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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As the University of Bristol’s Welcome Week is well underway, and as the stark realisation that you have come to uni to do more than socialise slowly materialises, it seems appropriate to share some of the tips I have, as a final year student, for surviving and thriving at Bristol.

  1. Try and stay on top of your workload.

Now, as a law student, I may understand perhaps more than most how this is often easier said than done. That being said, it won’t take long for you to settle in and find your rhythm with your university work, although discovering the best way to manage your time is likely to be a feat of trial and error. Some of the best advice I received in my first year was to try and treat university like a 9-5, getting your work done throughout the day to ensure that you have your evenings free to enjoy everything else university life has to offer.

2. Don’t feel pressured to fork out for expensive textbooks.

Now, this advice does come with a caveat – you should get hard copies of texts that you are specifically advised by your faculty to have. However, most books are available in digital format through the University of Bristol library, or you can borrow a hard copy from the library. I’m just starting my third year at UoB and have yet to buy a textbook! If you do either want or need a textbook, I would suggest buying second-hand where possible, from previous students, charity shops, or from online second-hand websites such as MusicMagpie to save yourself money. The edition of textbooks will be important for some disciplines though, including law, so just watch out for this if buying preloved books.

3. Try and make (and stick!) to a budget.

This budget will be extremely personal to you and will be dependent on your streams of income and how much you tend to spend on outgoings. To save money, try and make the most of student discounts. I would highly recommend purchasing a TOTUM card, which gives you discounts both online and in-store (it won’t take long for the card to pay for itself). Also, never be afraid to ask when out whether somewhere offers a student discount, the worst they can say is no!

4. Make sure to join societies that interest you, but don’t overburden yourself.

The University of Bristol is home to around 400 student groups, which is one of the highest numbers in comparison to other UK universities, so there really is no better place to find a society to suit you, whether you’re into media, sports, music or anything else. If you do find yourself struggling to find a society of interest (although I find this hard to believe), you can set up a new society yourself through the student union. A full list of societies can be found on the Bristol SU website. Make sure to stay up to date with Her Campus Bristol on our socials, with weekly opportunities to get your articles published and many exciting events planned for this year!

5. Get to know Bristol whilst you are living here!

Bristol is a beautiful and vibrant city which always has so much going on. I already know that I’ll miss Bristol when I finish uni, so I would advise you to make the most of living here whilst you can! My best advice to get to know Bristol as a fresher would be to act as a tourist in the city. Here are some of my recommendations for things you should do in Bristol:

  • Visit and walk across the Clifton Suspension Bridge. If you aren’t claustrophobic, I would highly recommend the view of the bridge from the Giant’s Cave at Clifton Observatory, a cave that opens out onto the cliff 76m above the Avon Gorge, and offers an unparalleled view of Clifton Suspension Bridge.
  • Walk along Bristol Harbourside. Check out the many bars the harbour has to offer, climb aboard the SS Great Britain, or even try out paddleboarding.
  • Go on a Banksy walking tour. Bristol is full of Banksy’s artwork, walk around the city and see which ones you can spot (this will also help you to learn your way around the city centre quickly, win-win!).
  • Visit Brandon Hill and Cabot Tower.
  • Visit Ashton Court Estate. Walk around or have a picnic. Ashton Court Estate is also the home of Bristol Balloon Fiesta which takes place in August, the biggest balloon festival in the world!
  • Climb up Wills Memorial Building. Now if you’re a law or earth sciences student, Wills will be (or most definitely will become), your second home. For those who aren’t, weekly tours are run to enable you to see the University of Bristol’s arguably most iconic building.
  • Visit one of Bristol’s many museums. The M Shed, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, We The Curious, to name but a few.

Isla Torbet

Bristol '23

Hi, I'm Isla! I'm a third-year law student at the University of Bristol and the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Bristol for 2022/23
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