Weird and wonderful Brighton
Aisha Williams is a third year Biological Sciences student. See how she gets on with testing a giant octopus for her final year project.
Read what she has to say about her course, the uni and the city.
When I came to Brighton for the first time for the university open day I absolutely fell in love with the city. I love how diverse it is here, it always feels so friendly and safe and there’s always something going on, being a stones throw from the beach is definitely a bonus too! I’m from Wales so Brighton is a long old train ride away, but in all honesty I’ve not once felt homesick since moving to Brighton, it really does feel like home now!
The university itself is great, I’ve always found that the general friendly vibes throughout the city are also very much present in lectures, in the library, in cafes and all throughout campuses. I chose this course in particular because I’ve always been a very science minded person and the great thing with Biological Science is that the course feels very customisable, the wide range of optional modules spanning human biology, ecology, animal behaviour and physiology mean that you can basically tailor the course to what you want-in my case, involving animals and the sea as much as possible!
I think having such an affinity for the sea and marine biology the location of the university is a massive factor in why I love being at Brighton. As part of some of my modules I’ve had the opportunity to attend field trips to the coastline and the Sealife centre, which I know I wouldn’t get if I attended another university. I like that so many of my modules, especially in third year focus a lot on the ecology and biology of the local area meaning what I learn in the classroom (or my living room at the moment!) I can actually understand and see it as it’s happening around me! Brighton is such an interesting weird and wonderful place so it’s lovely to learn so much about it.
My absolute favourite module is my 3rd year project module. The opportunity I’ve had to do real life research with an Octopus is absolutely incredible. I’ve seen the Netflix documentaries and videos online about just how fascinating octopuses are, so I regularly have to pinch myself that this is what I’m studying! I feel so genuinely lucky to have been given this opportunity, I can honestly say it’s made me realise what I love and what I want from a career when I leave university this year (a big statement, I know-but this project has had a big impact on me!). What I enjoy about the project module is the amount of freedom it gives you regarding your own learning. It was a little scary at first, I wont lie, but once I started my reading and understood what I was researching you really do feel like you’re contributing to real world science-and that’s pretty cool!
The support here is great. I’ve not really accessed much student support to be fair, however I always receive emails and notifications of where and how to access it if need be. I feel like there is a wide range of support services that the university offers and it’s really easy to access if you need it, I definitely feel that Student wellbeing is high priority in Brighton Uni!
Staff at Brighton are honestly really great, quick at replying to emails and queries and really easy to chat to! I can’t not mention my final year project supervisor – Dr Neil Crooks. The support he’s given me has been second to none. With all of my teaching being online and heavily relying on emails and Microsoft teams to contact each other, Neil hasn’t missed an email or meeting or anything with me. When I’ve been stressed out or panicking (which may have happened once or twice this year) he’s replied to my emails at super speed and had chats with me to put my mind at ease. It’s so motivating to have a supervisor who’s so passionate about their work and my work and really encourages me to do well! In a particularly difficult year to be a student I’m so grateful to have staff who back you and encourage you to really do your best.
This year has been difficult, trying to complete my degree without actually being in uni is no easy feat! I think one of the biggest downsides is missing out on in person lectures, there’s a sense of community you feel sitting in a full lecture theatre that does add to the whole ‘uni experience’ that I miss! I think the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to PLAN!
At the start of the year I got some big wall calendars and a diary and went through all my modules and noted down when everything is due and when exams are! Without reminders in lectures it can be easy to miss deadlines so getting on top of that is suuuuper important! Also, get in touch! Seriously, if you have any problems or worries or anything, contact your classmates, lecturers, supervisors, student support, whoever! We’re all in the same boat, its all new and its all a bit daunting but keeping in contact and emailing if something is going wrong or something just doesn’t make sense makes the whole thing easier-don’t be shy!