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Doing things I never thought I'd be able to do

Ed Jepson-Randall talks about the support he received from his Director of Studies and the Wellbeing and Disability teams during his first year at Bath.

'I would say studying at Bath is a challenging experience but nowhere near as scary as I’d made out in my head.'

Ed is a student on the BSc (hons) International Development with Economics course at Bath.

Finding the right course

I chose to apply to Bath because I came here for a summer school. I originally decided to go on the summer school to improve my personal statement, but when I got here, I quickly realised that it was the perfect university for me. My main reason for liking it was the small size of the campus, which meant it was easy to get from place to place and also harder to get lost. Its location, right on the outskirts of Bath, also played a huge role as I loved the history and beauty of the city.

My biggest challenge while studying here has been switching courses from Mathematics BSc to International Development with Economics BSc. I realised early on into Maths that it wasn’t the course for me. After reaching out to my Director of Studies, I arranged a meeting with them to go through my options for moving forward.

Knowing I wanted to stay here was the easiest part of the decision, so then all that was left was to find a new course. This took me a while as I wanted to make sure I would like it. After finally choosing International Development with Economics, I went my back to my Director and together we contacted the Director of Studies of my new course, and after a few months, I had swapped.

Studying at Bath

I would say studying at Bath is a challenging experience but nowhere near as scary as I’d made out in my head. All the lecturers are so friendly and welcoming of any questions.

There is a lot of support if you don’t understand something or just want some clarification. In my first year especially, I would be asking ten questions a day, and every time either the mentors or lecturers or even coursemates would walk me through it until I understood.

My best advice to a prospective student is if you love a subject and want to broaden your knowledge on it, then the University of Bath is the place to go.

Belonging at Bath

Bath is honestly one of the best communities I’ve been a part of. Everyone here is so accepting. I don’t drink alcohol, so I was terrified that I would be isolated during Freshers' Week, but that wasn’t the case. There were lots more people that didn’t drink than I thought there would be, which gave me a sense of belonging.

It took me less than a week to feel like a part of the University of Bath community. I was so anxious when I moved here that I didn’t leave my room for two days. Now, looking back, I had no reason to be. Everyone was so nice and helpful and equally as nervous as me. I remember the exact moment I felt like a student of Bath was when I went to my first induction lecture. Sitting there in that large lecture theatre, it finally dawned on me that this was now my home, and I was happy that I’d picked Bath over many others.

Support from the University

As I have dyspraxia, everyday tasks such as keeping up with the lecturers or my workload was difficult. I brought this up with the Wellbeing team who forwarded me to Disability Services. They helped me organise everything and secure DSA funding which meant I could get a support worker to help me organise and tackle my work through the week. In total they helped make my life so much easier and I can’t recommend them enough.

Towards the end of my first year and the start of my second year, my mental health had begun to decline, and so with some pushing from my friends, I finally contacted the Wellbeing team about my struggles. They quickly organised a face-to-face meeting with me, where I explained everything going on in my head. They were very proactive and supportive, giving me many options for how we could move forward. I would 100% recommend anyone to go there, no matter how 'small' you think your problem is.

They have helped me tremendously in many ways. I've been able to organise my workflow, which had been piling up. In turn, this helped me sleep better and just made my days more enjoyable. The support has also helped me accomplish tasks I never thought I would be able to.

The team's job is to make the transition to university as smooth and pain-free as possible, and they do an amazing job of accomplishing it.