Support for my new start
I completed my undergraduate degree in maths, and I was lined up to do a research master’s in statistics in healthcare and transgender issues. When the pandemic started, my plans changed, and I decided to apply to Bath to study the MA in Gender and Politics.
Through the numerous national lockdowns at this time, I found that my mental health wasn’t in a great place. My student finance got messed up from the year before and I had some issues relating to my Disabled Students’ Allowance.
After speaking with some of the staff at the University, they were able to help me by doing a mini-assessment and determined that they felt I would be able to get an allowance. Through them, I was able to get it sorted.
Because I had so many people in my corner, I felt like I could ask for help or an extension and the Wellbeing team and my lecturing staff would advocate for me. Throughout the whole experience I felt very supported, and at no point did I feel like I was dealing with my problems by myself.
Skills support and wellbeing advice
Before starting the course, I was a bit anxious as, although I’d had a lot of experience writing policy documents for the NHS, I hadn’t as much experience with writing academic essays as my background was in another subject.
The staff at the University were really reassuring and they told me about courses on essay writing, skills workshops, and wellbeing sessions that were available to students. That was really encouraging because it felt like I wasn't going to be left to make it up.
The University has so many different types of support and they're all quite comprehensively listed. But even if you go to the wrong person, they'll help you find the right one instead. All of the teams I interacted with were really fast in responding too, so I never waited more than a day for someone to get back to me. It was quite calming to know that there was someone to help if I needed them.
Building a community of coursemates
Really early in the course, we were told that it could be a good idea to connect to each other on Teams or WhatsApp. We made a big WhatsApp group which includes every Politics master's student and there's a smaller one, which is just Gender and Politics students.
The sense of community is really lovely. We really got to know each other and everyone's been excited to hear other people's opinions on the course content.