Student bloggers

Life as a student in Bath

Posts By: Karolina Wozniak

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

 

Getting into the flow: essays, reports, and the struggle to concentrate

  

📥  First year, Karolina (Psychology)

I am in my 6th week of university. One assessed essay behind me, two reports due next week, two group presentations to perform, more assessments to come and unfortunately, I’d say I have not yet got into the flow of work. It’s difficult, here at university, to get anything done. Whenever you manage to sit yourself at your desk with the laptop open on an empty Word document, and begin typing, someone is bound to knock on your door asking for a chat. How can I say no? It’s rude; isn’t it?

Psychology is a demanding subject. Unlike other sciences at Bath, 70% of the assessments are coursework which makes for a productive year and a lovely, relaxing exam season. I’m not used to this. After dropping AS Drama at the end of year 12, I only had two pieces of coursework to complete. One for Biology and one for Chemistry. This meant the effort I put into studying was a bit unevenly distributed. Have a look at this chart I drew while procrastinating the next paragraph of this blog post:

My year 13 'effort over time' graph

My year 13 'effort over time' graph

As you can see, my studying habits (if they can be called habits at all) are a bit inconsistent. I work when I need to work, but this isn’t sustainable! The amount of coursework I need to complete means that I need to be working all the time and not just three times a year. It’s time for a change.

After spending a good half an hour googling “How to be more productive?”, “How to stop procrastinating?”, and “Why am I so god damn lazy?” I reached the conclusion that googling the answers to my issue was counterproductive, and was only contributing to the problem. What I had to do was block out all distractions and just get on with it. I locked the door and then, after a second thought, I unlocked it again because I figured out the key to stopping my pestering house mates. After some scribbling and taping, I stood in awe of my solution. All I needed this entire time was a sign:

My sign to deter potential distractors

My sign to deter potential distractors

My house mates, of course, decided to deface it:

My sign, defaced by flatmates

My sign, defaced by flatmates

Nevertheless, my plan worked. I was left alone to do work. Great. With my ear phones in, blocking any outside noises, a jug of water by my side (because hydration is key) and a new determination to just get on with it, I got more done in an hour that I got done all week. I realized the secret to productivity was never a secret. Get on with it. “Just do it.” like Nike says. After a while, just doing it, will become your habit and after it becomes your habit, it’ll only get easier.
The only issue left was the issue of distractions. Sign or no sign, sometimes my house is impossible to work in. The temptation to go downstairs to goof around is a little bit too strong. Those days I need a plan B or a plan B, C and D, so I can mix it up and prevent studying from getting too boring.

Plan B

The Lime Tree – The Lime tree is a bar, café and food court. It’ll be great if I want to study right through lunch and dinner times but might become a bit of an issue if I ever need to hand in written work. I doubt lecturers take too well to food stained coursework.

Plan C

Local cafés – Bath is a national heritage site. Its continuous stream of tourists means there’s many local cafés perfect for some filmesque studying. I recommend buying one coffee and staying for the entire day, no matter how busy the place gets! I hear staff love this but, ideally, find cafés out of the way that you know won’t get too busy and enjoy the quiet that usually accompanies them.

Plan D

Lastly, here comes the dreaded plan D. This is where I’ll come when all other options fail me, when the food stains on my coursework build up into full course dinners, when the owner of every Bath café runs me out of their establishment and I am left with only one option… The Library. Studying there can’t be that bad. Can it? I mean, I see people coming in and out of there all the time… They don’t look like they’ve been permanently traumatized by some event there. No sign saying “NERD” ever develops on anyone’s face. Maybe I too, could become a library goer. Only time will tell. Right now, the sign is enough.

Working out how I’m going to avoid my house mates during crunch time and deciding to start getting on with things has already made me more productive. The elaborate techniques the articles I searched for on Google suggested may be helpful to those already doing their work but when you’re having issues getting started, reading them only wastes more time. Next time I’m sat staring at an empty word document, I’ll know to just start typing. After all, I’ve already made my sign.

 

Freshers' Week: making friends, joining societies and settling in

  

📥  First year, Karolina (Psychology)

Freshers' Week: Day 1

Freshers' Week: Day 1

The above picture is of me and my house mates, on the first day of Freshers' Week. If we seem a little too close for comfort for a bunch of strangers,  that’s because we weren’t!

The Saturday and Sunday of the moving in weekend gave us plenty of time to bond with each other before we were thrust into the torrent of Freshers events. Zoe, our Freshers Crew Member, popped in during our very first uni evening before there was a chance for any of us to feel alone. She made us all introduce each other and took away the pressure that usually comes with meeting people in such artificial socialising environment. Soon enough we were playing Ring of Fire around the kitchen table and already, the tearful goodbyes said the same afternoon, seemed to fade into oblivion. What happened next? Well, it’s a bit of a blur.

The t-shirt colours of the different accommodation sites were everywhere. Our Eastwood green tops made sure anyone living anywhere near us had an instant conversation starter, “Which house are you from?” followed by a, “That’s far…” or a “Oh my God, we’re neighbours!”. It was that easy.

You might be wondering what the drinking culture is like on campus. Although Bath does not fall short of other universities when it comes to nightlife (we like our parties just as much as the next university), there is a system in place that ensures the safety of students, especially during Fresher’s Week. The various crew members dotted around campus were working around the clock to make sure everyone got home safe after the boozy nights of Fresher’s.

But is Fresher’s week only for drinkers? What about the students that would rather abstain from the sometimes dangerous effects of alcohol? To get the answer to that you’d have to ask my friend Josh, who didn’t drink one unit of alcohol all week. He got involved in all the drinking games using a can of Coca Cola and went to the night events completely sober. Did he have fun? You’d really have to ask him, but he looked like he was enjoying himself from where I was dancing.

Whether you were waking up bright and early or sometime around 1pm with a banging headache, there was something on for you, with a never ending stream of activities. My house mates kept coming back with news of the various clubs and societies. Some of these tasters were enjoyed and others inspired vows of never trying the sport/society ever again, yet, whether the taster was your cup of tea or tea just wasn’t up your alley, there was never any harm in giving whatever it was a go. There was never any pressure to come back, yet upon singing up, everyone was welcomed with open arms.

Personally, I decided to join the Amnesty International, surfing, Psychology and the Art societies. I’ve never had any previous experience with any of these things but I figured: first year is meant to be the easiest, so if I don’t try all these things now when will I? Each year, the work will only get harder, as it always has, and the time I have spare for discovering what I like, love and am truly passionate about will decrease with the increasing work load. “Carpe Diem” – It’s time to seize the day! Or in this case, seize the whole first year and all the opportunities being thrown my way at the moment.

Bath University is bursting with opportunities. There is always something on. Whether it’s day or night, if you want to stay busy, all you have to do is step outside your door and make that miniscule initial effort. Making friends is a given. Everyone here is in the same boat, especially during the first few weeks, during which your circle will most likely not extend much past the people you share your kitchen with on a daily basis. Sometimes all you need to do is say “hi”, start a conversation about the lecture and swap Facebook details.

So far, Bath has been wonderful. My initial doubts whether it was the right Uni for me have been dissolved by the stream of activities and the hilarious people I’m surrounded by in my house. Will it get worse or better from here? I’m not sure, but I hope that my blog posts will help you in deciding which Uni is right for you.