Biomedical Sciences

Rebecca Sandey: Building connections with fellow students

Learning from classmates and building bonds at the annual summer school were highlights of the programme for Rebecca.

What is your background? 

I studied BWEH from October 2018 to June 2021 and, at the risk of sounding dramatic, it has been the single most influential and important decision of my life. When I started studying, I was working in an unfulfilling administration role, dreaming of a life in conservation. Over the three-year period I gained enough knowledge and confidence to embark on a career within ecological consultancy, going from a seasonal assistant, to a permanently employed ecologist with a real sense of purpose and self-belief. 


What did you learn from the course? 

I have developed a deeper understanding of many aspects of conservation along the way, deliberately choosing to study units which I knew I would find hard, but from which I would learn the most.

The opinions and expertise of my course mates have been essential to my continual learning experience.  The assessed forums changed from something I initially feared, to something I looked forward to, as you never know what direction they’re going to go in. The broad nature of the course allows each student to choose topics which suit them and their own circumstances, supporting a vast variety of interests within the confines of the syllabus.  


How did you connect with your classmates?

The summer school at the end of my first year was a game changer for me as it allowed me to put faces to the names I’d interacted with on the many forums. It made me realise that I didn’t need to be intimidated by anybody else and that we were all in this together and were genuinely supportive of each other. It was also incredible to meet the BWEH tutors in real life too. The whole week was a real bonding experience, and changed the way I approached the next two years.  

The programme started as way to change career but became something much more important. I have developed a sense of confidence in myself and my abilities which I never dreamed of previously. I have made friends on this course who I hope I will be in touch with for life, some who live in distant corners of the world. I have found what I love in life and have learned new skills which I will take with me throughout the rest of my career.