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Life as a student in Bath

Tagged: Christmas

Coming home for Christmas... and revision

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📥  First year, Rob (Physics)

I’m writing this from the belly of the beast, the valley of the shadows, the edge of the observable universe. My first exam is a week today. I arrived back in Bath this Monday just gone and I’ve quickly settled back in. It felt like I was coming home, not leaving it! I was overjoyed to see my housemates again and we managed to squeeze a game of risk out of our respective revision schedules, however tight they may be.

The tension of war doesn’t wait for anybody, no matter how excited we were to see each other, or how close our exams are...

The tension of war doesn’t wait for anybody, no matter how excited we were to see each other, or how close our exams are...

Just before the Christmas break I went to the lake district with The Mountaineering Club. It was a special trip for me, as I’ve always wanted to go back, since I first visited as a child. I was under the impression that nostalgia had the best of me, and I’d be disappointed on return, but that really wasn’t the case. I think the views speak for themselves. Here are a few of my favourite photos from the weekend. It’s a destination that I’d recommend to anybody and everybody.

Frosty fields on a cold winters day

Frosty fields on a cold winters day

One of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen

One of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen

A moss covered stone roof, typical Lake District fare

A moss covered stone roof, typical Lake District fare

Could it get any better? The weather was like this all weekend

Could it get any better? The weather was like this all weekend

Waterfalls are everywhere in the Lakes

Waterfalls are everywhere in the Lakes

Video timelapse: Stunning. Shot on an iPhone - not too bad.

It was great to go home. I live just south of London so it wasn’t a quick journey by any means (six hours of coaches with an hour in-between, waiting at a rainy bus station!) but I arranged to link up with a friend from home for the second part of the journey. He’s at UCL studying anthropology. We chatted about our courses and who we live with, and traded stories of the first two months, of which we both had a huge number. It really brought home to me how much I’d become immersed in my life in Bath, and the nuances and personalities of the people I’d been living with seemed even more interesting. I really missed them. I arrived home late that night, and by the look of the smile on her face mum had missed me just as much! I quickly opened the fridge and realised what I’d really been missing for the last two months; excessive amounts of food.

I think it suits me, honestly

I think it suits me, honestly

It’s not quite Bath but sunrise is special anywhere, right?

It’s not quite Bath but sunrise is special anywhere, right?

On the 23rd I went to the city with Becky. We soaked in the Christmas atmosphere that seems to ooze out of the bones of London at this time of year, hurrying around and stopping from time to time to warm up with food or coffee. Maintaining a long-distance relationship is testing, especially at University, but a day like that makes it feel so worth it!

Covent Garden…I loved it as a kid, and still love it now

Covent Garden…I loved it as a kid, and still love it now

I spent Christmas day with my family, and I even managed to do a couple of hours of revision. I spent the next few days revising, and the next few nights at the pub. I went out for a couple of meals, which was appreciated as a rare treat. I went to an Italian with Becky and an upmarket sort of place with Mum. Just in case you’re hungry…

Fish in spicy tomato sauce

Fish in spicy tomato sauce

Eton Mess done properly!

Eton Mess done properly!

Pizza, potatoes and Becky…three of my favourite things

Pizza, potatoes and Becky…three of my favourite things

…sorry if you were.

And almost as quickly as it came, it went…I spent new year’s eve at a friends and then it really started. I entered the dragon’s lair- revision. Intense revision.

The last goodbye to a year without exams

The last goodbye to a year without exams

Coffee is something that I don’t think anybody should deny themselves, not at any time of year. But now , the evils of examined physics on the horizon, coffee becomes something far greater than a choice. It becomes the very blood in my veins, the breath in my lungs. I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has been this way since the beginning of time. A constant in a chaotic universe. I share my house with somebody who feels the same, and as such we’ve developed what resembles a cult around the substance. We both have different apparatus and have made a fine art out of coffee brewing, balancing taste and caffeine content with precision. We meet as often as our addictions allow to refresh and rebrew.

Revision has been difficult for me to approach, as I haven’t taken an exam since 2014. I took two gap years to pursue travel and other non-academic interests (something I’d recommend to anybody who’s considering the option!), and I’m somewhat out of practice. It’s surprising how fast things like this seem to come back to you though, and I have managed to gain traction since the start of the year.

To illustrate what it’s like to prepare for university exams I’ve decided to include a F.A.Q in this post, to clear up some common confusions.

Q. I’ve heard that first year doesn’t matter, so why should I bother?

A. This is a common misconception, since the first year of a course doesn’t contribute to the overall degree classification. But what does it do? A good first year grade puts you at the top of the pecking order for employers considering you for a placement year, increasing your chances of securing a placement that interests you and pays well. It’s also important to be considered for year abroad options. Also, the first year of a degree provides knowledge that underpins the rest of the course. Without a strong understanding of the material taught in first year, the remaining years of a degree will be very difficult to grasp.

Q. Are there any key differences between A-Level and University exams?

Firstly, university exams are written by your lecturer for each module. The key difference here is that every exam will have a different style, based on the examination philosophy of the specific lecturer. Secondly, full worked solutions aren’t available for past papers! This came as a shock to me as that was my primary method of learning at A-level. Though it has indeed complicated my working process it has solid ideas underpinning it. It encourages students to gain full and deep understanding of the topics studied, instead of just remembering and regurgitating words onto an exam paper. You’ll thank the university in the end, trust me! Deeply understood knowledge is much more valuable.

Q. Generally has it been easier or harder?

A. So it’s a difficult question. The material itself is a lot more detailed and as such a lot harder. But then now I’m studying just physics, instead of three subjects at A-level. I chose physics because I’m passionate about it and also I find it, not easy, but manageable. The nature of studying one subject in detail is that a lot of modules cross over, and as such the knowledge is more general than specific. A lot of concepts from my Vibrations, Waves and Optics unit, for example, are relevant in both Mechanics and Electrical Circuits. This merging of subject areas creates an easier dynamic than rushing between History, Chemistry and Physics, for example.

Here goes nothing! Only five exams until I have enough time to breathe again!

 

Christmas in Bath: exams, food and friends

  

📥  First year, Rob (Physics)

It seems so recently that this whole thing started. A few months ago I was an unsure fresher, and now I’m well and truly swimming at the deep end! Christmas has come around so fast and with it so have coursework deadlines, imminent exams and a couple of fun things too.

In about a month I’ll be sitting my semester one exams. Now my coursework is done, my teaching is ending and I’m preparing to dive into revision. This week is my last of the year. I’ve sorted all of my train tickets, so I haven’t got an excuse not to come back! I’m oddly nervous for the exams- I think it’s because it’s so different to A-levels.

The entire learning process at university is a lot more self-driven and as such I am the main indicator of my progress. Although I have gotten used to being the driving force behind my development I’m aware that these exams are the first true test of my abilities as a physics undergraduate. Luckily I’ve made a group of friends to study with, which should help the material make sense. One piece of advice is to make friends on your course- having not only practical help but moral support from my peers has really helped to push me this semester.

Despite the imminence of exams I’ve had some time to focus on other things. Bath offers the perfect antidote to exam blues; it’s world famous Christmas markets! The stalls are situated right by the Abbey, and stretch all through the town. Wandering around the mulled wine vendors, gift shops and food stalls feels like stepping back in time, especially after dark. The town is heaving with buskers playing Christmas songs and with so many coffee-shops and bars to choose from there’s no real time limit on a day out in Bath at Christmas. It was also a great chance for some friends from home- Jess and Stu- to come and visit me here in Bath.

jess

It was great to see Jess! Here she is checking out the Christmas tree by the Abbey…

stu

…and here’s Stu getting a little too excited about a castle near campus.

I had a few more days working hard before I had another visitor. My girlfriend, Becky, has been here this weekend, visiting from Southampton! She was also captivated by the markets and we spent all of Saturday night exploring them.

becky

Becky bought her Mum some handmade baubles and a hand knitted wool hat from Scotland…

burrito

…which was tiring enough to stop for a (not-very-christmassy) burrito from Mission Burrito. Definitely recommend stopping by.

The next day we woke up late. It was the day of our flat’s Christmas dinner which was excessive to say the least! We were all stuffed afterwards and collapsed in the dining room watching Home Alone. It really felt like a little family in our cute corner of Eastwood.

meal

Right before we ate…we all looked a little bigger afterwards

It was really nice seeing our whole flat together. In the past few months we’ve grown really close and it’s hard to believe I hadn’t a clue who these people were in September. And on the last weekend of the semester there was a suitably beautiful sunset to mark an end to a great start to my degree.

sun

Maybe the last sun I’ll see for a while…here’s to revision starting properly!

So as the excitement of the new beginnings have died away the important stuff is on the horizon. Revision will be a long and daunting process but one which I will try to get the most out of. I was given some advice this week from somebody in their third year - always remember why you chose the course and focus on that. They said that as hard as it may be to always bear in mind that the reason that I’m here is because it’s what I want to do! And I couldn’t agree more. As I go in to the hardest part of my degree so far I plan to keep in mind that I’m here to learn about the world and how it works. And I think that’s exactly what I’ll do!

 

'Tis the season to be jolly in Bath

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

I know some people will not accept this statement until December 25th but in Bath, Christmas has arrived! The city has become even more beautiful since the festivities begun. It all started with the Christmas light switch on which I missed due to illness (sympathy welcome.) However I do know that this event had music, food and all things christmassy so I’m sure it was a good one.

Merry Christmas from Southgate Shopping Centre

Merry Christmas from Southgate Shopping Centre

Thursday 26th November saw the arrival of the Christmas markets – some of the best in the country. Having visited the markets in both Manchester and Birmingham they are the best I’ve been to. Although my first trip was in the wind and rain our Christmas spirits could not be dampened. I love how the huts are mainly around the Abbey, it makes the perfect backdrop, especially when it is so tastefully lit at night. The markets have everything from cute Christmas gifts to wooden ties (yep I was as surprised at this concept as you probably are.) There is also no end of food and drink, I bought some yummy fudge from one stall whilst my friend got some roasted chestnuts from another, not forgetting the mulled wine! It is the perfect opportunity as well to get family and friends down to Bath to explore the markets with you.

 Bath Christmas Market surrounding the Abbey


Bath Christmas Market surrounding the Abbey

Another Christmas addition to the city is the ice rink, I am not an ice skating fan (mainly because I cannot stay on my feet for more than 10 seconds at a time) but I have heard that this is magical if you are. Some departments even hire the rink out, so ice skating fans- choose your degree wisely! Bath is busy at the best of times, especially to me coming from a town rather than a city, but nothing had prepared me for how busy it would be around Christmas! It is a bit of a pain because the bus journeys to and from campus are considerably slower however it just shows the popularity of the markets! Other events I’m looking forward to include the carol services held in the Abbey and the various Christmas balls – so exciting!

Christmas tree outside the abbey

Christmas tree outside the abbey

On a smaller scale my flat has also entered enthusiastically into the Christmas spirit. Over the past few weeks those returning from home visits have bought back numerous Christmas decorations. However the most exciting of all was a Christmas tree which has now been unusually decorated with beer cans, not quite sure how I feel about this…  We have planned a flat Christmas meal which I am very much looking forward to, although organising a meal for 18 people is going to be challenging.

Our flat Christmas tree!

Our flat Christmas tree!

A tip I wish I’d had would be to look out for job opportunities in the markets/ice rink. My course mate secured a barmaid position on one of the stalls which will help her to fund Christmas! If you're interested your can Find more info about part-time student work at Bath here.

On this note, I have had to job hunt for something in my home town for over Christmas as the whole season is proving expensive! We’ve organised secret Santa within the flat and my friendship group from home and then on top of that there’s family to buy for and Christmas meals/trips out to pay for. Job searching was stressful especially as I was the only one in my flat looking for part time work over Christmas, so if that might be you then think in advance where you could contact.

I’m loving December in Bath, and I’m sure now you will understand why, but I still cannot wait to go home for Christmas. My dad is coming to pick me up mainly because the train home is complicated and expensive but also because I have a lot of baggage that I want to take back. The thing I am most looking forward to Is simply spending time with my family, although sitting on a sofa and walking on a carpet will be blissful (both these experiences are lacking in the Quads.) I’m also planning on making the most of home time by stocking up on food and getting some washing done to save money on laundry.

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Getting festive at university

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

Before I came to University, I did feel a little crestfallen that living away from home would mean that I could no longer celebrate some special times of the year with my nearest and dearest. I sussed that for Halloween, my Birthday and Bonfire Night I would be in Bath, when usually I’d be celebrating and gallivanting around for these occasions at home. I did feel a little sad about this, but now I’m here at university, I’m here to tell you that you’re not missing out! Getting festive is very doable, and very fun at university!

Firstly, you can be at peace with the fact that for at least some of each season, you’re likely to be at home as normal; for instance at Christmas, Easter and for New Year’s Eve, so nothing is lost here! You can celebrate with your family and ‘home friends’ for these occasions but don’t fear for the other ones, it’s a total ball celebrating them in Bath!

Naturally, many people have their birthdays at university although there’s no need to feel woeful about this. I can firstly promise that the shops on campus boast some of the best birthday cakes around, so you’re not really missing out on the cake-tastic bit of your birthday! In halls of residence, it always seems to be someone’s special day and it’s common for many residents to pop by the birthday boy or girls’ flat for some cake and a birthday hug! If you love to hit the club, many clubs offer people VIP 'booths' by the dancefloor or even free drinks on birthdays so that’s another bonus!

Balloons scattered all over Halls are common nature too, and there’s always Facetime or Skype so you can see your family on your birthday. It’s really easy to collect birthday parcels on campus; the mailroom is always bustling with people collecting boxes, packages and parcels of every size so no doubt your Grandma can send you that dodgy jumper she always gets you regardless….

Halloween is very much a spooky affair, even if you’re not knocking on the doors of your street at home. Here at University, it’s ghoulishly normal for everyone to dress up and skulk around campus scaring each other, and Halloween is just another opportunity to hit the fancy dress shops in town and dust off the face-paint kits from Freshers!

For 2015, there was a Halloween Club night and a ‘Zombies on Campus’ event where zombies raced around campus after students…. Scary stuff! Many students carved pumpkins (once they were all bought up, people did have to turn to Watermelons to carve….!) and there was even some ‘trick or treating’ on each others doors. Halloween doesn’t have to be dull, just because you’re at Uni!

Fireworks night is also pretty spectacular at the University of Bath. Bath certainly goes ‘all out’ in terms of holding a firework extravaganza, and this is definitely not be missed. This year, the fireworks were held on the Rugby Pitch in town, and they were dazzling. The ‘Recreation Ground’ was packed with students, Bathonians and kids all going barmy for the firework show!

Some beautiful fireworks above Bath Abbey

Some beautiful fireworks above Bath Abbey

The Christmas Light Switch on in the City is also very special and unlike some small cities, villages or towns, Bath manages to swindle a good light-switcher-on-er! No longer do you have to see the street illuminations being turned on by a Z-list celebrity or X Factor Entrant from 2001: Bath usually has a great celebrity to do it; past big-names have included Mary Berry, BBC's The One Show, John Cleese, The Duchess of Cornwall and Nicolas Cage!

The special city of Bath Christmas lights this Christmas

The special city of Bath Christmas lights this Christmas

And last, but certainly not least…. The run up to Christmas! Many would argue that the build up to Christmas is actually better than the actual Christmas Day, and so you might feel a little blue to hear that much of the winter months of preparation will be spent at University. Well, you don’t need to worry anymore – the run up to Christmas really is wonderful in Bath.

The Christmas Market in Bath really is the whole she-bang. It runs for almost a month and has been voted one of the best in Europe, so there’s no missing it (you can read more about the Bath Christmas Market here)! Rustling up a Christmas meal (on a budget) with your flat, sticking a wreath on your rickety flat front door and wrapping tinsel around all your textbooks gathering dust on your shelf is another ‘pro’ of Christmas here.

A few of the little Christmas touches in my bedroom this year

A few of the little Christmas touches in my bedroom this year

My best advice would be to put your pennies together in your flat to buy a small Christmas tree for your kitchen (I’ve heard down the grapevine that in previous years students have wrapped some fairy lights around a traffic cone, as money really was that tight) and to pop to the Pound shop in town to wangle some tinsel, decorations and cards to distribute throughout your halls. The mood approaching Christmas at university is really one to treasure, and it’s a very special time, even though you’re not at home.

Making 'paper snowflakes' with flatmates. Note the Christmas lights on the kitchen notice board!

Making 'paper snowflakes' with flatmates. Note the Christmas lights on the kitchen notice board!

So there you have it, celebrating all the festivities doesn’t have to be lacking at University – in fact, I would say I’ve had more fun celebrating the special times with all my university pals on Campus than at home.

Charlotte.

 

In which I sang Silent Night to the Merry

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📥  Charlotte, Faculty of Engineering

So the fundraising efforts continue as the days to the £2990 goal decrease rapidly and as a result weird ideas that once appeared too desperate are actually being considered.

My contact details are now on the notice board of every Eastwood residence advertising my services. Cleaning services that is - Eastwood being the only accommodation block without a cleaner. No takers yet surprisingly, though I did receive a nice email from one of my flatmates informing me of the blocked toilet on the top floor and asking me to politely sort it out. I refused for two reasons; one because no money would be going to charity for my efforts but probably most importantly because it was very disgusting. In the end, my flat mate armed with a big stick rescued us. Even though the evidence has been terminated and the culprit has yet to be caught, rumours of who did ‘it’ still linger.

There even was a flat vote to determine who was guilty when we did our ‘Christmas poll’/ ‘almost end of semester insult everyone’ vote. We created categories like ‘most likely to gamble away their life’, ‘worst dressed’ and ‘worst job prospects’ to add a bit of festive cheer to the flat.

I now proudly bear the title of best housemate. And who wouldn’t vote me when I organise sweet flat socials carol singing round the pubs in Bath? Surprisingly, some people refused to come with us on the pretence of ‘work’. It’s odd, I got the feeling they were embarrassed to be seen in public wearing a fabulous Children’s Society sash and some tinsel. But alas, a group of us set off to the pubs who kindly gave us consent to torment their customers with out of pitch versions of ‘Away in a manger’ and ‘Silent Night’.

The Cork was first being the closest; it’s prime location means it’s only a 2 minute walk from the bus station or 10 minutes’ walk from the bottom of Bathwick Hill for those – like me - who have promised themselves never to go on the bus. It is a pub renowned to students for pre-drinks before a night out or enjoying a nice meal and a pint when they don’t want to cook. Anyway, this place is usually full of students and we were going to sing to the crowd. The owner kindly offered us a free drink for courage and then we were up. It was awkward at first but we ploughed through several bad renditions of ‘Let it Snow’ and ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ whilst our flatmates kindly asked people for donations then we moved on.

The Cork

The Cork

The next pub was the Pig and the Fiddle which possibly has the best beer garden in Bath. Perfect in the summer months but not quite so great when you’re trying to project a tune whilst stood outside in December. Still, the patrons outside were kept warm by outdoor heaters and by dancing and singing along with us. Inside, it’s lovely and cosy and there’s a really friendly atmosphere -people who hadn’t even heard us sing were charitably giving us donations.

The Pig & Fiddle

The Pig & Fiddle

We proceeded to Adventure, a cute café during the day which gets transformed into a bustling bar come sun down. The owners were very generous, giving us a £20 donation to start us off then we began singing only to be joined by a group of very drunk – and very smartly dressed – men celebrating a 30th Birthday. It’s safe to say they detracted attention away from our bad singing and we sounded half decent in comparison.

We rounded our night off in The Bath Brew House where the smell of the warm mulled wine cider they were serving made us feel very festive for our last performance. So after we sang our chosen favourite carols and collected a few donations, we were happy to set off back up to the University after a brief look around the Christmas Market – beautiful in the dark.

£216.68 was raised from all the generous donations of the slightly merry pub dwellers that night, meaning I’m one step closer to climbing Kilimanjaro. Better start training then; New Year’s resolution to get fit I think.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone

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📥  Alex, Faculty of Science

So it’s official – I made it through freshers and all eleven weeks of lectures! Finally I was able to head home for the Christmas ‘holiday’ *cough, three weeks of revision* and I have the pleasure of saying that I’m writing this post from the comfort of my real home in the countryside of Leicestershire. Since I reflected on the first six weeks earlier in the semester, I thought that it was about time to tell you about the last few too.

When I think back to my first week of lectures, I have to fight the urge a little to not laugh at myself. I remember when orbital hybridisation in chemistry felt like a ten tonne weight on my shoulders, and the fear of contaminating my nutrient broth in microbiology labs was almost too much to deal with. Now those things come to me without even thinking, and whilst carbonyl chemistry, deadlines and the prospect of exams may still be hanging over me, I at least feel like I’m in control now. I get the regime, and I know what to do if I’m struggling. The fear that there would be nobody to care if you didn’t understand at university is all but gone, and although the support may be very different to that which I got in sixth form, it does exist at least.

The last week before the Christmas holidays seemed to pass in a flash. I was absolutely desperate to get home and to see my friends and family. I wanted to be able to revise without having to keep an eye on what time I needed to leave for lectures, but mostly, I couldn’t wait for my mum’s home cooked meals. By the time I got home, it had been a very long fourteen weeks since I’d seen one of my friends and twelve since I’d seen the others. Before I came to university, I didn’t expect to be so excited to see everyone again, but when you move as far away as I did, or even further, you find that you’re much more excited than those who have seen their loved ones regularly.

All the presents under the tree!

All the presents under the tree!

I mustn’t get ahead of myself though, because I’m sure that what you really want to hear about is what I got up to in my last week at university. With the concert over and so rehearsals stopped, you’d think it would have been rather boring. You couldn’t be further from the truth. I organised the food for our Floor Eight Christmas meal.

We pulled off Christmas dinner for eighteen.

We pulled off Christmas dinner for eighteen.

Each of the four flats cooked a few elements each, and then we headed down to the South flat to eat. I have absolutely no idea how we actually managed to coordinate a two course meal for eighteen, but we did, and it was amazing! We also had secret santa, and ‘pass the parcel the drinking game’ to keep us entertained for the evening.

All the good food!

All the good food!

Tuesday was the pharmacology Christmas social, which was a good opportunity to talk to students from other years about what to expect from exams, coursework, labs, and the lectures to come, as well as to gather some tips on how to get a placement. Sadly only four first years went, but we still had a lot of fun, and it’s important to socialise with your course friends outside of lectures, because that’s the only way that you’ll ever really get to know one another.

Wednesday was my last evening volunteering at Guides, where they had a Christmas party. Again, fun was had by all, but with the hope that I’ll be finding a Rainbow unit to help at in the new year, the goodbye was a little sad. In fact, as Christmas got closer, we all found that we didn’t really want to leave our flats, either. Saying goodbye to your flat mates can be just as hard as saying goodbye to your friends from home.

All the time, I was counting down the days until I got home using this very thoughtful present from my Secret Santa (thanks Sally – you’re awesome!).

Counting down to Christmas with my secret Santa gift.

Counting down to Christmas with my secret Santa gift.

On Saturday morning, I boarded the first train and spent the next three and a half hours rushing through various stations before reaching the warmth and comfort of my own home. Being me, getting home didn’t mean stopping either. On top of revision, I’ve already helped at the nativity, and a Rainbow, Beaver, and Cub event. Of course, I made the obligatory trip into school to say hi to various people (and chase my Gold DofE), and met with my friends (who got well and truly jumped on, I was so excited). I’ve still got meetings, and the fun of a family Christmas to look forward to, as well.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed my first term at university. Whilst I wanted to come home, it wasn’t because I’m not enjoying myself. I feel like I fit in, I’ve made friends, and concepts and ideas are beginning to click. I’m used to the daily routine, I love being able to cook and clean exactly when I want to, and I’m grasping all of the challenges with both hands, too. As the Christmas holiday passes, the dark cloud of exams is beginning to rain upon me, and I’m very, very worried. That’s okay, I tell myself. Who wouldn’t be? I’ve still got lots to look forward to afterwards though, including a visit from a friend at St Andrew’s University. We’re allowed to have guests stay for up to three nights, so I’m definitely going to be making the most of it.

Merry Christmas everyone, and I’ll see you on the other side of my first ever university exams. Good luck and I hope you’re getting lots of university offers by now!

 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Matt, School of Management

Welcome to Bath Christmas market

Mulled wine, Bailey's hot chocolates, chestnuts roasting on an open fire (or in the microwave if you're a student). Yes, it can only mean one thing - it's almost Christmas and there are definitely many worse places to spend Christmas than Bath.

If you have ever visited Bath or if you ever plan to visit Bath, I can guarantee that you will love it. However, in the run up to Christmas, an already beautiful city becomes the Disney-type festive fairytale that, if taken with a glass of mulled wine, is a winter wonderland that everyone will love all thanks to the Bath Christmas Market.

Bath Christmas Market

Bath Christmas Market

It would be criminal to be a student in Bath and not visit the market at least once. Every day, bus loads of tourists come to Bath from across England and Wales - for University of Bath students it's a 10 minute bus journey. The market is also a fantastic opportunity for you to get some cheap clutter to give to your parents for Christmas. Buy your father a pointless wooden tie and get your mother a ceramic circle that doesn't seem to serve any purpose whatsoever. You can even get a personalised pillow for your dog. Yes, it may be stupid but it's cheap and it looks like you've put effort into your shopping.

The Christmas Market starts around 27th of November and runs for around 3 weeks until around 14th December. 170 wooden chalets line the city centre beside Bath Abbey - around every corner you are confronted with intriguing tastes and smells from candle makers to German hot dog stalls (which I would highly recommend investigating). To be honest, I only really go for the food. The streets are always packed full of shoppers doing their shopping. Bath is a fantastic city for doing your Christmas shopping because it's a small city with everything you could need within a 10-15 minute walk and because it's a student city, most shops offer up to 20% student discount! So don't worry, when it comes to the end of term and you realise that you haven't even begun to look for your friends' Christmas presents; an evening spent in the city will give you more than enough time to buy more than you actually need and more than they actually deserve.

You can see a comprehensive list of the market stalls here.

Whilst the market is a brilliant attraction in itself, there are loads of other Christmassy things to do in Bath at this time of year:

Climb Bath Abbey - £6 

The Abbey enjoys a position of being the flagstone of Bath at the heart of the city centre. The building itself is magnificent but if you think the pictures of the market so far are nice, imagine looking down on that from the tallest building in the city. Not to mention that this £6 includes a complementary glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate.

Bath Abbey overlooking the market

Bath Abbey overlooking the market

Ice-Skating 

You can do this in Victoria Park whenever you like but your hall reps will usually organise a group activity which you can sign up to. What better way is there to make it feel like christmas?

Flat Christmas

When living in halls, one of the best events of term is "Flat Christmas". This is where you celebrate Christmas early and do secret santa and have Christmas dinner with your flat in the middle of December. This year, a new eatery was opened on campus which is called The Limetree. For some reason unknown to us students, the Limetree decided that this year, they would give away free Christmas dinners for a weekend. It was of course a first come, first serve basis and you had to book tickets for sittings in advance online but my whole flat managed to get a really nice Christmas dinner for FREE. Yes, FREE. There's a good chance that they will be doing the same thing next year so keep watch on your emails if you decide to come here.

We then came back to our flat and put a video of a fire on our lounge TV, put up some fairy lights and distributed the secret santa presents. I received a hip flask which seemed like it had been wrapped by a 3 year old or a drunken 20 year old but I guess it's the thought that counts, right?

Our 'Flat' Christmas

Our 'Flat' Christmas

Now I need to change my flight home because I'm getting to go home 3 days early! Whoop whoop.

Matt