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Being a part of the Bath community

Student Bethany Ketteringham talks about the clubs and societies she's involved in and the things that make her feel at home on campus.

Bethany is a student on the BSc (hons) Psychology course at Bath.

Belonging at Bath

I remember visiting Bath on an Open Day and feeling a sense of community straight away. The University has such a friendly atmosphere and I think I felt at home within the first couple of weeks. Freshers’ Week is a great opportunity to make new friends, and the Freshers’ Fair was the first time that I really felt like I belonged at Bath.

One of the great things about university is that you tend to meet a lot of people, from your flat, course, and societies, so there is always a way to make friends with like-minded people. Even though I’m currently on my placement year, I still feel part of the University, through social media links and regular updates from the Students' Union, as well as contact from the Vice-Chancellor and my placement supervisor.

Living in the heart of the community

In first year, I lived in Quads as I wanted to be in a big flat, with plenty of people to socialise with. I also thought I wanted an en-suite but since living in a student house in my second and third years, I’ve decided that is not a necessity!

I loved my time in halls and really made the most of it – I was a Hall Rep in my first year so was involved in organising socials to ensure flats in the same accommodation blocks were mixing, and this was a really great way to get involved with the Students' Union. The best thing about University accommodation is the proximity of it to everything you need on campus and the fact that most of your friends are within a ten-minute walk.

Joining societies

I have been a member of ChaOS (the University’s choral and orchestral society) since Freshers' Week, as well as BAPS (Bath Association of Psychology Students). Both of these societies have allowed me to find people with similar interests and I really enjoy having dedicated time to switch off from academic life.

In my second year, I was on the committee for both of these societies, acting as Secretary for BAPS and Communications Officer for ChaOS. This allowed me to develop many transferable skills, including time management and organisation of events and socials, as well as being really fun! I would definitely recommend getting involved in committees in your second year. I have also dipped into some of the University’s volunteer groups, including RAG and V Team, and participated in events with them, which I have found to be incredibly rewarding.

Making the most of Bath's arts facilities

As a member of ChaOS, I use the creative facilities at The Edge quite often. Music practice rooms are available to book with membership and this is a great way to keep up your rehearsals. The Edge often runs art activities for students, for example, I got involved in making decorations for the Christmas tree, which gave me a lovely break from studying for exams. The Edge also puts on great exhibitions that are generally free and it's really nice to look around.

Visiting the local area

I really enjoy going to a campus university as everything you need is all in one place: shops, places to eat, banks, and a medical centre. In first year, your accommodation can be less than a ten-minute walk to a lecture, which is great for a 9am start! Although the campus bubble is really great, it’s often nice to get out and go to town, and the city of Bath is beautiful (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site!).

Bath is a small city but is always bustling and has loads to explore – one of my favourite things to do is to walk up to Alexandra Park and admire the views of the whole city, as well as visit the Royal Crescent.

Looking to the future

I am currently on my placement year, working as a research assistant at the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University. I chose this placement as I have a keen interest in developmental psychology, and this placement offers the opportunity to work with children as well as improve my research skills.

The University’s Placements team is incredible at helping you find a placement, as well as checking over CVs and cover letters. They provide 1:1 support during the application process, and also when you are on your placement, providing meetings with both you and your placement supervisor to ensure all your needs and goals are being met. The biggest challenge for me starting my placement was adjusting to living in a new place, but I have quickly settled in and got used to the new routine and have felt supported throughout the transition.

I am hoping this placement will aid my future employment prospects as, especially with Psychology, employers are keen for you to have relevant experience, and this is a great way to gain that experience, whilst also contributing to my degree.