Leah Eades
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On Being a Fresher at Bristol Uni

September 23, 2010 @ 5:45 AM | Permalink

Welcome, welcome, fresh batch of younglings! You’ve just arrived at Bristol and you’re probably still rushing about in that maddening Freshers’ Week frenzy of “So what’s your name? What course are you studying? Where are you from?”. You’ve probably done the generic Whiteladies/ Park Street bar crawls and been to Syndicate, Bunker, Lizard Lounge and/ or Thekla, and I have news for you: you won’t venture much outside of that zone until at least your second or third term, especially if you’re in halls in Stoke Bishop, because, as you’ve probably already discovered, everything is just too far away. Tip for you: when you do venture beyond the Triangle, try Stokes Croft or Clifton Village. They’re very nice.


By the end of this year you will either have confirmed your love of dubstep, developed a love of dubstep, or learned to feign a love of dubstep. You will shell out £16 for tickets to nights at Motion, a converted skate park. You will discover the mad rush to secure tickets for the infamous clubnights that only occur once a term, such as Itchy Feet, Rebel Bingo, Shit the Bed! and Brazilian Beats (all of which I consider well worth the effort). You will never actually get round to going to Bristol Cathedral, or the Museum, or getting the train to Bath for a delightful daytrip, but you will end up feeling that all cider should be at least 10% strength after wasting nights away in the Corrie Tap or on the Apple boat. And whatever your good intentions now, you will at some point, and it really is just a matter of time, come to the conclusion hey, it’s only first year, it doesn’t count.


You will invariably spend Monday nights in Panache or Oceana, Thursdays at Po Na Na and Fridays at Ramshackle. You will invariably leave work until the week it’s due in, and you will invariably begin to internally categorise all of your compulsory lectures as “essential” or “non-essential” (the latter list being the longer). If, however, you want to get a little bit more than the inevitable out of your first year at Bristol then by all means endeavour to do the following things:



a)      Explore the different areas of Bristol away from the Triangle. Go to the little cinema in Henleaze (about five minutes walk from Stoke Bishop) on Orange Wednesdays and see films for just over a pound. Go on a ferry trip, or search out all the Banksy graffiti around the city. Watch a play at the Student Union. Explore Stokes Croft venues for live music and go to the different local festivals- there are cider fests, hot air balloon fests, kite fests, music fests, and the annual St Pauls Carnival. Keep an eye on http://heliconbristol.blogspot.com/ and other online guides so that you don’t miss anything.


b)      If you want some extra cash, sign up for the psychology or nutrition studies at http://memoryexperiments.psy.bris.ac.uk/- sometimes you can even bag a free meal! Keep an eye on the university online jobshop too, and if possible work for the university now, at careers fairs for instance, and establish a basis for casual employment over the next three or four years.


c)      Befriend the international/ exchange students; it’s always fun to have friends in other countries to stay with. Then plan something awesome to do with your summer. University holidays are indecently long, and volunteer, study, intern and work abroad programmes are all easily available online. I recommend wwoof.org, couchsurfing.net, helpexchange.net and anyworkanywhere.com. Also, ryanair LOVE Bristol and there are a ridiculous amount of flights for a fiver to be found- I went to Marrakech during my reading week and it cost me £15 return. It’s one of the secret best things about being in Bristol.


d)      Why not get involved with RAG, or Amnesty International, and feel smug about yourself? We’ll never have this much leisure time again.


e)      We have some seriously cool shops here in Bristol, and not just in Cabot Circus. Use them. Yes, every girl must have her Motel dress, but there’s also the row of charity shops along Cotham Hill, the regular vintage markets, and the Clifton Arcade. All this makes for a very well- dressed student body.


f)       Don’t panic about sorting out houses for your second year as soon as your second term starts. You genuinely don’t have to hurry and book everything through an estate agent (although they will try to tell you otherwise). Breathe. Leave it until March or May, or later, and then find a landlord through the University and avoid massive agency fees. You will not be missing the boat. Trust me.


So there you go, my children. I have passed on my words of wisdom. Now I will go and curl up beneath a blanket in my cold student house and do all the reading that I should have done when I was your age. Bitter Old Woman OUT. 


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