by Razaan, MEng(Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering
When asked what I love most about my course as a Civil and Environmental Engineering student, the first word that comes to my mind is: opportunities. Everything from educational trips* to actual hands-on projects, I’ve had experiences that I don’t think I’d be able to find elsewhere. Keep reading to find out about my engineering opportunities at UWE Bristol.
It’s important to take advantage of the many extracurricular activities available at UWE Bristol. There’s something for everyone, from sports clubs to societies, and even volunteering opportunities. Here’s my experience of volunteering with the social enterprise society, UWE Bristol Enactus.
Glenside Campus is not your conventional university campus. Now home to the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, in its past, Glenside was once home to war heroes, patients with mental illness and the sick. It’s a place of refuge and healing. At UWE Bristol, that history is shared to this day.
I’ve been a PAL (Peer Assisted Learning) leader since the start of my second year at university. As well as earning a qualification and some extra cash, I’ve gained some skills to put on my CV too. Here’s my experience of working as a PAL leader at UWE Bristol.
Going to university can be one of the most exciting moments of your life. It also means you’re taking that first step in becoming an adult and doing adult things like managing money. Here are some of the most useful money tips I’ve picked up over the past few years of being a student.
Bristol Pride 2019 was a glorious event. Thousands of us celebrating our queerness in the heart of Bristol was a sight to behold! Although the size of the event stopped me from finding the UWE Bristol float, they were there once again as one of the sponsors. Here’s my experience of Bristol Pride 2019, plus everything you need to know about Bristol Pride 2020.
There’s so much I would do differently if I could go back in time!
Not because of regret but because I know better now and the main advice I would give myself would be to live more and to bring fewer things from home.
By live more, I mean spend less time in my room, meet more people and spend more time outside exploring Bristol. I spent a lot of my first year trying to become a different person and constantly focusing in my insecurities. And to be honest this just made me think other people were focusing on my insecurities too. Like being self-conscious that everyone was going to talk about that one pimple I had on my forehead, which no one ever did? Unfortunately this meant I spent more time in my room and it stopped me getting to know Bristol as much as I wanted!
So if I could, I would tell my younger self to go out more, explore Bristol as much as possible with friends or even alone doesn’t really matter, but just go see the world outside!
It’s been nearly three years since I have been living in Bristol and I am yet to visit Bristol zoo, Stoke Park as well as other many amazing places in Bristol that are so close by. So go explore! Especially when you’re a fresher, as this is the time when you should learn and see the most. Like attending events or trying new restaurants or cafes.
My second big bit of advice advice is when you move from home, be selective about what you bring. And I say this with experience! When I first moved in, I read many blog posts which advised to solely bring essential items. Items you will need for your daily basis, a limited but a calculated amount of clothes and some sentimental objects and so on.
Despite that, I made my self excuses like, what if I can’t go back home during a certain time? Or what if I want to make my room more homely? This led me to bring all of my six, year 10 scrapbooks and all of my snow globes (there were a lot of them). Spoiler alert I never touched them and by the second time I moved I had no clue where they even were!
At first, I was proud I managed to fit everything in the space given and my room looked nicely tidy and decorated. However, it only lasted a week until it was complete chaos because there were too many things and it was all being stuffed everywhere. At times, I felt like I was in a tug war with my drawers! That was not ideal, especially when you are running late, let me tell you that.
Therefore, I highly recommend being really honest with yourself when packing and be aware that you will most likely buy things and it will build up. So if you bring everything like me and end up moving places, you will be annoyed at yourself when packing and carrying endless piles of boxes around.
I can proudly and happily say that I have learned from those experiences. Since then I have donated, sold and taken many of my items home. Plus, I now attempt on visit somewhere new in Bristol or nearby at least once every two weeks to ensure that I keep exploring and live life to the fullest!
Like most courses, my final term of year two was adapted to online submission. As I study Fashion Textiles at UWE Bristol, which is a largely practical course, there was a massive learning opportunity.
The new module brief included using online software to create a virtual sketchbook rather than a physical one, and designing a new collection online rather than making a garment.
Being able to access the UWE Bristol library online was a massive help to my research. I was able to access a large variety of resources such as books, e-journals and magazines. Typically, the library is somewhere I would be spending the majority of my time when doing sketchbook work and so the online library and my home desk was the next best option!
With access to the online library I was able to read up on the brand Kenzo, which I had chosen to design a new collection for and understand learn about their history.
Previously, Illustrator and Photoshop were software that I had used before but wasn’t confident in. But by having to create an online sketchbook and submit my work online, my digital drawing skills have really improved.
I also found online tutorials extremely helpful when I got stuck, and have started a notebook to record new techniques I have learnt for future reference. Having improved so much with my online skills, I’ve decided to use more virtual methods of presenting my work in my summer project and third year modules. These digital skills are also extremely useful for the fashion industry and this project has taught me how to use them creatively to present my work.
I’ve also been able to further develop the skills I’ve learnt during my course and experiment with them. Making garments using my pattern cutting skills and up-cycling old garments using different textiles skills such as dyeing, embroidery, crocheting and fabric painting, has been how I have stayed creative through lockdown. As hand embroidery is typically a very time consuming technique, lockdown has been a great opportunity to embroider for fun and see what I can create.
Looking forward, I’ve also started researching for third year and have been using virtual art gallery tours to get inspired! Typically, a trip to London would be my normal start to researching a project, but with the online gallery tours I’m able to visit galleries all over the world without travelling and for free. Here is a list of some of the best virtual tours – Bristol Museum has its own one too!
For my current summer project, I have been exploring Surrealism and have found an online Surrealist photography exhibition curated by Cris Orfescu. The online gallery tour has been a great source of inspiration and information. I would encourage anyone with a laptop and a spare half an hour to check out some of the online galleries!
Learning online and adapting to life in lockdown, has definitely allowed me to explore different creative mediums and develop new skills which I know I’ll take forward into my final year.
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.
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.