A Year at Uni: My Reflection
When arriving at university, your first experiences revolve around the accommodation you live in. Most will live in halls with hundreds of students; however, I am not one of those people. I chose to live in a small house of 12 in Redland, a residential area far enough away from university life to let me experience a different side to Bristol. I feel as if my choice in accommodation for my first year definitely caused my experience to be vastly different to my coursemates. Redland is an area full of parks and open spaces, perfect for taking walks and going to play sports. It’s made up of a significant university student population, but also includes families. It’s also not too far from The Downs, which on a sunny day is an amazing place to sit and relax, to take in all the surroundings. Bristol is a different place when you are not constantly surrounded by university life.
It’s common knowledge that the thing to do in first year is to hit all the clubs. I’m not saying that I didn’t do that (believe me, I’ve been to my fair share of clubs!). But, because I don’t live within a 10-minute radius of the university, it meant that sometimes I couldn’t be bothered to go all that way just to party. The thought of getting ready, walking 25 minutes, then clubbing, then walking back home in the early hours of the morning is unpleasant enough to convince you not to go. I think I was especially lucky that my housemates felt the same; most of us would prefer to play cards or watch a film, instead of drinking and dancing the night away. My first year experience was made up of a whole wide range of activities. I often come across the snapchat stories of my coursemates who are yet again drunk and out on the town. Sometimes, I was a part of it, however, sometimes I wasn’t and I have never once regretted that, even slightly. The memories I have of first year (both the crystal clear ones and the slightly hazy ones) are experiences I will treasure. It is a bit cheesy to say that, but it’s true. I’m glad I lived in 121 Redland Road, because if I didn’t, I don’t think my first year would’ve been quite as good as it was.
Part of what makes me rave so much about my first year is the course I’m on. I do Theatre and Film, which people might find strange to do at the University of Bristol, as it’s known for the more science-y subjects. However, I disagree. I love my course, it’s allowed me to meet the greatest bunch of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I also love the opportunities the course has given me. Within the department of Theatre, Film and Television, there is a society called Studiospace that puts on tons of shows throughout the year. Most recently, I was able to be part of the film crew for a piece called ‘500 Seconds of Summer’, which was a short play (based on the movie 500 Days of Summer) within a larger showcase called Visual Arts Performed. This showcase had a lot of experimentation with incorporating the use of film into a production on stage. For example, in 500 seconds, there was an expectation vs., reality sequence (if you have watched the film, you will recall that Tom Hansen has an expectation of how a party Summer invited him will go, which is played against the reality of what happened). In my play, we filmed the expectation and had that playing on a projector, while the actors performed the reality on stage. I thought it was quite a unique way of bringing the film to life on stage, and it paid of. I was amazed at how well the elements worked together, as I had trouble imagining what it would be like when I was filming it. I’m glad I was involved in this, as it allowed me to branch out and gain better acquainted with my personal film equipment. I never thought that I would get a proper chance to use it all, yet I was proven wrong. Time and time again, I am amazed at the opportunities that this department has given me. It’s only been one year but I already feel as if I’ve learnt so much, and that excites me to see what else is in store for the coming years.
As I’m an international student technically (I’m a British Citizen but my family live in Cambodia), I will be staying in Bristol over the summer. As there is unlikely to be anyone around, apart from a select few, I have gotten a job for the summer. I’m currently employed at Home Fundraising, a company that has door-to-door fundraisers working to get as many donations as possible for a selection of charities. For example, I work with Marie Curie Cancer Care. It’s an exhausting job, as I am outside on my feet from 3.30pm to 9pm, 3 days a week, talking to people and trying to convince them to donate. I’ve only done two days so far, and it’s already tiring. While it might not seem like the most glamorous job, I don’t mind it so much. The hours are not ideal, but I did not expect myself to be in a position where I can be picky about when and where I work. I have very little experience in paid work, having grown up overseas my whole life. I just had to take what I could get. At least, for the summer, door-to-door fundraising is pleasant enough – the weather is the best it has been all year, and because I don’t just work in Bristol, I get to see more of the South West than I thought I would be able to. The job certainly has its perks, and it’s drawbacks, but that’s true of any job you’re going to get at university. I’m just trying to enjoy it, something I recommend to anyone trying to get a summer job.
Overall, I have to say I’m loving university life. It’s nothing like I thought it would be, it’s better! The only thing I need to improve is my money management skills (ooops!) but I hope that that improves with time, and perhaps the desire to not constantly see my bank account in the negatives!