Student bloggers

Life as a student in Bath

Tagged: Sport

Making the most of Bath: Latin and Ballroom Dancing

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📥  Gold Scholarship Programme

It’s fairly obvious to say that a big perk of being a Gold Scholar is the money we receive as part of the programme. One of the things I’ve invested this money in is developing a new skill while I'm at Bath… Latin and Ballroom dancing!

I go to two classes every week at the university: a beginner’s class and a technique class, both taught by professional instructors. The beginner’s class is where we learn the steps for each dance and practise them with a partner. It was definitely weird dancing that close to someone of the opposite sex to start with, but we’ve all got to know each other now so it’s much more natural! During the technique classes, we learn the finer details that make the dances look pretty and get us more points when competing…

Team Bath at the first competition of the season, in Southampton

Without a doubt, the biggest element of Latin and Ballroom at Bath is competing against other universities all over the country. There’s so much team spirit and support, even as a beginner you feel comfortable and confident dancing against other couples. I did my first competition after only 3 weeks of starting classes, and came away with 4 second places!

Medals and certificates from my first competition!

There's also a big social side. 'Social dancing' is held every week and is a chance to just have a dance and chat, and mix with different people. I've actually learnt a lot through social dancing because you get to dance with more advanced dancers and pick up some tips! Various events and trips are put on the committee too, some of the ones from last semester were ice skating, karaoke and a Christmas meal. There's also the amazing annual Winter Ball, held after Bath's competition in the Assembly Rooms (very very fancy...!).

Beginners group photo at Winter Ball

There’s no way I would have been able to afford to do all this without the money from the Gold Scholarship, so I’m incredibly grateful that I’m able to be part of one of the amazing sports teams and societies that Bath offers.

 

Bath University Boat Club's Campaign at Head of the River Race 2016

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, Joseph, Second year

A little while ago I was lucky enough to travel to London with my Novice Rowers from the University Boat Club for their biggest race to date. The Thames riverside was packed for the annual Head of the River Race which attracts an array of clubs, schools, university teams and international crews. This year, as one of the Novice Men’s Captains, I have worked incredibly hard to get the Bath University Novice Rowers racing as much as possible and, despite the quality of the competition, the Head of the River Race in London was not to be an exception on our calendar. Collectively, thousands of hours of training had led up to this race, including tens of early morning sessions in the build up to the event. It was going to be make or break for my Novice Men and right from the off I was very proud indeed.

Having loaded the rowing boats onto the trailer in the early hours of Friday morning before heading to lectures, it was an early night for everyone prior to a very early departure to Putney on Saturday morning. The majority of us travelled by car to the capital city and were quick to unload and rig the boats in Putney along the side of the river. It is very rare to see so many rowers (let alone rowing boats) all in one place and it was an amazing experience for everyone involved.

Due to enormity of the event, the novice rowers were quick to boat on the Thames and ended up sat in boating queues for a huge amount of time. Although cold, this meant that they were fully immersed in the racing shortly after arriving and could focus solely on the job at hand – completing the course in as little time possible. The course, which is traditionally the reverse of the Oxford Cambridge boat race course, was their longest race of the entire calendar and hence was set to be gruelling! It wasn’t long before myself, as a captain, and all of the other spectators who had made the trek from Bath, set off towards Hammersmith Bridge to watch the event unfold.

The Novice crew in action

Once propped up along the railings of Hammersmith Bridge (which was very cramped due to the sheer numbers of people watching the race), it was time for racing to begin in earnest, with the fastest international crews being let off first. Senior University teams were quick to follow; Bath University Championship VIII being no exception. It was great to see the senior crews put in a strong performance and hold off arch rivals Bristol, over the length of the course.

Some of the crews taking part in the Head of the River Race 2016

It wasn’t long before both of my Novice crews made an appearance in the distance and everyone associated with Bath began screaming words of encouragement. Coming through the bridge, both teams looked incredibly strong with no obvious faults in technique or mechanical failure. This made the day even more exciting for everyone in London. It was the first time in years that Novice crews had raced the HORR course, let alone completed it with such confidence. I was incredibly proud and relieved to see that all of our hard work over the course of the year had paid off. All rowers came off the water with beaming smiles, although exhausted they had clearly enjoyed the experience and were delighted to have been part of such a prestigious sporting occasion.

Once warm and dry it was time to de-rig the boats and load them back up onto the trailer before making a speedy exit and heading home. We all made it back to Bath safe and sound, but most importantly, we made it home just in time for a team meal out in the city centre followed up by a round (or two) of well-earned drinks.

As the mad weekend of rowing and racing came to an end it was swiftly time to return to our studies on Monday morning. There’s never a dull moment in Bath! Having said this, it is impossible for rowing folk not to be excited about the hectic season of regatta racing coming up after exams. The summer cannot come quickly enough…

 

How to stay active at university, even if you hate sport

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

As a student here at the University of Bath, I would say that the most heard statements are as follows: ‘Which sport do you do?’, ‘Who’s holding the pre-drinks?’ and ‘I should probably clean my room’. The former is a tricky one for me as I’m at one of the sportiest universities in the country, yet I think my 90 year old grandma is probably more agile and better suited to sport than me… no really.

I’ve never really experienced that ‘runners high’ they speak of, I’ve never fancied starting my morning with a ‘few lengths’ of the Olympic swimming pool here at the Sports Training Village and quite frankly, I only signed up to do cheerleading for the outfit. I’m a guilty of being a sportophobic! I’m sorry #TeamBath (yes, Instagram is riddled with this hashtag, everybody loves Team Bath!).

Even though I’m not the sportiest of sorts, I do think it’s really important to stay active and on your toes at university. Spending hours upon hours cooped up in your room studying isn’t great for prolonged periods of time, and if the only exercise you get is dancing at clubs; it’s probably time you got a little more exercise in. Here are some of my tips for staying healthy and active, even if you’re not fully immersed in every sport here at Bath.

Sadly, I can't say going to the gym is my favourite part of the day!

Sadly, I can't say going to the gym is my favourite part of the day!

My first pointer would be to walk-it-out. The campus at the University of Bath is small compared to many other campuses across the country, but to me and my little legs, it seems rather vast. At least every other day I try and take a stroll around the University site. The edge of campus is actually very woodland-y and provides lovely views while pacing around. There’s even a castle backing onto the golf club here, and that’s a special sight – the view from it, it is utterly stunning. There’s also an American Museum on the University site, as well as a cat and dog adoption centre so walking to one of these places is a great way to get in some exercise, with an engaging reward at the end.

Sham Castle, 4 minutes from central campus. A great location for a stroll and photo-snapping session.

Sham Castle, 4 minutes from central campus. A great location for a stroll and photo-snapping session.

If you like scenic places, or just like to have an Instagram feed packed with nature or a Snapchat story oozing with sunsets and nice rivers, there’s many National Trust sites around Bath, which are beautiful and walking the routes with friends is a great way to keep your ticker going. Starting at the university is an admittedly incredible ‘skyline’ walk around the edge of Bath, looking down onto the gorgeous city and only a mile from Bath Spa train station is another National Trust site called ‘Prior Park Landscape Garden’ which is glorious and has a beautiful bridge plonked in the middle called the Palladian Bridge – a real treasure and an equally good day outside.

Another way to stay active at University is by participating in amateur and recreational sports- clubs are readily available for people who have never done sports before and are welcoming to total beginners. Clubs with basic, beginner branches include Netball, Rugby, Lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee and Cheerleading. There is also a terrific group called the 3:Thirty Club who arrange sessions based around getting active for those that aren’t particularly sporty: past sessions have included tag rugby, girls self-defence, yoga, improvers swimming and boxercise. Perfect for those that feel a little daunted by official clubs and want to get fit with like-minded people.

The ultimate way to get the most toned calves ever here at the University of Bath is staring you right in the face: Bathwick Hill! This is the rather steep, and slightly ominous hill up to the University. This does have a real gradient, and there should be prizes for those who make it up by foot without being out of breath, even the elite athletes studying here! Walking this hill takes around 20-30 minutes and is a brilliant way to sweat-it-out and get the blood pumping. The reward at the bottom is Bath’s stunning canal, and all the shops along with the historic sites (Bath isn’t a UNESCO World Heritage site for nothing!) in town so I suppose it does pay off!

Walking along the scenic Avon and Kennett Canal is a lovely way to keep fit.

Walking along the scenic Avon and Kennett Canal is a lovely way to keep fit.

There’s a litany of beginner to 5k running programmes here at the University, and the cycling club also offer frequent rides for people new to road biking.

Jumping for joy at how easy exercising can be in Bath, even if Lacrosse or Rugby aren't your calling.

Jumping for joy at how easy exercising can be in Bath, even if Lacrosse or Rugby aren't your calling.

There you have it – How to not be a couch potato at University, even if the ‘spinning’, ‘Zumba’ and ‘hockey’ buzzwords just don’t appeal to you!

Keep healthy!

Charlotte.

 

Adding spice to university life: gym, vegetable plots, and the Bath Award

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, First year, Yousuf

Things had started to get pretty repetitive for me in university. Bus – Class – Lunch – Class – Bus is the cycle I’ve been in since September. However, I have managed to find some extra-curricular activities to add some spice to my routine.

After a long wait I have finally convinced myself to get a gym membership (halfway through the year). I have delayed getting a gym membership for a while due to a mixture of university workload and procrastination. I was also very unsure of what I would be doing in the gym because I’m not that avid of a gym-goer, so I was surprised that the gym offered me a free service when I joined that set me up with a trainer who wrote out a workout schedule for me.

Early mornings at the gym

Early mornings at the gym

After booking a meeting with the trainer I settled with a programme that I do on my own and gets changed every six weeks. I have also seen trainers that provide a personal training service too, but that wouldn’t suit me because I prefer my timetable to be flexible. Having a space where I can put on my music and row till I can’t feel my legs anymore is greatly appreciated … at least until I have to waddle into campus next day.

The main reason for my awkward induction to the Sports Training Village gym was because I was getting bored of swimming being the only sport I do whenever I get tired of work. I am slightly regretting not joining a sports society to learn a new sport, but there is always next year. The gym will be keeping me busy until then with all the different things that I can do. It’s slightly becoming an obsession as I am starting to look at different techniques which push me to my limit.

I have also begun to apply for volunteering opportunities through the Students Union. One of these is a community garden where students get to prepare and plant a plot in a park in the city of Bath where anyone can contribute to/benefit from what is planted. The idea is to get people familiar with plants that are local to the area, and all of it is organic. I really enjoyed this more than any of the volunteering opportunities I have had before because I really believe in organic produce and using public spaces for more than just flower and tree galleries. I also have gotten to meet some really cool people who have similar interests.

The vegmead vegetable plot in early spring

The vegmead vegetable plot in early spring

The one and only, Rodney the Rhubarb!

The one and only, Rodney the Rhubarb!

Another opportunity I am looking forward to is teaching secondary students about electricity and magnetism with an engineer from Airbus- I can’t wait!

Last, but not least, I have started to look at the Bath Award and to about the criteria I need to meet in order to complete it. The Bath Award is an award given by the university to students who take on tasks that provide them with key skills that they will need when they graduate and enter the world of work. Its requirements are fairly straightforward and I think it will reflect all of my extra-curricular activities nicely by the time I graduate. So I can both enjoy my time volunteering and rest assured that the time I spent will be appreciated by future employers.

 

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!

 

My role on rowing committee

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, Joseph, Second year

As you should all know by now, ever since I started at Bath, rowing has been a big part of my life at university. In my first year I was lucky to be selected to row in some of the top novice crew boats. This led to training twice a day, every day, throughout the second semester of first year and I had to devote the majority of my weekends to the boathouse. Although this may sound like a burden, I believed, and I still believe, that it was great to do something at university to take my mind off academia and coursework. This year is no different, but for completely different reasons. Let me explain why…

Towards the end of last year, I put myself forward to be elected as one of the Novice Captains for the boat club. Fortunately, I was elected, and this year I am a Novice Men’s Captain – a hefty responsibility.

Rowing training at the University of Bath

Rowing training at the University of Bath

Being part of a sports committee is a much bigger job than I could have possibly imagined but I am enjoying it much more than I ever thought I would. In addition to my studies, an average week at Bath now involves arranging crews, organising novice rowing sessions, coaching the novice rowers from the motorised ‘launch’ coaching boat, attending committee meetings as well as endless administrative tasks. The administration involved with committee work has been the biggest shock to me, but it is also very rewarding. I very much enjoy being able to answer the thousands of questions the novices pose, whether rowing related or just concerning day to day life in Bath. As a whole committee we need to make important decisions about the direction that the club is moving in and, most rewardingly, we need to enter our novices into as many races as possible.

Due to the strength of the committee team this year I am proud to say that the boat club has entered novices into more races than ever before and by entering small events, we have even won some mugs! Last week, we entered a record number of five crews into the University of Bristol Head on the River Avon. This is the first big event of the year and although as a novice, I raced at this event, I did not realise the amount of time and effort the captains had to dedicate to organising crews and making sure everybody and everything is in the right place at the right time.

UBBC Head race

UBBC Head race

In semester one alone I have learnt lots of new skills from my role. For example, I have had to liaise with the professional university coach and arrange for boats to be delivered from nearby boat clubs for our novices to race in. This took lots of planning given the busy timetable of my engineering course and the pressures of coursework submissions which are constantly niggling away in the background.

I am often asked by the hundreds of novices that have signed up for rowing whether it is worth the amount of time we have to commit to captaincy. My response is always the same; although I have had to forfeit my chances of rowing competitively as a senior this year, I have met lots of interesting people and feel like a massive part of the club without actually competing myself. The work we do on sports committee is so far detached from my course that it acts as a perfect respite from the busy schedule of coursework that second year engineers are faced with – this is brilliant news.

Early morning rowing on the River Avon

Early morning rowing on the River Avon

My role on committee at Bath also helps to juice up my CV. The Bath University Students Union is very aware of the amount of work we do and we are elegible for lots of awards and exciting opportunities solely because of our volunteering and organisation. In short, there are lots of hidden benefits to the job, thus making the 4.59AM alarm call and early mornings at the boathouse much more bearable.

Away from the course, second year IMEE is far from relaxed. More about this in my next post however…

 

BUCS Weekend

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, Joseph

For everyone who takes part in rowing whilst at university, BUCS weekends are of particular significance. Unlike most sports that you can take up at university, BUCS events are few and far between on the rowing calendar. For starters, getting boats to and from competition venues is laborious, time consuming and costly and, in addition to this, rowing is a sport that relies heavily upon amicable weather conditions. With this in mind, there are only two outdoor BUCS rowing events each year – the longer, winter head race and the ‘biggy’ – BUCS Regatta. As it happens, the novice category for BUCS head racing was cancelled this winter due to poor weather. This meant only one thing; everything came down to the BUCS Regatta…

So it was seen to that on one windy weekend in May, the entirety of Bath University Boat Club hiked up to Nottingham rowing lake for a weekend crammed with racing and inter-university rivalry. Right from the off the weekend was incredibly eventful, and, despite the gusty conditions, was enjoyed by all.

We arrived at our cosy Nottingham hotel to find opposing University boat clubs milling the hallways – a great chance to eye up the size of the competition for the following days. Any early night’s sleep was followed by an even earlier wake-up and breakfast routine before we headed to the lake for the day’s races at 6:00AM. Racing began for me in earnest at around eight o’clock in the morning in a coxed four; cold, wet, windy, but immensely fun.

Competing at Nottingham

Competing at Nottingham

The Nottingham rowing lake became an arena of sound and chanting as old rivalries surfaced and new ones took shape. Bath, like all other boat clubs present, gathered in front of the finish line to cheer on teammates – a brilliant atmosphere. Results were frantically announced around the steward’s enclosure. The four I had raced in in the morning had done well and were positioned to move forward to the semi-final for head to head racing.

During the periods of waiting in between racing it was great to be able to witness some more senior racing and relax with crew mates. It’s bizarre to think that I only met some of these people a few months ago and everybody already seems to be such close friends. I get the impression that every sports team in Bath has the same, very close knit, feel about it. BUCS events have also been great times to meet up with friends from other universities – everybody is in the same place for one weekend of the year and the chance to reunite with old school mates is not to be missed!

Before we knew it, our second and third races had passed us by and despite aching legs, choppy conditions and poor racing results we were still very proud of what we had achieved! No sooner had we come off of the water we were in the coach heading back to central Nottingham, the hotel and most importantly… dinner! Yet again, another huge appearance was made by all in the restaurants of Nottingham – a prime time to finally unwind and load up with the necessary carbs for the next day’s racing.

The following day went by with similar speed as I took part in the eights race. We put in a very similar performance on the day – finishing well in the time trial events but not fulfilling our potential in the head to head racing. A steep learning curve indeed! If anything, the results for the novice crews at the weekend only enthused us to train harder and continue rowing well into the summer break. We finished our weekend’s racing with our heads held high and having learned lots about the sport and each other.

Monday was a day for us to watch the remaining races of the weekend and finally properly relax and enjoy the sport as spectators. Right on cue, the sun came out and we were sent home with sunburn and dry clothes, hoorah! The bus back to campus was a sleepy affair. Following boat unloading in the evening we were all very keen to get back to the warmth and dryness of our respective bedrooms for a big sleep!

Alas, BUCS racing was over for another year and we now look forward to the summer regatta season outside of university semester dates. For me personally, it was time to return to the realm of integrated engineering ahead of my first exam in just a week’s time. A well-earned break from the boathouse was in store and academia was to take priority for a month or so. As always, I will keep you updated!

 

Stay on campus or go home? A busy break ahead...

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, Joseph

Well, it has been a little while since I last blogged and so much has happened, so I thought it best to write a piece and fill you in on what has been going on in busy Bath over the last few weeks.

IMEE Course

The IMEE course at Bath seems to have sped up in the build up to the two week long break for Easter. You may think that Easter is a time to finally relax after a busy start to semester two, but oh no, you are wrong! There is certainly no chance of boredom for anyone on IMEE over the Easter break as multiple technical reports and lab write-ups have been set for delivery soon after our return to campus.

Having said this, the work we have been given could not be more interesting as we are now all working towards larger end-of-year projects including designing a table-tennis ball launcher which we will build at the start of year two. This means that we have to not only conceptualise, design and draw the launcher but we also have to source and order parts for the project so that we can ultimately build it and realise our amazing ideas! This is just one of the exciting challenges 'IMEEs' are blessed with at the University of Bath.

On top of all this, the UAV launcher, which some of us are designing and building for a fourth year project, is still going strong and parts are now beginning to arrive in the laboratory which can mean only one thing; it’s time to start building. In some respects the work that IMEE students do puts us ahead of those doing straight mechanical or electrical engineering; for example, the UAV project has taught us how to make successful parts lists for order – this is a skill that will come in very handy when ordering parts for the table-tennis ball launcher. Despite this busy timetable with days in lectures and in various laboratories and model shops, I am reassured by how fascinating I am finding everything we are doing. Only the other day, in a digital electronics laboratory, I was able to conceive and build a two bit binary multiplier. This may sound like a mouthful, but in basic terms, this was essentially a small multiplying calculator – fabulous!

My finished multiplier

My finished multiplier

 Sports club elections and holiday training camps

In addition to the ramped up work load, as always, sport carries on as normal in Bath. The ability to do so many sports whilst at Bath is great and my time in the gym or at the boathouse is a fantastic way for me to unwind and clear my head. I really feel like the sport I do at Bath actually helps me academically. If nothing else, the growing commitment I have to rowing teaches me how to manage my time effectively and be incredibly productive in my study hours. After all, I still find time to blog…

Coming into the summer season rowing has really stepped up once again. There are multiple training sessions on most days of the week and plenty of water time on Wednesday afternoons and at the weekends.

In recent weeks, elections for committee posts took place for all individual sports clubs. In the last blog post I wrote about how SU committee elections had taken hold of campus, now it is the turn of the individual clubs, rowing being no exception. The competitive nature of the election process meant that the atmosphere surrounding the hustings event was electric. Many committee positions were closely contested, with, in some cases, four people standing for a single place on committee. Voting has now closed and we are all eagerly awaiting the results. Fingers crossed....

Many of the athletes in Bath will be spotted on campus throughout the Easter vacation period. Many of the serious sports teams are running training camps throughout the break, much like over the ISB period at the start of this year. I find this opportunity very exciting as it’s yet more time to live on campus with all of the great people you have met during your first year and it enables you to do some much needed extra training. Myself, I have chosen to go home for just the first weekend of the holiday to quickly see my family and raid the food cupboard before returning to Bath on Tuesday morning for the rowing training camp. If the ISB camp is anything to go by, this will be a whirlwind fortnight and deserving of its very own blog post. As always, I will keep you updated…

 

Nearly Easter - reflection on recent weeks

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, Joseph

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; time flies whilst at Bath! Who’d have thought that it’s almost Easter already? There’s barely time to think let alone blog! However, I have managed to grab a bit of time to write this post to fill you in on what has been happening since the last time I blogged....

Results

The big topic of conversation over the last two weeks in Bath has been results. Having completed our first set of exams and having waited nervously until the end of February, results day finally arrived. For many, results meant a sigh of relief as all of the hard work from semester one had paid off, for a small minority it meant a little nudge in the right direction. Personally, I was very happy with my results and it confirmed that all of the hard work I had put in was worthwhile - work over the Christmas break, during the revision period and the work I put in during term time of course!

The results process is very simple at Bath, during the day on the 27th of February we were all emailed at various times with a list of our grades in each of the respective modules – no hassle whatsoever, the results were sent to us directly - far easier and much less stressful than queueing for hours to pick up A-level results at school…

Having spoken to those who were perhaps a little disappointed with a few results here and there, I have been reassured to hear that it is very easy to approach members of staff who are willing to discuss matters and agree a reasonable plan of action. This news makes me far less worried about the summer exams and I am confident now, that if I put in enough work, the course isn’t so impossible after all! If everything goes wrong however, it is also very calming to know that it is possible to re-sit a number of modules in the summer break and still proceed through to second year. Although I do not plan to use this safety net, it’s always good to know that it’s there!

The course

Aside from all of the talk about results, exams and possible re-sits in the summer break, the Integrated Mechanical and Electrical Engineering course has become more interesting than ever before. I am currently amidst an array of projects including an electrical feedback system project using Arduinos as well as a working in a group to help fourth years launch a plane as part of a Mechatronics module. In addition, this week the Mechanical Engineering department are allowing us to design, build and race small Dragsters. Brilliant!

Of course, on top of all this, lectures are carrying on as normal and the combination of all of these things is certainly keeping me busy throughout my days here at Bath – ‘there ain’t no rest for the wicked!’. As I found in semester one, it is very important to remain organised and on top of things whilst studying at the University of Bath; the fast pace of the course and life on campus means that it is far too easy to be left behind in a trail of dust. If I learn nothing else this year, I am happy to say that I have learned to become very disciplined and efficient with my use of time. Dashing to and fro becomes second nature and everyone learns to plan their day effectively and maturely, a skill I am proud to be mastering.

Sport

It’s hard to talk about my life at University without mentioning rowing. Rowing, much like my course, has stepped up a notch as we now head towards summer’s regatta season with some big BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) meets coming up. The training has intensified but the weather is improving making the training all the more enjoyable – rowing whilst at Bath has not only helped me make a huge number of friends but the time in the fresh air allows us all to clear our heads and really focus on our work when we are back on campus. There is no better place to be on a sunny day than on the water with the other rowers and, although physically demanding, it’s a great way to relax and detox at the weekends.

I really cannot recommend enough joining a society in Bath if not trying out a whole new sport much like I did with rowing. The committees for the numerous sports clubs on campus are all amazingly friendly and easy to talk to, meaning that even half way through this academic year people are joining new sports all the time – many people used semester one to settle into to University life and have now decided it is time to start a sport, a completely understandable thing to do…

SU Elections

The SU Elections

The SU Elections

If you walk around campus at the moment, walls and handrails are laden with banners asking you to vote for next year’s SU representatives. This whole election process has taken campus by storm and I was at first shocked to see how much effort has been put into all of the bids for separate places on the SU committee. Due to these up-coming elections the atmosphere on campus is electric with manifestos being chanted and inter-representative rivalry ever present! I can say without a doubt that everyone is backing someone and people are keen to see their representative make it all the way to the SU committee. May the voting commence!

Until next time…

 

A visit from afar

  ,

📥  Charlotte, Faculty of Engineering

Two bus rides, a flight and a train journey. Yes, my sister had to tackle all of these when she travelled from Edinburgh to Bath to spend a weekend with me celebrating the end of my exams. Something that she somehow never ceased to forget, particularly when it came to who would do the washing up.

The week before her arrival I, being the dedicated sister (not because I was procrastinating from revision), researched things to do and see in Bath thus we had the whole weekend planned. ‘Wagamama’s’ Friday night for tea, 5k Park Run Saturday morning followed by rowing on the river Avon and the Bath Skyline walk on the Sunday. Yes, I wanted her to experience all of Bath’s wonders – and secretly to keep her out of the flat so that my flat mates couldn’t make up weird stories about me or vice versa.

So, as soon as the examiner released me from my final exam, I was instructed to run down the hill to the train station to greet her. The timings meant that she arrived in Bath an hour before my exam finished so on top of the travelling, she had to wait in the centre of Bath alone. All hard feelings were forgotten when we reached Wagamama’s, a Japanese restaurant that neither of us had been to before though was highly recommended. It did not disappoint even if half way through our main course I received a text from one of my flat mates asking where we were sat in the restaurant. I had mentioned to them that we were going so naturally they all decided to come too – I thought they were joking until I spotted them on my way to the loo.

After sharing dessert and sipping our complementary free Green tea, I introduced her to Widcome Hill, one of the hills that runs up to the University. After all, we needed to burn off the calories from our trio of desserts and I needed to prove to her that I wasn’t exaggerating when I compared the climb to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

Back at my flat, we began planning the following day only to discover that the ‘Bath Boating Station’ where we were going to hire the rowing boats from was closed for the winter – obviously, I was too focused on my revision to notice the opening dates. So with the weekend ruined, we decided to look around the shops in the centre of Bath after the Park run instead (if we could still move).

It was our first ever Park Run so we were rather nervous as to what the standard of ability would be like. I guess those nerves were reason that I didn’t sleep well on the Friday night though it equally could have been because I had to share my single bed with someone who liked to hog the duvet and hot water bottle.

The Park Run wasn’t as scary as we had anticipated so I am now determined on doing it most weekends as part of my training for climbing Kilimanjaro. Ok, so I didn’t go this week but that was only because it was my friend’s birthday the night before so you know… I suggested we all did it together in the morning but for some reason none of them were keen.

Park Runs can be found all across Britain and are essentially a marshalled 5km route which anyone can walk, jog or run regardless of fitness. There were children as young as 5 completing the route when we did it. Bath’s route is very close to the University and boasts some impressive views to spur you on so it’s a perfect way to keep fit even without any previous jogging experience. The only downside is that some of the marshals take pictures of you on route thus be prepared for some lovely new profile pictures of you in action.

After a shower and breakfast, we headed down the scenic route across the fields into the centre of Bath. It was a bad decision. Having rained the night before, the fields were very slippery and I ended up falling over. Furthermore, I had to walk around the shops covered in mud for the rest of the afternoon much to the amusement of my sister. I made her walk up Bathwick Hill as punishment.

The following day we set off on the Bath Skyline Walk. A signposted 10km circular walk around Bath. We began at ‘Baths Cats and Dogs Home’, an animal refuge on the edge of the University campus, so after an obligatory look and cuddle of all the animals they care for, we followed the signs through woods and across fields.

Bath Cat's and Dog's Home

Bath Cat's and Dog's Home

You almost forget that you are just outside a busy city until the view opens up to reveal the beautiful Georgian ashlar cityscape of Bath. What’s more, the people you pass on the walk (naturally the majority clad in tweed) actually smile and greet you much like everyone does in my village at home. Now, I understand if you’re from a large city, you may find this bizarre. You may get paranoid that the sweet smiles are actually them plotting your murder, but fear not, we only do that if you don’t smile back.

It took us just over 3 hours to complete the walk what with our periodical stops for selfies – yes, after Christmas, I am now the annoying owner of a ‘Selfie stick’.

The selfie stick

The selfie stick in action

I’ll admit we received some rather funny looks particularly from those in tweed.

It was sad when the weekend was over but quite frankly I was exhausted. Alas, my single bed felt very lonely that night.