Living at home while studying at university, sounds boring doesn’t it?! You might think it means not as many friends or not a big social life. As a stay at home student myself, I’ve lived to tell the tale, and boring isn’t the case. In fact, I would describe my first year at university as quite the opposite – fun.
by Razaan, BSc(Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering
Hi, I’m Razaan, and I am currently a third year student at UWE Bristol. I’ve been living in the city centre ever since I started studying here, and it has its pros and cons. In this post, I’ll walk you through what it’s actually like living in the centre as a UWE Bristol student.
Chloe shares her guide to arts and culture, festivals and shopping around Bristol. She tells us her favourite things to see and do in the city, and shows us why Bristol is such a great place to be a student. Watch Chloe’s vlog too, where she shows us round Bristol’s hotspots.
To choose to live in Bristol as a student is to choose to enter into a completely different way of exploring, moving, creating and living. There isn’t a corner of the City that isn’t signed with some form of creativity and individuality, and they’ve left no room to question the authenticity of the people and appreciation of the history.
Bristol has mastered a way of being all-inclusive
Bristol has mastered a way of being all-inclusive — from the party-goers to the theatre-goers, to those who prefer artisan coffee shops and a good page-turner, to those who are desperate to keep the kids entertained for half-term, to the history fanatics, to those who love a good shaded spot on the grass with good company, to those who love a bit of ‘me time’ — there is something here for everybody.
To all of the foodies out there, you won’t be left disappointed. I’m yet to find a cuisine that doesn’t have its own place. They’re dotted all over the City too: Harbourside, Stokes Croft, Gloucester Road, Clifton, Cabot Circus, Cribbs Causeway — thank me later, and “Bon appetit!”
Creatives, whether on your own or with a group, a whole weekend can be planned to get the creative juices flowing. You can go to places such as the Arnolfini or Spike Island, or get lost in the fresh air up at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or even in the array of quirky cafes to plan your next project.
Bristol has an amazing understanding of community
Bristol has an amazing understanding of community, and it’s almost as if everyone and everything is working in tandem to keep the buzz of the City alive. Every campus has a different atmosphere, but all comfortable in their own right, and you can feel the drive of each student independently yet collectively working together to create two of the best Universities in the UK.
No matter where you’re coming from, Bristol is definitely a home away from home — and the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.
The process of writing an application can be daunting, but it’s all about seeking opportunities which will develop your skillset and enhance your CV. Thinking about jobs is often scary, but it is important to gain experience which sets you apart from future candidates. Remember – you don’t need to know what you are going to be doing in ten years’ time, just arm yourself with experience and skills to widen your opportunities later on.
During my time at UWE Bristol I’ve worked as a Student Ambassador, volunteered for a charity and recently started working as a Student Content Coordinator. For all of these, I’ve had to complete an application to be shortlisted and it got me thinking, what makes a good job application?
I’ve rounded up the top tips which have helped me in the past that I hope will help you with your next application too!
Decide where and what to search for
Since studying at UWE Bristol, I found the UWE Job Shop and Infohub Vacancies valuable tools when trying to find volunteering and work experience opportunities. The site offers a range of vacancies which will enhance your knowledge and employability. I found a volunteering vacancy as a Social Media Coordinator at Sue Ryder, which allowed me to explore an area I had little experience in, but always wanted to try. I discovered that the position held more responsibilities than I had anticipated but led me down more avenues to explore.
But what if you don’t know what to apply for?
Identify your skills to you find the right role for you
If you identify what you enjoy doing and what you are good at, you will discover an umbrella of paths to explore. By researching these key skills, you will find out what job titles surround your interest and abilities – which will create a direction for your job hunt.
Once you’ve found an opportunity try to understand the role
Once you find a role which interests you, ensure you understand what the advert is asking of you. Are there particular skills or qualities the job requires?
Make a list
of what the job requires and make a list of examples of when/how you have done
this. Source key skills you have exercised on your degree, for example, communication,
team work and time management. By doing this you will uncover core transferable
skills which are crucial for all jobs. Never under estimate the experience
and qualities you have, as everything you do holds significant value.
Learn about the company you are applying to
When completing an application, it is important that you show a level of understanding and knowledge of the establishment you are applying to. What do you like about the company?
Showing that you have an interest and an awareness of the company will demonstrate initiative and engagement, which counts for a lot!
Remember, there is no harm in trying and there is nothing to lose when applying to jobs. Even if you don’t get the role, it’s all good experience so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities and keep working towards your end goal.
by Lydia Cerguera, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing
It’s time to look at the hard work behind UWE Bristol’s fantastic campus grounds and the plans for this year
Maintaining a high standard of care throughout three large campuses is not easy, but this hasn’t put off UWE Bristol’s Grounds Team from setting high targets for the year ahead.
The hard work from last year has already been recognised on an official level, granting the team a DEFRA Award for Frenchay’s ‘Beeline Project’ and a recognition of Bronze Status by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for 2019/20. The recent praise is just what the Grounds Team at UWE Bristol deserves, as Grounds Manager, Richie Fluester, says. “There’s about 17 of us in total, spread across all the campuses. There’s a really good team ethic among everyone.”
The team manages the grounds at Frenchay, Glenside and Bower Ashton. In the past, attention was paid greatly to the upkeep of more traditional hedges and lawns, but the team’s vision has evolved more recently to reflect the environmental needs of the British landscape. Improving the university’s natural sustainability by planting more pollinated and edible fauna, developing eco-balanced pond areas, encouraging orchards to flourish, and meadowscaping previously baron lawns, has been at the forefront of the Grounds Team’s initiative for the past several years.
There have been lessons learned in the process. According to Richie, the positive impact on campus has also helped “encourage sustainable gardening for staff and students alike” and that individuals’ ideas are always taken onboard in UWE’s supportive community.
We want to engage people – locals, staff and students alike.
Grounds manager, Richie Fluester
Some projects have made the team particularly proud, like the Grounds Team’s mission for all machinery to be 100% carbon-neutral by 2030. “Several years ago, students would have had to dodge their way around petrol tractors on campus to get to their lectures,” says Richie, “but in recent years the golf-style buggies, powered by batteries, are barely noticeable. We’re 80% there already with hand-held tools so now we’re looking at replacing old equipment with new sustainable equipment over the next decade.”
Another new initiative to look forward to this year is the re-usage of ground coffee, starting with Frenchay’s Student Union bar and the coffee cart by the fruit and veg stall. Certain chemicals in used coffee can be damaging to plant growth, so the team are trialing quantities to make sure it can be added to the nearby compost areas without any negative effects. Once this has been successfully established, the recycling process will be applied to the other campuses.
The Grounds Team are eager to share the Frenchay campus success with Glenside and Bower Ashton this year. Their achievements with the Beeline project means more edible herb gardens and pollinated plants can be added to flower beds in Bower Ashton soon, with maps and biodiversity grids currently being designed. A new cycling path plan is also in development to run alongside Ashton Court Road to keep commuters safer.
At Glenside, the team have been working hard to build up the varied tree population. Students and staff can journey through the woodlands during the Tree Walk which will run each month during term time. There is also a continuing effort to meadow-scape the once very traditional lawns on the campus to bring bees and other pollinators back to the area.
Making all three main campuses hedgehog-friendly is also a key priority for Richie, but his team needs the help of everyone to make it work. “We want to engage people – locals, staff and students alike. It’s beneficial for all animals, not just the hedgehogs.”
Getting outside, exercising, breathing in fresh air, meeting new people – it’s something anyone can get involved in, whatever their experience.
Grounds manager, Richie Fluester
Bringing people together in an effort to preserve the local wildlife and fauna is a big focus for 2020. Students and staff can get their hands dirty in the Community Garden at Frenchay. Held twice a month, these drop-in sessions are great for learning new skills in vegetable growing, tree planting, making bug hotels, pruning fruit trees and other plants, learning more about seasonal horticulture, and much more. Richie finds this has helped many students struggling with stress.
Before I came to UWE I would have described myself as shy and lacking in confidence. I was also sceptical about going to university as very few of my friends were going and I would have been the first of my family to attend. Despite this however I soon flourished at UWE, finding the more mature education environment the perfect space to grow.
Having focussed on Science as my passion, particularly Chemistry and its application, I knew that if I were to go to university this is what I wanted to study. It wasn’t until an open day at UWE however that I saw my first working laboratory. It was this that sparked my decision to apply to UWE and begin my journey into Higher Education.
It has made me a more confident, disciplined and capable person, ready to push and challenge myself in all aspects of life.
I started with a foundation course in Science as this allowed me to enrol on the university’s Forensic Science course. Once I began my undergraduate course I found the staff extremely passionate and experienced in their field which was reflected in the course modules and content. I decided to focus on the Chemistry pathway and regularly received top marks for my assessments, securing a place on the Dean’s List in Years 1 and 2 and eventually graduating my undergraduate degree with a first class honours.
Because my confidence grew in my academic life I started to find confidence outside of lab as well. In my first year at UWE I wasn’t able to secure halls and keen not to miss out, I soon joined the UWE Archery Club. Here I made new friends and in my second year I became president of the club and Equipment and Safety Officer, something I am extremely proud of.
I am now working towards my Masters in Research in Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry and I could not have predicted how much I would gain from my degree and time at university. It has made me a more confident, disciplined and capable person, ready to push and challenge myself in all aspects of life.
by Meg, BA(Hons) Business Management with Marketing
With Christmas right around the corner, we asked Meg to create a vlog about things you can get involved in on campus and in Bristol to get into the festive mood.
Some of the events that were held by UWE Bristol were:
Christmas SUesdy – a Christmas Party held at the Students’ Union.
UWE Bristol Christmas Concert – an evening of music, held annually at the Bristol Cathedral, presented by students and members of UWE’s Centre for Music.
Winter Warmers – a free end of term celebration where you can build a gingerbread house, watch a festive film, grab some non-alcohol mulled-wine, mince pies and other festive treats.
If you’ve missed out – no need to worry, there are still Christmas events yet to happen at UWE Bristol:
Visit the Bristol Christmas market – 21 December – a trip to the city centre as a group to go and explore the Christmas market where you can explore up to 50 unique store and treat yourself to some food and drink.
Carols around the tree – 21 December – outside the Business Building and the SU there will be carolling which you are more than welcome to join.
Christmas Lunch – 25 December – Get in the festive spirit by joining other students who are staying on campus or in Bristol over the winter break for a delicious Christmas Day lunch followed by festive movies and board games.
by Lydia Cerguera, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing
There is something quite serene about stepping outside into
the dark and breathing in the cool air as you leave campus after a long day.
How can we pause the thoughts that run through our minds of
tasks to complete, of lessons we’ve learned, of when to fit in work before the
Stand still for a moment. Breathe in the night’s sky. Look up for the moon.
Listen out for the birds who have yet to make it home to their nests. Feel the wind pass you before it rustles through the hedgerows. Take stock of your surroundings.
Winter can be a stressful time for students and staff at
university. Deadlines need to be met and content has to be delivered. Take the
moments in between to enjoy the nature around you and remember that it, too, is
letting go of itself; trees are shedding their leaves, flowers are drooping
down to their underground bulbs, and the regular rain aids minerals to spread
across the land, nurturing the soil in preparation for spring.
If you’re looking for a place of quiet, the pond areas at Frenchay campus provide tranquility, where the fish rest on the pond beds to calm their hearts in the cold.
As well as enjoying our Frenchay campus’ natural comfort, a
bus ride to Bower Ashton will take you to the doorstep of Ashton Court Estate,
where deer wander freely and a trip through the woodlands to the top of the
hill allows for incredible views across the Bristol landscape. Being wheelchair
friendly, Ashton Court is a great place to appreciate Bristol’s terrain for
Have you got a festive feast coming up in the holidays? Now is the time to take advantage of our Frenchay herb gardens! There are spots in the Walled Garden, and outside K Block and R2 Block, with labelled herbs available for all staff and students to pick and take home to cook with. Some rosemary and parsley with your roast potatoes, perhaps?
If you are finding the last week of lectures hard, then why
not bring some nature back indoors with you to craft with in the evenings? You
could collect fir cones, dry them on the radiator, paint their tips and dangle
them on your bedroom wall with string. Or gather some fallen twigs, dry them
out, and glue them into star/tree shapes as decorations.
An effective addition for your room at university would be
to paint small stones you’ve found outside – either by creating the patterns
yourself or by picking up leaves on your walk, drying them, painting them and
printing them onto each stone. Not only is it free (you can ask for some paint
at the Resource Centre), but crafting will help to soothe your worries during
this busy time. Placing the stones in a dish or along a bookshelf in your room
will make for a lovely feature.
There are plenty of ideas to find on Pinterest and other crafty sites, but make sure you only pick up natural items that have fallen – nothing still attached to trees as they are still vital to the network of our wildlife!
Wherever you are during the next few weeks, I would like to wish you a happy and well-rested holiday.
And don’t forget, there is always time to breathe in the
night’s sky and stand still for a moment.
So, you’re considering doing a postgraduate degree. That’s
great! Postgraduate degrees are an awesome opportunity, and I should know – I’m
currently doing one! I’m studying for an MRes in Social Science, and am loving
it. This blog post will hopefully provide a little insight into what doing an
MRes is like, how I got here and what a master’s degree can do for you.
When I decided that I might want to do a master’s degree, I
was feeling a little bit stuck. I had graduated with an undergraduate degree
almost exactly a year prior, and since then, I had had a string of temporary
jobs, followed by a permanent office job which I definitely did not enjoy. I missed university, and
the freedom I had as a student; I missed learning every day and actually using
my brain. So, I started looking for master’s options, and talking to friends
and family to ask for advice. After a few days of searching, I found the MRes
in social science and fell in love with the description and the course layout.
I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.
As soon as I started the course, all my fears and concerns disappeared: it felt like riding a bike or putting on a favourite cosy jumper.
I realised that I loved education and academia. Even through the intense workdays, or the moments where I feel overwhelmed with all that there is left to do, I know that I am doing something that I love and once that work is done, I truly feel proud of it. I have wonderful supervisors who ensure that I am supported throughout my course and other incredible members of staff who are clearly passionate about the subjects which they teach. Put simply: it feels good to be back.
So, what can a postgraduate degree do for you? Well, in my
experience, the biggest benefit has been an increase in confidence. A year ago,
if you had told me I had the ability to do a master’s degree, I would never
have believed you. Yet, here I am, doing it! I’ve presented my work at
conferences, I’ve carried out in-depth interviews with participants, and I’ve
got stuck into my project module. Friends and family have noticed my increased
confidence too, so it’s not just me.
Postgraduate study also gives you an opportunity to really delve into a topic. I haven’t even finished my final project yet, but I have learned so much, and with such depth. Unlike undergraduate study, where you usually have to do a little bit of everything, postgraduate courses allow you to pick a subject, and then fully immerse yourself in it; digging out the facts and finding new sources.
Every day, I learn something new about my topic, and I feel as though I am becoming more and more of an expert each time I do.
Undertaking postgraduate study is a big decision and commitment, so make sure that you think it over properly. But if you’ve read any of this blog and thought “that sounds like something that would suit me”, or words to that effect, I would definitely recommend a postgraduate course for you. Believe in yourself and give it a go. If I can do it, so can you!