Student bloggers

Life as a student in Bath

Bath- A Night Club Tour

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

Now alcohol and clubbing really aren’t for everyone. I have plenty of friends at uni who’d much rather opt for a night in, and that’s fine. But pretty much every time I told someone that I was going to Bath uni before going, I got the same response; ‘Really? The night life there is rubbish’. Now, I have a reputation at home (and now at uni..) for being a bit of a mess on a night out. I don’t go out very often (I’ve also acquired the nickname of flat grandma) but when I do, it’s very much with a ‘go hard or go home’ attitude. So this worried me. I imagined there to be one, tiny club, full of weird middle aged men playing songs comparable to a school disco. My friend in second year laughed at my concerns and assured me that this wasn’t the case, that there were plenty of clubs but that they were underground. I didn’t want to look weird so I acted like I knew what this meant, but spent the summer thinking that all of Bath’s clubs were secret, and not, in fact, quite literally, under the ground.

On campus is the SU, which I’ve mentioned on many occasions due to my current bedroom’s position above it. As well as 2 for 1 cocktails on a Thursday night from 8-12 (which on too many occasions has ended up relocating to our kitchen until it’s starting to get light) there are 2 club nights. On Wednesday it hosts Score, a night out mainly for the sports societies. People tend to go with their sport, though it’s not unheard of to go without a team. Societies often have a theme when they go, and it’s not uncommon to see people in very bizarre fancy dress wandering up the parade in the middle of campus. I’ve never been and I’d say the general consensus is that it’s fairly average, but hey, I probably shouldn’t knock it until I’ve tried it, and the fact that I haven’t been part of any sports clubs since about year 4 probably doesn’t help.

On a Saturday the SU is transformed into Klass. This is a similar concept minus the sports part. For both, entry is £5 with a ticket or £6 on the door (unless you live on floor 5 of Norwood and then it’s free!). The queues got long after about 11.20 (for Klass anyway), and it’s always pretty packed. To start with I wasn’t keen but I’ve grown to love it. The music is good, the drinks are cheap (you will learn to appreciate £2 VKs; not sure why alcopops make a comeback at uni) and it goes on until 3, at which point you can crawl back to bed which is ideal when you live on campus. The only thing missing is the end of night chips, which we’ve even been known to cook ourselves afterwards when the desperation is real. Klass has led to some of the funniest stories, the weirdest communal hangovers and as it’s so conveniently located you can quite literally decide to go at 11.

Klass is so close to my room I appear to be taking a nap

Klass is so close to my room I appear to be taking a nap

There are a lot of clubs in town. Just a disclaimer; I’ve never been to a lot of the clubs. I only discovered this when going to write this post, but due to my ongoing freshers' flu and general laziness I don’t venture out all that much. So here’s my opinions on the clubs I have visited, though bear in mind that there are also Komedia, club XL, Zero Zero and The Nest (and probably others, too) all of which I’ve heard good things about but never actually been to.

First up, Bridge. I love Bridge. Some people think it’s expensive but honestly most of Bath is. Entry is £6/7 and honestly I just love it so I think it’s worth it. It’s got The Earl pub upstairs, and drinks are cheaper here then buying them downstairs (a fun fact for you). It has THE BEST smoking area with tables and heated seats, which I love because honestly dancing is tiring and sometimes it’s nice to sit and have a drunken chat. The club itself is very dark (which I’m aware sounds weird) but it’s actually nice because fewer people see your awful dance moves. Away from the main room there are these little rooms which I like to think of as caves which you can hire out for private events but a few are open too. There’s always a DJ and yeah I guess in many ways it’s a standard club but it’s a good one.

Taken in my beloved smoking area at Bridge

Taken in my beloved smoking area at Bridge

Moles. I’ve only been once, after once deciding I couldn’t be bothered and heading home on the bus armed with some chips. But when I went recently I loved it! We went on a Tuesday which is their cheesy music night, and I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of cheesy chart music when they’re drunk?! There was some Abba, some Justin Bieber… What’s not to love? There’s a bar upstairs and downstairs and the club itself is fairly small, with a stage taking up a bit of the main room (I felt like a celebrity looking down at people). Drinks are reasonably priced, music is great. And if cheesy pop music isn’t your thing, they have different themes each night, so you can always go to one of them.

Po Na Na. There’s a lot of debate surrounding how it’s pronounced, and to be safe I tend to just go for ‘Pos’ (like the Teletubby). But even then, some people called it ‘Poos’, so who knows. Either way, I loved my first night out here so much that drunk me bought a loyalty card. It seemed like a good decision, and hey, I now get 2 jaeger bombs for £3 so I like to think of it as an investment. It’s very central, though most of the clubs are, and you can get off the bus almost right outside. Guest list is £3 and student tickets are £4 so it’s cheaper entry than some of the other clubs which is always appreciated at this point in the semester. They also do a one pound skank night, which my flatmate assures me ‘is the one’, so yeah. The staff are friendly and it’s separated into a lot of little rooms which is cool when you have a short attention span like me, because you can just go for a wander and find a new room with new music. The loyalty card also gets 2 for 1 cocktails so yeah, I highly recommend Po/Poos.

Somehow even drunk I wanted to capture the aesthetically pleasing lighting

Somehow even drunk I wanted to capture the aesthetically pleasing lighting

Khoosoosi. Thank god I’ve never had to attempt to pronounce this word… But I’ve only been a couple of times on a Thursday, when this club has a night called Redlight. And I love it. The first time we went was the last week before Christmas and it was honestly mayhem trying to get in as the queues were crazy and it was awful, but once inside we had a great night. As with all these clubs being underground they get very hot, but I don’t actually find Redlight too bad for warmth! It gets pretty crowded but with cheap drinks and, again, good music, it doesn’t affect your night. The actual décor is really cool; I haven’t seen this personally but my flatmate always tells the story of how the urinal is so aesthetically pleasing that he was too scared to use it in case it was actually just a water feature. Entry is about a fiver so pretty standard, but has led to many good nights out. Its location also means you practically have to go and get food on your way to the bus stop, so it’s really ticking all the boxes.

So yeah. There is much, much more to uni than going out drinking, but for the times that you do, it’s good to know that you’ve got choices. We’ve trekked it to Bristol before for the bigger clubs there, but honestly, Bath’s nightlife is really pretty good. And if clubbing’s not your thing we’ve got a great 'spoons and so many places do 2 for 1 cocktails that you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

Laura x

 

An overview of first year psychology

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

Despite it being only March there are actually only a few weeks left of first year. This is a bit daunting; ‘it’s fine, this year doesn’t count’ has been pretty much my mantra for approaching every deadline. Whilst my only exam this year isn’t until the end of May, the Easter break is just a few weeks away, and after that there are only 2 weeks left of teaching. It has flown by! It’s so crazy to think that just a few months ago my flatmates were strangers and that I thought I’d never learn my way around campus, but here we are! I’m enjoying university so much more than I expected and am already sad about not seeing my friends over the summer!

Before arriving I had very little knowledge of the psychology course. I signed up for the 4 year course which includes a year long placement during the third year. And this was pretty much all I knew… oops. The psychology course has about 180 people on it, most of which are girls. I went to an all girls school so this just felt like the norm for me!

The course is split into different modules, and the year is split into two semesters. During both semesters some modules are the same, these are Mind and Behaviour, Controversies in Psychology, and Quantitative Research Methods (I’ll explain what these are later!). As well as these, we had Applying Psychology in Semester one, as well as one optional module. We chose these at the start of the year, and I pretty much chose based on the unit names. There was a range to choose from, from sociology, education, a language module etc., and I went for Being a Psychologist during first semester and Psychological Skills during second. In second semester Applying Psychology was replaced by Research Methods and Design, and for those of us doing the placement degree we also had a weekly lecture about this.

This is probably a lot to take in and sounds a bit confusing, but I will explain it as it’s actually very simple. Nearly all of our contact hours take the form of lectures which have everyone on the course present. For Mind and Behaviour we also have people from other courses there, too, which is pretty cool as one of my flatmates studies Psychology with Education and so she’s in the lecture with us. The exception to the lecture format is Controversies in Psychology, which is a seminar. We have these for one hour a week and we’re split into seminar groups of about 13. We also occasionally have labs to do practical work, and the course is split into two groups for these. Lectures vary from 1 to 3 hours, though the majority are 2. My attention span is not great so I’m always very grateful for a break after each hour (which usually involves a snack…) The optional modules are a lot smaller too, and I think both of mine have probably had about 30 people in.

I thought I’d give a little description of each module! They are all compulsory apart from the optional module, but luckily they’ve all been really interesting and not too intense! Mind and Behaviour is essentially an introduction or overview to studying psychology at degree level. We’ve covered loads of different aspects, like memory, development, sleep, and consciousness. The lecturer, Ian Fairholm, is amazing, and the lectures are always engaging and cover a range of content. If you’ve studied psychology at A Level or IB you might recognise some of the content from that, but it’s not all of it, and if you haven’t it doesn’t matter either! But it’s nice sometimes to recognise the name of a study, nice to get some clarification that my brain still actually functions… This is the module which our summer exam is based on (it’s so nice only having one) and it’s multiple choice! What’s not to love, really?

I definitely didn't make as many notes for my exam as my flatmate did for his...

I definitely didn't make as many notes for my exam as my flatmate did for his...

Controversies in Psychology is, like I said, the seminar. We cover a range of stuff, and because of the small group size it’s a good place to ask questions and it’s quite guided. We wrote an essay during first semester and did a group presentation, and this semester we did an online debate, another group presentation and we’re currently working on an essay. There isn’t a theme as such for this module but we’ve covered a broad range of content and there’s a lot of opportunities to engage with other members of the group.

Quantitative Research Methods is probably the module I find most difficult. But my grades have actually been okay for it (Touch wood!). I’m not sure if it’s just a confidence thing, but this is the module where we face the dreaded stats. I didn’t do maths after GCSE and my parents were very worried I’d struggle with it at uni, but what I didn’t realise was that we only have to do statistical tests online using special software, and it’s very well explained and talked through, so it’s really not that bad. The lab sessions are SO useful. We learned a lot about knowing which statistical tests to use for data, which I covered briefly at A Level, but I feel like I understand it a lot more now. We’ve done 3 lab reports, which involve carrying out an experiment in class and writing it up. I find these challenging but nothing beats the feeling when you hand one in! This semester we are working on a research proposal, which essentially involves planning an experiment and I’m finding that really interesting which is good! We’ve even planned and carried out our own experiments in groups which has been so good- it’s really nice to do hands on work so early in the degree.

Applying Psychology was the module which we had our January exam on. This was an interesting module last semester, which involved hearing about different areas of psychology. We covered loads, including clinical psychology, organisational psychology, social psychology… The list goes on. It was good to learn about how broad the subject was, and the lectures even gave an insight into how to go into each area in the study. The exam was essay based and as much as I hate exams it really wasn’t too bad!

When facing a lot of deadlines I like to retreat to the coffee shops in town

When facing a lot of deadlines I like to retreat to the coffee shops in town

Being a Psychologist was my final module of Semester One. I wasn’t really sure what I had signed up for but I really enjoyed it! Each week someone from a different area of psychology came in and discussed how they got into the area they worked in and then gave a detailed description of some research which they had carried out. We wrote 2 essays for this module, one of which was a summary of one of the pieces of research, and the other comparing the methods used by 2 different psychologists. The module gave an insight into quite how diverse psychology is and it was really interesting! I don’t know what the other optional modules were like but I really enjoyed this one.

My optional module during second semester is Psychological Skills, which so far has been great. We’ve had a mixture of lectures and workshops about different areas of psychology. These have varied massively from risk assessment to reflective writing skills to mindfulness. We’ve written an essay on our experience preparing for the January exam and it’s been a really practical unit as we’ve learned skills which will help us with future exams and study! Would definitely recommend.

The final module is Research Methods and Design. I love research methods!!! Which I think is quite odd, as a lot of people regard it similarly to stats. But I love it! I really liked this topic at A Level and we’ve done it in more detail now, studying different data collection techniques like questionnaires, interviews and focus groups, practiced carrying them out, and during our research proposal we essentially plan a study based on gaps in current research. This is quite challenging but the topic area is so useful that I’ve ended up doing extra reading purely out of interest!

Reflecting on the year like this makes me feel like I’ve done loads… which is so weird because I spent so much of first semester in bed! The course is so varied and interesting that I haven’t got bored of a particular area, and whilst I want to go into clinical psychology this has given me a much better understanding of what other careers are available to me. We’ve had a lot of support- we can email questions to our lecturers and we have forums set up for each assignment where we can publicly post questions which has been sooo useful. Whilst I’ve had many late night panics in the library (who hasn’t?!) I honestly love the course and can’t wait for the next few years!

Laura x

 

Surf 2k17 Moroccan Adventure

  

📥  Karolina (Psychology)

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

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

(pic of fb post here)

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

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

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

Enjoying the Moroccan sun on our balcony

Enjoying the Moroccan sun on our balcony

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

breakfast

Del and I eating breakfast during our hangover

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

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

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

Practicing the all important 'shaka' symbol

Practicing the all important 'shaka' symbol

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

My low point of the trip

My low point of the trip

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

The sun setting on a great day's surfing

The sun setting on a great day's surfing

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

Our final night campfire party

Our great campfire party

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

Stay gnarly lol

 

Semester two: a mid term update

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

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

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

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

I feel very professional with my ballet shoes

I feel very professional with my ballet shoes

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

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

going out 2

Ignoring deadlines for the night and going out

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

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

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

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

Laura x

 

My top tips for making revision manageable

  

📥  Mia (Business Administration)

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

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

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

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

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

Essay topic maps

Essay topic maps

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

My favourite revision tools

My favourite revision tools

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

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

Some of my topic maps on markets and competition

Some of my topic maps on markets and competition

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

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

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

 

Thesis...

📥  Faculty of Science, Maho, Postgraduate

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What life is like in Norwood House

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aand the best part, getting to live with these guys

Aand the best part, getting to live with these guys

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

Laura x

First year exams

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

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

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

Caffeine is a necessity when revising.

Caffeine is a necessity when revising.

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

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

My flat mate decorated his entire room with revision.

My flat mate decorated his entire room with revision.

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

Laura x

 

Publishing

📥  Faculty of Science, Maho, Postgraduate

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

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

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

 

Healthier eating as a student

  

📥  First year, Mia (Business Administration)

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