Three students talk about their experiences on science courses
Science courses have a reputation for hard work: busy days of early starts and late finishes.
But what's life really like on a science course? We caught up with Mohaned, 22; Jessica, 25; and Emma, 29; three pharmacy students at the University of East Anglia (UEA) to find out what being a science student is all about.
"My morning routine begins by nursing a UNIO black coffee before a 9am start, at least four mornings a week. Thanks to an erratic bus timetable I arrive at 8am every day, making me frontrunner for the ‘keenest student’ award.
"It does, however, give me time to download the lecture slides for the coming day, maybe have a brief look at them and set myself up for the day.
"The MPharm course is about as full-time as you could get and, when you feel you’re on top of it all, another assignment is set and the deadline is quickly approaching.
"But when you feel you are the only person still studying at some unearthly hour, you will be amazed to receive a reply to the frantic email you sent your lecturer. I think that proves there's strong support from the lecturers, if you ask for it.
"We are continually reminded that the exam questions can be based on material from lectures, workshops and tutorials. That's the key to university: attend the timetabled sessions and pay attention, read up on what you don’t know and ask questions.
"The MPharm course feels like a 9–5 job, but the topics are interesting (and even those that aren’t will only last a semester). There is a lot of laboratory work to break up the week as well as regular pharmacy work experience.
"On my course, the lecturers ask for feedback. Thanks to last year’s cohort, a major item of coursework consisted of making a YouTube video, which I will happily take over an exam any day!"
"Most days are a mixture of activities such as lectures and workshops and content from different modules. I could go from learning about the cardiovascular system in one session to pharmacy practice in the next. The varied content keeps me engaged, as some days can seem quite long.
"After a day of lessons, some more full-on than others, I update my 'to-do' list, something I learnt to do in order to stay on top of the workload. The Habitica app is so good for this!
"The day doesn’t often end at 5pm because, in order to do well in pharmacy (as with many courses), you have to put the extra effort in. Working from home (or in the library, which is great for group study) is a common occurrence.
"We’re also encouraged to have extracurricular interests. UEA has a large number of clubs and societies for some much-needed downtime.
"One of the best parts of the course is the teaching staff. They are happy to help: answering quick queries after a lecture, taking part in discussions during workshops or responding to emails. I find this support vital for such a high-intensity course.
"There’s never a dull day with pharmacy! Although the hectic schedule is something I initially liked least about the course, you gradually get the hang of it and your time management skills improve. Now the challenging nature of the course is actually what I like most. There’s always something to do.
"If there’s one thing I’ve learnt during my time as a pharmacy student, it’s that the most challenging things you do are often the most rewarding."
"What I like most about my course is how involved the students are in everything from teaching methods to assessments.
"Lecturers ask for student feedback and provide different teaching methods to suit everyone.
"At the start of the course the work might seem hard, but the lecturers are all very friendly and happy to help if you ask.
"One thing I would say to next year’s freshers is: don't take your first year for granted, as the information and skills you learn in this year will be called upon throughout the course.
"Lecturers also encourage students to take part in UEA's many different sport clubs and societies, which give you the chance to do different things outside the course."
Are you planning to study for a science degree at uni? Have you already got experience of what it's like studying on a science course? Add your comments at the end of this article!
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