Zoe Durran — Ecology and Wildlife Conservation @ Reading Uni
Every month, we chat to a student currently enrolled in a UK university, and give them a quick Q&A about their University experience, to give you a little flavour of what their day to day life as a student is like!
Zoe Durran is a 2nd Year Ecology and Wildlife Conservation student at the University of Reading.
Q. What does a typical week look like for you?
A. A typical week for me consists of around 16 hours of lectures, practicals and tutorials. I usually have at least one day free from Monday to Friday.
Every Wednesday we have the afternoon off for sport activities. If I can then I will always go and play polo! Playing as a student is the cheapest way to get involved in the sport and I absolutely love it!
Last year I would typically go out up to 5 nights a week no problem as my first year did not count towards my final grade. However, this year I usually end up treating myself to one night out a week.
As social secretary for polo, I am in charge of organising regular nights out for the club!
I suppose I am not the classic example of a student as I have only ever entered the library once! I find it way too hot in there to work and just want to be home where I have access to snacks at any time!
Q. Describe your lectures in no more than 140 characters…
A. My lectures range from being incredibly interesting and I tell my friends all about what I have learnt, to me falling asleep…
Q. What is the nightlife like at your University?
A. I LOVE READING NIGHTLIFE.
I may be a bit biased as I am generally happy as long as there is a bar! But I really do enjoy the clubs in Reading, from Q club to Matchbox (MatchyB), But UNION is where the true partay is at.
Our student union undergoes a magical transformation on a Wednesday and Saturday night. It is huge. It holds the highest amount of drunk people I have ever seen in one place. The drinks are cheap and the music is fab.
They regularly hold special events suited for all sorts of students from full on raves, to paint parties, to darts nights, and the list goes on and on…
GOOD FOOD after a night out is an absolute essential.
I was truly heart broken last year when the best takeaway ever shut down — Long live UNIGRILL!
However there are many other alternatives to choose from on the way home after busting some crazy moves and using up all your energy! PFC is one of the faves.
Q. What is the best, and worst thing about your University?
BEST: The campus is stunning. The lake makes for a lovely run or walk. As an aspiring ecologist I was so surprised at the amount of wildlife that has made campus home, and I can see why. Also almost everything is a short distance away, from halls, to food, to lectures.
WORST: I would have to say sometimes it can seem quite disorganised. The timetabling system can sometimes have a complete mind of its own, leaving everyone quite frustrated and confused.
Q. What is the best, and worst thing about the course you are studying?
BEST: I love love love my course. I feel that the available overseas trips really set it apart though. I was lucky to go on an amazing field course to Sweden last summer and I am going to Spain this Easter.
WORST: The most important deadlines all end up due in for the last two weeks of term and they really creep up on you! (But I think this can be relevant for quite a few courses).
Q. What would be your one piece of advice to younger students that are thinking about going to University?
A. I originally applied straight form school to attend Bath University to study Biomedical Science. Thank goodness I didn’t get in.
I was rushed into picking a course by my school and was so upset at first when I didn’t receive any offers. I now realise that I definitely would have dropped out if I had got into Bath. I was not ready to go to university and I didn’t really want to study that course.
I ended up having two gap years where I found a job in the local hospital and thought I would stay there forever. Then one day I just realised that my true passion was for wildlife and the environment and having the chance to study this subject in depth really did excite me! So I told my job I was leaving in August .
I rung up Reading and asked if there were any spaces left to start in September and they said YES. Everything changed in just over a month but it was one of the best decisions I ever made!
My first year of university was the best year of my life so far. My advice is to take your time. You have your whole lives ahead of you. Do not let other people push you into making decisions that you don’t want to make. FINALLY above all… Do something you enjoy!!
Life is way too short to be struggling with a course that you have no enthusiasm for. I would also take as many gap years as you need until you know exactly what’s for you!