Make yourself at home

Dorothy was on to something – there really is no place like it.

If you’ve been into Senate House lately you’ll have noticed that big changes are happening. The University senior team has moved out to make room for students; there’s a new home for post-graduate researchers in the PGR Hub; there’s new artwork entitled ‘Belonging’ by print artist, The Fandangoe Kid, inspired by workshops with students to explore what belonging means; and next week the Students’ Union opens the ‘Living Room’, to provide central space to relax and connect with each another.

Inspired by Camerados’ public living rooms and mental health research, the SU Living Room is a brand-new central place to relax, connect and have fun at the heart of the campus. Away from lecture theatres and cafes, there’ll be hot water and big sofas, in a space that’s cosy and friendly.

Come to the opening

We’d like to welcome you with open arms at the launch event on Monday 3 December, where you can put your stamp on your new space. Paint a mug to use in the SU Living Room or revamp old t-shirts to create comfy cushions! From Monday, there’ll be a weekly calendar of events until the University closes over Christmas, usually held at around midday. But you can pop by anytime to grab some food, find a quiet place or meet up with friends. The SU Living Room is open 8am-10pm Monday-Friday during term time.

Leave your mark

This is your space and we want you to feel like it’s yours, so tell us what you think – good or bad. Leave a message in the big yellow phone box in the SU Living Room, or email bristolsu-livingroom@bristol.ac.uk.

Get involved

A second artwork created by Annie Nicholson, aka The Fandangoe Kid, and 40 students to explore the meaning of ‘home’ is being installed outside the SU Living room on 11 December. Annie will be in the Living Room from 2.30pm – 3.30pm on 11 December so sign up if you’d like to meet Annie.

The SU Living Room is part of Campus Heart, the University’s programme to create the kind of environment that students have told us they want: welcoming, relaxing, communal and helpful. If you want to get involved in making future decisions about what we do in Campus Heart Sign up to get involved.

World Mental Health Day  

For World Mental Health Day, we’re talking to our students about their experience of mental health and how physical activity and programmes like Healthy Minds has helped them cope with different situations.  

Bethany Hickton is a 25-year-old PhD student in her third year, studying aerospace engineering and cellular and molecular medicine.  

‘It’s pretty intense,’ she says with a laugh. ‘I’d really like to become a chief scientific officer — someone who travels around the world looking at complex scientific issues, and then explains it to government so they can make policy changes.’ 

But her dreams were nearly shattered when she slipped and fell down a flight of steps in her first year.  

‘I’d always been a very hard worker throughout my undergrad and since my A-levels,’ she says. ‘I never stopped, so having to take that time out gave me a lot of anxiety. Also, the fractures were five millimetres from severing my spinal cord. I could have been paralysed from the waist down.’ 

Bethany spent 16 weeks in a spinal brace and, a few months after the fall, she was also diagnosed with clinical depression.  

‘I got PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) coming back onto campus, because that’s where I’d hurt myself. Having to take time out physically really had an impact on me mentally.’ 

Bethany didn’t come from a sporting background and says she’d never have thought of trying sports on her own.  

‘I wasn’t sporty when I was younger – I lived in a small village where there wasn’t a lot of opportunity. People in school also made fun of me about my size, which was difficult to deal with. I really lost confidence, which made me eat more too.’ 

After her fall and her diagnosis, Bethany began seeing a counsellor with the Student Counselling Service where she was referred to the Healthy Minds programme.  

‘They told me about this amazing programme which was all about body confidence and having fun. Pete from Healthy Minds got me to lift weights and, out of nowhere, I was good at it. It was such a joyous moment.’ 

Bethany understands the pressure on young people today to look good, coming from social media, especially platforms like Instagram.  

‘I now judge my body on what it can do, not what it looks like. I can deadlift 80 kilograms, I can walk straight into the weights section of the gym, which used to be full of just guys, in my glittery pink sneakers and I can out-lift lots of them.’ 

She says Healthy Minds helped her to find an activity that really suited her, and she really enjoyed.

‘They helped me take the driving seat on getting healthy. Pete noticed I was good at lifting weights, and he signposted me to the captain of the rugby team.’ She now plays in the women’s rugby team as a  scrum forward.  

What advice would Bethany give new students who have just arrived and are trying to settle in?  

‘Find a group of people that are your people. Try and join different societies – it doesn’t have to be a sporty one, and just try lots of different things. You’ll find the crowd that you can run with.’ 

Express yourself 

Come along to the Indoor Sports Centre tomorrow (Wednesday 10 October) and take part in free exercise classes as well as a workshop with a print artist Annie Nicholson, aka The Fandangoe Kid. 

In 2011, Annie lost her mother and sister in a car crash. ‘Nothing has been the same since. For years I was completely derailed – it was sharing my thoughts in a public space that got me through.’ 

The artist says her public art is also designed to help remove the stigma that still exists around loss, mental health, and happiness.  

Annie will be hosting a workshop for 20 people and will begin by exploring the different concepts of narrative art, and how it can be used to express yourself. There’s even an opportunity for the art you create go on display on campus. 

Places are limited, and booking is essential.

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 info!

We’re on hand to help.

Beacon House

You’ve found your way from your halls to Wills Memorial Building for your Welcome ceremony and now you think you have plenty of time before heading to the next event in your calendar. But even though you were at your School Office yesterday, you realise you went straight there from your hall and now have absolutely no idea how to get back there from Wills!

Have you left enough time? Is anyone else going there? Do you have time for a sandwich?? (the most important question!)

No need to panic – we’ve got you covered.

There are four helpdesks located in key areas about campus with friendly student helpers on hand to point you in the right direction. You’ll find them at:

  • Hawthorns
  • Beacon House
  • Priory Road
  • Richmond Building (SU)

You’ll see them highlighted on your campus map which you can download, if you’ve lost yours in the excitement of the move, and opening times are listed below.

    Sun 23  Mon 24  Tues 25  Wed 26  Thurs 27 
Hawthorns   10-4 9.30-5 9.30-5 10-4 10-4
Beacon House   Closed 9.30-5 9.30-5 10-4 10-4
Priory Rd Complex   Closed 9.30-5 9.30-5 10-4 10-4
Richmond Building 10-4 9.30-5 9.30-5 10-4 10-4

Welcome to all of our future change makers – we’re almost ready for you…

Hi! I’m Rosa, Student Activities Officer in the University’s Law School. My role is unique at Bristol; I’m here to provide Law students and societies more support throughout your time with us. I’m the main point of contact for our growing number of student societies and also work as part of our Employability team to deliver a range of exciting and informative careers events. Make sure you look out for our weekly employability bulletin too – there’s a lot going on this term so be sure not to miss out!

Rosa outside the Wills Memorial Building

We’ve been very busy in the Law School getting ready for your arrival in Welcome Week. You are in for a treat – Law is based in (arguably) the best building on campus, so you’ll get that Hogwarts experience you’ve always dreamed of.

Law students in the Wills Memorial Building

Strike a pose!

Law School staff have been taking the new academic year seriously at a recent photo shoot enabling them to get new professional head shots. This will help you identify who is who on our website – there’s a lot of us!

Words of wisdom

Feeling a bit nervous? Not sure what to expect? Our new Director of Employability, Dr Roseanne Russell and Director of Recruitment, Dr Judy Laing shared some words of wisdom below to help you feel welcome:

Roseanne Russell

Roseanne says: Welcome to Bristol! Welcome Week should be one of the best weeks of your university life so make the most of it. Throw yourself into all the activities on offer, take time to explore our fantastic extra-curricular provision, and most of all remember that everyone else is feeling as nervous and excited as you.’

 ‘The best bit of my Welcome Week was meeting students who remain my closest friends over twenty years later. As Director of Employability I am looking forward to working with you over the next few years as you pursue your passions and begin thinking about your career aspirations.’

Dr Judy Laing

Judy says: ‘I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to all our new and returning students in the law school this year. For those of you who are joining us for the first time, I very much hope that you enjoy your time here and make the most of all the fantastic opportunities that are available to you. It can be overwhelming when you first arrive with so much going on and lots to remember.’

 ‘Don’t forget that you are not alone. We’ve got 400 new first year undergraduate law students joining us and there are plenty of staff and students around to support you, if you need it.’

Who said study spaces needed to be boring?

If you’re a postgraduate student, keep reading… We recently opened a new study space for you with fancy (and very bright!) new sofas and handy study spaces. The room is located on the fifth floor of Wills Memorial Building in room 5.69. Have a wander up during Welcome Week and see it for yourself.

The best things in life are free…
Our undergraduate and postgraduate teams have been busy stuffing your welcome packs, which include lots of important information such as your programme guide, welcome week timetable and employability brochure – but perhaps most importantly they contain free pens and jelly beans! 😊

You’ll receive your pack during student registration in Welcome Week. Make sure you keep hold of these documents as they will come in handy during your first few weeks and let you know where you should go if you have any questions (you’ll have lots of questions, don’t worry).

Practice makes perfect
You will see much more of this room during the academic year – this is our Moot Court which you will use for honing your mooting, debating and negotiation skills. Here are some photos of some of our recent graduates making good use of it!

And finally, a note from our Head of School, Professor Ken Oliphant:

‘I’m hugely excited to be starting a new academic year as Head of School and looking forward to meeting you all on your arrival in Bristol, as well as welcoming returning students as they come back. Here you will be inspired and challenged to be the very best you can be. Enjoy!’

 

 

From all of us at the Law School. We look forward to meeting you very soon…

Gearing up at the library

Over 150 staff members in our nine libraries are busy preparing for the arrival of the new students and looking forward to showing off their extensive resources, inspiring spaces and specialist services making all libraries accessible to everyone.

Boosting those brain cells doesn’t just mean work, work, work though. Jez Conolly, Head of Student Engagement at Library Services is keen to provide plenty of opportunities for students to relax and refresh so that precious time you commit to studying is even more effective.

‘We want to encourage users of our libraries to include regular breaks in their study patterns. Working constantly without breaks isn’t great for your productivity: when you’re tired and stressed, it can be hard to take information in or do your best work. So it’s really important to get into the habit of stepping away from the study desk and taking some time out.’

Arts and Social Sciences library’s dedicated relaxation space

‘You’ll find a relaxation space on the first floor of the Arts and Social Sciences Library where you can ‘unplug’ for a while, plus in the Wills Library,we now have a ‘Library of Possibilities’ space with soft seating and a collection of more contemplative non-academic reading matter. This year we’re introducing new ‘take a break’ cards which will enable you to indicate to others when you’re on a break and when you will return to your desk. At especially busy and stressful times in the year we provide a range of enjoyable mindfulness activities designed to help you rebalance and relieve some of the revision pressure.’

Wills Memorial Library: Library of Possibilities
Wills Library, University of Bristol

The Library support team including, Jez Stein and Mary Lockwood, are also beavering away preparing for your arrival.

Library support information at the Arts and Social Sciences Library

Library services and spaces are designed so that they’re accessible and inclusive wherever possible. There are study spaces available to suit your preferred learning style, featuring social learning spaces, collaborative group study rooms, low-distraction and silent study areas.

If you’re a part-time student, studying outside of Bristol, have a disability, dyslexia, or caring responsibilities, the Library Support team aim to provide a range of services to make sure the library is accessible to everyone. We can work with you to discuss any specific needs or requirements you might have in terms of study space or access to resources. Please feel free to arrange an appointment time or just drop in during office hours.

 

Library support is based in the Arts & Social Sciences Library.

Email: library-support@bristol.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 117 928 8502

Textphone users can call via typetalk: 18001 0017 928 8502

Check out @bristolunilib on Twitter and @bristol_uni_lib on Instagram.

Behind the scenes at Bristol Students’ Union

Bristol Students’ Union (SU) represents students, provides advice and guidance and put on a whole range of events for students to socialise and try new things.

The Richmond Building, home to Bristol SU

We caught up with some of the Communications and Engagement team to find out how they’re preparing for Welcome Week 2018.

Jess working on the Welcome Guide

Jess Augarde is the SU’s Multimedia Designer and you’ll be seeing loads of her work around during Welcome Week.

‘I worked with a local illustrator to get the creative look for Welcome Week 2018 together and then spent a lot of time cutting out images in illustrator to make the cool graphics you’ll have seen on our social media already and will see when you get to Bristol. I loved working on the Welcome Guide and loved seeing a video from our printers of the guide rolling off the presses!

When it comes to Welcome Week, I love heading out to the events with my camera and always get some great photos, particularly at the Welcome Fair.’

Nicola Haydon

Nicola Haydon, Communications Executive, works on the SU’s campaigns and content.

‘This year we’re collaborating with different societies on the films we’re screening each evening in the Balloon Bar, including a double bill organised by the Chinese Society. I love the Welcome

Fair, it’s a really nice atmosphere. It’s great to see what current students are doing and to see new students get excited about everything they can get involved with.

My advice for new students is to make the most of all the events. There really is something for everyone, whatever you’re interested in and it’s a great introduction to all the societies and activities available at Bristol.

We’re welcoming some big names to Bristol for our headline Club Tropicana event with Nick Grimshaw and Mistajam as well as plenty of local DJs to give you a flavour of Bristol’s night life.’ There are limited tickets available so snap yours up here!’

Bristol SU arrange a packed schedule of Welcome Week events; from club nights to plant potting, there’s something for everyone! Take a look at what’s on and get your tickets now.

 

And what about after Welcome Week? Your SU needs you!

Election nominations open during Welcome Week and they’re looking for first year course reps, JCR reps and NUS delegates. Find out more about these roles and how to stand for election at bristolsu.org.uk/elections.

For more information about the Students’ Union, visit bristolsu.org.uk.

Find Your Mayor! Get involved and join the debate.

The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, is hosting the next Global Parliament of Mayors meeting in Bristol and you can be part of it too.

City Hall

This is a great opportunity for you to gain exclusive access to the Parliamentary Forum and meet city leaders from around the world.

Apply to become a student ambassador and:

  • Act as a host for your assigned global Mayor;
  • Help them with queries and escort them to seminars;
  • Meet other student ambassadors and influence the debate.

You will also be invited to attend the closing ceremony where you will receive an official Certificate of Excellence and Leadership and have an opportunity to be photographed with your Mayor.

When is it?

The summit is held between 21-23 October and this year’s theme is Empowering Cities as Drivers of Change. The discussions are wide ranging from migration, health and climate change to urban security.

What do I do next?

Find out more and apply before 4 October.

My Welcome Week experience

Hi, I’m Em!

I’m a seasoned Bristolian, so despite the fact that I have only just finished my first year at Bristol, I have a lot of Bristol experience to share with you to make sure you get the best experience in Bristol as you possibly can.

A little background on me

I just finished my first year studying Philosophy but I’m changing my degree and now I’m going into my first year studying Religion and Theology.

I’ve lived in Bristol for 19 years and am still not tired of it.

Today I’m going to share with you my Welcome Week experience.

Thekla

University and clubbing are synonymous with each other, this might mean that you have to go out of your comfort zone but that’s okay! Hundreds of other people will be doing exactly the same thing.  Last year, I mainly went to venues like Thekla and The Lanes. However, there’s loads of information online regarding the theme of each night so make sure that you have a look! I didn’t go out loads, and I still met some great friends.

Not a drinker?

I went to loads of events last year that don’t involve drink. For example, I went on a coffee shop crawl where instead of drinking beer, you drink coffee! There’s also loads of amazing food in Bristol, as a vegan I never struggle to find options which is obviously a plus. If you are unsure about what you can do, check out the SU’s guide to alternative and non-drinking events.

My welcome week peak (the good kind):

For me, as a Bristolian, the welcome ceremony was very special. I never thought that I would get into a Russell Group uni. In fact, I went to a below average secondary school/ sixth form combined and had my prom at the Marriot at the bottom of Park Street so, to be at this grand ceremony at the top of the big hill was very symbolic for me. I had to climb and fight to get into Bristol, just like you will need to climb and fight from getting to the bottom of Park Street to the top!

What I would change?

People always say that Welcome Week is your chance to really get involved, and that was a scary prospect for me. I suffer with a few different mental health difficulties so being a social butterfly is not second nature for me. But, your first week does not discriminate, there will be many other anxious people there and there will many people who want to say hello to you.

My one piece of advice is to be the person you want to be friends with. Also, don’t stress about making friends, it will happen but to be honest, the friends you make in Welcome Week might not be your uni-long best friends. So just relax and have a great week!

What to pack for University 

You’ve got six sets of Wilkinson’s basics coasters…but no shower gel. A suitcase of fancy dress options and only one extension cord. Moving into halls is an exciting time, so if you’re starting to think about what you need to bring to University, don’t worry about forgetting something important – we’ve got you covered. 

student's feet below the word 'hello'

Here’s our list of things to pack: 

The essentials 

  • Registration guide and Welcome Week timetable so you know where you’re going 
  • Keep cup – you can get a discount at each of our Source cafés every time you use a reusable mug 
  • Water bottle – keep hydrated in style and help save the planet by saying no to single-use plastics 
  • Towel 
  • Clothes 
  • Bedding – you’d be surprised how many people forget a duvet cover or pillow case! 
  • Toiletries  
  • Kitchen equipment – if you’re in self-catered accommodation you should bring a plate, bowl, cutlery, and pots and pans. It can be worth waiting until you arrive to see what your housemates have brought before buying smaller items like vegetable peelers or cheese graters; that way you’ll end up only with what you need. 

 flat-lay of items to pack

Getting around 

Ready to study 

  • Notepad 
  • Pencil case – you can pick up loads of cool freebies, including stationery, at the Welcome Fair 
  • Laptop 
  • Headphones – because you don’t want to be that person blasting music on the bus 
  • Textbooks – our libraries are also a great resource and staff are happy to help you find what you need 

Your new community 

  • Biscuits are a great way to break the ice when you first move in 
  • Playing cards or board games 
  • Fancy dress 
  • SU wristband for entry into a host of events to help you get to know your neighbours and make friends 

student carrying a box into halls

A home away from home 

  • Photos of family and friends 
  • Clock – because you don’t want to miss that 9 am lecture! 
  • A cozy hoodie 
  • Calendar 
  • Lamp 

Need something else? 

There are plenty of shops nearby where you can pick up anything else that you need – including The Basket, found on the ground floor of the Students’ Union. You can also order moving-in packs for the kitchen, bathroom, or cleaning supplies. 

Why not get a plant or poster to brighten up your room and make it your own? Share a photo of your space with us using #FindYourBristol and let us know the one thing that you’re not leaving home without.  

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