Biology, ecology and biomedical science at Brighton

University of Brighton biosciences blog

Nelly (student)

First year of Biological Sciences BSc(Hons)

We asked first year Biological Sciences BSc(Hons) student Nelly Oresharova about her experience here so far.

  • What made you choose Brighton and this course?
    • I chose Brighton because of the reputation of the city as an open, inclusive, and generally enjoyable city to live in.
    • I chose the course because I’m taking because I’m generally interested in understanding the intricacies of why living creatures are the way they are, and what even makes them “alive” in the first place. I find this topic to be absolutely fascinating. I chose biology as opposed to biomed or ecology because I felt it would be the least limiting course when it comes to the range topics I get to study.
  • Can you give an example of a person, a lesson or something that happened that has made you feel studying at Brighton was the right choice
    • Something I have found incredibly cool is the way that our first lab report for BY152 was assessed digitally. I’m surprised that the program used to crosscheck our calculations generally worked pretty well, and that it generated advice if you got a question wrong. To me it’s evidence that the university is well adapted to online learning, and that the aim is to help us understand the material, rather than figure out how to get the best grades.
  • How have you found studying for a degree to be different to A level?
    • I actually took the IB, so I’m not sure. I feel the IB has overprepared me for the first year in some regards, because I have already gone through a lot of the material I’m studying now in HL biology and chemistry. I also already have the expected referencing, scientific writing, and technological skills (such as being able to use excel). However, I am unused to the level of freedom given when it comes to essay writing and essay style questions. Before now there was always an exact structure that I was taught, and if I followed it accurately even if my answers weren’t particularly enlightened, I could get high marks. I find that a lot more critical thought is expected of me now, which is enjoyable.
  • What aspects of the course do you find most interesting and why? Favourite module?
    • This may be cliché, but I like hearing the lecturers talk about their personal research. It feels like I have direct access topics actually studied in modern day, rather than whatever is supposed to be in a high school curriculum. It’s amazing to get to hear this information from a first hand source. It’s also personally useful to me, since I want to be a researcher as well.
    • My favourite module for now is probably Introduction to Genetics and Molecular Biology. I feel like it has the most information I don’t know packed into it. We’re also generally covering more entertaining (to me) topics than in some of the other modules.
  • What is the support like at Brighton?
    • So far, every time I have had a query, lecturers have responded promptly and usefully. Whenever I’ve had to physically attend university, every single person I’ve met has been really kind and approachable if I had a problem. One of our lecturers even recorded a video of how to navigate to our lab from the train station, since most of us had never been on campus before. I’m also an international student, and before the first semester even started there was a weeklong orientation event held to help us get used to the way things actually function in England. It covered a lot of topics that I would have been completely lost in (like what a GP is and how to get one), and I’m very thankful for that level of international support.
  • Tell us a bit about your experience of teaching and support staff – have any staffmade a particular impression on you and why?
    • Several staff members have made impressions on me based off their research. I tend to really like anything plant related, so anytime a staff member starts discussing plants my ears perk up.
  • Do you plan to do a placement year if so what type of role do you think you would be aiming for and what would you hope to get out of the experience?
    • Yes, and I’m hoping to get to work as an assistant to one of the researchers here, or at a different university setting. Ideally for a project I find personally interesting. If not, perhaps as a lab tech in a clinical setting. My goal right now is to end up conducting my own research projects, so it makes sense to be guided by someone doing that for a living now. Then again, I’m 18. Who knows what I’ll be doing in a couple years.
  • This year is obviously different for everyone, how has studying, and your student experience, changed for you and how have you adapted? What tips can you pass on?
    • I don’t know if I’m actually in the majority here, but I have always had an easier time absorbing information when studying on my own, rather than through live lectures, so I haven’t really had a difficult time adapting to the Covid classes. Though lab work is a bit trickier, because it requires a certain level of practice before you can actually do it well. Lecturers so far have adapted our lab work really well, though.
    • Some tips I can pass on for covid style studying include:
      • You have the freedom to set your own schedule, so do it. You don’t actually have to do all your schoolwork at a 9-5 schedule. Waking up at 6am isn’t necessarily a marker of productivity. Do what works best for you.
      • Ask for help if you don’t understand something. Fellow students are helpful. Lecturers are helpful. No one thinks you’re lesser for not understanding a topic.
      • The library is insanely useful. I was shocked at how useful it is. You have access to fast internet, printing services, good lighting, a large desk space, a calm environment, and sources of information you may not have online. I cannot stress enough how useful those things are for actually getting work done.

Laura Ruby • December 7, 2020

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