Hi, I'm Anand and a first year student at the University of Bath. I'm studying Chemistry with a Placement Year and I took Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics for A Levels.
I went on the summer 2019 Discover Bath programme where I spent 4 days experiencing both what life at Bath is like and also what life as a Chemistry student is like. It was a great experience and really opened my eyes as to what university is all about and what it can offer.
What did I enjoy about the Discover Bath programme?
Firstly, living in student accommodation was really exciting for me. We all stayed in Marlborough and Solsbury Court (an en-suite room) and it was good to see what it was like living in that kind of accommodation. In fact, this year, it was particularly helpful for me when I came to choose my accommodation as I didn't get to see inside any of the rooms on the Applicant Visit Days because of COVID. Generally speaking though, it is nice to see what it's like living in en-suite accommodation for example and you can think about whether it's something you want when you go to uni yourself.
For me, I have to say I enjoyed the social aspect of the course the most. Everyone became friends with everyone quite quickly and the experience of living together and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner together is really fun. Just being able to spend more time with people is great and one of my highlights was one night, in a massive lecture theatre, Love Island was streaming and if you know Love Island it was when everyone returned from Casa Amor so it was a very exciting night.
Just like uni, however, it wasn't all about socialising - we did do some work! On the Chemistry programme, we did a series of reactions to produce this molecule called benzocaine. What I liked about it was that it followed on from A Level Chemistry but took it further in terms of some of the equipment used. We did a reflux reaction to produce benzocaine and then did some melting point analysis which was a nice way of using analytical techniques to identify the compound that was produced.
I found Organic Chemistry and all the different types of reaction mechanisms difficult to grasp at school and actually doing the experiment helped me engage more both with what was going on chemically and also how that relates to my A Level course - so in that respect I would definitely say that the Discover Bath programme helped me in my academic studies.
How did the Discover Bath programme lead to me choosing Bath?
Choosing which university you go to is always a big decision, but the Discover Bath programme definitely made me feel more comfortable about choosing Bath. It was less of an unknown, I had lived on campus (it was scary how much I knew my way around campus when I turned up in September!), seen what the accommodation was like and had met some of the professors and students and they were all lovely.
I'm not even exaggerating this, I ended up choosing Bath because of the Discover Bath programme and how having been here already, it felt like a good fit - equally it may not be (I can't see why!) but the aspect of knowing whether you want to go to Bath or not is invaluable.
It's only been a few months since I joined Bath but I'm very happy with my decision to come here and the programme has made this transition to uni much easier as I've been in the labs before, I've lived on campus before so it all feels familiar to me.
My advice to a Year 12 student:
Take advantage of as many of these programmes as possible. Choosing which university you want to study at and live at is an incredibly difficult thing to have to do and programmes like Discover Bath are great for helping you feel more comfortable and confident in your decision. This year's programme may have to be different because of COVID but the more contact you have with your prospective university the better IMHO.
I remember in the weeks leading up to the start of term in September a lot of my friends were stressing out about what kind of accommodation they would live in and generally how everything worked but I had none of that stress; through living on campus in Summer 2019 I felt totally comfortable about moving to Bath and if you can have that too, then go for it!