I come from a small village in Nottinghamshire and went to my local comprehensive school where I studied chemistry, biology and maths at A-level. I knew I wanted to study biology at university but I didn’t initially plan on applying to Cambridge because I didn’t think I would be able to get a place, until I was encouraged to apply by one of my teachers.
Areas of your subject you have enjoyed studying
In my first year I studied Biology of Cells, Physiology of Organisms, Chemistry and Mathematical Biology. In my second year I studied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pathology and Pharmacology. I was attracted to the natural sciences course because you can decide what to study as you go and the course is quite flexible with a lot of options to choose from.
Life at Murray Edwards
I found it really easy to settle in to living in college. It is a lovely place to live with your friends all around you and staff members who can help you if you have any problems. Murray Edwards is situated on the hill which is about a 10 minute walk away from the city centre and a 20-25 minute walk from the science departments. For this reason I chose to get around by bike which is very convenient and there are plenty of spaces to lock your bike up in college.
Supervisions for biological subjects usually involve discussing topics that have come up in the lectures and going over supervision work from the previous week, which is normally an essay or some short answer questions. I found supervisions beneficial because the supervisors are always willing to help you learn, and you can learn a lot from the other students in the supervision group as well. I also found that it is best to try to get the most out of supervisions by preparing properly and asking lots of questions.
The Gateway Programme at Murray Edwards
I made the most use of Gateway in my first year and I found it useful because the sessions gave me helpful advice about how to make the most of my time at university and to succeed at university work, for example learning how to write a good essay for a biological subject, and how to approach exams. This helped to ease me in to doing supervision work at the beginning of my first year, and also helped me to not worry too much about exams at the end of the year.
Building a social life
I found lots of opportunities to meet people and make friends with the activities and ents in college, and also in societies and sports teams. When I came to Murray Edwards I joined the college badminton team and enjoyed competing with other colleges. I also became involved with a society called Cambridge Hands-on Science which does science outreach activities.
First and second year of Natural Sciences both involved lots of lectures and practicals, and 3 or 4 supervisions per week; one for each subject within natural sciences. The biological subjects involve writing essays which is quite time consuming, although I did not have to do a lot of extra reading; all the information I needed to complete the work was in the lecture notes.
Thinking of Natural Sciences?
Natural sciences is a great course, and differs a lot from sciences at other universities because of the flexibility and variation of the subjects you can choose to study within it. The interview process seems intimidating but the interviewers will try to put you at ease and will not try to catch you out.