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Picture the twice-weekly 9am bioscience lecture: Austin Pierce lecture hall is 200-people strong, the majority bleary eyed and yawning, pulling out laptops, notepads and pens. 50 minutes later, we are released. Often we will have a break until our next lecture, leaving us free for an hour or two. Many will return to their beds, a few will go to the gym or get breakfast. Rare among students, I am a morning person. For me, those in-between times are for my own work; writing up lecture notes for later revision, lab reports or preparation, research, laundry…

Average contact time is given as 24 hours/ week, which may be split into 6 hours one day, and just 1 the next. In addition to this, I do the Global Graduate Award in British Sign Language.  This is a 2 hour/ week commitment with the time spent learning from a wonderful Deaf teacher and having fun in a mixed group of around 20 from any course or year of study. This requires perhaps a couple of hours per week outside of class, on average, for coursework and revision for exams. Using my time efficiently, getting things done when I can, takes away a lot of pressure and leaves plenty of room for socialising and paid work.

As a student ambassador employed by the university I can choose which jobs to put myself forward for, meaning I have no obligation to work during busy periods but can do plenty when I have more time on my hands. Lots of the friends I have made at university are also ambassadors, seeing each other often during training, open days, school visits etc. as well as going out together. I would recommend this to anyone looking to supplement their loan and meet some great new people.

Some societies meet once a week, others less frequently. I am in nutrition society- NutSoc. Society events tend to be open to everyone in the university, and range from ski trips to bar crawls.

I’m definitely the ‘mum’ of the house, helping everyone with cooking and *trying* to make them tidy up after themselves! Although we may all finish our lectures at different times, we often find ourselves cooking and eating together, sharing the day’s news and gathering to watch films and TV programs in the evening. A university family; a home away from home.


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