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09 November 2014

University life update

Pictures from around Bristol and of my room.

Hey! Happy Sunday. As promised here is a little post to update you on my life at the University of Bristol so far. 

So it all started about six weeks ago when I hauled ass up to Bristol with an entire Land Rover packed full of stuff (mainly food/room decorations because priorities) and my parents up front trying not to freak out that the last kid of the Ackley family was about to fly the nest. I was freaking out because 1) it's absolutely terrifying to move city and realise you have to pretend to be normal for like a whole two weeks so you make friends and 2) both my older brothers kicked/ are kicking butt at university so the pressure to do well is real.
Freshers week was crazy- people said it would be the best week of my life and it quite frankly wasn't- in retrospect it was stupid to think it would be. Of course it's ridiculously fun in the evening, going out and exploring a new city while simultaneously testing your liver. Equally it's terrifying and sometimes lonely because you don't know anyone, so during the day there isn't really much to do. I was so lucky that one of my absolute favourite humans in the whole world ended up in the same halls as me, so we could freak out together for those first few days when it seemed that everyone had already made their best friends 4 lyfe (they hadn't yet, obviously) and I was still only meeting the people in my building (and spilling on average 2 drinks a day on people/myself/the floor because apparently nerves make me clumsy). 
Six weeks later and I have an awesome group of people to hang out with, go out with and just talk to when I want to avoid the piles and piles of reading that I have every week (yay for Philosophy). I think I speak for most people when I say that University and going out gets better and better, Freshers week is not the peak. Going out with strangers is fun, but going out with friends is infinitely funner and spending so much time with them almost makes them feel like a little family. You'll also meet people on your course- me and my Philo-friends cry over Formal Logic and Epistemology together while drinking way too much caffeine in the library cafe. It's also handy to have people to wake you up in lectures because you will fall asleep sometimes. 
Making friends seems like the scariest part of it, but (and as awfully cheesy as this sounds) just being yourself and keeping an open mind makes it easier. Don't try and change, or make decisions about people after one conversation and don't give up. Plus I found that a good fancy dress costume is a fab ice breaker. And also that I have a billion names/numbers on my phones of people that I do not remember meeting. 

I thought living in halls would be hard too- I love hanging out with people but equally I like my alone time. Your room becomes your little home whether you're working, eating, sleeping or having chats with friends- it becomes your own space. I found that decorating it and putting effort in to making it feel cosy has helped when I've felt homesick or just sick at all (Freshers Flu is inevitable). I worried that, sharing with a bunch of boys and girls I didn't know, would make me self-conscious about walking around in pajamas and not wearing make-up (even though I don't wear much) but after about three days I realised I actually didn't care at all. In fact, as I'm writing this I'm wearing a giant t-shirt, leggings and slipper socks. Not fashion fab at all. I was also worried about eating healthy in a catered hall, but most meals you can get meat and veg, or muesli and fruit at breakfast. Otherwise I pretty much live off soup, pitta bread, baked beans or salads if I'm on campus during lunch. In terms of fitness, it's easy to pop to the gym between lectures. Obviously I couldn't keep up my 5 times a week gym bunny habit but walking in to lectures most days compensates nicely.
All in all, my radiator smells funny when I turn it on, I look like a seal with wet hair when I'm fresh outta the shower (of which only one of our four showers gets appropriately warm) and sometimes people wake me up at 3am when they get back from a night out but it's home.

I'm not sure if it's just because I'm fairly ambitious and actually make a solid effort to do the work set, but university work is a lot harder than I expected. I'm used to lessons and marked homework, obviously coming straight from school, but with my course I only have to hand in two essays a term and other than that I'm left alone to just get on with things and tackle the (sometimes seemingly impossible) reading myself with little help. I think if you're independent it's okay and I'm starting to cope better with it, but initially it was a pretty big shock. I won't go to in depth about my course since not a lot of people do Philosophy and it's different for different subjects. I think the important thing is that you're doing something you love, so when it gets tough, you can deal.

All in all, I'm having an amazing time. I love the challenge, the independence, the people and Bristol is such a brilliant and beautiful city. I'm happyz.


  1. It's great you've settled in! I totally relate to lots of things you've said, freshers week was horrible for me! I'm glad you're happy now, I was never happy so I left but it's different for everyone x

  2. Reading this post took me back to my uni days! I remember the smell of the radiator and having to make the decision whether to have a cold or fusty room, and freshers flu was the worst! I also like your "pretending to be normal" comment, I think I lasted about 2 days with this!


  3. Glad you seem to have settled in! Freshers week was actually the worst part of university for me, I felt so lonely in a flat with people who didn't really go out and kept themselves to themselves. Third year was my favorite as I felt totally settled and comfortable with everything, even though the workload was crazy!

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

  4. Your university life is so much better than mine, ha :(


  5. So happy to hear that you're happy (happy all round, my fave kinda round). I was in catered halls the food was 99% carbs, so I'm glad yours sounds more nutritious. I'm not sure when Jazz and I'll come up to visit, would first year be best, you reckon, or should we leave it till you're out of halls? xxx

    1. You guys are always welcome! :) The only thing is my room is a tad small to fit more than one person in right now, so maybe next year would be better unless you have somewhere else to stay? But let's do something when I'm back in london! miss you gals! x

  6. I love these pictures! University sounds so fun, it's weird to this that this time in two years I'll be in that position, I can't wait. I go to Bristol a lot and it's so lovely there especially the harbour side or the area by clifton bridge x

  7. so happy you're doing well, sounds like you're having an amazing time ! I've also started university this year and 3 months in I can officially say I hate it so your uni life update is giving me hope ahah x


  8. Really enjoyed this post. I've just started Uni too and I completely understand what you mean about freshers week being good at night but daunting and dare i say it, a bit boring in the day time. I love uni now though. Also decorating your room is an absolute god sent, I was feeling so homesick until I tacked a few maps and pictures of mountains up.

    Hope you enjoy Uni! Bristols is such an awesome city :)

  9. It sounds like you're settling in ok. Fresher week isn't the best week - it's a fun week but not the best. You'll have many more funtimes once you've really settled and have your own little uni family. I hope the next few weeks go great for you.

    Cat from Outside Beauty, Inside Health

  10. Hey! I've followed and loved your blog for a while now so it's really cool to see you're at Bristol! I just so happen to be a third year Philosophy student here so I can completely relate to your hate for Formal Logic (it will get better, I promise). I hope you love it here as much as I do, it's such an amazing city to be a student in!

    Maybe I'll see you around, Molly x

  11. Your pictures are always so spectacular! I'm not in uni just yet, but this has been great to read to get an idea of what it will be like for me in the future. I plan on moving to nyc and attending Parsons School of Design, so I'll really remember to decorate so I feel less homesick.

    I hope you enjoy university!

  12. perfectt..

  13. Sounds like you've settled in well! Personally,my first year of uni was the worst, and it all improved from there :)

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn

  14. Told you you'd love it in Bristol!

    I have to say, moving to a foreign country and move into halls was probably the scariest thing I'd ever done, especially since I was a 3rd year living with freshers. Looking back, it was also the most fun I've ever had. Make the most of it, because even if you end up doing an MA, it won't ever be the same. Believe me, starting at Central Saint Martins for my masters wasn't quite as fun... ; )

    - Elodie x

  15. Sounds like you're having a lovely time, I've wanted to visit Bristol for ages & your photos make me want to go even more! I feel your pain of being woken up at 3am by drunken flatmates, just wait till the fire alarm goes off when you're in the shower... not fun. Liv x

  16. Aww I loved this post, I to started university this year and completely agree that freshers week wasn't the most amazing part! while it was still a really good week i much prefer going out knowing my friends now it makes it so much more enjoyable! God tell me about the radiator, mine stays on for 20 minutes each time you turn it on and that is never enough time to heat the room so I'm walking round in the warmest clothing!

  17. Ohhhh this makes me so nostalgic. I loved my time at Bristol Uni - such a wonderful place! I completely agree with you about Fresher's week - trust me, it gets better and better and better (even if the work does get harder!)


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