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Life as a student in Bath

Tagged: Induction and Freshers’ Week

Freshers' Week: making friends, joining societies and settling in

  

📥  First year, Karolina (Psychology)

Freshers' Week: Day 1

Freshers' Week: Day 1

The above picture is of me and my house mates, on the first day of Freshers' Week. If we seem a little too close for comfort for a bunch of strangers,  that’s because we weren’t!

The Saturday and Sunday of the moving in weekend gave us plenty of time to bond with each other before we were thrust into the torrent of Freshers events. Zoe, our Freshers Crew Member, popped in during our very first uni evening before there was a chance for any of us to feel alone. She made us all introduce each other and took away the pressure that usually comes with meeting people in such artificial socialising environment. Soon enough we were playing Ring of Fire around the kitchen table and already, the tearful goodbyes said the same afternoon, seemed to fade into oblivion. What happened next? Well, it’s a bit of a blur.

The t-shirt colours of the different accommodation sites were everywhere. Our Eastwood green tops made sure anyone living anywhere near us had an instant conversation starter, “Which house are you from?” followed by a, “That’s far…” or a “Oh my God, we’re neighbours!”. It was that easy.

You might be wondering what the drinking culture is like on campus. Although Bath does not fall short of other universities when it comes to nightlife (we like our parties just as much as the next university), there is a system in place that ensures the safety of students, especially during Fresher’s Week. The various crew members dotted around campus were working around the clock to make sure everyone got home safe after the boozy nights of Fresher’s.

But is Fresher’s week only for drinkers? What about the students that would rather abstain from the sometimes dangerous effects of alcohol? To get the answer to that you’d have to ask my friend Josh, who didn’t drink one unit of alcohol all week. He got involved in all the drinking games using a can of Coca Cola and went to the night events completely sober. Did he have fun? You’d really have to ask him, but he looked like he was enjoying himself from where I was dancing.

Whether you were waking up bright and early or sometime around 1pm with a banging headache, there was something on for you, with a never ending stream of activities. My house mates kept coming back with news of the various clubs and societies. Some of these tasters were enjoyed and others inspired vows of never trying the sport/society ever again, yet, whether the taster was your cup of tea or tea just wasn’t up your alley, there was never any harm in giving whatever it was a go. There was never any pressure to come back, yet upon singing up, everyone was welcomed with open arms.

Personally, I decided to join the Amnesty International, surfing, Psychology and the Art societies. I’ve never had any previous experience with any of these things but I figured: first year is meant to be the easiest, so if I don’t try all these things now when will I? Each year, the work will only get harder, as it always has, and the time I have spare for discovering what I like, love and am truly passionate about will decrease with the increasing work load. “Carpe Diem” – It’s time to seize the day! Or in this case, seize the whole first year and all the opportunities being thrown my way at the moment.

Bath University is bursting with opportunities. There is always something on. Whether it’s day or night, if you want to stay busy, all you have to do is step outside your door and make that miniscule initial effort. Making friends is a given. Everyone here is in the same boat, especially during the first few weeks, during which your circle will most likely not extend much past the people you share your kitchen with on a daily basis. Sometimes all you need to do is say “hi”, start a conversation about the lecture and swap Facebook details.

So far, Bath has been wonderful. My initial doubts whether it was the right Uni for me have been dissolved by the stream of activities and the hilarious people I’m surrounded by in my house. Will it get worse or better from here? I’m not sure, but I hope that my blog posts will help you in deciding which Uni is right for you.

 

Moving in and Fresher's Week: My advice

  

📥  First year, Mia (Business Administration)

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

Finally here in Bath!

Finally here in Bath!

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

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

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

Exploring campus with my mum

Exploring campus with my mum

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

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

Freshers' Week: Jungle night...

Freshers' Week: Jungle night...

... and Toga night!

... and Toga night!

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

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

 

Freshers Week 2016!!

  

📥  Jemima (Pharmacy)

Sunday: I arrived with my family a nervous little 18-year-old, some of my flatmates had moved in the day before so I was eager to meet them. Once we had dumped my stuff, we headed off into town to get some lunch and shopping. We went to Gourmet Burger Kitchen which was delicious, although I got given a children’s menu! We popped to a Tesco express which didn’t have much choice so was not the best place to go! (Handy Tip- Head to the big Sainsbury’s in Greenpark, which apparently has big pizza’s for 90p!). My parents left and slowly I met people as they arrived back at the flat, as they had been stuck in town, due to buses being delayed and cancelled.

Everyone in my flat seemed really friendly and we soon congregated in the East kitchen and got around to pre drinks as a flat with Faye our crew member, another pharmacy student (2nd Year). We learnt a lot about each other, playing’ never have I ever’ and the game where you have to guess if a statement someone says is a lie. We went to the Claverton Rooms for a very hot but enjoyable couple of hours of dancing.

Generally mid-week: There were many induction talks and lectures, we found out and met our tutors, met our peer mentors, who are students in older years that we can ask questions to, found out more about certain elements of the course and about using the library and course specific activities such as lab coat and safety spec fittings on the Wednesday! On the Monday there as a welcome speech by the Vice Chancellor to everyone split by accommodation and then sketch like information which was quite funny. On Thursday afternoon in the pharmacy department there was a group activity making something science/pharmacy related out of recycling and my team won! We made some safety specs, a jellyfish, some DNA with Watson and Crick, a box of tablets, a syringe and a lab coat!

'Our' DNA

'Our' DNA

Then afterwards they gave us Domino’s pizza and drinks which was so good- as a Fresher you learn to take advantage of free food! The same night the Christian union ran a free BBQ which was great but it meant I got double free food! There were also quite a few fair type things advertising sports, societies and local businesses which was cool like I won a voucher for a free main meal at Wagamama.

The Evenings!

Monday: The theme was show your colours, we all got a t-shirt dependent on what accommodation we were in, which were different colours. The main event was so busy; it was so buzzing! There was a lot of inter-flat rivalry and chanting, which was pretty entertaining (big up Wolfson). The music for the night was the chip shop boys who did some classic tunes.

Tuesday: The theme was Welcome to the Jungle and I was a tiger, the Midnight Beast played and it was super good. There were lots of animals, that night there were slightly less people so in my personal opinion it was better as it was a bit less squished. My flatmate Alice and I met these really cool security guys, we chatted to one for a while and the other was dancing!

Tiger time

Tiger time

Wednesday: The theme was Bath time, which most people did struggle to dress for I wore a blue denim dress because water is kind of blue with a little yellow top to go with the minimalist theme and a blue wave on the side of my head.

Thursday: Neon Night! This was cool, I got purple/pink neon glitter hairspray and wore my brightest colour clothes, with bright yellow face paint dots. The music was DJ Kristian Nairn from Game of Thrones (Hodor!), then Danny Howard.

My flatmates

My flatmates

Friday: theme was ‘When I grow up’, which I found hard as I wasn’t sure what to do, in the end I bought some angel wings and was an angel. Other people were things like a policeman or a nun! The music was the Hoosiers and George Shelley.

Saturday: Toga Night! It was a case of grab a bed sheet and a load of safety pins! One of my flatmates fell over in the main event where Greg James and Beat a Maxx were. We had to take her out to the water tent for a while and we were all freezing in our little togas! Greg James was so good he was definitely my favourite DJ of the week.

 

First few days at University

  

📥  First year, Rob (Physics)

On a sunny day in late September I lugged my penultimate boxes up the final flight of stairs to room number 8. I slid the key in the lock, almost falling through the door with excitement. I ran to the window and checked out the view. I introduced myself to Jake, consciously aware that we’d spend the next ten months as neighbours. It was surreal but equally exciting. Our exchange was over as quickly as it began and we both returned to our unpacking duties and our respective families. I headed into Bath for one last wander with my parents.

We strolled through Bath absorbed by its history and architecture, trying to take it all in. Bath is the UK’s only city classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it doesn’t take much to see why. All of the wandering led our weary legs to Nandos (handily located right by Bath Spa station) for a well-earned and emotional meal. It hit me how much I’d miss my family, especially Mum. After eating we shared a couple of tears and multiple hugs. My stepdad took an obligatory Facebook photo for Mum and they then drove home. A U1 bus came after a few minutes of waiting and I hopped on.

 I know mum was choking back tears for this one…Maybe look at the lovely view behind us instead?


I know mum was choking back tears for this one…Maybe look at the lovely view behind us instead?

I caught the bus back to campus- the ten-minute uphill journey gave me a sweeping vista of my new home, hundreds of sandy houses set on rolling green hills, dyed golden by sunset. My thoughts could do nothing but race: would I fit in with my housemates, how would I cope with such a big workload, and would I have enough money for food AND beer? The more pressing matter was where to get off the bus! I had a quick conversation with a pair of students who turned out to also be Freshers’ worrying about the same thing. We talked about our respective courses and a second year student overheard us, giving us directions from the bus stop- it was comforting to know that I’d be living in such a friendly and approachable student community.

How did I ever worry about getting on with these lovely people?

How did I ever worry about getting on with these lovely people?

The next step in my settling in was surprisingly overwhelming. I worried more and more the closer I came to reaching Eastwood (my new home on campus). The people I were about to meet were potentially lifelong friends, and that’s a pressure due to affect anyone and everyone. Any worries that I had going into this first night of university faded as quickly as they came. I first started to chat, asking for my housemate’s names, courses, and where they came from. It turned out that my flat was full of diversity. I met Francesco from Italy, Jake from Hong Kong, and Richard who grew up a fifteen-minute train journey from me! My next door neighbour, Josh, was a physics student, meaning I’d have a study buddy for the year. As the evening went on I found that we’d be a melting pot of academia, from sports science to international relations. And after the formalities and introductions we began to relax little by little; after an hour or so we were laughing and drinking, trading stories from home as well expectations looking ahead. I didn’t even realise how relaxed I’d become.

I also managed to do a spot of redecorating…not bad for my first go?

I also managed to do a spot of redecorating…not bad for my first go?

The days after this came thick and fast as I became more absorbed in this strange new home. Coming from a small town I felt overjoyed to be surrounded by such a young, vibrant and altogether liberal population of students. It seemed that countless possibilities were opening up for me. This was confirmed with a week of daytime events showing off the University’s sports clubs, societies and facilities. I have in just one week signed up for optional Spanish units, joined the mountaineering club and got this job as a student blogger. The student’s union put on a great selection of acts and themed nights to facilitate this. My personal highlights were the silent disco and Saturday’s Toga Night, but what really shone through were the people I’d spent my week with.

It felt good to be dropped in at the deep end this week.

It felt good to be dropped in at the deep end this week.

Now I’m midway through my first week of lectures. A new mindset has taken over, as I am readying myself to learn as much as I can about my subject. This isn’t to say that it has stopped being fun; all of my lectures so far have been engrossing. It’s what I expected from such a well renowned institute as the University of Bath. Lectures aside, I’m looking ahead to a trip to North Wales with the Mountaineering Society (only two weeks from now). I’m regularly stuck in fits of laughter with housemates that were strangers just ten days ago. All of my worries have been answered and I feel ecstatic about what’s to come.

 

Freshers' Week: new home, new friends, and lots to do

  

📥  Laura (Psychology)

I, unlike many of my friends and much to my parents’ disappointment, was not enthusiastic about coming to Uni. Not at all. In fact, as my family’s car turned round a corner and the iconic “Welcome to Bath University” sign came into view I started to beg my dad to turn around. He refused, but as we unpacked my stuff, as I arranged it in my room, as I smiled nervously at my flat mates etc. etc. I did so with the intention of getting back into the car with my parents and going home that evening. Which I kept telling my mum, who I could see getting increasingly nervous at the prospect. After already having a year out I think she was starting to panic that they would never get rid of me. But now, less than 2 weeks in, they’re going to be begging me to come home. No exaggeration. I’m more surprised than anyone but I really, really like it here, and by about a week in I started to notice myself referring to my little Norwood flat as ‘home’.

My new home in Norwood House

My new home in Norwood House

If you don’t have the pre-uni “what if no one likes me” fear then you’re some kind of social wizard. I was not actually worried that I would make no friends, oh no; I was just 100% certain that I wouldn’t. I started to think I might not even try; 4 years with no human contact was surely achievable. But within a couple of hours of arriving I realised to my horror that in order to obtain the food my mum had put into the kitchen cupboards I would have to leave my room. And with leaving my room came actual interaction with people. People I didn’t know. Within about 5 minutes my appetite had won. It didn’t get off to the best start; as I joined my flat mates in the kitchen and everyone shared their room number I misheard and thought we were saying our ages… I couldn’t work out why no one was reacting to the fact that one of my flat mates was 12. Classic me. But once I’d cleared up this misunderstanding everything was good.

Everyone was really, really nice. This came as a bit of a shock to be honest- I’d been certain that my housemates were probably a group of sociopaths who’d already started planning how they could ruin my life. But hey, no signs of that yet. I did discover that my entire flat had been communicating on a Facebook group chat for the last few months which I had somehow manage to miss (not quite the social media whizz I thought I was) and I was momentarily panicked that they would therefore all be best friends. As it happened, whilst a nice tool to prevent fear before you leave home, those Facebook group chats don’t really affect your uni experience, so don’t get too caught up in them. People are so different in person that you might get completely the wrong impression of them from social media, just wait to meet them!

Meeting some new faces during Freshers' Week

Meeting some new faces during Freshers' Week

Freshers’ Week was such an experience. I’d heard mixed things from friends; that it was all a bit overrated, that you got bored after a couple of nights etc. etc. but I ended up loving it! My health did not- I am typing this with a tissue wedged up my nose because I cannot deal with how much it’s running. Anyone passing Norwood please chuck me a lemsip. But anyway, Bath put on so many amazing events that whatever you’re into there was something to do. There was free pizza and board games night with other people from your course, a silent disco, dressing up in a toga and even the likes of Greg James and Russell Howard (which I missed and may never get over- I did see 3 Ainsley Harriotts though so can’t complain) and those are just a teeny tiny selection of what was on.

It was a brilliant week and there is no better way to bond with your flat mates and the other people in your building than over a game of ‘never have I ever’ or going out for a hungover brunch.

Brunch

Brunch: the perfect hangover cure

 

Psychology at Bath: an insight

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

Time for another blog and now that Semester 2 has begun I am feeling a lot more motivated and am therefore in the mood to chat about my course. I’m on the 4 year psychology course which includes a placement in my third year. So far I am loving it! My course is so interesting and the lectures are really varied and engaging.

I’m sure you’ve sensed a ‘but’… the course is quite a bit harder than I expected it to be. This maybe because I had unrealistic expectations but it is taking me a bit of time to get used to the workload and the standard of work required. I guess I did sign up for it! Thankfully the support given to us by members of staff in the department and older peers is great- I don’t know what I’d do without it! I also think coming from a state school has meant I’ve been a little less prepared for university by my teachers due to large class sizes etc. but in other ways it has been to my advantage so I can’t complain.

My favourite module so far has to be ‘Mind and Behaviour’- it is pretty much the foundation of psychology and covers everything from the history of psychology to why we dream. It’s a huge lecture as all psychology students take this module as well as students doing other degrees such Social Sciences who can take it as an optional module. This module is co-ordinated by Ian who is great, and manages to hold my attention for 2 hours which is pretty impressive! He also tries each week to tie his t-shirt into the content of the lecture which can be quite amusing.

The main course text for Psychology

The main course text for Psychology

There are some modules that I have particularly struggled with, for example research methods. I think this is probably because I prefer writing essays than scientific reports and this module is assessed via numerous lab reports. Saying this the feedback I have received each time has been extremely helpful in helping me improve so I’m getting there! This semester we are tackling a new model called ‘Quantitative Methods’. I have been really nervous about this as I am aware that it focuses on statistics and I haven’t done maths since GCSE and that feels like a long time ago. Our lecturer told us to make friends with mathematicians and I am planning on doing just that!

As part of our course we are required to pick an optional module and there’s such a great variety to choose from. Some of the options include: cell biology, a foreign language, exploring effective learning and psychological skills. I have picked the modules that make up the psychology stream (psychological skills). These have been great for me as they’ve allowed me to develop a broader knowledge of psychology and also to develop the skills needed to complete the course to the best of my ability. My flatmate, who also studies psychology, follows the neuroscience stream and therefore completed the cell biology module and she loved being able continue with biology beyond A-level.

Unfortunately all these modules have to be assessed- I sometimes forget this and have to be reminded! However, I am actually enjoying the variety of assessment methods used. For example we’ve had essays, exams, group presentations, poster presentations and online debates. Not many degree courses give you that variety!

My psychology timetable

My psychology timetable

It’s also worth a mention that our timetable is relatively quiet (around 10 contact hours a week) –much to the disgust of my flatmates who study maths! However the time we have off is needed to complete the reading we are required to do. The timetable is varied and includes lectures, seminars, lab sessions and workshops.

Overall I am really enjoying the psychology course here and with the staff, lectures and resources I am feeling very privileged to be able to study such a fascinating subject in such a great place! If you have any questions about anything to do with the course please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

Freshers' Week 2015

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

I have been welcomed ashore by the University of Bath!

Freshers’ Week 2015 has been and gone and we are slowly starting to recover from freshers’ flu (yes it’s a thing!)  By the end of the week I was running out of baked beans and the laundry basket was over flowing but Freshers’ week was an unforgettable experience!

The welcome team at the university of Bath were incredible- from giving directions to providing UV paint they made Freshers’ Week truly awesome! Whether drinking and partying is your thing or not Freshers’ Week at the University of Bath will most certainly have something for you! We had plenty of chances to bond as a flat with the campus challenge and huge inflatables as well as the 'show your colours' theme which well and truly strengthened our identities as accommodation blocks and bought out the inevitable rivalry between the Quads and all other blocks!

Monday's show your colours theme'

Monday's show your colours theme'

Freshers’ Week really is a fantastic chance to get to know your flat mates- everyone is in the same boat and wants to make friends so socialise, bring a door stop and leave your door open throughout the day. Evenings were great social occasions as we all cooked our meals together in the kitchen and followed this up with drinks and games before heading out to some of the evening events. Life-long friendships are definitely formed in these times!

A particular highlight was the tours around the city of Bath led by 2nd year students, allowing us freshers’ to get our bearings and see just how stunningly beautiful our new home is. Visits to the shopping square and the idyllic canal are a must!

Monday saw the parade bustling for the activities fair as the vast array of societies at the university set out to recruit new members. There really is something for everyone from film society to curry appreciation society. Similar scenes could be seen on Wednesday when the various sports teams lined the parade- with trampoliners flying through the air and swimmers in Speedos I really didn’t know where to look! My honest advice would be just sign up for things, you don’t have to be sporty, all clubs are open to beginners so try something new and join team Bath!

Friday bought the most exciting event of all, Freshers’ Week, which can only mean one thing… freebies. From tins of bake beans to shot glasses we basically kitted out our kitchen from the stalls at the fair! In all seriousness it provided me with plenty of useful information such as part time jobs available and details of placements that are open to undergraduates.

Each night campus came alive as thousands of Freshers’ rolled out of bed for the next installment of 6 incredible themed nights from the jungle to the carnival to the infamous toga night there was plenty of opportunities to impress with the fancy dress and party hard! Famous radio 1 Djs including Scott Mills and Greg James as well as bands such as the Chip shop boys and the midnight beast were washed up ashore and provided us with some great music. Although if you’re one for an early night bring earplugs! For those enjoying something a bit tamer there was pizza and board games almost every day (you will soon learn to appreciate free food, especially pizza!) as well as free pub games and for those of you who are competitive a huge pub quiz!

Despite what you may have heard, Freshers’ week isn’t quite all fun and games- each department has an induction timetable that runs throughout Freshers’ Week and this is great for getting to know your peers and lecturers as well as decoding the timetable (more difficult than lectures themselves!) and finding out the assessment procedures used by the university.

Freshers’ Week will make you tired, you will get ill and you will feel deprived of fruit and veg but please stick it out and have the time of your life! People you meet in this unique week will become your best friends.

 

Freshers' Week: The story of a small fish in a big pond

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, First year, International student, Yousuf

Here I am, 7000 kilometers away from home. I do not live on university accommodation, I do not understand the bus system and I do not know anyone. I had to rent my own apartment in my first year, because I was late in applying for university accommodation. I miss busses or go on busses that take me into the countryside. I try to approach people but I lose all self-confidence and pull back. To add insult to injury I did not have a Freshers' bracelet so I couldn’t go to any events. Nonetheless, Freshers' Week was looming in, and the best I could do would be to find a way to participate somehow.

Going into university for the first day of Freshers' Week did not feel special for me, being a practicing Muslim, I thought that Freshers' Week would just glide past my calendar. I don’t drink, I don’t go to parties and I am a vegetarian- life of the party right? In spite of my shortcomings, I managed to find a group of friends who were open minded and accepted me for who I am. I felt comfortable going out with them and having fun doing things in groups that I would not really enjoy doing alone. They understood my religious obligations and did not pressure me into doing anything I am not comfortable doing.

One of the many friends I met during Freshers' Week

One of the many friends I met during Freshers' Week

One of the first things I tried during Freshers' Week was the free movie night hosted by the film society where I managed to stumble upon some people with similar interests to mine.  More notably I met a selfie collector; who goes around taking selfies of all the people he meets during Freshers' Week. After a conversation on everything sci-fi and the love-and-let-go movie night I became number 86 on his list of selfie pictures, we parted ways after that, but we still manage to bump into each other now and then. During my next induction, I managed to find someone I sat next to in a previous presentation who introduced me to a circle of friends, which was all that was necessary for me to get the ball rolling for Freshers' Week.

The idea of Freshers' Week, in my mind at least, is for the university to show what it’s capable of providing to its new undergraduates, both from a recreational and academic point of view. Walking into the parade for the first time, you will be amazed at how varied the sports on campus are; sports are not limited by the universities state-of-the-art sports village, but go beyond it. Sports like riding, mountaineering and gliding offer the opportunity to students to go off the beaten track for a nominal yearly fee, (if you are brave enough). Freshers' Week also takes time to show off the university's varied societies, if you couldn’t find your place during the sports fair, you will surely find a society that suits your interests, guaranteed. Period.

Some of the most memorable experiences during Freshers' Week, to name a few, would be the very self-explanatory pizza and board game night at the SU (Students Union) and the inflatables rides. Going to pizza and board games might seem silly during the first week of university where everyone is partying as hard as they can, nonetheless, playing an intense game of monopoly and finding our inner tycoons was a great opportunity to break the ice and meet new people. Inflatables on the other hand, actually caught me off guard. If you think about it, a bunch of undergraduate students jumping around on a bouncy-castle and nearly flying off into the grass field may turn you off the event, but just drag yourself there and you will be thanking me later.

A celebrity interview on campus

A celebrity interview on campus

All that I have been able to mention above has been my personal experience of Freshers' Week, I haven’t mentioned any of the parties, yoga sessions, campus challenges or the open mic nights because I did not have time to try any of them, but thinking of that now I should have made time. As Freshers' Week came to a close, it was time to go back to getting into the rhythm of going to bed early, organizing my weeks on my planner, setting reminders and deadlines. I look back at myself leaving home for the first time and not knowing what lay ahead of me. Throwing all sense of comfort out of the window and going out to do something I have never done before. Having to deal with things I didn’t understand and people I didn’t know. I look back at all of this with a grin on my face and the unquestionable beat in my heart saying, ‘More, more, more’.

 

Freshers Week, Freshers Week, Freshers Week

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📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, First year

After you click that ‘submit’ button on UCAS  and decide that University is the place you want to be, you usually find yourself considering three main things: Will I swipe up enough of those darned UCAS points to get in? Will the curtains in my student digs be old fashioned, gaudy and ugly… will they match with my new Cath Kidston duvet set? How will I survive Freshers’?!

For me, and many, many other students, Freshers’ was a big event to be awaited. I had so many questions about Freshers’ zooming around my brain and I wondered if I would be cut out for Freshers’. After *just* surviving Freshers' several weeks back, I can tell you that following Freshers’ week you definitely won’t be feeling quite so… fresh!

'Show your Colours' was a key Freshers' event. Each 'halls' had a different coloured tee

'Show your Colours' was a key Freshers' event. Each 'halls' had a different coloured tee

Firstly, Freshers' is pretty damn exhausting. As fun as bed every night at 3.30am sounds, after 6 days of it, you struggle to spell your own name, remember which flat block you’re staying in, and a simple task such as grating a tonne of cheese over your ready-meal pasta becomes immensely challenging. Jam in with the tiredness and generally feeling shattered , you have a LOT of names to remember. For me, it seemed that every female on campus was called Emily or Georgina, and the boys seemed exclusively to champion either Tom or Will; a slight generalization there, but there’s a lot of faces you’ll have to start putting names to. It’s tough.

Throw into this slightly toxic concoction, a lot of dancing, singing/shouting/chanting and the worst part; orientation and induction. As riveting as Freshers’ does indeed sound, what many students fail to inform you is that during Freshers’ week you actually have to attend introductory lectures, shake the hand of your ‘personal tutor’ without sounding too, ahem, worse for wear and even discuss your ‘learning goals and aims’. Humph, they don’t usually slip this into the Freshers’ equation before you roll up at University. I vividly remember in my first orientation talk in the Social and Policy Sciences department the lecturer exclaiming that we should all drink a ‘reservoir-sized’ amount of water before the next day, and a nap wouldn’t go a miss. Additionally, trying to decipher your timetable when tired beyond belief is a lot trickier than it sounds.

Now, I wouldn’t want to dim your hopes and excitement for the infamous Freshers’ week, so let me tell you about the juicy, good parts of the 7 day extravaganza.

Our classic 'safari night' shot. Jungle creatures everywhere!

Our classic 'safari night' shot. Jungle creatures everywhere!

Firstly, I will never forget Freshers’; it was the most fast-paced, brilliant and challenging week of my year. Not only did I grow close to people within hours; closer than I had been to friends at home I had known for 7 years, but I really tried to step out of that ruddy comfort zone. I kept remembering a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt which said ‘Do something which scares you every day’.

I did this during Freshers’ week and it panned out amazingly. I found myself waddling over and knocking on the doors of flats full of people I had never met, I found myself cooking up scrummy meals, even though I thought soup was all I could manage, I found myself being interviewed for a job on campus, even though such a grilling would make me quiver in my boots previously. I scared myself during Freshers’ week, and it was the best thing I could have done.

Not only did I wriggle out of my comfort zone, but most evenings (I had to take one night off, the Great British Bake Off was on, and was struggling to keep my eyes open during the day at this point!) I danced the night away, and laughed and laughed and laughed until I was sure I would wake up with a six-pack.

Happy, happy memories. Additionally, I personally choose to drink very little, and was always very timid about being almost teetotal at home, but during Freshers’ week I found myself happily letting everyone know that I would opt for a ‘mocktail’ instead of alcohol, and everyone was truly welcoming and fine with this choice – to fellow drinkers worried about the ‘drinking pressure’ of Freshers’ week, do. not. worry. It is totally fine not to drink!

All in all, Freshers’ week was brilliant and I would gleefully do it again. Although, if I could ping you one line of advice, it would be to bring along all the medicine you can get your hands on! Freshers Flu is absolutely not a myth, and I’m on approximately my 13th packet of tissues, the lectures that have just ensued are merely an orchestra of coughing and sneezing!

All the best forthcoming Freshers’!

Charlotte

Highlight of Freshers'? Freshers Fair, freebies everywhere!

Highlight of Freshers'? Freshers Fair, freebies everywhere!

 

How to run a society

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management, Second year

During Freshers' Week people tend to put their name down for at least 10 societies. Obviously a normal human being cannot be involved with 10 societies and pass university as well. However, I would encourage getting involved with 1-2 societies and 1-2 sport clubs. I tried Lacrosse and joined German Society and the Baking Society. After the first semester I only stuck to German Society and when election time for next years committee came up I decided to nominate myself. Eventually I was voted as the Chair of the German Society. Back then I did not have a clear understanding of what the role would involve but I was prepared to spend some hours each week dedicated for the German Society and it seemed a fun activity to meet new people.

In the German Society we have 4 committee members – bigger societies tend to have more positions – Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Social Secretary. My role is basically to be the CEO of the society and do different things, a lot of them involve administrative stuff. The secretary is responsible for the communication with the Societies members. The Treasurer handles everything involved with money but as we do not have a big budget, this is not too complicated. The Social Secretary is there to organize the fun stuff – the socials!

Before the end of my first year, the handover from last year's committee to us happened. Basically, you have to fill out a lot of forms and just think about what you want to do with the society in the next year. For us this was a little bit complicated as our Treasurer and Social Secretary were on placement in Germany and Austria. However, we eventually did it and handed in all the forms (does not mean we will now stick to everything we wrote!)

During the summer I was only responsible for filling out forms for Freshers' Week. However, as I realised later, I only filled one out of two forms out. That is why German Society was only at Freshers' Activities Fair and not at the Societies Activities Day on Parade. We only realized that on the day of the Societies Activities Day as our society did not have a stall. I was quite depressed after I realized it was my fault. I thought we would not be able to get anybody to join us. However, it was also a chance for us. We were not prepared at all for the Societies Activities Day,  so it might have looked quite unprofessional if we had a stall. As we now had some days left to actually think about how we should decorate our stall for the Activities Fair we put a lot of thought in it. We baked cakes, made German bread, had sweets, and printed out flyers. It was quite a success and as a result we now have 58 official members.

Our German stall at the Freshers' activity fair

Our German stall at the Freshers' activity fair

The main thing societies do is to host socials. Our first social happened in the second week as we wanted to get involved with the new Freshers' as soon as possible. We wanted to start with a bang and organised two barrels of beer and German food.  Unfortunately, or should I say luckily, so many people showed up that we ran out of wine after half an hour. We clearly miscalculated how many people would actually show up, but the whole committee was relieved that so many people attended.

Promoting German beer!

Promoting German beer!

For the next few weeks my society has planned some socials, film nights and the Christmas meal. The biggest event we have though is the annual Berlin Trip- Wish me luck that everything goes well with the planning of it. *fingers crossed*

Here is my top 10 list of what I have learned so far about running a society:

1)   You should read EVERY e-mail the SU Society team sends you REALLY carefully
2)   Running a society involves filling out a ton of forms
3)   You meet a lot of people and by the end of the year you will have made new friends
4)   Being part of a society takes up a lot of time – do not only do it because it looks good on your CV, although....
5)   It does look good on your CV!
6)   Finding a date when every committee member can attend a meeting takes sooo long
7)   You have to be the n°1 fan of your society – if you are not passionate about your society then nobody will want to join it
8)   You talk about your society all the time and might even dream about it (mostly nightmares about filling out forms)
9)   You will get addicted on checking how many people have joined the society & how many people actually came to socials
10) It is a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anybody who is willing to spend some hours a week dedicated to your society