Moving to a new City to study can always be a tricky thing. Getting used to the new environment, schedule, and looking after yourself on top of all the work are daunting prospects. Master’s student Zoe Matthews shares her experiences in adjusting to life as a postgrad at Birmingham School of Acting.

I am originally a country bumpkin, coming from a tiny town where everyone knows each other, and it’s a travesty any time the price of milk goes up. For me moving to a city as big as Birmingham was a culture shock to say the least.

Doing a fast track Masters in Acting I have little spare time, some days I’m in from 9am til 7pm. Fitting in domestic life and studying on top of that can be a challenge. Sleep is important when you have such jam packed days; I find studying is best for me to do in short bursts throughout the week instead of pulling an all-nighter. Getting up early in the morning to finish something is better than staying up late. You can always chat to your friends and write up your notes during your lunch break.  It’s about being economical with your time and make sure you include schedule in friends and relaxing.

Having time to switch off from your studies at the end of the day stops you from getting too stressed and gives your brain time to recharge. There is a comedy club called Glee located in the Chinese Quarter that does student nights, and sometimes they include a meal in the ticket price if you fancy a cheap night with friends. There are also student pubs very near the City Centre Campus; The Woodman which is just across the road from the Millennium Point entrance and the new Curzon Building has a student pub attached to the back called The Eagle and Ball. They both do food and if you fancy a quick drink after class with your friends they are very convenient.

Studying at University can be a costly business so it is good to cut financial corners wherever you can. I take packed lunches every day and a flask of tea, which also saves me running round to buy one twice a day and I have more time to relax during the break. Cooking big portions means you can always save leftovers for when you don’t have time to cook, and less of your food will go off. There is a fresh food market every day from 9am til 5pm just outside the Bullring shopping centre, you can get a bowl of any fruit or veg for £1 per bowl! You can load up on low price veg whilst getting a taste of that friendly Brummie hospitality.

I think I am coping with the transition well, though I still need to venture further than the city centre.  It is comforting to know that the train stations are so central though, if there comes a day where an escape back to the country would be nice.

Find out what it’s like to be a postgraduate student at Birmingham City University at our postgraduate open day on Wednesday 23rd November, 2-7pm. Register now.

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