On Tuesday I finally got the opportunity to visit my university campus in person and enjoy a guided tour. This was something that I had been wanting to do ever since I accepted my offer to study there. Seeing pictures and videos online is all well and good, but nothing beats actually seeing something in reality.
In order to get to campus I needed to catch a train. Yes technically I could have driven over there but as I don’t plan on driving there when I actually start the course it made sense to me to make the journey in the way that I intend to going forward.
I dare say I was a little worried about catching the train initially because of the ongoing Covid situation. After all, most of us have spent the best part of a year in very limited company. So the thought of suddenly being packed into a small train carriage with a bunch of strangers was a little daunting. But the train wasn’t too busy and everyone followed the ongoing social distancing rules. So I needn’t have worried.
When I arrived at Bristol Parkway Station, I made my way to the exit and then fired up Google Maps in order to navigate my way to campus. Honestly, I don’t know how we coped back in the day without Google Maps!
I was greeted at campus by a couple of friendly student ambassadors who took my details, offered me a coffee and got me to scan the now obligatory code for track and trace purposes. With the formalities out of the way and having waited for another couple of people, we were introduced to our tour guides and set off to look around the place that we would be spending the next four years of our lives.
The first thing that struck me about the campus was the sheer size of it. Honestly, the place is enormous! Everywhere you look there are buildings several storeys high, corridors, car parks and outdoor spaces. In many ways the scale of it reminded me of a hospital. My daily step count will certainly be exceeding 10,000 all the time I’m walking to, from and around the campus!
After being briefly shown the Student Union building, (Again, huge!) we made our way to S-Block which is where the Creative and Professional Writing course is taught. The corridors were adorned with examples of students and lecturers work which was interesting to see, and there were plenty of spaces where you could sit and study either in groups or on your own.
Next, we were shown the lecture theatre where we would be taught. It was certainly a far cry from the tired classrooms of my previous college! Each seat had a sort of desk attached to it where you could place your laptop, and could be easily moved around so that you could arrange yourself into groups when required. At the front of the theatre, a large screen covered the majority of the wall, with a traditional whiteboard in the corner. The room was big, but felt like somewhere where you could really lose yourself in a world of creativity.
We left S-Block and made our way to the library building. On the way there, I took a little time to speak to my tour guide about his experience of the course and what he was hoping to do upon graduation. He spoke highly of the lecturers and of the materiel that the course covered. As a keen gamer, (like myself) he had a particular interest in one of the later pathways that covered scriptwriting for video games. Although he told me that his ultimate aim was to make a successful career out of novel writing. Writing novels is something that I would love to turn my hand to alongside working as a copywriter, so that was good to hear.
The library itself was ludicrously big like everything else on campus. Four floors packed full of books, computers, study spaces and other resources. Each floor at least twice the size of Trowbridge Library, which in itself is hardly small. It was quite overwhelming, but somewhere that I’m keen to spend some time exploring once I’m settled into campus life.
After that we had a look at a few other buildings including one that was called The Octagon – a kind of spiritual centre of some sort – and various bits of accommodation. Then it was back to our start point and time for me to make my way back home.
All in all it was fascinating to finally see the university campus with my own eyes. I felt like I now have a much better idea of the sorts of places where I’ll be spending my time come September and it was really interesting to hear the experience of somebody who was on the course already. It’s a lot to take in though and it’s going to mean some big lifestyle changes, but I’m more than ready to get stuck in!