Student bloggers

Life as a student in Bath

Topic: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Open Days- things to do while visiting Bath

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📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Hannah

The season for open days is coming up! An open day can be really useful to help you decide which universities you want to apply to. You’ll be able to visit your subject department, learn more about the course, meet some of your future lecturers, and get an opportunity to explore the campus and accommodation.

While open days are often pretty busy with trying to cram in all the talks and events you want to attend and trying to see as much of the university as possible, it’s also a good idea to get a feel for the town or city that you’ll be living in for the next three or four years. While I haven’t been into the city centre on a regular basis during my first year at Bath, I’ll be living in the city next year and in my final year after I have completed my placement. That's twice as long as I’ll spend in my first year university accommodation, and so open days are a good opportunity to see what Bath has to offer. If you’ve got some time to kill before your train home after the open day, or if you will be spending the night in Bath, the city has some great places to explore.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey on a sunny day!

Bath Abbey on a sunny day!

One of the main attractions in Bath is the beautiful Bath Abbey. Entry is free (although they do ask for a small donation), and there’s a lot to see inside. When I visited the Abbey with my family (it’s a great thing to do when family and friends come to visit you in Bath) we spent ages reading the plaques and stone tablets of people who had been interred in the abbey and buried in the churchyard. People from all over the world have been buried there – I think we read nearly all of them! You can also go up the bell tower, and although they do charge (around £7), it offers amazing views of Bath. There are only certain times of day you can go up though so make sure you check in advance if this is something you want to do!

Museums

Hopefully you will visit Bath on a sunny day, but if not there are plenty of things to see and do indoors as well. Bath is famous for its link to Jane Austen, several of her novels are set here and she herself lived in Bath for part of her life. The Jane Austen Centre offers a wide range of information about her life, her family, and Bath society during the Regency period. The museum is situated in a house very like the one she would have lived in, and there are frequent talks and tours. There is also the chance to dress up in Regency period costume – something me and a friend enjoyed a lot when she came to visit me!

Trying my hand at old fashioned writing in the Jane Austen Centre

Trying my hand at old fashioned writing in the Jane Austen Centre

If, like us, you hadn’t had quite enough dressing up in the Jane Austen Centre you can also visit the Fashion Museum which has a really good exhibition of fashion from the 1700/1800s to modern day. Again, there is a whole room dedicated to dress up, this time with crinolines, corsets and a special backdrop so that you can take photos. The fashion museum is also free for Bath university students so it’s a good place to go when friends visit you at Uni.

Enjoying the Fashion Museum

Enjoying the Fashion Museum

You can find out more about the great museums in and around Bath here.

Walks

If the day you visit Bath is sunny then I would recommend either the Bath Skyline Walk or a gentle stroll alongside the River Avon. The Bath Skyline Walk is a round walk of around six miles that starts in the city centre, climbs to the top of the hill where you get amazing views of the city and then descends back down. The walk is accessible from the University campus – walking round the edge of the golf course just above the university you will soon find signs pointing you to the walk. If you prefer a walk more in the city there is a path that runs just alongside the river and gives you great views of the city.

Shopping and Eating

And last, but not least, what lots of people come to Bath for: shopping. Bath has an excellent range of shops- both chain high-street stores (Primark, H&M, Topshop, Zara etc.) and also many smaller boutiques and independent stores. Wandering round the shops is also a good way to get to know the city centre and to try out some of the great cafés and restaurants in Bath. If you’re looking for a light lunch or a snack I would recommend the Boston Tea Party (amazing lemon cake) and although I am still to try it, the world famous Sally Lunn’s is very popular as well.

Whatever your tastes you should be able to find something to see or do in Bath that suits you. I think that getting a feel for the town you are going to live in is as important as getting a feel for the university, so don’t pass up the opportunity to sample what Bath has to offer!

 

Talking about exams

  

📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year, Ruth

So exams have finished which means my first year of university is over, let summer begin! I can’t believe I’m thinking about exams, let alone writing about them but I wanted to answer any questions that you may have about exam season at university.

I guess it all begins when you receive your exam timetable. Although you’ll know about your exams long before this (hopefully) this is when it suddenly seems real. The exam timetable informs you of the date, time and location of your exam enabling you to imagine it and panic! My course is predominantly coursework and therefore I didn’t even think about exams until the timetables were released.  I have only had one exam this summer but some of my flat mates have had five so the intensity of your exam period is totally dependent on your course.

I found this exam season incredibly different to A-levels in that you aren’t required to attend lessons or be around peers/teachers and therefore revision at university requires a huge amount of discipline! Consequently, I’d recommend making a revision plan before you even try to begin. Once lectures are over the whole of the university has one week set aside for revision and then a three week exam period. There is of course the choice to stay at university and revise or head home. Some people find that they can work better at home in their familiar environment however personally I get distracted too much at home and can’t even concentrate for more than 10 minutes (lesson learnt for next year!) Plus, there are so many places to revise at university which can help prevent insanity because I’ve found that variety is good.  Many people revise in their rooms or flats, others head to the library, some settle in the eateries and cafes and if the weather is nice you’ll see lots of students outside.

So the dreaded day has arrived and you’re about to sit your first exam either feeling prepared or a little under prepared. One thing that has taken a bit of getting used to are the 4:30pm exams, here at the University of Bath exams can either be at 9:30am, 1pm or 4:30pm. I don’t know about you but by 4:30 I’m done with the day and ready to curl up in bed with a hot chocolate and a film! Honestly, they’re the worst but at least for those who feel underprepared it does provide an extra bit of precious last -minute revision time. The exams are normally held in the main sports hall (Founders Hall) but when that is full other students sit their exams in lecture theatres or seminar rooms. Days pass and the same routine occurs: you wake up, you revise, you sit an exam, you sleep but eventually you walk out of your final exam and your summer starts then!

Relaxing in the sun with exams behind me!

Relaxing in the sun with exams behind me!

I have had the best time celebrating the end of my exams in Bath, there is so much to do and it is even better when the weather is nice. My favourite thing has been to grab a drink and sit by the lake if it is sunny. I’ve also enjoyed using the free time to explore Bath as a city, playing crazy golf in Victoria Park and taking a picnic to the royal crescent. Once the exam period is over the University holds a summer ball which includes a variety of music acts, a fair and street performers, as well as much more! It is a great way to celebrate the end of the year with your whole flat.

One final tip: if you’re lucky enough to finish exams early don’t celebrate too obviously in front of those you know who still have exams – it doesn’t go down too well!

 

Staying organised at University!

  

📥  Charlotte (Sociology), Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

Now, I don’t want to sound preachy, but staying organised at University is super important for staying on the ball, getting the most out of your degree and keeping on top of your work. I know, accuse me of sounding like your teachers but it’s true! Juggling your time, keeping up with your reading lists and question sheets at the University of Bath can be a daunting task, but providing you stay organised, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.

Thus far, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt whilst at University is about balance. Balance is a word that is thrown around a lot; whether about our food and lifestyle choices, school work or emotional balance; it’s really key when you’re a student. It’s important to balance having a happy and thriving social life, smashing your assignments and having some ‘time for you’! Some may even keep up a part-time job too so keeping organised and in control can really give you a leg up!

My first tip for staying organized at University is to get to-do-listing! Once you start, it’s hard to stop and whenever I lose or am without my weekly to-do list I feel a little scatty and lost. One of the best ways to keep tabs on what you need to get done is to jot down a list every Sunday evening for the week ahead.

Hopefully your to-do lists aren't as shoddy as this one (although, planning a day of 'nothing' can be very cathartic).

Hopefully your to-do lists aren't as shoddy as this one (although, planning a day of 'nothing' can be very cathartic).

You might want to split it into sections such as ‘Miscellaneous’, ‘Cleaning/Room’, ‘Assessments Due’, ‘Reading to Do’, ‘Events’ and go from there or you can bung everything together to get the ball rolling. Adding a tick box to each task just adds to the feeling of accomplishment when you blitz through your to-do list and get it all sussed and complete.

I like to add a reward for myself at the bottom of my lists; for example, coffee and a cake at the weekend at my favourite coffee shop or going to the cinema in town, a trip to Bristol or even just buying something that’s tickled my fancy in the shops. This is fab motivation, and I guarantee everything will be scratched off in no time! You’ll be feeling pretty smug and efficient also.

In prime position on my desk in Halls, this is where I jot down everything I need to do for the week. (I usually spill coffee on it by Wednesday!).

In prime position on my desk in Halls, this is where I jot down everything I need to do for the week. (I usually spill coffee on it by Wednesday!).

Another handy way to keep everything in order is to print out your timetable at the beginning of every week. At University, timetables can be subject to change every single week due to seminar locations, differing lengths of lectures and different events going on or even the addition of a ‘reading week’ to swot up before assignments. Pinning your timetable on your wall means that you only need a quick glance before you head out every day, and an overview of what’s going on throughout the week means you can plan around it. Highlighting where you need to be and when helps make this crystal clear.

Routine can be a handy thing at University. As dull as this may sound, getting things done in a certain way or on a certain day every week can help you out hugely. For example, maybe you could set Friday as your day to review the weeks' work and the day where you indulge in a movie as a treat for staying on top of everything. You might want to allocate an afternoon for errands and cleaning such as getting that blasted pile of laundry done, wiping down the shower or meeting your group for a forthcoming group assessment. A routine day to pop to the supermarket every week can be beneficial, and your family will be singing your praises if you make it a regular thing to contact them- this gives you and them something to look forward to and a catch-up with your nearest and dearest is always refreshing!

Having an organised work space when you’re doing work for lectures, seminars or language classes can be really helpful. Getting rid of that mountain of used teabags, the dried up pens scattered everywhere and the thousands of post-it notes can be a good way to clean up your desk and make it a good place to work. Sometimes having a cluttered area around you can make you feel a little rattled, so making sure that your desk and room is organised can help you feel less frazzled and more productive.

Another way to keep all your work organized is to buy an ‘in-tray’ for your desk or a shelf somewhere in your room. In here, you can keep all those pesky sheets that usually go missing and know that everything is in order if you need it: receipts, society membership confirmation, postcards from home, essay titles, revision notes, shopping lists and tickets for club nights can all be easily shoved in here and having them in one place means that you never have to experience that panic of losing an important document again.

Finally, a diary is a great investment when coming to University. When I got to the University I decided to snap up a diary and jotted down all forthcoming important dates such as when group presentations were, when I was booked to travel home, when the university Ski Trip was, when important talks and conferences were being held and when I had shifts at my part-time place of work.

Having a diary means that you don’t ever have that day-before panic when you remember that you’re due to meet your personal tutor, or there’s a great market on in town which you don’t want to miss. You can also remember the birthdays and anniversaries of people at home, and they’ll love that you’re not totally deserting them when you can send them a nice message on special days.

Keep organised! Although boring, it is a super way to keep on your toes and it’ll certainly pay off. I promise!

Charlotte.

 

Surviving the exam period at Bath!

  

📥  Charlotte (Sociology), Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

Examinations. That dreaded, dreaded time of the year when students have to swap clubbing for revising, laughing for sobbing and their mojitos for coffee. Exam-season is never fun for anyone, but what’s different about university exams in contrast to exams in college or at Sixth Form is that at University, you’ve essentially opted for many of the modules you’re being examined in, and you’re studying a subject that is paving the path to your future.

Additionally, the University of Bath offers many subjects that are broadly assessed by coursework and independent study as opposed to formal examinations, which is handy for some and saves some of the typical exam stress.

Revision is tough, exams are draining but once they're over you'll be feeling proud of yourself and your accomplishments.

Revision is tough, exams are draining but once they're over you'll be feeling proud of yourself and your accomplishments.

The first way to survive examination time, and to keep your head above water (which is totally feasible at Bath; there’s tonnes of academic and pastoral support/help available. Peer mentors and peer tutors are delighted to lend a hand at all times!) is to keep organized. Making yourself a revision timetable or to-do lists can be really helpful for arranging what needs to be learnt, tested and re-capped and this allows you to feel in control and not scatty or flustered when it comes to revising for your exams. Organisation of your work area or desk is good shout too; clear surroundings = a clear mind.

Another way to keep on top of your game when it comes to exam time is to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Instead of powering your brain with energy drinks, strawberry laces and endless cookies (yes, we’ve all got textbooks full of crumbs!) try and incorporate some fresh and wholesome foods into your diet as they’re great for brain power and general sprightly well-being. Oily fish is superb for memory, green tea is ace for concentration and a wealth of fruit and vegetables can be great for helping you to feel ‘on the ball’ and healthy (try popping to the shops in the evening when the prices of fresh produce are slashed!).

Drink lots of water, and try and stay active. Take frequent strolls around campus or where you live and still engage in sporty societies as this is great for release from intense studying. Socialising too is superb during mind-frazzling periods.

Another pointer to being top-dog during exams is to keep up a reward system, great for motivating you to get your metaphorical revision hat on and to supercharge your productivity. For example, why not allow yourself a coffee out or cinema trip after 10 hours of revision or a small ASOS splurge when you’ve revised and tested yourself on a whole module? Having something to look forward to, and a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is always helpful for zipping through all those case studies or equations.

When you’re revising for exams, make sure that you change up your revision styles a tad when they become dull or mundane. We all learn in different ways (to assess how your brain gathers and retains information take a simple ‘learning styles quiz’, easily found on Google) so will naturally revise in different manners. Some may opt for mind-maps, others may vouch for flashcards and some stick with Team Post-It-Notes-EVERYWHERE.

Making sure you prepare for your examinations in a variety of ways means that revision is less likely to become uninspiring and helps surge your creativity when putting pen to paper.

Another way to tackle feelings of stress or mental exhaustion when it comes to revising for exams is to take some time out and to focus on relaxation. Although there’s pressure to be constantly scribbling away, recalling facts and reciting key definitions; sometimes you’ll find that you can be more fruitful in your revision with frequent rest and breaks.

Using an app to meditate can be a great idea, as can doing a 20 minute yoga routine from YouTube or even just stopping fully to reflect, relax and recuperate at common points during the day. It’s also super important to ensure that you snatch at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and experts suggest that you should usually stop revision 2 to 3 hours before you snooze so all those key dates and statistics aren’t playing on your mind when it’s time to unwind.

Good Luck, there’s no doubt that using these tips you’ll smash your examinations!

Charlotte.

P.S Did you know that the Examinations Office at the University of Bath organises over 1000 exams for around 9000 students annually, which translates to over 70,000 candidate places in 60 different exam venues?! You have to hand it to them - they're good.

 

Exploring the beautiful city of Bath!

  

📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year, Ruth

Being at university in Bath has the amazing advantage of living in one of the most beautiful parts of the country (an opinion shared by many). If you’re not already sold by the University of Bath, then the city should definitely do it! Being a first year student I haven’t spent a huge amount of time in the city, mainly because everything I could possibly want is on campus so I have no need to! However, when friends and family visit I love showing them around- so this blog will basically tell you how beautiful Bath is and the best things to do with your time in the city!

The various walks around Bath are the perfect thing to do when family visit and I have also enjoyed them with flat mates. Bath is known as a world heritage site for a reason, and many of the walks combine the stunning architecture of the city with the beautiful countryside and stunning views. Recently, when my family visited, we ‘walked to the view’ a route that starts and finishes right next to Bath Abbey. It was a perfect summer’s day and it was great to sit on the top of a hill looking over Bath in the sun – all we needed was a picnic! I have also completed the ‘Skyline Walk’ which is slightly longer, it took 6 hours for us but then again, we did get lost! It is, however, great to do with friends as it starts from the university and again has great views of the city. One thing my friend from home loved was a casual stroll along the canal whilst having a much needed catch up.

Enjoying the skyline walk with flat mates

Enjoying the skyline walk with flat mates

Another place to visit is the Roman Baths and I feel that this is a must as a Bath student. I took my grandparents here and they loved it. I was unsure (history is not my thing) but actually ended up really enjoying it! The attraction is right in the centre of the city and is therefore incredibly easy to get to. Also, note that as a student in Bath you get in free so definitely worth a visit!  Why not try out ‘The Roman Bath’s Kitchen’ afterwards for a spot of lunch? It is delicious!  Right next to the Baths is the iconic Abbey so make sure to show people around whilst you’re there, the inside of the Abbey is particularly impressive so pop in and have a look.

A trip round the Roman Baths

A trip round the Roman Baths

One other thing that is obligatory as a University of Bath student is a photo in front of the royal crescent. Any friends and family that visit will no doubt want to make a trip to the royal crescent – Bath is famous for it! Just don’t forget the photo! Right behind the Royal Crescent is the Royal Victoria Park which is a perfect place to visit. It has stunning gardens as well as crazy golf and tennis courts to keep everyone entertained!

I saved the best till last, shopping! In my opinion, there is nowhere better than Bath. It has the perfect balance of high street stores and exclusive boutiques. Being a student, window shopping is a regular occurrence, but I still love it! A family favourite is ‘Fudge Kitchen’ every time they visit Bath my family are eager to go and try out some delicious fudge. The well-known Pulteney Bridge also has an array of shops which makes it a great hit with visiting family- especially as it was used in the filming of a Les Miserable scene- there’s a fun fact to tell your visitors! After all of that shopping you will most definitely be feeling like some refreshments. My advice would be to visit ‘Sally Lunn’s’ which is Baths oldest house turned into an eatery, make sure to try out the famous ‘Bath Bun’ whilst you are there.

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge

I hope this blog has helped you realise that you will never be bored in Bath, and made you excited to show your friends and family around in the future. One of my favourite things to do is show off this beautiful city that I now get to call home!

 

How to stay active at university, even if you hate sport

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📥  Charlotte (Sociology), Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

As a student here at the University of Bath, I would say that the most heard statements are as follows: ‘Which sport do you do?’, ‘Who’s holding the pre-drinks?’ and ‘I should probably clean my room’. The former is a tricky one for me as I’m at one of the sportiest universities in the country, yet I think my 90 year old grandma is probably more agile and better suited to sport than me… no really.

I’ve never really experienced that ‘runners high’ they speak of, I’ve never fancied starting my morning with a ‘few lengths’ of the Olympic swimming pool here at the Sports Training Village and quite frankly, I only signed up to do cheerleading for the outfit. I’m a guilty of being a sportophobic! I’m sorry #TeamBath (yes, Instagram is riddled with this hashtag, everybody loves Team Bath!).

Even though I’m not the sportiest of sorts, I do think it’s really important to stay active and on your toes at university. Spending hours upon hours cooped up in your room studying isn’t great for prolonged periods of time, and if the only exercise you get is dancing at clubs; it’s probably time you got a little more exercise in. Here are some of my tips for staying healthy and active, even if you’re not fully immersed in every sport here at Bath.

Sadly, I can't say going to the gym is my favourite part of the day!

Sadly, I can't say going to the gym is my favourite part of the day!

My first pointer would be to walk-it-out. The campus at the University of Bath is small compared to many other campuses across the country, but to me and my little legs, it seems rather vast. At least every other day I try and take a stroll around the University site. The edge of campus is actually very woodland-y and provides lovely views while pacing around. There’s even a castle backing onto the golf club here, and that’s a special sight – the view from it, it is utterly stunning. There’s also an American Museum on the University site, as well as a cat and dog adoption centre so walking to one of these places is a great way to get in some exercise, with an engaging reward at the end.

Sham Castle, 4 minutes from central campus. A great location for a stroll and photo-snapping session.

Sham Castle, 4 minutes from central campus. A great location for a stroll and photo-snapping session.

If you like scenic places, or just like to have an Instagram feed packed with nature or a Snapchat story oozing with sunsets and nice rivers, there’s many National Trust sites around Bath, which are beautiful and walking the routes with friends is a great way to keep your ticker going. Starting at the university is an admittedly incredible ‘skyline’ walk around the edge of Bath, looking down onto the gorgeous city and only a mile from Bath Spa train station is another National Trust site called ‘Prior Park Landscape Garden’ which is glorious and has a beautiful bridge plonked in the middle called the Palladian Bridge – a real treasure and an equally good day outside.

Another way to stay active at University is by participating in amateur and recreational sports- clubs are readily available for people who have never done sports before and are welcoming to total beginners. Clubs with basic, beginner branches include Netball, Rugby, Lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee and Cheerleading. There is also a terrific group called the 3:Thirty Club who arrange sessions based around getting active for those that aren’t particularly sporty: past sessions have included tag rugby, girls self-defence, yoga, improvers swimming and boxercise. Perfect for those that feel a little daunted by official clubs and want to get fit with like-minded people.

The ultimate way to get the most toned calves ever here at the University of Bath is staring you right in the face: Bathwick Hill! This is the rather steep, and slightly ominous hill up to the University. This does have a real gradient, and there should be prizes for those who make it up by foot without being out of breath, even the elite athletes studying here! Walking this hill takes around 20-30 minutes and is a brilliant way to sweat-it-out and get the blood pumping. The reward at the bottom is Bath’s stunning canal, and all the shops along with the historic sites (Bath isn’t a UNESCO World Heritage site for nothing!) in town so I suppose it does pay off!

Walking along the scenic Avon and Kennett Canal is a lovely way to keep fit.

Walking along the scenic Avon and Kennett Canal is a lovely way to keep fit.

There’s a litany of beginner to 5k running programmes here at the University, and the cycling club also offer frequent rides for people new to road biking.

Jumping for joy at how easy exercising can be in Bath, even if Lacrosse or Rugby aren't your calling.

Jumping for joy at how easy exercising can be in Bath, even if Lacrosse or Rugby aren't your calling.

There you have it – How to not be a couch potato at University, even if the ‘spinning’, ‘Zumba’ and ‘hockey’ buzzwords just don’t appeal to you!

Keep healthy!

Charlotte.

 

Making the most of Department Open Days at the University of Bath

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📥  Charlotte (Sociology), Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

Well done you! If you’re utilising this post, it probably means you have swiped up an offer to study at the University of Bath. Celebrations are in order, although next comes the tricky part: making that daunting decision on which university to firm and which to select as your insurance. You also need to get your head down, as this is where getting the grades becomes very important (don't sweat it, you get out what you put in – work hard, and you’re laughing!).

To help with this tricky decision, here at the University of Bath, every Department holds a ‘Department Open Day’. Yes, we can’t skim past the fact that the free lunch is pretty attractive, as is another chance to stroll around campus and have another nosey at all Halls of Residences; but Department Open Days are really handy in helping you suss whether Bath, and your chosen Department is right for you.

Read on, as I’ll highlight some key ways that you make sure that you get all the wisdom you can wangle from a Department Open Day…

Here at Bath, we usually hold our Department Open Days from October through to April, and most Departments will hold a number of days to make sure they can squeeze in everyone who might be embarking on their course. Department Open Days are packed with prospective undergraduates just like you, wanting to take a gander at the course content, meet people who may be joining them come September and to grill lecturers on what makes Bath so great.

Make sure, whenever you’re waiting for a talk to start, or you’re meandering round campus that you try and chat to fellow potential students. Ask where they’re from, why they’ve chosen the same/similar course to you, what they’re studying at present and why Bath appeals to them. You could even dip into which Halls take their fancy or what societies appeal to them – it’s great to get chatting so you can see what the other people who may be on your course are like and to share your worries/excitements about University.

When attending Department Open Days, make sure you’re organised. You should be provided with a timetable/schedule of the day prior to arriving, so make sure you’re punctual to all talks/lecture tasters or presentations as this means that you can grab all the information available (and make a gleaming first impression!).

For me, when I attended my Department Open Day at the Social and Policy Sciences (SPS) department, I was lucky enough to have a 1:1 conversation with one of the course conveners for Sociology. This was immensely valuable as it allowed to me ask any questions bugging me- I got to intimately meet real academics from the Department and got to hear about all the different areas of cutting-edge research being carried out at the University from the ‘horse’s mouth’. This was really insightful, and it definitely helped shaped my decision to come back to Bath – for good.

I made my decision to firm Bath on my way home from the SPS Department Open Day. I found it very enlightening, making my UCAS response much easier than I had envisaged!

I made my decision to firm Bath on my way home from the SPS Department Open Day. I found it very enlightening, making my UCAS response much easier than I had envisaged!

As embarrassing as it may be when Mum or Dad get out their notepad, or try and engage with other parents at Department Open Days (you don’t have to bring your parents however, it could be the perfect opportunity to spend the day alone, meeting other people without cringing owing to your Mum’s wacky questions!) – it is a good idea to bring your laptop or some paper to jot down key information such as how the course is assessed, semester dates, how many optional/compulsory modules you have to do or when the examination period is.

The long haul to Bath was definitely worth it, so naturally I had to inform Facebook! This seems like an age ago now, considering I'm edging towards the end of my first year!

The long haul to Bath was definitely worth it, so naturally I had to inform Facebook! This seems like an age ago now, considering I'm edging towards the end of my first year!

It’s also favourable to work out how many textbooks you will need to purchase for your course and whether you will be spending time doing practical assessments or having ‘lab time’ as associated with many of the science courses offered at Bath. You can look back in writing when making your mind up on your favourite university, and this means all the information churned out by lecturers doesn’t go straight over your head!

It can also be useful to bring along a copy of the prospectus as from year to year, some parts of the course may change, so being able to edit these on paper will help you out in the long run. Whether it’s a change from coursework to examination, the offering of new optional modules or the changing around of lecturers – take note, so you can be well in the loop when replying to your offers on UCAS Track.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to whoever you see on campus, as you need your decision to be as informed as possible. Everyone on campus is friendly and should be approachable (a few may have sore heads from the night before, so may appear a touch grizzly!). Every Wednesday between 10am and 1pm, we have a Welcome Point at the foyer of The Edge where you can get answers from Student Ambassadors; on Department Open Days, most departments will pull in current students or Student Ambassadors to fill you in on whatever you feel you may have missed, so take advantage!

One of the mistakes I made when attending my Department Open Day was not plotting enough time for the day: I had to make the long trek from Cambridge which meant that in order to be home by a reasonable time, I had to leave campus at around 2.30pm and I regretted not having longer to explore and ask questions. If you feel it’s necessary, book to stay in a nearby B&B or hotel so you’re not rushed for time due to travel arrangements.

Having an extra hour or two means that you could be able to cram in a visit to the City of Bath which you might have missed when attending the Open Days here. I can’t say it enough, but as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and generally dreamy city, visiting the hub of Bath - the tourist and shopping district, is a must.

To make the day a tad easier for you, remember to print your ticket for parking on site or the for the Park & Ride service before the day. The University of Bath operates a free Park & Ride service from Lansdown, with the number 33 service running from 9am on many of the Department Open Days. Bath also offers a Travel Bursary Scheme to help particular applicants with the cost of attending Department Open Days and interviews.

Finally, following your talks, tours, presentations and sample lectures, make sure you check out the Student’s Union, the Library, and the Sports Facilities at the University of Bath. If you need directions, flag down a student in a red t-shirt, all of whom are ready and raring to help make your day as easy as possible.

Good Luck, and remember to make the most of your Departmental Open Days. We hope to see you at the University of Bath come September!

Charlotte.

 

Juggling part-time work at university

📥  Charlotte, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

I am a typical girl. I adore shopping, I love going for coffee with my chums and I love having a bit of money on the side to get my hair snipped, go to the cinema or buy some flowers in town on a Saturday morning. Many of the boys I know are the same; they like to put some pennies aside for grabbing a pizza and some beer when the rugby is on, or to fund a trip to Bristol or to buy the newest FIFA game. At University, having some ‘money for a rainy day’ is really handy.

This is why I decided to get a part-time job to keep up in tandem with my studies at the University of Bath. Naturally, you’re probably grimacing at the idea of getting in from a day of lectures and seminars and shooting off to a job. You also might think giving up that Sunday lie in and flat bacon breakfast for the workplace may suck too. I disagree- working whilst at University has definitely helped me to fund some brilliant Christmas presents for my friends and family, and I’ve met some truly lovely people at work and it’s definitely a release from my studies which is really welcomed at times, especially with those beastly exams looming!

Just to throw another spanner into the works, I’ve actually got two, yes two jobs at University! This sounds a little nutty, doesn’t it? How can I possibly work towards a ‘first’ classification (something I really want to achieve from University), keep up with people socially and have two jobs. Well actually, it hasn’t proved that hard! Stick with me here, it totally works for me!

I decided that the best and most convenient place to get a job would be on campus. This would mean I wouldn’t have to ramble down the hill, or get on a packed bus on a Saturday morning for work and I could be really close to my Halls of Residency. Fact: I did indeed manage to swipe up a part-time job on campus, and it takes me 37 seconds to get there! As barmy as it sounds to time my stroll to work, it really does show just how handy the placing of work is for me.

To get my job on campus, I decided to start job-hunting early. I frequently scrolled the JobLink website and listings provided by the University of Bath for students looking for jobs before I came to University. I did specify when seeking a job that I wanted a post on campus, but I did also send my CV to some cafes, shops and cleaning positions in the City of Bath; this frankly wouldn’t be too hard as it only takes a few minutes to get to town on the bus, and the buses are really frequent. The city is pretty compact too, so I knew that shops and eateries would be easy to find and get to.

I sent my application to a café/restaurant on campus called The Lime Tree and on the first day of Freshers’ week, I got an email inviting me to an ‘informal interview’ at the Lime Tree. I was still a little muddled as a disorientated, frazzled Fresher but I decided to go along and give it my best shot.

The interview was indeed very informal, and just felt like a chat over coffee with the managers, although some grilling questions did pop up. Luckily, it went really well and only days later I got an email saying that they would like to employ me as a member of their casual staff. Many of the contracts on campus are ‘casual’ which means in most cases you won’t have a fixed, rigid contract and you can essentially tailor your hours around your other commitments, picking and choosing when best suits you to work.

This is the 'Lime Tree' refectory on campus at the University of Bath. A place I work, to give me a little money on the side!

This is the 'Lime Tree' refectory on campus at the University of Bath. A place I work, to give me a little money on the side!

I find this really helpful as I don’t have to worry about whether going to a talk, listening in to an extra lecture or going out in the evening clashes with work, as I just choose not to work during those times. Add to this, another bonus of working on campus is that in 2014 the Students' Union campaigned for everyone to earn the ‘living wage’ and this means I earn a very adequate amount and I don’t have to go without a new pair of trainers when I fancy them! Yay!

Another advantage of working on campus is that you’re not tied to a contract in town which may require you to work during Christmas, Easter or over the summer as no one is on Campus at these times and thus I can go home without worrying about working or having to find cover in order to get time off.

If I was to offer some advice on getting a part-time job at University; here are my pearls of wisdom:

  • Prioritise your studies – Even if you’re offered extra hours or premium pay for adding on a few shifts a week consider whether this will affect coursework deadlines, examination revision or even just staying on top of your reading and learning.
  • Hunt around – Don’t settle for the first job as the pay may be poor, the hours offered may be a little skewed or it may be too tiring to return from and then cook a meal, clean your room, make a presentation etc. Avoid manual or labour-heavy jobs so that you are not exhausted when you need to get up for an early lecture!
  • Weekend posts rock – try and aim for places that are looking for ‘part-time weekend staff’, as opposed to only ‘part time’ staff as this may entail more work during the week, which is much less convenient than on a Saturday or Sunday. You don’t want to have to rush off from lectures to work or have work clashing with group work meetings. The weekends are the best time to cram in a paid position, although think ahead if your family are popping to see you at the weekend and try and swindle some time off to see them.
  • Keep tabs on payment – make an Excel spreadsheet or jot down the hours you work and the rate of pay you’re on. Make sure when you’re paid weekly or monthly that you’ve been paid the right amount and carry out some research to make sure that you’ve been taxed correctly.

I also am lucky enough to manage the social media presence of a Tea Business, and find that this too is very flexible around my degree.  Do remember that if you want to have another small job, or some voluntary work, alongside a a part-time job AND your studies then make sure it doesn’t distract you from the reason you’re here- to learn!

Good Luck!

Charlotte

 

 

A Social life: having one and funding it!

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📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year, Ruth

University is definitely not all about work and study, it is so important to have fun and to take some time out from studying. I’ve loved the social side of university so far and I hope I can give you a flavour for what it is like here at the University of Bath. Of course, it is difficult to fund a social life, especially when you are a student and perhaps find yourself in charge of your own money for the first time, so I hope to give you some handy tips too!

There is a good night life in Bath (despite what you may have heard!) with a number of student nights running at various clubs throughout the week. A personal favourite is Moles on a Tuesday night where they play all the very best cheesy songs! However when getting the bus into town seems like just too much effort there are two nights a week put on by the Students Union (SU) on campus. Score takes place on a Wednesday night and is mainly attended by sports teams but is open to all, Klass takes place on Saturday night and is great to go to as a flat because it is so convenient, with it being on campus. Each Saturday is a different theme which can provide great opportunities for dressing up!

Klass: one of the weekly club nights at the SU

Klass: one of the weekly club nights at the SU

If this kind of nightlight isn’t for you then the SU has a variety of other events during the week, such as a quiz night, film night and an open mic night. The quiz night is great for bringing out people’s competitive sides and the SU has been known to show some classics on film night.

As well as these events which are organised for everyone, there are also events put on by specific societies for their members. I am a member of the Baking Society and we have fortnightly socials where we basically just eat cake (what is there not to love?). Also BAPS (Bath Association of Psychology Students) has regular socials such as pizza nights, bar crawls and trips to Bristol, I know that societies for other courses have similar events. These are just the societies I am part of, there are so many more and I guarantee there will be at least one that takes your fancy! Have a look at our Student’s Union website for a full list of the societies here at Bath.

One of many societies you can be part of!

One of many societies you can be part of!

So you’re probably wondering how, as a student, you are supposed to have enough money to enjoy these kind of events. Well, I have to admit it has been a learning curve but I am finally starting to feel like I can budget well and have enough money to enjoy myself. My first tip would be to be disciplined when buying food. It is so easy to see all your favourite foods on the shelf, transfer them to your basket and before you know it you have spent a fortune, so make a list before you go shopping and only buy what you need – planning meals for the week really helps with this. I have also made the most of getting food from home when I visit or getting my parents to take me food shopping when they come to visit me.

Valentine's themed bake!

Valentine's themed bake!

My second tip would be to make the most of discounts! Whether that be downloading vouchers from emails you’d have previously moved to ‘trash’ or visiting food shops late at night as they apply discounts. A great way to save money is to have an NUS card, which will make sure you can get all the student discounts you are entitled to.  I have found that one very costly aspect of University is travelling so be sure to get a railcard/National Express card and consider getting a saver bus ticket if you think you will be using it regularly at University.

 

My Bath Bucket List

  

📥  Charlotte (Sociology), Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

Living in the city of Bath is very special, and I always find myself feeling a little too soppy when strolling the historic streets, and declaring to my friends and family at home that I’m lucky enough to be living in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I knew on my first Open Day at the University that it was the place for me, and I consider Bath a ‘mini London’; it’s got every shop you’ll need, a cornucopia of tourist attractions, pretty efficient public transport and some brilliant eateries. It’s packed with visitors snap, snap, snapping away with their cameras and its arts and culture scene is thriving.

I suppose what is different to London is that Bath seems more ‘gentle’. The pace is a little slower, the people are much friendlier and there’s much more of a sense of calm and a shared curiosity to learn and explore. That’s exactly why I love Bath, and feel uber lucky to reside here! The bonus is that the University is truly great, and interacts closely with the city and what’s happening ‘downtown’.

Today, I thought I’d jot down my top 8 things to do in Bath. A ‘Bucket List’ I suppose. To help me out, I’ve linked in the Bath Leap List here, this is a whole pamphlet bursting with things to see and do in Bath and in surrounding cities. There’s stuff for students, and some more nature-y based things for your parents and families who love a woodland stroll.

If you’re a lover of the Great British Bake Off, or a lover of bakes and sweet treats in general, you must treat yourself to a Sally Lunn’s Bun. Sally Lunn’s is the oldest house in Bath and is placed down a tiny and very quaint backstreet in Bath. Sally Lunn’s offers buns which are a mix of scones, brioches and bread rolls all in one and they’re very light, and truly tantalising. You only have to take to Instagram to see all the toppings offered, and the surroundings inside the shop are gorgeous. The waitresses wear traditional uniform to serve Bath’s special buns and it’s a wonderful hour to spend filling your tummy in Bath. They’re unmissable!

Of course, the next go-to is the Roman Baths. Could you visit Bath without popping in?! As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Roman Baths are very central in the city and are a treasure. Immersed in roman history, quirks and traditions, the Roman Baths are an integral part of Bath’s history. The Roman Baths also hold events such as Tunnel Tours, behind the scenes trips at the Baths and even T’ai Chi on the Roman Baths terrace! Why not?

Only a minutes’ walk from the Roman Baths is the Guildhall. Here, an indoor market is held during the week and on Saturdays – it sounds a little odd, but really is a great place to visit. There’s fresh foods, homeware stalls, a sweetie stall that seems to offer every marshmallow flavour under the sun and even a café among the market stalls and shops. The building is very beautiful, and only adds to the experience.

The Guildhall Indoor Market. It's awesome

The Guildhall Indoor Market. It's awesome

There’s no way you can miss the magnificence of the Bath Abbey when exploring Bath; it’s pretty triumphant and immensely gorgeous. As bellowing, and slightly scary as the Abbey may look, both inside and out it’s crafted to perfection. Indoors is tranquil, comforting and ornate and the Abbey only asks for a donation to go in. There’s usually things held inside the Abbey such as bake sales, choir rehearsals which you can sit in on, and the Christmas Carol concert is second to none. Absolutely worth a trip inside!

Part of a dreamy stroll I regularly do along the Kennett and Avon Canal, leading to Pulteney Bridge

Part of a dreamy stroll I regularly do along the Kennett and Avon Canal, leading to Pulteney Bridge

Walking along the canal in the city of Bath is very refreshing as unlike other canal strolls, the Bath canal really is riddled with locks which you frequently see families operating to get their narrowboats down the Avon & Kennet Canal. There’s many a dog-walker around, and many spots to stop for a picnic in the most scenic of settings.

The one and only Pulteney Bridge!

Walking along the canal is lovely, as there's many bridges and a lots of locks

During the autumn months, walking along the canal is particularly nice as the scattered leaves and auburn trees are very beautiful. Walking along the canal will lead to the Pulteney Bridge in the centre of town, and the end of the walk could not be more eye-catching (or tourist flocked!).

Pulteney Bridge

The one and only Pulteney Bridge!

Pulteney Bridge is where some scenes of the Les Miserables movie were shot, so you can’t not come by and have a selfie! The weir under the bridge is fast-moving and makes an interesting photo. The bridge was built in 1774 and is of Palladian Style in the heart of Bath. Many would argue that the bridge resembles the Ponte Vecchio in Florence which adds some exoticism to Bath!

What would a trip to the city of Bath be without visiting the Royal Crescent? The Royal Crescent is a key (and rightly so) attraction in Bath. The Royal Crescent epitomises Georgian architecture, and was built over 230 years ago. The crescent is very distinctive, and cannot be visited without taking a selfie outside of the 30 terraced houses! Just next door the Royal Crescent is the Royal Victoria Park, the starting point where many hot air balloons are launched in the summer – it’s a great place to be.

If you love good food and drink, and also love trying out independent places as opposed to chains; Kingsmead Square, slap-bang in the middle of the city is the perfect place for you. Bursting with independent coffee houses, brunch stops and tea rooms with a farmers market on a Saturday – Kingsmead square is the best place to re-fuel. I can recommend the Society Café for a stunning cappuccino and equally perfect pain au chocolat or if you’re grabbing dinner in this district; hit up The Stable which prides itself on only serving cider and stonebaked pizzas – they’re divine.

That’s all for today, but what I’ve suggested is only scraping the surface! Bath is very busy and bustling and you’ll never struggle to find things to fill up your days here!

Charlotte.