Management student Lawrence White has been supported by a scholarship made possible by Stephen Kelly, who graduated with a BSc in Business Administration from the School of Management in 1984.
Lawrence explains the difference it's made to his experience at Bath:
The run up to university was a blur of buying things, packing up, and sorting out accommodation and transport. So when Mum asked me to fill in an online form she'd found, and write a sheet of A4 about myself, I wasn’t exactly overjoyed. After a few days of procrastinating, and constant pestering, I sent the forms off before embarking on another quest to buy the cheapest possible saucepan.
Over a month later, I received an email from the University of Bath Scholarship team, informing me that my scholarship had been accepted. I jumped out of my chair, screamed in excitement, and threw a big party to celebrate. Or at least that's what would have happened in an ideal world; in reality, I rang my mum to ask if she knew anything about this, as I had completely forgotten about applying in the first place. I imagine a lot of applicants would have been surprised to find out they had been successful, but I can guarantee no one was more surprised than I was! Fast forward three years and two saucepans, and I am in the fourth and final year of my Management degree.
Looking back over my time at Bath, I can see how a lot of what I have been able to do has been enabled in some way or another by having a scholarship.
The first and most obvious benefit is the rare student phenomenon of having money coming in to my bank account as well as out. However, I can assure you that the financial stability of a scholarship doesn’t mean that I can spend much more than my peers, or that all of them are struggling. The biggest difference the money has made for me is not to do with the amount I spend, but in the way I spend money at university, and the way I spend my time.
I have met way too many people who refer to uni as the best time of their lives, but regret that they didn’t make the most of it, both in terms of fun and education. When my friends are meeting up, I have always been able to go, not held back by financial worries, and whenever I have deliberated over buying a textbook that might help my exam, or spending petrol to drive to campus for a late-night study session in the library, I have been able to do so.
Finances are a constant source of stress for students, especially with rising tuition fees and increasing costs of living. My house in second year was £320pcm, but now in fourth year I am paying £500pcm for a near-identical house (but please don’t stop supporting scholarships and use the money to invest in the Bath property ladder instead).
Many students take up a part-time job to bolster funds. For me, having a scholarship affords the most precious resource – time. The classic uni saying is that you need to work to the best of your ability, get a good amount of sleep each night, and have a great social life – but you only have the time to do two of those options. Uni is a full-time job, and every second is precious, so having to take on a job for even just a couple of hours a week really piles on the stress.
Without this scholarship, I know that I would have had to make some sacrifices.
The final benefit lies not with the scholarship, but the source – you. As a Management student, I was very fortunate to have a successful businessman as my donor. When I wrote my first letter to Stephen back in 2016, I ended with ‘I look forward to one day being able to thank you in person’, but I thought this would be unlikely. However, to my luck and enormous gratitude, an opportunity recently materialised to meet him, have a chat, and say a long-overdue real-life thank you.
Over the last four years, my scholarship has given me financial stability; enabled me to spend more time with friends; to volunteer as Social Secretary for the Dodgeball Club alongside my studies; to buy the textbooks I need; and helped me to make useful connections for the future. But on the other hand, I’ve had four long years of my scholarship being used as a ‘mum knows best’ anecdote.
Has it been worth it?
I guess the benefits just about edge this one.