Support available at Bath
Although leaving home to come to university is a big change, everyone at Bath is really supportive and there are always lots of people around to help you. The University understands that you’re learning lots of new things – such as doing your own washing, food shopping, etc. – as well as studying, so there's a lot of support available. There is also an academic skills centre that can help with things like writing, maths and statistics if you need additional help. I found that the step up from college to university wasn’t actually as hard as the step from GCSEs to A Levels so that was really reassuring.
Living on campus
When I was in my first year I lived in partially-catered, en-suite accommodation. If you choose this option, you have food credit to spend anywhere on campus, but you also have a fully fitted kitchen in your halls, so you can cook whenever you want. This meant I could cook my own meals, or just go and grab a pizza if I wanted to. Although this was a good option for me, everyone I know who lived on campus loved it – it didn’t make a difference what accommodation they were in.
Managing the workload
The workload in the first year is really manageable. I studied five units and had around two hours of contact time per unit every week. The contact time was usually a mix of lectures and lab sessions. Lab sessions could be 2-3 hours long, or sometimes all day or a whole week, depending on what we were learning.
As you move through your degree, you get less contact time, as there is more emphasis on going out and finding the answers yourself. Now that I'm in my final year, I spend a lot of my time in the library researching a project rather than being told everything about it. This has been really rewarding as I’ve been able to pick up these skills as I’ve gone, so it hasn’t been too daunting.
Gaining the right experience
As well as picking up all the academic skills you need for your career, you might also have the chance to go on a placement in your third year. I decided to do my placement as a marketing associate in a pharmaceutical company, which was an office-based role. My role was to educate clinicians and medical professionals about how an osteoporosis medication that the company made worked, the accuracy behind it and all the data associated with it.
My placement really changed my mind about what I want to do when I finish my course. I originally wanted to go on to do a PhD, but I’ve now decided I want to go into marketing and advertising, which I didn’t even realise was an option for me before my placement.
The placement has given me great transferable skills and has given me some real-life work experience, which will help when I’m applying for graduate jobs. The application process is also helpful, as it is like applying for a proper job, so this was really useful experience too.
Choosing what interests you
In your final year, you will need to do a big research project that really pulls together everything you have learned. My project has taken up a third of my final year.
The first step was to choose my supervisor – we were able to look at all the supervisors at the University and what research they were doing. I am really interested in antibiotic resistance so I chose my supervisor based on this.
I met with my supervisor and discussed her area of research, the work she was doing in the lab and what I find most interesting. From that, I came up with the question for my dissertation, which is ‘Why haven’t we developed more antibiotics?’ I then had to go away and work out the questions I wanted to answer and use evidence to back it all up.
Being a student in Bath
I really loved living in Bath. I’d say one of my favourite parts about living in the city is that I still keep exploring and finding new places. Bath is full of independent shops, cafes and bars.
One of my favourite things to do on a weekend is to just walk through town and find somewhere I’ve never been before, and just try it. One of the best parts about the city is that it’s not just full of chains – although they’re there if you need them, there are also lots of independent places that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.