’s eve at a friends and then it really started. I entered the dragon’s lair- revision. Intense revision.

The last goodbye to a year without exams

The last goodbye to a year without exams

Coffee is something that I don’t think anybody should deny themselves, not at any time of year. But now , the evils of examined physics on the horizon, coffee becomes something far greater than a choice. It becomes the very blood in my veins, the breath in my lungs. I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has been this way since the beginning of time. A constant in a chaotic universe. I share my house with somebody who feels the same, and as such we’ve developed what resembles a cult around the substance. We both have different apparatus and have made a fine art out of coffee brewing, balancing taste and caffeine content with precision. We meet as often as our addictions allow to refresh and rebrew.

Revision has been difficult for me to approach, as I haven’t taken an exam since 2014. I took two gap years to pursue travel and other non-academic interests (something I’d recommend to anybody who’s considering the option!), and I’m somewhat out of practice. It’s surprising how fast things like this seem to come back to you though, and I have managed to gain traction since the start of the year.

To illustrate what it’s like to prepare for university exams I’ve decided to include a F.A.Q in this post, to clear up some common confusions.

Q. I’ve heard that first year doesn’t matter, so why should I bother?

A. This is a common misconception, since the first year of a course doesn’t contribute to the overall degree classification. But what does it do? A good first year grade puts you at the top of the pecking order for employers considering you for a placement year, increasing your chances of securing a placement that interests you and pays well. It’s also important to be considered for year abroad options. Also, the first year of a degree provides knowledge that underpins the rest of the course. Without a strong understanding of the material taught in first year, the remaining years of a degree will be very difficult to grasp.

Q. Are there any key differences between A-Level and University exams?

Firstly, university exams are written by your lecturer for each module. The key difference here is that every exam will have a different style, based on the examination philosophy of the specific lecturer. Secondly, full worked solutions aren’t available for past papers! This came as a shock to me as that was my primary method of learning at A-level. Though it has indeed complicated my working process it has solid ideas underpinning it. It encourages students to gain full and deep understanding of the topics studied, instead of just remembering and regurgitating words onto an exam paper. You’ll thank the university in the end, trust me! Deeply understood knowledge is much more valuable.

Q. Generally has it been easier or harder?

A. So it’s a difficult question. The material itself is a lot more detailed and as such a lot harder. But then now I’m studying just physics, instead of three subjects at A-level. I chose physics because I’m passionate about it and also I find it, not easy, but manageable. The nature of studying one subject in detail is that a lot of modules cross over, and as such the knowledge is more general than specific. A lot of concepts from my Vibrations, Waves and Optics unit, for example, are relevant in both Mechanics and Electrical Circuits. This merging of subject areas creates an easier dynamic than rushing between History, Chemistry and Physics, for example.

Here goes nothing! Only five exams until I have enough time to breathe again!