Sociably sporty in Surrey

A quick introduction…
“Hi everyone! My name’s Harry Bower, a second year undergraduate student studying International Events Management here at The University of Surrey. I’m here to share my experiences at University, both current, past and future. I’m originally from Devon, in the UK (a good four and a half hours away), so I know what it’s like to move a long way away from home for your degree. I’m currently the President of T.H.E Society (Tourism, Hospitality and Events) and a part of the UoS Student Social Media team.”

University of Surrey Lakside

(Above) The lake on campus: My favourite place to relax and unwind…

Eat, Sleep, Be Sociable, Work Hard, Repeat!
Exams, deadlines, group project work and assignments come quick and fast at Surrey and while it’s good fun
learning throughout the year, sometimes we all need a bit of a break! Fortunately, campus and the surrounding areas are full of activities and venues for social events, the Surrey Sports Park offers discount on membership for students and Guildford’s night life never fails to impress.

I’m a second year student and one of my favourite things to do when I’m busy studying for exams or assignments is to grab a group of friends and head down to the lake on campus. On a beautiful sunny day there’s nowhere better to relax, breath some fresh air and spend some time thinking about life. Follow that up with lunch from Lakeside Restaurant and a stroll along the river to Guildford Castle and instantly all of our worries are gone and our heads clear.

I’ve found that one of the best things about University is the diverse range of people from so many different backgrounds coming together to study, socialise and become friends. I’ve made so many friends from across the UK and abroad over the past two years and not only does this make us all more well-rounded and cultured individuals…it gives me loads of options for places to stay when I go on holiday! Before I enrolled at Surrey I could count the number of friends I had with International backgrounds on one hand, such is the impact University has had on my life.


Christmas Quiz and Flat Meal

(Above left) My flat Christmas Meal in Battersea Court last year. (Above right) Mentoring Campus Christmas Quiz

14 in a flat…Who knew how much fun that could be?
I think one of the highlights of my first year was living in University accommodation. I was plonked in the middle of a 14 person flat in Battersea Court and during my time there I learned so much about other people and their cultures, managing just about to maintain friendships with them all. A 14 person flat has its downsides, but parties are definitely one of the benefits. Nights out were rarely boring and I have lost count of the memories I have from that first year at University: most of that was down to the people I lived alongside.

Now, in my second year, I live in a house relatively near to Surrey Sports Park. Studies suggest that exercising increases blood flow to the brain and therefor increasing oxygen levels and giving more energy overall which can help people study. I reckon there’s some truth to that! The sports facilities on campus are second to none and there’s nothing more my friends and I enjoy than a quick game of tennis or squash, maybe a bike ride or some time in the gym. I’ve never been a huge advocate for exercise, but it’s definitely helped me grow closer to some friends and improve my productivity. Plus, Surrey Sports Park has great areas inside to sit and relax over a coffee after the game and catch up either on academia or general conversation.

Student Life Mentoring…yep – I’m ‘that guy who knocks on doors to check if you’re okay’..!
In September 2016 I became a University of Surrey Student Life Mentor. Our job is to look after new first years each new academic term, and we do this by visiting door-to-door and checking everyone’s settling in well. We’re trained in peer mediation and encouraging students to socialise together and become friends – it’s very rare that we’re forced to deal with negative issues like food theft. As part of our team initiatives we hold regular social activities on campus for our mentees. The majority of these are alcohol free to encourage everyone to participate and have taken the form of quizzes, trips off campus to attractions, pancake events, dodgeball competitions etc. Mentor Social events are such a fantastic way for students who may otherwise feel excluded to meet new people in a safe and comfortable environment. The next one my particular team will plan is an Easter-themed event. Huge, campus-wide Easter egg hunt, anyone?

I suppose this blog post has been more a self-reflection of the numerous ways I like to socialise with friends and unwind during stressful periods (exam weeks, deadlines etc). Ultimately, every student has their own way of making friends and their own preferences with regards to extra circular activities. The main takeaway from my two years here so far is that The University of Surrey caters for almost all of these, effortlessly.

If you’re planning on attending The University of Surrey or are already here but unsure of where to go to access a society or sports club: check out the Union Society website!