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Life as a student in Bath

Posts By: Mia

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!

 

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.

 

 

Living in Woodland Court

  

📥  First year, Mia (Business Administration)

Aside from applying for uni itself, applying for accommodation is the most stressful experience of uni preparation- at least it was for me! I live in Woodland Court, and thought it would be good to offer a little personal insight into my accommodation block.

First of all, the rooms in Woodland Court rooms are larger than your average room in a halls of residence.

My bedroom

My bedroom

The bedrooms are ensuite, with a sink, a toilet and a shower (which you can use all at the same time). The shower has a shower curtain so it’s more like a wet room but the water drains quickly so you don’t end up flooding the whole room. There’s also one glass shelf to place various toiletries, and a large mirror.

Bathroom

Bathroom

On the bathroom door, there is a full-length mirror and to the side of this you have an open storage unit of four shelves and a hanging rail. There is also plenty of space above the storage unit and under your bed. I recommend investing in some large boxes for these areas if you have a lot of belongings as it makes everything a lot tidier. Next to the storage unit is a corner desk with loads of space and a shelf above it. There are also three drawers underneath the desk. The walls have 8 plug sockets, two aerial cables and an ethernet plug. Then on the opposite wall, you have a small double bed with three shelves next to it and a large pin board covering one wall. The room also comes with two bins and an armchair.

My very useful (and personalised) pinboard

My very useful (and personalised) pinboard

In our block, all walls are white apart from the desk wall which is bright green, and the armchair and provided bedding is blue. I used all my own bedding just because it makes your room a bit homelier, but if you do decide to use the university provided ones you can get them exchanged every Wednesday. We get our bedroom and bathroom cleaned every six weeks but I would recommend bringing your own cleaning products if you’re a bit of a neat freak like me, as everything gets very dusty very quickly for some reason. I thought my room was a bit cold for the first week or two until I realised that my radiator wasn’t actually turned on…

My flat consists of 15 students and so we get a slightly larger kitchen to share. There’s not a lot of space in the kitchen but we get one cupboard, one fridge shelf and one freezer shelf each which just about fits my things in. There’s also an extra shelving rack that you can put a box of all your utensils on. There are two sinks, two hobs, an oven, a grill, two microwaves, a toaster and a kettle. We also have a TV, an ironing board and an iron. There is also a table and plenty of chairs to use, although it can be a bit of a squeeze at dinner time.

Communal space in our kitchen

Communal space in our kitchen

We’re on the east side of campus, pretty much as far east as you can get. Marlborough, Solsbury and Quads are our neighbours. The Parade is about a 5 minute walk, and the management building at the farthest end of the Parade (which runs through the centre of campus) is only about a ten minute walk away so everything is still pretty close. The bus stops and STV are both within 5 minutes walking distance. We have a launderette and post room in our building, and the parcel office is 5-10 minutes away.

Walking home to Woodland Court

Walking home to Woodland Court

We had a few issues with kitchen appliances breaking in our first couple of weeks, however these were sorted very quickly by our Woodland Court housekeeping team who are really helpful if you have any accommodation issues at all.

Cost-wise Woodland Court is one of the pricier options at £158 per week (2016/17 cost). I wanted an en-suite and a double room and I saved a lot of money in my gap year so I felt I was justified to spend a little more. The next alternative is the Quads which is new but rooms are smaller and you must get compulsory catering credit. Personally, I didn’t go for this option as I like cooking for myself, but it’s totally up to personal preference.

The most crucial thing about applying for accommodation is to apply the minute applications are open if you want to have the best possible change of getting your first choice. Woodland Court tends to be one of the most popular options so get in early to hopefully avoid disappointment!

 

Moving in and Fresher's Week: My advice

  

📥  First year, Mia (Business Administration)

Even if you think that you know exactly what to expect when you arrive at university, no matter how ready and prepared you may feel, you don’t.

Finally here in Bath!

Finally here in Bath!

Having deferred my place to take a gap year, in theory I had a long time to prepare, organise and pack. Yet, no number of checklists, labelling, student forums, Facebook group chats, or fretting family members left me ready for what was to come.

I was fortunate to secure my first choice of accommodation- Woodland Court- and I was very smug about the promise of a larger room, an en-suite and a double bed. However, to my dismay, a second-year student posted very depressing looking photos of a standard Woodland Court room on an accommodation Facebook page that looked NOTHING like the photos I’d seen on the accommodation website. For a girl whose bedroom is her peaceful haven, I freaked out.

Despite this minor worry I set off on the Saturday with my very helpful parents, car loaded with a considerably open mind. Upon arrival and collection of my library card (which doubles as your room key), we loaded up an industrial trolley full of boxes and went in search of my new home. My room is at the end of a corridor of 15 bedrooms and one large kitchen, on the ground floor (thank you accommodation office!). As it turned out my room was lovely. I quickly set about unpacking, arranging and organising as I love to do and after an hour or so my new room looked wonderful if I do say so myself. Based on my experience I would advise you to set your expectations halfway between university photos and student photos. The university photos of Woodland Court show a large room which nine times out of ten you will not get! Nevertheless, my room was nowhere near as dreary and dull as the photos I had seen posted by a second-year student. DO NOT WORRY about your room. You can make anywhere your own. I’ve been to rooms in the Quads and Marlborough Court and every student makes their room unique and liveable. Although Woodland is one of the more expensive accommodation options, and so I worked hard almost the entire year saving money so I felt I could indulge myself a little, in truth Quads, Marlborough & Solsbury are not massively different.

Exploring campus with my mum

Exploring campus with my mum

When it came to the daunting process of meeting my flatmates, a lot of the pressure had already been relived. Most of us somehow found each other on Facebook and set up a group chat to 'pre-meet' as many of the people as possible who we were about to spend the next 10 months with. In my flat there are three second year students who are really helpful in terms of navigation around campus and general university advice. All 15 of us get on really well which is very fortunate, and this seems to be the case for most people that I’ve met. When you’re all in the same position, it’s very easy to find common ground as a basis for friendship.

Now as far as Freshers' Week goes, I’m not big on partying and drinking because of health. I did not buy the package wristband however any event you go to you can pay on the door which worked out to be much more cost effective for me as I didn’t go out every single night. This first week is great for getting to know people in your flat and others as well, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to make an effort to socialise during this time! It was a lot of fun and I didn’t feel like the odd one out at all if I wasn’t drinking, as most people will not be up for drinking seven nights straight no matter the bold claims they may make on night one.

Freshers' Week: Jungle night...

Freshers' Week: Jungle night...

... and Toga night!

... and Toga night!

Another important aspect of Freshers' Week is course induction activities. GO TO ALL OF THEM. Although at the time a few may seem very long and dull and repetitive, you learn so much that will help you massively in the first few weeks of your course and inevitably throughout the whole year. As a student of the School of Management, we also had networking activities in this week, which again I found very beneficial. You may not necessarily meet your best friend during these activities but it’s definitely a comfort seeing a friendly face during the next few weeks. One thing that surprised me about the induction week activities was the enthusiasm from staff. Coming from a large, fairly low performing sixth-form college I was not used to this level of friendly and knowledgeable staff and it really made a difference to me in terms of my confidence and motivation for studying my course.

All in all, the whole moving in process has gone very smoothly for me despite some previous minor concerns. My top advice? DO NOT WORRY!