Biomedical Sciences

Student Blog: Beth

Beth tells us about her experience studying in the Deanery.

Beth Denver

Hi everyone! My name is Beth, I have just finished my Third Year studying Neuroscience at The University of Edinburgh. I swapped onto Neuroscience from the Biomedical Science programme after Second Year. I cannot wait to be back in Edinburgh in September. I’m really looking forward to seeing my friends, starting my dissertation and getting back to some type of normality. With only one year left of my degree, I’m not too sure what I want to do afterwards. I think I would like to work in research involving people or in a clinical setting. After an amazing internship with the University’s press office last summer I am also considering a career in science press and communication.

I cannot imagine how strange it must be for you all right now, trying to choose a university to study at for the next few years without being able to visit in person. I hope my blog can give you insight into what to expect from first year in Edinburgh.

Moving In and Welcome Week  

I moved up to Edinburgh from a small village in rural North Wales and to say it was a change would be an understatement. I had never been around so many people before and was pretty nervous about living away from home and navigating city life. Thankfully, I settled in and found friends pretty quickly. For my First Year, I stayed at Warrender Park Crescent, a self-catered university hall of residence right on the Meadows. Here I shared two bathrooms and a kitchen with four other first year students. I chose a self-catered accommodation so that I could have more flexibility over when I ate and also to help me keep on top of my gluten free diet as I have Coeliac disease. The communal areas in the flat were cleaned weekly and there were regular inspections, so everything was kept very clean and tidy. The halls also had a large common room, which was shared with another nearby halls of residence, Warrender Park Road. The room was used to hold social events and was where we all got together to watch the Great British Bake Off! The halls had Residence Assistants (RAs) who were older students who lived with us and were available to help with any issues that we had regarding our rooms and flatmates, etc. They also organised social events every week and were brilliant for helping everyone to settle in during Welcome Week and throughout the year, running various events throughout the days such as Arthur’s Seat climbs, city tours and club nights!

Courses and Peer Support

In first year, teaching for the biomedical science programmes is split across the George Square and King’s Buildings campuses. I walked everywhere, with George Square only a 10 minute walk across the Meadows and Kings around 25 minutes away. Lots of my friends cycled or caught the free shuttle bus between George Square and Kings or invested in a bus pass. There are a few compulsory courses that have to be taken, these were all well-structured and gave everyone the same grounding in Chemistry and Biology, as well as essential lab skills. There is also the flexibility to take an outside course and try something new, I took a History course and lots of my friends took languages. Each new student in the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences is automatically placed in an Academic Family. These groups are run by Third and Fourth Year students and provide information regarding course choices, societies, accommodation issues and other university matters. The family meetings and socials are also a great place to meet people on your course. There are also various PALS (peer academic learning support) groups which provide academic support.

Societies, Volunteering and Living in Edinburgh

Throughout my three years I have tried to take part in as many societies and sports clubs as possible. During the first few weeks of term, many of the sports clubs and societies provide free sessions for everyone to give them a go. My advice would be take advantage of this! Currently I’m a member of the gym and do Kickboxing once a week with my flatmate. I volunteer with best buddies, a club for adults with disabilities, and with Street Assist, an Edinburgh-based charity providing first aid and welfare support on Friday and Saturday nights. Societies are great for socialising, stressbusting and learning new skills that look great on your CV. It can be easy to over-commit and become overwhelmed. I try and avoid this by prioritising what I want to do and trying, and often failing, to be organised. There are also so many things to do in the evenings and on weekends in and around Edinburgh. As well as all of the pubs and clubs there are a variety of galleries, museums, markets, festivals, ceilidhs and green spaces to enjoy! I love the variation in the landscapes around the city. Being able to be in the Old Town in the morning, on the beach in the afternoon and up a mountain by the evening is just incredible. Edinburgh really is an amazing place to live, I hope you all love it here as much as I do.