Callie is from South Wales, and is currently in her second year studying Biology at the University of Bath. Below, she gives an insight into university life, and the misconceptions she had before she went:
Before coming to university I was worried about many things. As with any student, getting an offer and then achieving the necessary grades were my biggest concerns. Yet, after having my place confirmed on results day, there were still plenty of things I was worried about! I was asking myself all sorts of questions, from “Will I have enough money to feed myself?” to “Do I have enough pans to cook with?”
I’m quite a shy, introverted person so was worried I would not make friends and that I’d be sharing a flat with strangers I wouldn’t get on with. Fortunately, this was not the case. At the end of the day, you need to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone was very friendly and keen to get to know each other – be prepared to answer the questions like “What’s your name”, “What are you studying” and “Where are you from” about a hundred times within your first week.
I would recommend getting to know your flatmates as soon as possible. Freshers’ Week is the best time for this: make the most of the free time and events. Even if you don’t want to go out, try to stay in the communal areas of your accommodation so you can start talking to your flatmates. Knowing the other people you’re living with will help you to settle in much quicker, it’s much harder to feel isolated.
A lot of people from my school decided to study at Swansea or Cardiff and stayed at home. I decided, however, that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted the opportunity to be independent and learn how to live, yet still be near enough to home that I could come home quickly if needed and that my family could visit regularly with ease.
This is one of the reasons I chose Bath, as it’s less than 2 hours by car or train (if the traffic is good!). Coming from South Wales, I’m not used to a city environment: I decided only to apply to campus universities. This definitely helped me settle into university life better, as everything I needed was on campus.
Coming from a low income background, finance was a big concern for me. How could I afford rent, washing, food and textbooks on top of my university fees? Fortunately, Student Finance Wales gave me a loan and grant to pay for my study and cover my living costs. Universities also offer bursaries and scholarships if you fit certain criteria.
University can be daunting. The best advice I can give is to really get involved. It’s a great way to meet other students and it really enriches your university experience. In my first year I was a member of several societies, was involved in a lot of volunteering, and became an academic rep and a student ambassador. Just remember, you’re all in it together, and it can be the best time of your life!