Before starting University, I had a few misgivings about what the course and student life in Bath were going to be like. I’m happy to say that my misgivings were wrong (even if I was disappointed that the Roman Baths was a museum and not an actual usable bathhouse) and I was pleasantly surprised about the subject and the University of Bath itself.
I chose to break from my family's historic tradition of going to University in Aberystwyth and chose Bath to forge my own path. But why? Why disrupt the path my siblings had followed and strike out on my own? Perhaps spite, but there were several reasons and factors that helped me reach a decision.
Bath has been in the top 10 universities in the UK for the last few years, ranked 5th in the 2024 Complete University Guide. For Criminology specifically, it has been rated very highly since its inception and is currently top 5 in all major league tables. The modules on offer also caught my attention, in my first year I’d be studying Crime and Society, Criminal Justice, and Critical Thinkers in the field just to name a few. A thing to note is that Criminology is quite sociology based. Originally, I thought it had aspects of psychology and forensics in it, so I’d recommend reading through the course outline carefully. We do look at certain psychological reasons for criminality, but mainly it’s how society creates and responds to the criminal.
A place of my own
In making my decision, I chose to attend an open day. This entailed a campus tour and a look into the accommodation on offer. It was packed and fell at the tail end of the pandemic, so I didn’t take too much time exploring the accommodation. But an excitement grew in me to think of living independently and experiencing student flats.
The tour guide was helpful and gave me a lot of information on specific accommodations, studying in Bath, and their experience of student life. It took a bit longer than expected to tour the campus, mainly because my mum is five foot and walks very slowly, but I’m glad we took our time so I could take in the buildings and the wood paths encircling the campus.
The city itself is very conveniently located, it was two hours from my home in Wales, Bristol was a 12-minute train ride away and it had connections to all areas of the UK. The University also welcomes a lot of international students so the sheer range of cultures and life experiences I’ve seen here are definitely a huge selling point for broadening your horizons.
Find your Vibe, find your Tribe
This slightly cringy saying was proclaimed to me by my flatmate and despite its cheesy way of saying it, it does ring true. Ultimately, I chose Bath because it felt alive. Visiting my siblings, it was rare to see a student awake before 11, not to mention getting to a 9 am lecture. Bath flipped those expectations for me. I’m an early riser by nature and it baffled me to go to the gym at 7 in the morning and still see around 30 people already there and sweating. There’s an aura of productivity and buzz on campus that I haven’t seen in other unis which really pushed me to try new things and experience student life as much as possible.
Freshers week was a great way of plunging me into student life. I lived in Eastwood in my first year and the feeling of it being a proper house really helped me acclimate to the new environment. My housemates were in the same boat and quickly the kitchen became a social space and a bit of a mess. The range of things to do in the first few weeks created a very full schedule for me. I decided to try my hand at Ultimate Frisbee and Kickboxing. It turns out two of my new housemates were seasoned players and they encouraged me to join a beginners frisbee tournament in Bristol along with my other housemate. What I didn’t realise at the time was that the ‘beginner’ category referred to those who had been playing for one year or less. I had gone to three sessions. We got demolished. But it was a great experience and gave me very many funny memories and lasting friendships. It helped to teach me that even an overwhelming event like that, as I’d never played any sport before, was easily manageable and could give me fantastic stories to tell.
The scientific study of crime and criminals
The course expectations proved lighter than I had expected in my first year, I averaged around 300 words per week along with some reading. I didn’t have exams either that year, so it was an easy transition from sixth form while still challenging me and teaching me academic skills for the later years. The thing to remember is that the course is what you make of it, it’s up to you how much you engage with the resources given to you. The main assessment was a reflection portfolio for which we wrote entries on our learning that week. This approach helped in the second year as I retain information from weekly lectures more easily so I would recommend continuing this exercise beyond the first year.
The story so far
Overall, Bath was the perfect decision for me. Here I have tried many new things, made some great friends, picked up some part-time jobs and opportunities, and generally made the most of my first year. The course has challenged me to be better in writing and researching and made me eager to learn more. I’d highly recommend Bath as the uni to better yourself and to challenge ways of thinking to consider different perspectives on intrinsic concepts like crime and society.