University of Stirling – The Good

I’ve been studying at University of Stirling since September, and so I’ve some opinions of what I like or dislike about it. I decided to share what I think, this post about what I like, and another about what I dislike.  

All universities have a castle, right?

First of all, it’s in a really nice location, it’s central in Scotland and has pretty good train/bus connection, so it’s easy to get to most places. The campus is beautiful (except the buildings),  there is a lake, hills in the background, flowers and wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels, ducks, swans and other birds. It’s a really big contrast to many universities in the middle of big cities where there  are hardly anything green at all. Oh, and there is a castle on campus, a small one, but a castle nonetheless.

It’s a good university for sports, with more than 40 sports clubs, a gym, various playing fields and a golf course. Personally I joined one of the two karate clubs, something I have never tried before, but which has been great!

Maybe this is common in Britain, but it seems like there is a lot of focus on making everything accessible for anyone at the university. Or maybe it’s just more visible here, with power assisted door openers, signs showing where it is disabled entrance, which there is to basically everywhere. Last semester the entrance to one of the buildings was completely redone, to make it easier for wheelchair users to enter the building. Of course, this brings the question of how much resources should be used for a very small minority? Don’t take me wrong, of course everyone should have the opportunity to study, but isn’t it a little unfair when so much effort is put into making something for a tiny minority, something that I have so far never even seen anyone use? Couldn’t some smaller, simpler solution have been found, instead of almost redesigning the whole entrance? And used the rest of that money for something that is beneficial for more people? Like more computers in the library.

The university buildings from the top of the Wallace Monument

Most people have very few classes per week, I have 11 this semester, and I had 9 last semester, and that is almost twice as much as most of my friends here. It seems to be more common to have 5-6 hours per week, depending on what you study. This is great as it gives quite a bit of independence, although it might not be the most efficient way of teaching. As you are supposed to study a lot outside the classes, but few people do even half as much as they are supposed to.

One thing I particularly like is to be able to influence how your timetable to some extent. Not the lectures, but for the practicals and tutorials you get to pick from different choices of time/day.

In general the buildings and teaching rooms are very much acceptable, if not always perfect. With things such as projectors and computer access everywhere. If the lecturer is good, the classes are good (duh). The grading system is fair, anonymous and with two different graders for each paper.

The library is really good in some respects and not as good in others. The opening times are great, as it’s open every day until midnight, and until 2 am in exam periods. In particular I also like the system for loaning/extending books, as it’s easy and practical, and the movable shelves. They make it feel like it’s Hogwarts. Ok, not really, as Hogwarts had moving staircases,  paintings with crazy knights and fat ladies, ghosts, screaming books and way, way cooler library than the one here. But one can dream, the movable shelves are pretty cool anyway.

All in all I have really enjoyed studying here, although much more because of the people and the location than the classes. I sorta dislike most of my classes. Which is sorta ironic when I’m here to study.

Where did/do you study, or where would you like to go? Did you like it there?

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3 responses to “University of Stirling – The Good

  1. I’m so glad you’re having such a positive experience at Stirling. I’ve seen the grounds and they are very attractively laid out. How do you find the transport though, with it being on the outskirts of the city? Do you live on or near the campus? I went to Edinburgh University, and was in the King’s Buildings campus which is also nicely laid out with lots of trees and interesting plants. The disabled access thing is compulsory for British universities now and if they don’t have access already they have to provide it, which can be difficult with old buildings in particular. However, I’m all for it because one of my uni friends is in a wheelchair and I saw the problems she had before all this came into place. She sometimes had to use back doors and goods lifts, and there were some rooms she just couldn’t get to. I remember having to lift her chair with another student in order to get her out of a lecture theatre, which was a definite health and safety issue. I should never have done it, as I injured my back, but there was no other option at the time.

    • The transport is really good actually..most of the time anyway. I live in Stirling, so I take the bus to get to uni, but the bus connection is good. There are some “normal” buses that stop at uni, as well as a Uni Link bus which literally goes from the city centre to uni and back again, so it’s usually not long to wait for a bus. It’s fewer buses in the evening, but even then it’s not really bad. The bus journey takes 5-10 min, so it’s not really far.Even walking only takes 30-40 min, so it’s possible to do that as well.

      Yeah, I guessed that much, and as I said I think it’s definitely a good thing! I’m pretty sure it’s the same in Norway, as there are door openers, ramps and such at my home university as well. It just somehow seems more visible here.

  2. Pingback: University of Stirling – The Bad | Idun in Scotland

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