Student bloggers

Life as a student in Bath

Tagged: Making friends and social life

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

 

A Social life: having one and funding it!

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

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

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

Klass: one of the weekly club nights at the SU

Klass: one of the weekly club nights at the SU

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

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

One of many societies you can be part of!

One of many societies you can be part of!

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

Valentine's themed bake!

Valentine's themed bake!

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

 

The importance of living it up and having a social life (even if you're a master’s student)

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📥  Faculty of Science, Maeva, Postgraduate

Panic.

Only four weeks into my master’s course and I can see it in the faces of my fellow peers. The moment when we ask “what have we gotten ourselves in to”? Surely choosing to do an undergraduate degree is one of the typical motions of life. Something expected. A master’s degree at one of the top universities in the country is not. The decision was pondered throughout third year or saved up for over a few years. There is no one else to blame but ourselves for thinking that an additional year of deadlines, exams and assessed public speaking would be a great idea.

We rant to our friends, vent to our personal tutor and toy with the idea of telling our parents that we have changed our minds. But it goes no further than that. The moment of panic passes. Mutual support from my peers have helped me get through the first term of my postgraduate degree.

Too often I get caught up in the daily stresses to enjoy my time at university where I am studying something I’m actually really passionate about. When that happens I know I need to slow down, take a break and grab a skinny late in the 4 West Café and dedicate all my attention to the latest gossip. Now that may not be how you like to spend time with your friends, but it is important to have a social base, even if it feels like it is unnecessary or pointless because you’re only here for a year. But a year is a very long time, regardless of how quickly it goes. Sometimes I get so worked up trying to achieve my best that I forget to take the time to breathe and appreciate all the perks student life has to offer and that will soon be gone.

As I live off campus like most master’s students, I like to make the most of my trips into uni and tend to stay for several hours. In a way it’s the best way to also maximise time with friends, as it always seems impossible to organise something off campus. We always break for lunch. By the time 12:30 rolls around we’ve had our eyes on the clock for the past hour and a half. The Calverton Rooms is our first port of call, though we have fun trying the different food venues.

After a big assessment hand-in day, my course mates and I regroup and go to the Student Union to grab a pint and try to not dwell on it too much. Though none of us are fans of pool, we do like to play ping-pong in the Plug. I think it’s really important to try and break up your day whilst on campus, and not only associate it as a place to do work. Have an annoyingly long gap between two lectures? Go to a gym class, partake in yoga or pilates. Hit the treadmill and sweat it out if it has been a really tough day.

My peers have made the most of the brilliant Graduate Centre Common Room. It’s an area in 4 West that can be used for studious work and more relaxing activities. There is a large collection of contemporary films on loan in the library, and an impromptu decision resulted in an early break from studying and watching Love Actually on the projector in the Graduate Centre in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We definitely bonded over the soppy romance and felt much better afterwards and we were able to attack our revision more positively the next day, because we had destressed.

Another thing to make sure to look out for are emails and messages on the TV screens. Yes, we do get inundated by tons of emails and half of them never seem relevant. However, sometimes there are great opportunities to have fun on and off campus. Make sure to take full advantage of those coffee mornings the PGBio society advertises weekly. Nothing says TGIF like tea and biscuits after a long hard week. It’s a great way to meet people doing different types of postgraduate degrees as I, myself, normally only see taught master’s students.

Events I went to this term include the Bath University carol service in the gorgeous Bath Abbey and the Science Showcase at The Edge and the PGBIO society Halloween party. The showcase was a particularly fun night of listening about a topic I am very familiar with, but and we can all agree a comedy cabaret is 100 times more entertaining than any lecture. I also made the time to attend the post-graduate welcome party in The Tub (top of the Student Union) at the start of term. Who says that post-graduate students can’t party and make use of those great SU prices and drink deals? Undergrads do not have monopoly on the fun in Bath. Letting my hair down and getting down with my friends quickly chases away any sense of worry. At least until the next morning.

I cannot stress enough the importance of making the most of your time. Set aside some free time for activities and socialising. All work and no play makes for a very dull student life and will quickly lead to you burning out and feeling demotivated. Your course mates or other students know exactly what you are going through and together you will go through the ups and downs of this crazy year. For the first time I consider myself an actual scientist. It has a lot to do with being surrounded by such like-minded people. Master’s are so specific and they require more passion than any previous stage of your education. The university offers numerous supporting services, but I find slowing down and chilling with friends the best remedy for most cases of the blues.

 

Bath Snowsports Ski Trip 2016

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📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Hannah, Second year

As you probably know by now the University of Bath has a week’s holiday (inter-semester break or ISB) at the end of semester one (September-January) in the last week of January before semester two (February-May) begins. It’s a chance to relax after exams and recharge your batteries before the second semester kicks off. You have lots of options for your ISB, last year I used it to visit some friends at their universities and I spent a couple of days in Paris with the family I au paired for in my gap year. Some people prefer to spend some more time with their families at home as you don’t get a very long break over Christmas (and most of it is spent revising) and some go on holiday with friends. One of my housemates decided to spend her ISB in the Gambia topping up her tan.

I opted for something a bit different and decided to go on the Ski Trip – organised by Bath Snowsports. This sports club is one of the biggest in Bath and each year they offer the chance to go on a ski trip. In 2016 the trip was to Val Thorens in France. Initially I wasn’t really sure if I would enjoy it, I was worried there would be more focus on the nightlife than actual skiing and before I signed onto the trip there wasn’t a huge amount of information available on what it would be like. In this post I’ve broken the trip down into 5 sections, so that if you do decided to go you’ll know more or less what you’re getting.

Three Valleys Piste Map

Three Valleys Piste Map

Travel

I will not lie to you, this is definitely the worst part of the ski trip. The journey ended up being around a 20 hour journey on the way there and a 16 hour journey on the way back (and I got off early!). However despite those travel times it’s not as bad as it sounds. We were mostly held up at Calais, as the coach takes the ferry over to France, and while we were there we could get off the coach and stretch our legs a bit. It’s also a good idea to use the bus journeys to catch up on sleep as you won’t get a lot of it on the trip! Rechargeable batteries for phone/iPods/laptops are another essential. Some people who weren’t keen on the idea of an endless coach journey, or had a placement to get back to, chose to either fly out there or back or both for around £65-£80 one way if you book in advance.

Food & Accommodation

Before you go on the trip you will have the option to sign up to a “friendship group”. You will get the coach with people from this “friendship group” and it is likely that your rooms will be close together. The size of the group can be as big or as small as you like (although there had to be a minimum of three people). This year there were 5 people per room and you sign up to rooms with the people in your friendship group.

Our great value apartment

Our great value apartment

Although the accommodation was a little cramped, one bedroom-kitchen, one toilet, one shower and another bedroom with bunkbeds, this just added to the fun of the trip and as it’s only 6 nights the size of the accommodation doesn’t really matter. Though I signed up for a self-catered apartment as they were cheaper you also have the option of partially catered if cooking really isn’t for you. Two of the people I was sharing with also chose the “bread in bed” option for an addition £7.50, and two baguettes were delivered to our door every morning, making breakfast much easier. For making meals we brought some ingredients from home (snacks, pasta, pesto etc.) but there were plenty of supermarkets in the resort. I also ate out for dinner twice as you can find fairly inexpensive meals (10-15 euro per person).

Our accommodation

Our accommodation

Skiing

Now to move on to the best part of the trip – the skiing! Whether you’re a beginner or an expert this trip caters for everyone. I went with several friends who had never skied before, some who had only dry slop skiing experience and some who had been a couple of times but still weren’t very confident and they all decided to take three days’ worth of lessons. They all agreed that the lessons were really useful and good value for money. As I’ve been several times before I decided not to have lessons this time and to make the most of my three valleys ski pass. Val Thorens is connected to two other resorts, Meribel and Courcheval (ski map below) and so we made several day trips to try out the runs there. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and had both blue skies and perfect skiing snow. The trip also offers some skiing workshops, such as off-piste skiing.

Pro skiers

Pro skiers

Après

A lot of people’s favourite part of the trip was the après-ski, or the nightlife. Bath Snowsports offer you a £12 wristband which gets you free entry into most of the bar and clubs, discounted drinks and discounts at the supermarket in our accommodation block. I would strongly recommend buying the wristband, even if you don’t plan on partying much, it helps save you a lot of money. The après was divided into three parts; a bar with a DJ up on the mountain until around 5-6pm, live music/DJ’s in one of the bars 10pm-12am and then onto a club. This meant that you can pick and choose what you want to do, if you’d rather focus on the skiing then you can choose just to go and relax in one of the bars, but you also have the option to go out and dance the night away! One event I would really recommend going to is the Mountain meal, dinner in one of the restaurants on the mountain. For £30 we were treated to beef fondue, salad, chips and half a bottle of wine, with night-skiing down afterwards.

Après on the mountain

Après on the mountain

Money

A big worry when going skiing is that it will be really pricey. While I won’t deny that the ski trip is an expensive holiday it’s still relatively cheap for going skiing. I paid around £650 (including a £50 damage deposit, wristband, mountain meal, accommodation, ski hire & lift pass). It’s also recommended that you take around 250 euros spending money for the week. However I only took 200 and I had some left over, even after eating twice in a restaurant so you can definitely manage on less.

I had a really amazing week in Val Thorens and if you’re thinking about going next year, I would really recommend it!

 

Ich bin ein Berliner

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

After two horrendous weeks of exams, it was time for the long-awaited and deserved Inter-semester break. Different university societies plan different trips during this week-long break before Semester 2 starts. The most well know trip is probably the Ski Trip to Val Thornes, which I have heard is quite awesome and you can read Hannah's blog post about it here.

As the Chair of the German Society it was my responsibility to plan the trip to Germany’s capital Berlin. The planning had already started in October, so I was really glad when exams finished and my little German society group was able to finally board a bus to Gatwick Airport. After a little detour on the motorway as our bus driver missed the exit to Gatwick and a lot of panic from my side, we arrived at the airport at 11 am and landed in Berlin in the afternoon.

Our hostel was literally in the middle of Berlin – the former East Berlin - just right next to the famous Alexanderplatz with its TV Tower. At the check-in it felt like we had never left Bath as it was a Belushis pub and hostel, which we also have in Bath and most of the staff only spoke English and hardly knew any German. However, once we left the little hostel bubble behind us it hit me hard that we are in Berlin, one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in Europe. You will find a typical East German building called Plattenbau in one street and just around the corner you will find a modern skyscraper.

It was crazy to see how the division of Germany and especially Berlin still has an impact on the city itself. The city itself remembers its famous division wall- the Berliner Mauer – with two brick rows on the street to mark where the wall stood. For me it was unbelievable to imagine that this city was divided into a Communist and a Democratic part for such a long time and that this ended just a few years before I was born.

As this was more or less a study trip to experience German culture and get a sense of living in a German city, we planned a lot of activities. It included a lot of German food – Currywurst, Schweinsbraten and Bread – and of course good German beer and Radler, a mixture between beer and lemonade. Considering I ate meat twice a day you would think that German cuisine only consist of meat dishes, but the vegetarian in our group always found something to eat as well. Even the non-drinkers were able to survive without drinking beer.

Embracing German food and beer

Embracing German food and beer

For me, the most interesting part of our trip was to visit the German Reichstag, the house of the German parliament. In this house you can actually feel the drastic political changes Germany underwent in the 20th and 21st century before it became this European superpower. The outside of the building was built in the monarchy, whereas inside you will find a modern glass cubicle designed by Norman Foster to house the united German government. However, the parliament only started its work in the new building ten years after the reunification. In the inside you will also find Russian graffiti left by the Russian soldiers at the end of the Second World War and you will still see some marks left by bombs.

Russian Graffiti in the Reichstag

Russian Graffiti in the Reichstag

The most impressive part about the building is probably the glass dome. The idea behind it is that members of the parliament should look up to see members of the public walking around to be remembered why they are in parliament in the first place. The public on the other side can look down on the elected members to have an eye on them so that something like the Nazi regime cannot happen again.

All in all, I can only recommend going away in the inter-semester break with a society. You will see a new city, you will meet new people and you are predicted to have some fun and might even make some friends.

 

Mountaineering in Snowdonia

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📥  Charlotte, Faculty of Engineering, Second year

Snowdonia at Christmas sounds magical. A beautiful blanket of snow hugging the vast moorland, pulled up in peaks formed like a perfect meringue mixture to encase the mountains.

Snowflakes gliding elegantly from the heavens like well-choreographed performers as trees sway and clap endearingly, thrusting off dancers taking well-deserved rests on their branches as if to say ‘Encore!’

Well, at least that’s what I wrote in my A-Level English coursework.

The reality is much different. Fog. Rain. Coldness.

Should have checked the weather

Should have checked the weather

Yet, Bath’s Mountaineers are a hardy bunch and nothing will stop us ambling through the wilderness; map in hand, clinging onto our hoods with the other. We walk through thick or thin fog. Rain or hail. Hurricanes or gales.

Now I say us; this was my first actual Mountaineering trip, preceded only by one walk around Bath, one failed bouldering attempt and multiple socials. Well, I needed to get my money’s worth out of the club joining fee somehow.

Despite the disappointing lack of snow, the trip was really fun. Organised on the weekend after everyone breaks up for Christmas, it was the perfect end to the year. A chance to enjoy the freedom of no lectures and to relax – well maybe relax is the wrong word – before traveling home for the holidays.

We set off on Friday afternoon for a 7 hour drive to North Wales. I seriously wasn’t prepared for the journey time, I could have made it home to Carlisle in less time (though may have needed a boat for the last leg for anybody who has read the news recently). Yet, the journey gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and being friends with only 4 other mountaineers before the trip, I vowed to make at least one new friend. Particularly considering those four are ‘mountaineers’ like me who not so much mountaineer as socialise.

After getting lost on a country lane in the middle of nowhere, we arrived at this really cute house adorned with a log burning fire in the lounge, a massive kitchen and dining room and bunkbed styled dormitories – perfect for the 37 tired mountaineers who. Just. Needed. Sleep.

The next morning we emerged at half 8 only to discover a group had already left for a walk. Mental considering a glimpse outside confirmed that I personally wouldn’t be venturing into the unknown any time soon. I mean the rain was relentless and mature trees were buckling in the force of the wind. So much for the idea of snow.

A morning spent playing board games in front of the open fire sounded much more appealing, particularly when 8 soggy mountaineers returned midmorning to dampen the hall way and fill up the drying room. However, as the day progressed and the rain still didn’t yield, a group of us decided that it was our duty to our namesake to actually explore the surrounding area and set off on an exhibition to the nearest pub.

Almost there!

Almost there!

It was a treacherous walk over soggy moorland and through a slate quarry, during which we learnt that the Welsh do not care much for well sign posted public footpaths nor strong features that can be easily identified on a map. However, we had fun bonding over our saturated boots and freezing fingers, and enjoyed lunch together huddled under the emergency shelter (much like a bright orange parachute).

worth the treck

We eventually arrived in the centre of Llanberis after walking for over 4 hours through the bitter wind and rain, thus a quaint Café serving steaming hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows averted our attention away from the pub. From there we organised for a mini bus to take us back to the house so we could shower and change before dinner.

It is mountaineering tradition that each year we don our finest clothes and enjoy a festive meal together served by committee themselves. And what a meal it was; a full roast complete with parsnips, pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce. Heavenly. The members were all to provide desert so it was a real feast of sweets. My caramel shortbread was obviously the winner though.

Group Christmas dinner

Group Christmas dinner

After dinner entertainment consisted of watching keen members attempt to ‘boulder’ around a table (aiming to scale the underside of the table without touching the floor). Mountaineers are such a crazy bunch – don’t fret though, we had a crash mat. Not wanting to make a fool of myself, I retreated to bed.

Now what’s a trip to Snowdonia without actually adding Snowdon to my repertoire of conquered mountains (current total 1)? Well, at least that’s what 7 of us thought. Despite the continuous rain which hadn’t wavered all weekend, we braced for the wind and began our ascent.

Not a pleasant walk I’ll admit but we did it. 2 hours up and 2 hours down was not bad considering our necks were aching from the continuous need to watch our feet in order to negotiate the rocky terrain and we could no longer remember what it felt like to be dry.

However, don’t let this put you off visiting Snowdonia. I can imagine myself quite happily strolling through the vast wilderness of North Wales on a sunny day and catching the train up to the café at the top of Snowdon in order to actually enjoy the views that the fog disguised.  Just make sure the café and trains are open when you go.

Sadly for us, we could only fantasize about a steaming mug of hot chocolate at the top.

 

 

 

How to 'find yourself' at university

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

As soppy and gushy as it sounds, university is a fantastic place to find out who you really are. It’s somewhere to learn to love your own virtues and quirks and it’s brilliant for working out what floats your boat, and what tickles your pickle so to say. I’ve heard in the past that people say you can either lose yourself, or find yourself at University – for most people, it’s the latter.

For me, I came to University in a bit of a tizzy: I hadn’t had much time for myself during my A Level exams and I wasn’t really sure who I was. I found myself flitting between friendship groups, feeling low and wondering what I wanted for myself and my future. I came to university wanting to suss out my plans and ambitions for the future, and I wanted to find out who I was.

I did, here’s how…

University is the perfect place to supercharge confidence. Many people arrive at University feeling very nervous, shy and some may respond to feeling trapped in their shell by turning into a bit of a hermit. This is rare, as at Uni everybody really is ‘in the same boat’; it becomes second nature to start introducing yourself to random people and sparking a conversation with anyone and everyone.

You can become much more confident just by working things out on your own, and becoming confident in your ability to sort things out solo. By Christmas lots of Freshers' say that they feel more confident and outgoing, which is a total ‘pro’ of coming to university! Confidence rocks!

Another key part of the university experience is venturing outside of your comfort zones. At Uni you’re forced to push yourself. Whether that means doing your laundry for the first time in your life, submitting an assignment on something you had previously never heard of, or even just attending an induction talk with 100 people you’ve never come across; you’re constantly pushed outside that comfortable bubble. This is great!

*Nods in agreement*.

*Nods in agreement*.

It may be scary having to leave what you know and pushing the boundaries you usually stick to, but this only stretches you as a person and helps you to grow. A very fitting quote here is from Thomas Jefferson who said “If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done”. Voila! Smash those comfort zones down!

Another way to find ‘you’ and to establish yourself is to do the things that make you truly happy. Anecdotally, I found that during Freshers’ Week I kept forcing myself to go clubbing and loiter with some very drunk people, even though I would have much rather been at the Student Union’s Pizza and Board Games nights, watching a movie on Campus or just staying in with chocolate fingers and the Great British Bake Off!

As a first-year student, as the semester has gone on I have let go of only doing things because they make me look good even if I don’t enjoy them. This applies for societies too, I felt that I was obliged to immerse myself in as many clubs and societies as I possibly could, but some I had no interest in, and participating in too many took up huge amounts of time. Work out what makes you happy and content and stick with it, don’t bow to what other people want you to do or what other people are doing. Celebrate what you like doing!

It helps that University is such a diverse and buzzing place. There are hundreds of groups and societies and it’s easy to find what you enjoy. Never tried fencing? Have a go at university. Never been allowed to study at 2am before? Pop to the 24 hour library! Want to learn to code? Start up at a coding workshop. Uni is the prime place to figure out what gets you going.

 University is the perfect place to suss out who you want to be and to unearth the real 'you'

University is the perfect place to suss out who you want to be and to unearth the real 'you'

At University, it becomes totally possible to dream big. No one titters when you say that you want to grab the highest position you can, no one creases up when you admit that you want to move to America and start your own business and it’s totally normal on campus to have big aspirations and ambitions.  At Uni you can begin to get to grips with what you want for the forthcoming years, and providing you stick with your studies and get your brain in gear, you come to understand that there’s no reason why your biggest ideals cannot be achieved! Coming to university is the beginning of finding out what you want, and you can start to shape your path there.

Future, we’re coming for you.

Charlotte.

 

'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!

 

New home, new friends?

  

📥  Eman, Faculty of Science

It’s safe to say one thing that pretty much everyone thinks about before starting university is the idea of making friends. Whether it’s a major issue people are worried about or if it has simply crossed their minds for a brief moment, most people, if not all, have thought about it at some point. For me, it was more about how I was leaving the most amazing friends behind, and whether I would be able to find people I can click with as easily as I had with my current friends.

At some point, people will definitely tell you not to worry about not making friends as everyone is in the same boat as you. This is true and something you really need to keep in mind. Just like you, the rest of the students moving in are thinking the exact same thing: will it be hard to make friends?

As I was unpacking my things after my family had left, I was quite eager to meet my new flatmates. Of course, everyone was moving in at different times so there were points where the flat was empty. However, anytime I heard what sounded like someone moving into the flat, I went straight outside to say hello. Your flatmates will be the first people you meet and make friends with. It was quite easy for us all to become friends quickly as we were going to be living with each other for the next year. A lot of your socialising is done with your flatmates at the start as you’re sharing a flat together and will constantly see each other daily.

Everyone wants to try and make as many friends as possible but venturing out from your flat may seem difficult. It felt like that for me at first, but I also wanted to get to know more people in my accommodation block and see who was living in the flats next door to us. When I had some spare time from unpacking, I decided to go over to the flat next door and introduce myself. It was slightly daunting as they were all conversed in their kitchen but they were just as eager to meet people too. Because of this, we all decided to go round our accommodation building and introduce ourselves to as many flats as possible.

Day 1 of Freshers' Week and already in other people's flats

Day 1 of Freshers' Week and already in other people's flats

In a way, we all sort of knew each other, as before coming to Bath, we had formed a massive group chat of everyone in our building and got to talk and get to know each other a bit beforehand. So, going round to everyone’s flats was quite interesting as we all felt kind of familiar.

Our pre-university accommodation chat; meeting current friends rather than new then?

Our pre-university accommodation chat; meeting current friends rather than new then!

After saying hello to everyone, you realise there was no need to have any doubts about meeting new people as everyone is just as eager as you are. Being in the same position as everyone else already gives you something in common and it’s a very easy place to start from.

One of the main ways everyone got to meet new people was Freshers' Week. As well as being excited for the main events, the pre-parties were just as fun. Different flats across the building opened up their kitchens where people were free to come in and party with everyone. Over the course of this week, I met some amazing people having spent time in lots of different flats to get to know as many people as possible.

Although you end up sticking with the people you pre-partied with in your accommodation building, you actually end up meeting a lot of people in different accommodations during the main events in Freshers' Week. Also, if you happen to have a friend you’ve known before coming to university, it’s definitely worth going over to their flats at some point and meeting their flatmates. Now whenever I go over to see my friend, I can easily stroll in as if I’m a part of their flat too.

So of course it’s normal to be worried about making friends. But there are so many opportunities to meet new people, and this is just in the first week of university. There’s so many more people to meet in your course and in any societies/sports teams you decide to join. If you feel like at some point you haven’t found people you click with, again, don’t panic! Everyday I’m meeting more and more people, whether it be from nights out or through other friends. Be patient and it will definitely happen.

 

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.