How I made it to University

Posted in: First year, Freshers' Week, Gold Scholarship Programme, Undergraduate

My journey to becoming a 1st Year undergraduate at the University of Bath will probably be one of the most unforgettable time periods in my life.

Pre-University Preparation and Anxiety

Outside the Main Hall of my former secondary school, I huddled in a corner with my mum to open my results in private. Once I ripped into the envelope and my mum and I saw the grades, everything started happening so quickly. There were aunties, uncles, and cousins from countries all over the world requesting to FaceTime us and send congratulations.

UCAS emails were joining in the party and showering me with student deals, and that ‘Welcome to Bath’ email from the Admissions Department eventually sent my brain into serotonin overload. I had a good day! – I mean, I do look very happy here:

My mum and I smiling; I am holding up an envelope with my A Level results inside.
Happy days!

Nerves are inevitable on Result's Day, and it is more fulfilling to lean into them. Reading articles about how to prepare for Results Day and tuning into the Facebook Results’ Day Countdown helped me to realise that I wasn’t alone in my anxiety!

I will admit that my university preparation did get overwhelming to organise. So, watching university vloggers on YouTube was a quintessential part of my journey. A couple notable people with informative and entertaining videos were YouTubers Jack Edwards and Vee Kativhu, alongside Bath graduate Joelle Phua. The information provided by university vloggers were invaluable for me and made me less terrified and more prepared for university.

Financing my Studies

Living costs can be unpredictable. So rather than relying on student loans to cover finances, I started scholarship hunting. Fortunately, it was straightforward to apply to the scholarships suitable to me via the University’s Applicant Tracker, aka SAMIS. Unfortunately, not a lot of students are aware that their universities offer grants, and I am grateful that Bath makes us fully aware of all the financial support they can provide us.

Receiving the email that I had been successful for the Bath Gold Scholarship Programme was so shocking and elating. I now have the financial burden of living costs alleviated, as well as the excitement of having access to mentoring, a range of networking events, and I can make a positive impact through 50 hours of volunteering, fundraising and/or outreach work.

Additionally, my mum told me about The Scholarship Hub, which has a huge database of scholarships across the UK. Now, I have access to a range of financial support that I can apply for in future years. Though it was difficult to write the applications, the hope and confidence that securing a scholarship have given me was entirely worth it.

Arriving at University

And then it happened. Arrivals Weekend. Can I just say, I think that the University of Bath campus is massive?! Luckily, I had directions and a map provided by Students' Union (SU) Bath volunteers and the University’s security team. Having my family with me to help unpack a few of my boxes was calming, as I was walking into such an unfamiliar environment. I felt more confident to transform my bedroom into a cosy and homely place.

Photo of student accommodation including bed with items which are due to be unpacked after arrival
A partially furnished room.
Photo of student accommodation. Everything has been unpacked now. The desk has folders and there are some posters on the walls
A fully furnished room.

I was pleased that I broke out of my introverted comfort zone and got socialising with my flatmates. We are all in a similar mindset as we are freshers and perhaps this is our first time being at Bath. Naturally, everyone was friendly and approachable to chat with. It is strange not being at home anymore, but that only makes me more excited to make the most of being at university, to the point where it feels like a second home.

My Freshers' Week

Off the top of my head, Freshers’ Week for me was a strange concoction of elation, anxiety, thrills … and being really tired all the time. The University of Bath really outdid itself with the range of events and activities readily available to go to. For an introvert like me, the idea of constant partying and drinking was definitely daunting, and I was worried I would become a hermit because I wouldn’t enjoy many of the events.

The good news? Partying isn’t the be-all-end-all of Freshers’ Week. Who knew I could explore the city of Bath, join an escape room, watch musical performances, chat with the Christian Union at their legendary ‘Hot Tea and Toast’ evenings, and occasionally party the night away in the span of a week? Throughout that crazy week, the one thing I came away with was gushing over how gorgeous the city of Bath is.

A view of Bath's Southgate shopping centre with some colourful rainbow decorations between the buildings
Bath Shopping centre.
Bath City Centre with some green bushy trees inf the foreground and the buildings in the background. Some shoppers are on left-hand side of the photo
Bath City centre.

Final Thoughts

I cannot stress enough how fascinating this period of my life has been – it’s certainly been more turbulent than any planes and rollercoasters I’ve been on! After everything, I’m left with a newfound urge to do more, explore more and push myself more than ever.

Watch this video for more on me


Posted in: First year, Freshers' Week, Gold Scholarship Programme, Undergraduate


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