A calming space to simply be : The Bristol SU Living Room

“..the SU living room space has helped with community feeling and with their various wellbeing activities are a good way to relax and take breaks.”  

 

Finding your place among a crowd of new people can be daunting, especially in the first few weeks of starting university, when many will have moved away from home and wish to feel they belong.  

Enter the Bristol SU Living Room, a space opened in 2018 by Bristol SU designed to provide Bristol students with an inviting, sociable and open environment in which everyone, no matter their area of study or academic year, can simply be. It is the first university-based initiative of its kind in the UK, developed with the help of Camerados, a social movement driven by an overarching belief in the power of human connection.   

There are now five SU Living Rooms across the University campus, including the original Bristol SU Living Room in Senate House, sandwiched between several floors of other student-led services, cafés and study areas – making access easy and visible to all. 

Students sitting at tables
Photo: Bristol Students’ Union 2019

 “This is one of many positive changes at the University that take a student-centred approach,” says Hannah, President of the Peace of Mind Society, which holds weekly ‘Positivities’ in the Bristol SU Living Room, informal get togethers where students can share in fun activities and, if they wish, vocalise their experiences in a safe, supportive group comprised of their peers. 

 “A lot of people find that the ‘Positivities’ give them some structure, a routine where they know they have to be somewhere to do something for themselves and other people. It’s about students looking out for other students. This space has given us a platform to be able to do that, where money isn’t a constraint because teas, coffees and the space are free, which means wellbeing support is available to everyone.” 

 The word students most use to describe the Bristol SU Living Room is “calm”, thanks to a distinctly laid back vibe that offers plenty to do for those who want to get involved, and a soothing sanctuary for those who don’t.  

Students sitting and laughing
Photo: Bristol Students’ Union 2019

 Students now have a home from home in which to relax, socialise with friends, meet new people, switch mental gears with one of the many books that line the shelves, find some peace in the dedicated quiet space, or just decompress on the sofa with a warm drink in hand, accompanied by whatever is on one of the multiple TV screens.  

In just one year, the initiative has already done much to counter the feelings of isolation and loneliness previously reported by students. More than 700 students visit the Bristol SU Living Room in Senate House every day. 

“People can really struggle to know where to go in between studying,” says Sarah, a Masters student who completed her undergraduate degree at Bristol in the days before the Bristol SU Living Room. “I would go home a lot between lectures because I’d otherwise be easily distracted from studying. This space really makes a difference to students’ lives because they can spend time in an informal space whether to just hang out or relax, build relationships with other students or go along to one of the drop-in activities.” 

 

“Love the SU living room in Senate- really great idea!” 

 

Facing facts 

  • Data from research undertaken both within Bristol SU and the University of Bristol previously indicated high levels of isolation and poor work-life balance among Bristol students, with 35% of students saying they rarely or never feel relaxed. Almost 1 in 4 students said that feelings of isolation and exclusion caused them stress often or all the time.  
  • According to the University’s 2019 Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey, 22% of Bristol students say they often or always feel lonely – this compares to 8% in 16-24-year olds nationally including non-students. 
  • Since the Bristol SU Living Room opened in December 2018, 63% of the student body has been involved and more than 250 events attracting over 5,000 people held in the space. 
  • 91% of those who have participated in some of the social activities said it helped them meet new people, while 90% said the Bristol SU Living Room improved their sense of community, and a further 88% said it improved their sense of positive wellbeing.  

 The bigger picture 

The lived experiences of people from all walks of life and every generation, coupled with a history of research on the subject, has shown that loneliness is detrimental to our mental and physical health. Community initiatives, befriending schemes led by charities and online groups are on the increase as society realises the importance of helping people to find their place among others.   

The Bristol SU Living Room took its inspiration from one such initiative aimed at encouraging positive wellbeing. Camerados is a social movement with the strapline: “the answer to all our problems is each other”. Camerados sparked a wave of Public Living Rooms in community centres, libraries, colleges and hospitals nationwide, in a bid to create a “comfortable place where anyone can come, on good days and bad, to be around people, make connections and enjoy being out of the house”.  

The organisation was instrumental in developing the Bristol SU Living Room, which has the potential to act as a model for similar Higher Education based initiatives elsewhere. 

Useful links

This case study is part of a series of stories sharing findings and student views from our Mental Health and Wellbeing Surveys 2018 and 2019. It’s a chance for us to share what we have done in response to what students have told us and to share what we’re planning to do.  See our webpage for further information.

Tis the season to… try something new

Stuck for ideas about what to do this December? Well look no further! If you’re out and about in Bristol this month, there are loads of events that you can get involved in across the city and the University! Covering everything from stargazing to sustainability to carol services, spend the last month of 2019 trying things that you’ll love.

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1. Wintertime in Millennium Square

Date: until 6 Jan

https://visitbristol.co.uk/whats-on/wintertime-on-the-square-in-millennium-square-p2360303

‘Wintertime in Millennium Square’ is a celebration of winter with a fun variety of events, including a spectacular lightshow created by artists Squidsoup who also designed award-winning lightshows for Burning Man Festival in Nevada, US and Christmas at Kew Gardens, among many others. You can unleash your inner ABBA at Bump roller-disco before cosying up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine at Apres Lounge.

2. Festive events with ResiLife and the Global Lounge teams

https://www.facebook.com/groups/359002554848575/

https://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/international/

ResiLife and the Global Lounge are hosting a range of events for students staying in Bristol. Meet new people and celebrate the holidays with fun, food and fairy lights.

3. Seasonal stargazing at We the Curious

https://www.wethecurious.org/PN/WinterStargazing

Date: until 6 Feb 

The event, which is part of a series of seasonal shows entitled ‘Planetarium nights’, invites guests to submerge themselves in space and step out of Bristol and into the cosmos. You’ll spend your evening 3D stargazing and understanding the mystical nature of our universe and existence – all from the inside a giant disco ball!

4. The Future of Fashion: Going Sustainable in 2020 at Beyond Retro

Date: 11 Dec

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-future-of-fashion-going-sustainable-in-2020-tickets-82618759935

This year, vintage fashion favourite, Beyond Retro have teamed up with Bristol 24/7 to host ‘The Future of Fashion: Going Sustainable’ – learn how to shop in ways that are better for the environment and twice as much fun. Get expert advice from a panel of fashion and sustainability specialists so that you can start 2020 in (sustainable) style. The event is free and sponsoring local homeless charity, Caring in Bristol, with any donations going directly to the charity.

5. The Harbourside Christmas Market

Date: every weekend until 22 Dec 

https://visitbristol.co.uk/whats-on/the-harbourside-christmas-market-p2307343

Located in one of Bristol’s most beautiful scenic spots, the Harbourside Christmas Market is the perfect way to spend a Saturday this December. Home to a diverse range of stalls featuring vintage, one-of-a-kind items from many of Bristol’s small and independent businesses, as well as live music and entertainment. The perfect place to explore cuisine from around the globe. The Market’s food stalls are a nod to the diversity of Bristol itself, containing street food cuisine from Tibet to Mexico!

6. RAG Craftmas @ Balloon Bar

Date: 12 December 

https://www.bristolsu.org.uk/groups/bristol-rag-raising-and-giving/events/rag-craftmas

RAG (Bristol Raising and Giving society) are hosting Craftmas – a wholesome afternoon where you can de-stress with like-minded people and display your inner artist. For Craftmas this year, you’re invited to join in and claim your spot as Bristol’s very own Star Baker by decorating cookies, as well as writing cards for elderly care homes around Bristol.

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Calendar still looking a bit empty? Here are some more December events that you may be interested in:

· 12 December – ‘Peep Show and Inbetweeners quiz’ hosted at The White Rabbit

· 14 December – Harbour Lights Festival 

· 14 to 15 December – Stokes Croft Christmas Market

· 16 December – ‘The Humanitarian Fundraiser’ hosted by UOB societies including Amnesty International Society; Jazz Funk and Soul society; and the Oxfam society Christmas.

“When I miss home, I… ” Coping with homesickness

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share what they do when they’re missing home;

here’s what they said…

Getting out and about

“…Visit the Student Living Room”

Have you checked out your Student Living Room in Senate House? It’s the perfect place to sit back, relax and even play a game of Fussball.

“…Meeting up with people who speak the same language as me, or are from my home city”

Come along to our weekly Language Café and improve your skills, learn about other cultures and have fun!

“…Going out to eat”

Some of your favourite places for food included; meatballs at Ikea and Wok to Walk!

‘Me’ time

“…Cuddling up with a tea, hot water bottle and a movie”

“…Taking part in sports to keep my mind busy”

There’s a great range of activities suitable for all abilities; take a look at our B:Active timetable.

“…Listening to music that reminds me of home”

“…Distracting myself by doing things I love – reading, baking and gaming”

Want to read your book in peace? Check out the relaxation spaces on campus. Surround yourself with bean bags, cuddly toys and make yourself at home.

“…Cooking a meal that reminds me of home”

Home comforts

“…Calling or Skype-ing my loved ones”

“…Looking through family photographs”

“…Washing my clothes in the same washing powder my family uses at home, for a familiar scent”

Student settling in guide

Customise your bedroom and make it your own

Moving away from home can be really daunting and there’s really nothing that will comfort you more than a cozy bedroom! Obviously feel free to splash out in Wilko (it’s a rite of passage) but be sure to bring a home comfort to make you feel settled like a photo or cuddly toy.

Explore Bristol

Bristol is such a cool and exciting city, full of hidden gems. Take full advantage of what the city has to offer in terms of food, music, art and shopping. Especially if you live in halls of residence further out such as Stoke Bishop.

Do some exercise

With all the takeaways, boozy nights and free rein over choosing your own meals, it is understandable if you’re feeling a bit out of shape. You’ll need to cope with Bristol’s hills somehow, so perhaps try an exercise class or join the gym.

Finding a house for your second year

Finding a house for your second year can be a stressful situation. There may be disagreements, awkward phone calls and you may even get ghosted by your letting’s agent after the first email. But you will get through it and find a nice place to live with your best mates, and it will all be worth it in the end. You will be fine!

Try something new

It might be cliché but with no parent or teacher encouragement, it is up to you to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Try to go to socials, meetups or join a society that could help you develop a new skill. What’s the worst that can happen? If you completely hate it, you never have to go back!

Not a fan of clubbing?

If you’re not a drinker, or just not keen on nights out, there are plenty of events to keep you entertained in the evenings. There are lots of great pub quizzes but my favourite non-clubbing night is a Tuesday evening of jazz and funk music at Mr Wolf’s. You can still dance if you want to!

Feeling like you haven’t met your lifelong friends yet?

If you aren’t getting on as well as you’d have liked with your flatmates, remember that there are so many other ways to meet people. Join societies and chat to people on your course but equally try not to be dismissive of people who you wouldn’t necessarily normally hang out with, you might get on.

If you’re struggling, tell someone

University can be overwhelming – don’t suffer in silence. Most things that seem monumental can be solved, but don’t forget that university isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you’re unhappy, there’s always someone you can talk to [Editor – Did you know that our Wellbeing Access Service is a useful route in to the support you need – you can call, email or submit an online form] Or you could even consider your other career options. (No shame in taking a gap yaaah.)

Stay safe and healthy

Freshers’ flu will be inevitable, but take the time to nurse yourself back to health and definitely sign up to the Student Health Service. Don’t forget that university is supposed to be fun so if you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsafe, tell someone. Look after yourself!

Give yourself a break

At the end of the day, university can be stressful, and you’ve done so well to get into such a good one. When things go wrong (and they will!) don’t beat yourself up about it. You haven’t quite done all your reading? get some sleep and do some more the next day. Woke your house mates up after accidentally locking yourself out? Apologise and move on. Give yourself a break, we’ve all been there.

Written by

This weeks blog has been written by Orin Carlin, a second year Classics (BA) student.

 

Still looking for more things to do when you are missing home? Take a look what our student Instagram followers said.

Top five student cafés!

As a student, there is no better place to immerse yourself in café culture than Bristol. From local favourites to coffee specialists – even a toilet-turned-café – University of Bristol students are spoiled for choice! Regardless of the vibe you’re going for, you are bound to find a café that appeals to you, which is what I’m here for.

Below are the key factors I focused on while making this list:

  • Proximity to the main campus
  • Quality and inclusive menu
  • Great service
  • Student discounts

While this list is in no way definitive, here are the top cafés that I would definitely recommend:

Primrose Café – The Tried and True

Tucked away in a corner on Boyces Avenue in fashionable Clifton, you can hardly go wrong with Primrose Café. Having operated for nearly 25 years, it has become a firm favourite among local residents and unsurprisingly so. Their brunch menu is absolutely mouthwatering with tasty vegetarian and vegan alternatives available. If you’re still feeling peckish after that, they also have  a gorgeous selection of cakes to choose from. Good-time, guaranteed.

Mrs. Potts Chocolate House – Chocolate Heaven

Brownies, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches, home-made marshmallows, chocolate fondue; you name it, it’s available! It is definitely one of the best places to get your chocolate fix in Bristol. I personally recommend their vegan brownie drizzled with warm chocolate sauce (you can also add a scoop of vanilla ice cream; I won’t judge!) Grab a plate and sit by the window overlooking College Green to people watch, or enjoy a rewarding self-care session in their courtyard.

East Village Café – The Secret Garden

Have a sudden cake craving that needs satisfying ASAP? East Village Café will fix you right up. Situated under a gorgeous arc at the entrance of charming Boyces Avenue, this café will transport you into a calm retreat despite being only a 12-minute walk from the Triangle. They offer an amazing array of Instagrammable – but more importantly – delicious baked goods. Plus, everything on their menu is vegetarian!

The Epiphany – The VSCO Dream Aesthetic

The half-tiled walls. The abundance of potted plants. The neon lights spelling the café name. The huge windows spilling light onto the interior.

Almost every inch of the Epiphany is aesthetically pleasing (even the baristas)! Situated inside the RWA, this rather hidden café is sure to charm you with its extensive menu and multitude of sweet treats on the counter.

Two Ways – The Coffee Beast

That café next to the bike shop opposite the Beacon House bus stop? This is it. What you may not know is that this café sells amazing coffee ranging from exotic Turkish coffee to your classic favourites like a latte or Americano. Two Ways pride themselves for their Italian and Turkish background which is reflected in their menus and daily specials. So go ahead and get your caffeine fix before that 9.00 am lecture!

Honourable Mentions

Bristol is so overflowing with cafés that it was a mammoth task to compile this list. Ultimately, different people have different opinions so your top five may include some places I haven’t mentioned. You may also have noticed that I did not include chains and franchises in the list as I can’t guarantee consistency of quality across all their outlets. To counter this, I’ve listed some equally amazing cafes below that did not feature:

  • Caffe Nero, Queens Road
  • Pinkmans
  • Caffe Clifton
  • The Cloakroom

Written by Iskandar Bin Suhaimi

Iskandar is a second year international student studying Law. As well as spending his free time hunting down Bristol’s finest cafes, he’s a member of both of Bristol’s Malaysian societies and Music Theatre Bristol.

Adventures in France: my year abroad

Jaw-dropping scenery; unique personal development; enriching relationships with people from across the world; a year practically dedicated to eye-opening, inspirational experiences: doesn’t sound like a bad year, does it?

My name is Steve, and I’m a 4th year, studying Music and French. Having spent my year abroad in Bordeaux and Lyon, I returned to Bristol to see last year’s year abroad students swarming the streets again. Our first conundrum: how do we approach *that* first conversation?

If you’re late for a lecture, it’s option A: ‘yeah, the year abroad was good thanks!’ Option B is the elaborate five minute epic poem describing everything that has seismically shifted over the year. Nope – five minutes is never enough!

Mind you, five minutes is ample to make observations about what has changed. Most returners are human adverts for what their year abroad experience has brought to them. Some are wiser and more confident; others are more open-minded; many have been completely inspired. Thereafter, each will treat you to a different story of how it all unfolded… just like this:

Build me up, build me up…

Needless to say, the year abroad experience can be a huge challenge. In fact, those first three months of my time abroad were some of the toughest of my life. Plunged out of my comfort zones of city, family and friends, the expression ‘fish out of water’ comes to mind. Would I have opted for a more convenient, relaxing placement to have avoided those tough first three months in Lyon? Non, absolument pas, because it’s all an exposure which forces you to develop in unique ways. At the end of the year, the fish returns to the river having learnt how to breathe air, and I enjoy being an air-breathing fish. This unique personal development is pretty much a given when forcing your brain to adapt to a new language and culture for as much as one month, let alone eleven.

Inspired

I’ve chosen the subtitle ‘inspired’ for a specific reason, which involved something more special than a bit of personal development…

Imagine a typical 21st birthday party. You may picture a marquee in the garden with everyone dressed up, or perhaps party balloons and a juggler. Well, I’m all for clowns and gowns, but as a June baby on a placement that finished in July, I needed to think outside the box when 17 June came around.

It had all the hallmarks of an underwhelming day. I had under-slept, having submitted my year abroad essay the night before a Monday at work; I was translating tourist information; and I had no evening plans. So, I hurriedly got in touch with my friends who hadn’t yet left the city: ‘Quais de Saone, tonight at 8 pm?’

The scene was set: the sun was going down over the Fourvière Basilica, and a smattering of my dear friends gathered round me in the late-night summer heat. On another day, the sunset may have inspired me. Or perhaps the view of the Basilica, reflected in the torrents of the river. This time, the real cherry on the birthday cake was the people that came.

Today’s news bombards us with stories of nations in conflict with nations, and the struggle of integration in multicultural communities. Meanwhile, here were 10 people representing Lithuania, Sweden, the UK, Colombia, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy using words, not weapons; laughter, not threats. The uniqueness of their humour, their intriguing philosophies and their cultural insight didn’t collide or clash, but combined in beautiful harmony that I had never witnessed before. It was conversation for conversation’s sake, and laughter for laughter’s sake, with contrasting backgrounds, races and religions, and we never once risked any dissonance or discontent.

I took a step back, felt the warm breeze, and gazed over the river, the view and the sunset, contemplating this moment that only a year abroad experience could produce – one of the most utopian I’d ever witnessed. The sun was setting over my year abroad experience, with a moment to remind me what a heartening asset multiculturalism is to modern society. Since then, I have still been seeing those same dystopian stories of warfare and persecution around the world. But at least now I have hope that one day, the planet may have the same universal harmony as those 10 people on the riverbank.

Find out how you can study, work or volunteer abroad at the Global Opportunities fair on 22 October.

Graduation and the Global Lounge

Staying in Bristol after I graduated certainly wasn’t part of my plan. I had the dream of a post-university gap yah – travelling around Australia and New Zealand for 6 months and generally just taking some time to catch my breath. After coming straight from school into university, I wanted that break. I needed that break.

With a brain freshly fried from my 10,000-word dissertation, you bet I was excited to pack those last boxes into my Mum’s car and drive home for the summer.

A month and a half later, I was back.

So, what went wrong? Or maybe, what went right?

I guess it’s important to know that while I was studying, I worked as an International Student Ambassador. The perfect job for any student – it mostly required me to give the occasional tour and welcome new international students throughout the months of September and January. In the end, it was this role that helped me get my current job as Global Lounge Assistant in the International Office. That, and the Temporary Staffing Service (TSS). One application form, an online test, and an interview later, here we are. Wearing my multi-coloured lanyard around the campus has never felt so cool.

“But Fran,” I hear you say, “what happened to the gap yah?”

Well as much as I would like to just jet off to Vietnam for the foreseeable future, I unfortunately need the money to do so. Oh reality, you are truly a cruel master!

It’s not all bad news, turns out I’m a dab hand at writing emails and copywriting. If you want to see my latest masterpiece, check out the Global Lounge website at www.bristol.ac.uk/global-lounge.

Plus, you can’t deny that it is pretty wholesome stuff watching new students make friends. I’m glad I can be part of a team that helps make a difference to student experience. As the Global Lounge grows and develops, I have no doubt that its events will foster community and create a sense of belonging for both home and international students alike. With projects like the Language Café – set to create spaces in which students can learn and practice new languages (including English) – there’s lots of exciting stuff on the horizon for us.

The role has been non-stop too. Three weeks of our Welcome Lounge, a launch event attended by Professor Hugh Brady himself, and hundreds of emails later, there’s no denying that I’ll have a lot to talk about in any future interview.

Because that too is a reality of working with the university on the Temporary Staffing Service (TSS) – the contract is temporary. And, as much as I worried about the impending sense of doom that this would bring, the truth is exactly the opposite. It is a position that gives graduates the opportunity to apply internally for permanent roles, or, in my case, get valuable work experience and save up some money in preparation for a gap yah. It was a risk that has paid off for me.

So then, what is my advice? Firstly, don’t panic about the end of university. It’s okay to not have a plan, or for your plan to go out the window.

Secondly, as an obligatory plug, keep an eye on the Global Lounge web page for some of our upcoming events! There will be plenty of fun activities to fill your term, including the new Language Café and celebrations from Day of the Dead to Diwali.

Finally, and most importantly, enjoy the time you have here. However many more weeks, months, or years you call this city your home, take the chance to make some lasting memories. You never know what (or who) is waiting for you!

 

Written by Fran Carroll, Global Lounge Assistant

 

Top tips for student life

Welcome Week has now passed, and we hope you are settling in well! Here are some top tips from your University community on how to manage student life using their own personal experiences.

Making friends…

Sarah Ashley, Marketing Officer (Postgraduate) – Welcome Week is a great time to meet people, have fun and explore your new city but don’t worry if you don’t immediately click with people. I didn’t meet the people I’m still friends with now (10 years after graduation) until I was almost at the end of my second year.

Annie Avery, Student Living Room Coordinator – Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’re having ‘the best time of your life’ give lots of opportunities a chance and you’ll find your people

Living in halls…

Robert Smart, Partnerships Manager – If in Halls, get to know your reception teams and staff. They are friendly and can make things happen, particular if you talk to them!

Paul Arnold , SU Head of Business Development – When you move into halls and are getting settled in to your room, pop your door open to let people know you want to say hi and make friends!

Jemma Harford, SU Student Opportunities Manager (Groups and Services) – Bring food to share, your new accommodation can be daunting but everyone loves food. Bring some homemade biscuits, local treats or cook a flat meal together that incorporates all of your favourite foods.

Studying…

Marton Balaz, Reader in Probability (Mathematics) – In my first weeks of studies I realized that difficult concepts settle. Material that seemed shockingly complicated in the first week became rather natural two weeks later. I just had to look back in my notes again. So, don’t panic! revisit difficult stuff regularly.

Susan Pettinger-Moores, Medicine Teaching and Learning Manager – Pop in and meet the admin team for your course – we don’t bite! We have lots of knowledge and really want to see students succeed.

Look after yourself..

Simon Gamble, Head of Study Skills – Don’t worry about trying to be perfect. It’s fine to get things wrong and it’s good to try new things, because that’s how we grow and learn.

Tom Wallis, SU Student Development Coordinator (Sports and Physical Activity). If you don’t immediately feel at home, work and broaden your horizons; your people and your place are somewhere and they’re waiting for you to find them.

Chloe Hogan, SU Events Coordinator – Don’t put too much pressure on yourself that “university is the best time of your life”. Enjoy each moment as it comes and don’t put pressure on yourself to do too much as this will burn you out!

Managing your time…

Elle Chilton-Knight, Undergraduate Student Administrator – Get everywhere 5 minutes early! You’ll get best pick of seats/equipment and it makes all the difference towards a calm, confident exterior. From there you’ll be chatting to people in no time!

Getting involved…

Helen Dury, Portfolio Marketing Manager – University is the perfect opportunity to try new things. I joined a ski club and competed around the country and met someone I’m still great friends with now, nearly 30 years later!

Philip Gravatt, SU Finance Assistant -My tip would be to look into all the societies and clubs available at the Students Union. They’re a fantastic way of learning something new and easing academic stress.

Matt Humberstone, SU Student Development Coordinator – Join a student group! For many students, their student group becomes the best part of their university experience.

Jenny Reeve, Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine – Take every opportunity to get involved with new activities, skills or social events that you have not had the chance to do before – there is such a vibrant and diverse student population, it is a great way to meet others who share your interests. There is so much more to University life than your academic program – have fun!

Explore the city..

Robbie Fox, Alumni Mentoring Coordinator – Explore this amazing city! I came here as a student , fell in love with the place and have been here ever since! This video is a nice example.

Linda Gerrard, Residential and Hospitality Services – Get your walking shoes on and get lost! Around most corners there is something to delight, amuse or inform.

Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, Undergraduate Education Officer – My one piece of advice for new students would be to not confine themselves to the University bubble. Get out and discover new places and cultures in the city – Easton, St Pauls, and Stokes Croft are the perfect places to start!

Lauren Wardle, Student Wellbeing Adviser – Explore the city as a whole, and get involved in hobbies and interests that make you ‘you’! You might find your interests lead to new friends, or even some job opportunities down the line.

Services available to you..

Knut Schroeder, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer – Download our free Student Health App, which is listed on the NHS Apps Library. It’s been developed by the University of Bristol Students’ Health Service and University of Bristol students, and it’s packed with common-sense health advice that can make all the difference for your health and wellbeing. You can even customise the app for Bristol when you open it up for the first time.

Lauren Cole, Careers Information Advisers – Pop in to your Careers Service and get to know the support you can access. We can help you find and apply for part time work, internships and work experience, graduate roles, or start your own business!

Emily’s self-care tips

Emily’s back with some top tips for life after Welcome Week.

So Welcome Week has come to an end… what now? You’re actually here and things are getting real. It might seem daunting but I’m here to give you five self-care tips which might make things that little bit easier.

1. Go outside.
Bristol is renowned for its urban green environment. Why not go for a walk? You could get to know the campus to familiarise yourself with lecture venues.

Spotlight: Ashton Court.

Ashton Court offers 850 acres of land to explore. If you want some fresh air, this is where to go. Also, Ashton Court is a popular spot for dogs, so if you need a dog fix then this is the place for you!

2. Get some rest.
Put on your cosiest pyjamas, unwind with a nice warm drink and go to sleep! Can’t sleep? Read (don’t go on your phone! It doesn’t help!). Read something with no link to your academic studies, something which relaxes you. If the things you must do the next day are keeping you awake then write a list before bed, that way you know you won’t forget! Don’t feel bad about having some downtime.

3. Baking on a budget is not only easy but stress relieving. Why not bake a big dish for your flat mates? Not only is this a nice gesture but then you can all enjoy it together. Make sure you get some good food in that dish, that little bit of veg is going to make you feel so much better.

4. Organise!
If you don’t know what to do with yourself, why not make sure that your room is arranged in a way that works for you. You could create a timetable to give yourself some consistency in your new life at uni (you don’t have to follow it with great precision, it’s just nice to have some stability when you’re having a bad day). Here’s an example of mine…

5. So, you’ve followed all the advice and things still don’t seem right? Its okay to ask for help.
There are loads of ways you can get the support you need, from friends and family to university services. When things got tough for me – I talked to the uni which I personally found really helpful. At the end of the day, you know yourself. If things don’t seem right, speak up.

Self-care is laying the foundations for the life you want to live, make sure you’re living your best life in Bristol.

 

At Bristol you are not on your own, there is always someone to support you; in our residences, academic schools and on campus. It’s ok to not be ok – talk to us, we’re here to help.

bristol.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/

Find Your Potential

Six top tips for study success

You did it! You got your place! And right now, you’re probably packing and thinking about what you’ll need to start student life in Bristol next week. You might be wondering about what life at university will be like; whether you’ll need one saucepan or four; thinking about who you’ll meet and which societies to get involved in.

With so much to think about, studying may not be right at the top of your list right now! But do read this later for top tips to help you build great study skills to keep on top of academic life right from the start.

 

Tip 1: Get to know your personal tutor

Your personal tutor – everyone has one— will help you to get the most out of your time here at Bristol. They provide feedback on your work and general info about your course, advise on study skills and choosing options, and help with personal development planning. Importantly, if you are struggling with financial, health or other problems, they can also signpost you to our support services to get the help you need.

At the moment, we’re also looking for new 1st year undergraduate students to help us develop personal tutoring further – Visit our website to find out more.  

Tip 2: Start your Personal Development Plan early

Personal Development Planning (PDP) helps you reflect on your skills, attributes and achievements, and plan for your future personal, academic and career development.  As part of this, you should create a PDP portfolio to record your progress as you move through your degree. Your personal tutor will help you with this. Find out more on the PDP tab and check out our Bristol Skills Framework to get started.

Tip 3: Expand your horizons with our Optional/Open Units

Some of our degree programmes are flexible so you can choose from a range of optional/open units and explore topics outside your discipline. Bristol Futures Optional Units will help you develop new perspectives studying themes such as global citizenship, big data, innovation, and sustainability. Alternatively hone your language skills with our University-Wide Language Programmes – and if your degree doesn’t allow you to choose these units (check with your School office), you can always follow one of our Bristol Futures open online courses, starting 19 October 2019. You can apply for your open/optional units via the Online Open Unit Selection form during Welcome Week (open from 9 am, 23 September to 12 pm, 25 September). Visit our website to find out more.

Tip 4: Study Skills for you

Studying at University may feel a bit daunting at first, but make use of our Study Skills Service, offering workshops, online training and other useful resources. In particular, check out our Upgrade to University course to develop a suite of study skills to help you through your degree.

Tip 5. Represent your Students’ Union

As well as getting to grips with studying at University, you could also think about becoming a student representative for the SU, responsible for raising academic concerns for students. First year course reps, Junior Common Room (JCR) reps, the Postgraduate Network Chair and committee members are among the opportunities up for grabs. Find out more on the SU website.

Tip 6: Follow the Library on social media

Checking up on the collections!

Following the Library Twitter feed is a must! A super useful  source of information about where to study, it’s a great way of getting to know our many libraries and study spaces, with options for group and individual study, and where to find chill out zones for those all-important breaks. It provides interesting facts about our collections, our knowledgeable and dedicated library staff… and some of our special custodians. (Reader, I draw your attention to Mort the resident skeleton in the Medical Library). It’s also worth checking out the Library’s other social channels: Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch.  And read the Library’s special welcome to new students.

That’s it from us for now! In the meantime….happy packing! See you in Bristol!

One of our former students has written you a welcome letter – look out for this on our Freshers’ 2019 Facebook group later this week!

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