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Ella's top tips for first year!

By FrenchayRAs 08 Jul 2021

Meet Ella, your Frenchay Resident Assistant. Ella studies BA Philosophy and stayed in Quantock Court in the Student Village in her first year!

We asked her to share her top tips to settling in at uni...

How did you feel before you moved into Halls?

I was a bit nervous because I had never lived away from home before and I thought it was going to be daunting to meet so many new people all at once. But I realised that everyone was going to be in the same boat as me and everyone was probably going to be nervous too.

Did you manage to get in contact with anyone living in your flat/building before you moved in?

Yes, I managed to find all the people in my flat on Facebook. I joined several UWE Freshers Facebook groups and posted my flat number to those groups. Once we’d found several people in our flat I added them on Facebook and made a group chat. This meant we could introduce ourselves and get to know each other better before actually meeting. This meant when we did meet it wasn’t as scary because they weren’t complete strangers.

I also did the same thing with people on my course. I found other people on the Facebook groups that were doing philosophy and we made a big group chat.

What are your tips for Fresher’s?

My main tips would be to get yourself involved with as much stuff as possible. Join every society that seems sort of interesting, you probably won’t keep them all on throughout the whole year but there might be one or two that stick that you really enjoy. Societies are a really good way of making friends because there will be people there that share the same interests as you.

Have fun during Freshers and definitely go out if that’s what you want to do but I would say don’t overdo yourself. I didn’t go out every single night of Freshers Week and I definitely don’t regret it. It’s good to take a day to recharge your batteries so you don’t feel absolutely rotten once the week is up. Instead, you could have a movie night or go to the SU for a drink and a round of pool.

a box filled with different types of pizza sitting on top of a table

What are your tips on how to make new friends at Freshers? 

A really good way of getting to know each other well is to all have dinner together on your first night. Sitting around the table all eating food together really breaks the ice and gives you a chance to have proper conversations with each other. 

What’s different about college and university and how did you deal with that?

The main difference is that you will have a lot more independence and responsibilities. It might be tempting not to go to lectures because there is no one forcing you to but in the long run, you’ll realise it is definitely in your best interest to go. You have so much less contact time than at college anyway that in the grand scheme of things its worth your while to go to a couple of hours of lectures per day. Make sure to do any reading or preparation the night before a lecture because it will make lectures easier and more interesting because you will understand what’s going on.

What should you bring with you to uni to make sure you feel at home?

Definitely bring stuff to decorate your room. I brought things like fairy lights, posters and pictures of my family and friends. It's small things like this that will make your uni room feel a lot more homely and a nice space to be in.

Is there anything you had to learn really quickly when moving out for the first time?

Lidl will be your best friend. Out of any of the supermarkets around, Lidl is definitely the way to go in my opinion. Sainsbury’s is way too expensive and Asda is too far away. With Lidl, you have affordable food, and you never know what surprises they might have in. Lidl food and drink is cheap and also surprisingly good. Try to budget yourself when it comes to food as well. It’s all too easy to blindly spend and then you’ll be stuck eating toast for every meal for the last few days leading up to your next loan payment.

Also, it’s a good idea to come with a recipe book or lots of meal ideas that you know you can make. I started the year eating pasta for basically every meal until I broadened my repertoire of meals that I could make. Having a plan for what you’re going to eat every day also makes it easier and cheaper when it comes to doing your weekly shop.

How did you find the Resident Assistant job this year?

I’ve loved being a Resident Assistant this year. It’s been so fun to be involved in student life and to be able to help people in the small ways that we can. I have really enjoyed interacting with students at the different events that we have put on throughout the year and I’m really excited to be carrying on with my role next year.

a group of people sitting at a table with a plate of food

What are your favourite places to eat/go out for drinks in Bristol?

There are so many absolutely fantastic places in Bristol that you’ll be spoiled for choice. If you want to go to a pub for food and a drink then Wetherspoons is the best cheap place to do so. The Berkeley at the top of Park Street is my favourite spoons because it’s never too busy and it’s close to all the clubs around the Triangle. Gloucester Road has some great bars and restaurants as well. The Gallimaufry has a great vibe and the Blue Lagoon just next door to it does really good drinks both of them are relatively cheap and are quite studenty.

What are your favourite places in Bristol?

One of my favourite places in Bristol is Castle Park. It’s a park just by the city centre and it’s such a lovely place to sit and hang out with your mates. Especially in the summer, you can sit there in the sun overlooking the river. My friends and I often will buy our lunch or dinner and go to Castle Park to eat.

Another really cool place if you fancy the walk down there is to go to Clifton Suspension Bridge. It’s probably Bristol’s most well-known tourist attraction and it’s definitely worth it to go and visit even if it is just to get a cool Instagram picture.

And finally, what advice would you give someone coming to Uni for the first time?

My advice would be to enjoy yourself. Work hard and play hard. University only lasts 3 or 4 years and it goes so quickly so just enjoy every aspect of university life.

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