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Day in the Life of a Biosciences Student: BSc (Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science

11 JULY 2021 - LILY - CLEARING

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This summer, I finished the second year of my BSc (Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science degree within the School of Engineering, Arts, Science and Technology. The days were always varied: there were lectures three to four times a week in my first and second years, with occasional meetings and field trips around that. Some days, I glued myself to my laptop, and worked on assignments until the words blurred into one; others would be spent outside, enjoying the gradually warming fresh air. Most days were a blend of the two.

With the pandemic still ongoing, how similar my third year will be to my second is unknown; but, in spite of the past year-and-a-bit bearing little semblance to university life as we knew it, as Dr. Malcolm said in Jurassic Park (1993), ‘Life finds a way.’

Morning

The morning starts with grabbing breakfast, double-checking the University Outlook calendar to remind myself of which lectures I have today, and checking in with my course mates in our group chat. We didn’t have homework, right? How are you guys feeling about this module? The assignment is due next week, don’t worry. Lectures begin between 9:00 and 11:00 am on the Brightspace Virtual Classroom platform, where all the students join a livestream interface and the professor talks through a slide presentation, or recaps a quiz. Two glorious hours are focused on a range of subjects, including: animal behaviour; cell biology; ecology and ecosystems; marine and freshwater biology and more. I take notes on my laptop for easy transfer into assignments.

Midday

After the morning lecture ends, I check the group chat for any updates I might have missed. If the sun is out, I have lunch in the garden and admire the birds as they alight on the feeders, and the flowers that have started to bloom in technicolour. Pre- (and hopefully post-) pandemic, my course mates and I would have adjourned to Cult Café in the ground floor of the James Hehir building, for a hearty round of chips and nachos to power us through the afternoon. During the break, I check my emails for assignment feedback, field trip information, or updates on my dissertation project. Quizzes are completed, and the slides for the next lecture are scanned in preparation for the afternoon.

Afternoon

The second lecture of the day begins between 1:00 and 3:00 pm, a continuation of the morning’s module. After finishing, I ensure my notes are filed away in the correctly titled folders. Usually, my friends and I would retire to the library to begin devising a layout for the given assignment. Instead, I walk my dogs in the nearby nature reserve, checking the carpet mats for common lizards and grass snakes, after they warmed up in the morning sun. At home, I listen to an Ologies podcast on alligator ecotoxicology or palaeontology, while pencilling in my wildlife colouring book for something meditative to do. I message the UOS Wildlife Society to see how our current projects are getting on.

Evening

Before it gets dark, I set up the camera trap in the garden in the hopes of recording footage of badgers, foxes, or hedgehogs. If the evening is warm enough, I take a walk down the dirt track out of my village into the countryside, and watch pipistrelle bats as they waltz above my head, catching insects. If I am particularly lucky, I might see the resident barn owls gliding like ghosts over the fields in search of mice, shrews, and voles. After dinner, I add some evening musings to an assignment, then pick up where I left off in my book. Pre- (and again, hopefully post-) pandemic, I would be clinking glasses with my friends at The Cricketers or Cult Cafe to take the edge off the day.

To find out more about the BSc (Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science degree through Clearing, visit www.uos.ac.uk/clearing or call us on 01473 338352.

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