It’s now over a month into university life and time to update you once again. For those of you who are wondering how long it takes to feel settled in a new place, with a new bunch of people and with a new course to tackle, this blog post should reassure you. Following the madness of Freshers’ and the excitement of the initial weeks, I now really do feel at home here and have managed to settle into university life properly. This does not mean that life is any less hectic, every day is still packed to the brim, but I feel I have found my feet and feel more confident with student living.
Academic side of things
Five weeks in and the IMEE course is just getting going. The study hours have increased accordingly but the new topics I've had to grasp have been both challenging and exciting. When I've had any queries I have been reassured by the ease with which I can email or approach my various lecturers and ask them for help - there's no question too big or small. My Further Maths A-level was definitely a good thing to do for this engineering course and it has helped with the maths elements covered so far but a recent highlight has involved a real Red Bull F1 car! The University of Bath played host to Al Peasland, Head of Technical Partnerships for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, and this was a chance to get away from the maths for a moment and see the glamorous side of engineering close at hand. Hundreds of budding engineers, myself included, queued to ensure the best seats in front of a genuine Red Bull F1 car. Fuelled by a certain energy drink, supplied free of course, we all sat open mouthed as Peasland delivered an inspirational speech on the work his team is doing. As if I weren't busy enough, it was time to give Team Bath Racing more thought; building, driving and racing the Formula Student racing car suddenly seemed very interesting indeed.
Sporty side of things
As mentioned in a previous post, I quickly realised that it would be foolish not to use the incredible sporting facilities here at Bath and that participating in sport would enhance my student life greatly. It is undoubtedly an excellent method of overcoming the less welcome effects of the odd night out, but also an opportunity to broaden your social circles and meet likeminded people from a range of different academic disciplines.
The rowing training is now in full swing and although painful at times I've found friends that I would not otherwise have met. Circuit training with the novice rowing team is attended by loads of people from all over the place and is a talking point of the week. Following circuits you may be aching from head to toe but you know that you couldn't have started the day in a better way as you walk out of Founder's Hall feeling like a champion (along with about 100 other champions!). The sessions on the river at the weekend are also a great way to clear the mind and see Bath from a completely different angle. I'm not sure if I will become one of the best rowers in the world but this new activity has definitely been a good way to feel part of a team and part of the university. It has been exciting to try something new and have physical challenges to balance the academic ones.
Practical side of things
I was convinced that I had packed too much to come to university but as the weeks have progressed plenty of students are making phone calls home to ask for a delivery of forgotten items. I realised that it would be fantastic to have my bike on campus and despite the hills of Bath, it would be very useful for early morning outings to the boathouse. Plus, I could enjoy some road cycling with other keen cyclists and explore the surrounding area. So the inevitable phone call took place and soon I too was unloading another car boot full of gear that had been left behind on the initial trip - happily my bike is now here along with industrial quantities of pasta, cereals and toiletries lest I starve or forget to wash! I suppose it is natural that you discover what you really need as the weeks go by - I am sure that I will become more expert as the terms go by so that I learn to utilise the car lift to Bath to full advantage and prevent unnecessary purchases of items that are sat at home in the shires.
Social side of things
Just when you think you have an hour to yourself you find that something is going on in your halls or there is yet another un-missable event taking place. This week I got a chance to go out in Bath itself and the city really does offer a choice of venues that are ideal for a fantastic night out with friends even on a student budget. Although not as big or as well renowned as the nightlife in Bristol, the quaint bars and clubs make for a brilliant night. The fact that the rowers are generally taller than the majority of people on campus is also a huge help when trying to find friends across the dance floor!
Resident Tutors also ensure that you never have a chance to feel lonely or at a loose end. They concoct a diary of events held throughout the semester and only add to the seemingly endless list of activities both on and off campus. This week, despite a very packed schedule, I went down to 'Revolutions' in the city for a ‘cocktail master class’ kindly arranged by our Resident Tutors on Tuesday evening. This was yet another great University of Bath experience and I ended up meeting yet more people I’d otherwise never have got to know – it was such brilliant value for money too!
Perhaps not the best preparation for the following morning's circuits but never mind… at least it's all feeling like home now.