These blogs will give your pupils a useful insight into university life from the students who study here.
Living far from home - science student Rebecca
The first few weeks of university are a mixture of nervousness and excitement, especially if you are travelling from far away. I come from a small village in Derbyshire called Little Eaton, about 150 miles from Royal Holloway. Although I can get back home within a couple of hours, the long distance and large travel expenses has made this a rare occurrence. For this reason, the thought of moving to Royal Holloway, was a daunting one.
However once I arrived, I soon realised this was not the case. Unlike my little village, Royal Holloway is not isolated, but has excellent links to London. A night out in Camden, or a live show in Brixton, is just a short journey away. This access to so many new experiences is the thing I love most about living so far from home.
Royal Holloway is also the safest university town in the UK, with a leafy green campus, a community spirit, and surrounded by English pubs. The close-knit community means you recognise many faces, but, in contrast to my little village, never feel like you’re living in each other’s pockets. The vast array of sports clubs, societies such as Humans v Zombies, and social events from ‘Juicy’ in the Student Union, to annual boat parties, means there’s plenty of opportunity to get together with your fellow students.
The thing I thought I would miss most about living far from home was my friends and family, but they’re only a phone call away. You quickly make new friends, as well as learn to cook, handle your finances and many other things that you once relied on others to do. If anything, you are lucky to be far from home, as you get to write a completely new chapter, with fresh faces, in a novel place. The experience outweighs the long distance and travel expenses, by a mile!
- Rebecca - Bsc Psychology, Clinical, and Cognitive Neuroscience
A day in the life - politics student Emily
A Politics and International Relations degree requires a tremendous amount of independent study. For the past two years I’ve had just eight contact hours per week, and in my final year it will be just four. This doesn’t make my degree easier than others. After all, I need to do around ten hours per week of reading, per module.
The flexibility of the degree does allow me to engage in a number of extra-curricular activities. For instance, I’m in the ladies hockey team, training three times a week,, plus two games, and an extra training session on available Saturdays. I am also President of the Diplomatic Society, which involves attending conferences, hosting academic speakers, and organising visits to places such as the EU Parliament in Brussels. As well as this I’m involved in sports volunteering and charity fundraising.
This may sound like a lot, but it’s generally quite easy to organise my time. Many students get involved with the same number of extra-curricular activities, if not more. The upside to going to a campus university such as Royal Holloway means that you are able to get involved with much more than at a city university as everything is so close and easily accessible.
Emily’s typical day
09:00 - 11:00: Two hour lecture/seminar
11:00 - 16:00: Work on lecture notes or my dissertation in the library
17:00 - 18:00: Hockey training
18:00 - 20:00: Model UN Debate training
21:00 - 00:00: Go out with my friends to the cinema/pub/Students’ Union et.
- Emily - BA Politics & International Relations.
The perks of studying in Surrey - Marya
One of the reasons I love this university is its location. Whenever people ask why, my response is always the same: you get the best of both worlds.
If you enjoy city life and want to explore more of London, then a 40 minute train ride gets you to the city centre. There is so much to do in London, you can never get bored. I’ve been to see theatre in the west end, sampled varied cuisine at Borough market, walked along Tower Bridge, taken trips to Camden Market, picnicked in Hyde Park, visited art galleries, toured Harry Potter Studios and much more.
Other nearby towns like Staines-Upon-Thames and Windsor are also worth exploring. The latter is home to the grand Windsor Castle, while Staines is home to a Nandos so it’s also ranked highly for me!
On the other hand, if you feel like getting in touch with nature, then a ten-minute walk from campus gets you to the beautiful, picturesque park in Virginia Water. With stunning views of the lake, historic ruins and scenic gardens, it’s perfect for any student who is looking to take some time off studying, or even for some gentle exercise. My favourite time to go is during exam season when the temperatures are getting warmer; a bike around the lake and gardens really helps ease the pressure of exams.
Thrill seekers are also catered for with renowned theme park, Thorpe Park, only a short distance away. The park’s Fright Night is a big attraction with students around Halloween. Sport lovers are also spoilt for choice with Twickenham rugby ground, Ascot racecourse, and the famous Wimbledon Arena all nearby. There’s also the opportunity to work at all these venues, and parks, including LEGOLAND. This is great if you’re looking for a part-time job to further enhance your skills, and to help fund your life as a student.
Finally, if you’re looking for a getaway to treat yourself after exams, or to visit friends and family during the holidays, you’ll be happy to hear that Heathrow Airport is only a 15 minute drive away, with buses running to and from the airport throughout the week.
Moving from North to South - Kerry
I know the feeling – everyone back home is asking if you’re going to return home posh and if you’re dreading the cost of living. And that can only mean one thing: You’re moving down South for university!
As a proud Mancunian studying English and Drama at Royal Holloway, I can admit that moving here was not as daunting as I once thought. To be honest, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Being close to the hub of London has been a cultural awakening for me, giving me the opportunity to frequent the theatre and know the London Underground like the back of my hand.
Moving so far from home can be simply terrifying, however once you’ve unpacked your car down South the adventure truly begins.
What are the biggest changes then? They certainly weren’t lying about the cost of living going up. However, I found it just takes a bit of budgeting.
Fancy going home for the weekend? Book your train tickets in advance! That 200 miles up the country could end up costing you around £80 unless you get it sorted weeks in advance. If you can, get a free railcard with your bank account and never feel the stress of expensive train fares back up North. I’ve failed at this a couple of times and ouch.
I found that my Manchester drawl was a source of endless entertainment and even now in my third year, it still is. One of the best conversations you can have with your friends is about the different slangs between counties, and coming from the North makes you a little bit unique. We also never fail to get overly excited when we find each other on campus. The question ‘wait – where are you from?!’ from a fellow Northerner is constantly entertaining.
To every Northerner taking the plunge and moving hundreds of miles down South – good luck! I hope you get as much out of it as I have.