Welcome back!

This week we’ve welcomed students back onto campus. It’s been wonderful to see (and hear!) people chatting and getting to know each other after a difficult academic year, which was mostly completed online.  

For our new first year students this is a time of great excitement but also nerves and uncertainty.  

Here, two of our current second year students share their experiences, top tips and highlights from their year of lockdown learning.  

“Lockdown linguistics” 

By Alice Carr  

Starting university was nerve-racking, to say the least, perhaps enhanced ever so slightly by the fact that we could see much of it taking part online. This did turn out to be the case, but I wouldn’t change it! 

My earlier days were much more normal, I was able to meet a few of my lecturers in person and plenty of my cohort, all of which were so welcoming (even with their faces half covered by masks!) The in-person lectures I could attend were interesting and relaxed. What followed was A LOT of online recordings and Microsoft Teams chats. Nevertheless, the lecturers made it more bearable than I could ever have wished for, keeping the morals high and all of us engaged.    

Before my start date, I believed I had to have everything: the books, paper, stationery piled high enough to stock WHSmith’s, it was stressful. What I wish I had known was the strength of the support bubble the linguistics team at UWE gave to me- breaking down everything clearly and concisely so I knew exactly what I would need for the course. It turned out I had overbought massively! What is also useful to know from the get-go is the sheer amount of material available to you, such as the library and meetings with your PAL leader for help in a subject or just for an informal chat.  

I will say, the greatest highlight of my ‘lockdown’ first year was the ability to become a student rep. This grew my confidence massively as it allowed me to support both myself and my peers during such a bizarre and uncertain time. I guess it was nice to be able to turn up to lectures from the comfort of my bed, but I vow never to moan about walking to the lecture theatre on a Monday morning ever again, even if it is in Bristol weather! 

My first year 

By Ben Bryan 

I do not believe many people start university without any uncertainties about how their experience will go. For myself personally, I arrived at UWE to study English Language and Linguistics in October 2020, not knowing anybody and having previously only visited Bristol once. Despite all that, I soon became settled in my new surroundings and those initial uncertainties very quickly eased.   
Unsurprisingly, the first year was a challenge. Starting university in the middle of a pandemic meant both my work and social life was constantly changing. With that being said, the biggest credit I can pay to both this course and Bristol is, despite all that, I have still managed to have a great first experience. 

The highlight of the course last year was being able to learn about the different branches of linguistics – it really helped me to find areas of interest. The support systems in place and the communication with lecturers have also made it easy to discuss concerns and aspects of the course in greater detail which was imperative for engaging with the course.  

The most reassuring aspect of Bristol for anyone moving here is that there is something for everyone. It’s a diverse city that provides both historical and modern features. With a strong social life, a variety of places to go out and events to experience, anybody can move here and find something they can engage with. The challenging part for me was finding enough time to make the most of the opportunities here, and going into second year, I’m still discovering things I want to experience! 

Despite everything, I had a wonderful first year and can reassure anyone who is about to do the same that they shouldn’t be worried about the experience they are about to have!  

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