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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Victoria Arnold BSc Zoology, 2019

Victoria Arnold's Photo

I chose Southampton because it was the full package. Not only was the degree taught by enthusiastic and inspiring lecturers, but the facilities were also incredible, and I really liked how the campus itself wasn’t just a collection of buildings, but instead was filled with green spaces so you don’t feel as though you are trapped in a city. I also really liked the size of the labs in Southampton as I didn’t feel like I was going to be just one student out of a hundred, but instead was going to be in a smaller group and therefore be able to make the most of the resources and interact with the lecturers during lab sessions. I was also very drawn to the freedom you have in Southampton to choose your own modules and tailor your degree to your interests.

One of the highlights so far in Southampton has been the first-year field trip to Spain. It was an absolutely incredible opportunity and not only taught me fieldwork and species identification skills, but also allowed me to get to know my course mates and lecturers better

What is it like studying at Southampton? 

I really enjoy studying here and I feel as though we are part of a community within the biological sciences. The lecturers are great and are always willing to go the step further to help you, whether that’s talking to you after a lecture about your interests or arranging meetings to help with research ideas. I think this really helps to make it feel less like you are students and they are teachers like it is at school, and more like you are working with them and that they can then provide additional support and help when you want it.

How do you rate study facilities at the University?

Since the first time I visited Southampton on an open day I have been impressed with the facilities available. I really like how there is somewhere you can go to suit every need from small study rooms available for group projects or revision, to quiet zones within the library for solo work. In general I have been really impressed with the library from the start as it has so many different areas depending on what you want to do. As a Zoology student I am also lucky to have had access to the Biological Sciences labs which are a really great asset and I really looked forward to my labs over the last two years and I enjoyed being in them. Its not just the study facilities which are great though, the sports facilities including both the jubilee sports centre, and Wide Lane are fantastic, and as a member of a sports society I truly feel as though we have access to some of the best sports facilities compared to other universities we visit for matches.

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’? 

One of the highlights so far in Southampton has been the first-year field trip to Spain. It was an absolutely incredible opportunity and not only taught me fieldwork and species identification skills, but also allowed me to get to know my course mates and lecturers better. I also really enjoyed the summer between 2nd and 3rd year when I was our researching the biodiversity of roundabouts for my 3rd year field project. It is such a great feeling to know that you are doing actual research and that your results will mean something, and its such a good opportunity for putting everything you’ve learnt at university into action so has definitely been one of my highlights. I am also part of many university societies such as the university hockey club and the light operatic society. I have had many highlights from these but in particular was our L’OpSoc tour to Harrogate where we were able to perform in a professional theatre.

How has your time at Southampton helped you to grow as a person?

Before Southampton I didn’t know how to write and essay and would have panicked at the idea of a presentation. I feel like the support of my lecturers and other students has really helped me come out of my shell and I am now happy to present to and talk to large groups of people. I am now also able to write essays and assignments in the layout of a proper scientific report which is something I never thought I would be able to do when I arrived at the start of first year! I also feel I have gained independence and was happy to fly on my own to meet a research group I hadn’t met this summer which is something I would have never thought I would do before. I feel as though this has really helped me as I no longer feel as though I will miss out on opportunities just because I was not brave enough to go for them. Having roles on society committees has not only further helped this but also improved my organisation and I have gone from someone who hands in assignments an hour before the deadline to someone who hands them in days early which will come in useful when I leave university and have to work in a job with deadlines.

What do you enjoy most about your course?

I am definitely enjoying the field work aspect of my degree most and all the opportunities I have had to get out in the field and so real-life research. In particular I have enjoyed the 1st year Spain trip, the second year trips to the New Forest, and our various visits to Marwell to study the behaviour of the animals there.

Do you have the opportunity to study modules outside of your core subject area?

During my second year I had the opportunity to take oceanography and earth science modules down at the NOC which was an incredible opportunity as we got a new perspective on topics from having different lecturers, as well as being able to use the labs and other facilities down at the NOC. I found it really useful to be able to have these lecturers as it broadened my view on what topics I was interested in and provided me with valuable new information and examples which I could apply to my other modules. It was also through these modules that I got introduced to a volunteering programme which worked with sea turtles and so without this module I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to Greece over the summer and help with tracking and tagging loggerhead turtles! This was such a great opportunity for me as it was real-world research and valuable field work skills in an area of particular interest to me and so I am grateful to the SOES modules for giving me that opportunity!

Did you/do you stay in University accommodation?

In my first year I stayed in Glen Eyre university halls. I really enjoyed my time in halls because it felt like we were part of a community where everyone knew each other and was looking out for everyone else which was nice as it made the process of moving away from home see less scary. The staff were always really helpful and were available to help no matter what time it was, and I always felt safe and looked after whilst at the same time I felt I had my own independence too. I also really liked the additional facilities that were available such as music practice rooms and the gym at Glen Eyre which were very convenient and really nice addition to the facilities.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?

Southampton is a great City to live in, and I really like how close and easily accessible the city centre and West Quay are as you can easily be in town in a few minutes and relax away from assignments! It is particularly lovely at Christmas time when there are the markets in the main town as well as an ice-skating rink meaning there are plenty of things to go out and do or see in your free time.

What three words sum up how you feel about your experiences so far at Southampton?

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