Flavia – Biochemistry
What do you like best about your course?
The part that I like most about my course is the 18-week research project that we have the chance to do in Year 4. I am thinking of going into research after university so this opportunity is ideal for me to see exactly what my future career might look like. Also, it will definitely help me consolidate the knowledge gained in the first three years.
How is your subject taught at Oxford?
In the first year, I had two or three lectures in the mornings and classes on some afternoons, usually one or two each week. In addition, we have tutorials, usually one per week, and time left for independent study or extracurricular activities. There is one lab day a week, usually half a day, as well as time to write up a report on each lab, which needs to be handed in at the start of the next lab session. For classes, there will usually be a problem sheet to be solved and, for tutorials, an essay to write. The workload throughout the year varies a little, but is definitely manageable.
In the second year, our small-group teaching focuses on tutorials, so the workload decreases, having about an essay per week and the lab write-up. However, the labs are longer, taking several days, but less often.
What advice would you give potential applicants interested in studying your subject?
I would recommend taking a good look at the course description and the topics that are covered in lectures and make sure you are keen to study them for the next four years. Biochemistry is not something that can be studied at A-level so it is important to bear in mind that it will be different from what you have studied so far.
What is life like as a student here?
The fact that the college is physically smaller doesn’t mean that there are fewer students so there will be loads of people to make friends with, and you’ll see them all the time so you’ll never feel lonely. In first year, everyone has breakfast and dinner together which is a great opportunity to catch up and, also, the food is awesome. There are many societies you can get involved in as well: for example, sports teams or the creative writing workshop.
What sort of extracurricular activities are you involved in at Oxford?
I am a student ambassador for Teddy Hall so I give tours of the College and take part in Q&A sessions when a school visits us. Also, I got involved in some volunteering projects such as one aiming to help people with disabilities and a conference for teachers about the application process.