The Biochemistry course at Oxford is fast-paced in that you quickly move from one topic to another but satisfying because you cover so much to such a great level of detail. The time management skills I have gained are definitely useful. Problem-solving and attention to detail are also crucial in the lab.
I’d known about Oxford for a long time but I only really knew I was going to apply when I reached sixth form and started looking at lots of universities. Oxford seemed to suit what I was looking for in a university and my school had a lot of faith in me that I should apply.
For a long time I was set on doing Medicine but then decided I wanted to know about life to an even closer level of detail so Biochemistry seemed like the way to go. Learning how things work at a molecular and cellular level has always been very intriguing to me. The Biochemistry course at Oxford is fast-paced in that you quickly move from one topic to another but satisfying because you cover so much to such a great level of detail. Lectures are often re-written from year to year because of the latest advances, often made by our own professors. Immunology and the biology of cancer have both been fascinating topics for me: the body’s defence system is one of its most amazing assets and being able to learn about this from experts has been really eye-opening.
I found the step up from A-Level quite challenging. I coped with it as most people do – first year is when you learn to manage your time carefully and to keep on top of your work. Second and third year have been much more manageable after the lessons I learned in first year.
Biochemistry is taught as a combination of lectures, classes, practical classes and tutorials. There is a lot of contact time so you are constantly on the go! A typical day’s timetable for a first year might be two lectures in the morning, and then a class and a tutorial in the afternoon, with time to work in between each. From second year there are no classes so it would be two or three lectures and then a tutorial in the afternoon. We tend to have 1-2 tutorials a week, for which an essay is written to be handed in usually two days before. The time management skills I have gained are definitely useful. Problem-solving and attention to detail are also crucial in the lab.
I applied to Trinity after visiting here on an Open Day: I went to a Biochemistry talk and a tutor from Trinity (who is now my tutor!) met a group of us after the talk and offered to show us around Trinity. The first view I had of Trinity was from the back lawns and I fell in love with it instantly so at first it was for aesthetic reasons, but I did some research and found out that Trinity had great food, a handy location and lots of other perks as well, so I applied.
The best thing about being a student at Oxford is there is so much going on – my inbox is always full of exciting things I could get involved in. I also love the history of Oxford and the city itself is so beautiful. For Trinity the greatest thing is its people: from the lifelong friends I have made to the lovely porters, there’s always a friendly face.
In my first year, as most people do, I tried rowing, but it wasn’t for me – I still love to watch the bumps races though! I’ve written for the college newspaper, and in second year was a member of the JCR committee as Entertainment Rep. This involved organising ‘bops’, our twice-termly costume parties in the beer cellar, along with pub quizzes and film nights. I was also Freshers’ Queen so organised Freshers’ Week for Trinity in 2013, which was a lot of fun.
At the moment I am considering doing Graduate Medicine as my urge to help people has never quietened. If not, there are lots of things a Biochemistry degree would be useful for so hopefully something stimulating and rewarding.