Who Am I?
Hi! My name is Chardonnay and I’m currently in my second year studying biochemistry at the University of Bath. I’m from West Wales, and at A levels I studied Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and History. When I was in sixth form, I decided to participate in the Discover Bath summer school offered by the university. It was an amazing experience that really helped me feel more confident about going to University, especially coming to Bath. Today I’d like to share my experience to hopefully encourage anyone considering applying for the programme!
Why did I apply?
When I was in year 12, I found the idea of going to university pretty overwhelming. I knew I wanted to study bioscience, but I wasn't sure where, and the idea of moving far from home to be in a completely new place was daunting. So, I applied to the Discover Bath because I wanted to get a feel for university - including staying in university accommodation, attending lectures, and being surrounded by people I’d never met before. Another important reason I applied for the summer school was because I hoped that it would give me some experience related to my subject that I would be able to mention in my personal statement, which it absolutely did.
My overall experience at the Discover Bath residential was both incredibly useful and fun. On the first day, we had plenty of time to get to know the group of people we would be living with that week. Making friends was probably one of the parts I was most worried about, but it wasn’t a problem at all - I remember when we first got to our flat, we immediately found board games to play with, and from there it was super easy to become friends. One of the highlights of the trip for me was definitely the countless rounds of the card game Dobble that my new friends and I played in our flat kitchen.
In the next few days, I got to attend some fascinating lectures about biology as well as spend some time in the lab, practising different practical techniques that would be common for a bioscience student. There were student ambassadors who looked after us the whole time and made sure we were where we needed to be, as well as offered insights into the life of a student at Bath. Breakfast and dinner were served at the lime tree - me and my flat were BIG pain au chocolat fans. We ate lunch by the lake, surrounded by the adorable campus ducks.
How did it benefit me?
One of the best parts of the summer school was the friends that I made. It was awesome getting to know people who had come from all over the country and bonding over card games and garlic bread bought from the campus supermarket, Fresh. Even now, I still talk to some of the people I met on Discover Bath. The subject-specific experience I gained was also extremely useful. At the residential, I learned how to use a pipette and perform dilutions, which I now do ALL THE TIME as a biochemistry student. However, I think the most important thing I took away from Discover Bath was a sense of confidence and preparation for university life. It showed me how exciting being away from home and living as a student could be. When I came to Bath as a first-year student, it was so nice to already be familiar with the campus that quickly became home.
I would highly recommend attending a summer school at the University of Bath to anyone who wants to experience a taste of university life before applying to university, as it made me feel so much more confident with the transition from school to university and gave me memories and friends for life. University summer schools in general can be super useful for developing new skills and knowledge in a subject that you are interested in (which can be helpful for a personal statement!) as well as helping you to decide which university is right for you. My decision to leave my comfort zone and try a new experience ultimately led me to decide that Bath was the place for me. Looking back now, two years later, I don’t regret that decision one bit!