Hello there! My name is Jenny and I’m in my second-year studying chemistry here at the University of York.
I find it fun to observe people’s reactions when I tell them I study chemistry. It’s usually a combination of interest and surprise. It’s easy to understand why. Chemistry is far from being an easy degree. But on the plus side, it’s hard to get bored. With that said, come along with me as I make my way through a typical day at uni…
It’s 10am on Monday. Lectures often start at 9, so I am thankful for an extra hour in bed. The day begins with a workshop on my chosen option module: The Material World. In workshops, we answer questions in a group of around 20-25 people with a tutor to guide us. It’s a relaxed setting where we can discuss questions openly.
The core module on physical organic chemistry is compulsory for all chemists. It’s our first lecture of this course so we line up to get a handout and take our seats. In Chemistry, we are given handouts which is great because we can actually listen to the lecturer, rather than madly rush to write down everything they say.
12pm: Lunch break!
By this time, I am starving (lectures always make me hungry) so my friend and I go to Nisa, our local campus supermarket, to get some food. There are so many campus food outlets available so having a coffee or getting lunch with friends is very common, especially when you can’t be bothered to cook.
1pm: Lab report
We have a two-hour gap for lunch so I decide to work on my lab report. In our 2nd Year, we have to give in a report after labs each week. Last week’s experiment involved using gas chromatography (one of the many techniques you’ll learn in first year!) to monitor the kinetics of the hydrolysis of ethyl acetate.
2pm: Another materials lecture
I stay behind to ask the lecturer a question about the topic. They often wait around for a few minutes afterwards so it’s great if you’re like me and can’t stand the idea of asking a question in a lecture theatre full of people.
3pm: Supervisor meeting
I have a personal supervisor who meets with me twice a term to discuss how I am doing at university, both academically and in general. This time, I went to him to ask for advice in finding a summer placement, as I am thinking of doing the MChem year in industry course.
4pm – 6pm
In the afternoon I have more lectures on physical organic chemistry and atmospheric chemistry. Then after a long day, it’s time to relax, eat dinner and finish off any assignments due this week.
Evenings and weekends
Studying chemistry is exciting and challenging, so you definitely deserve to take some time to yourself. My favourite way to let off some steam is by doing what I love – theatre!
After joining uni and having no idea what a pantomime was, I am now heavily involved in the Pantomime Society (PantSoc). I’ve met the loveliest people who have given me so many amazing memories. Also, we get to perform in the famous building that is in every single prospectus and kind of looks like a spaceship… Central Hall!
Exploring the city
Another thing I love is to do in my spare time is go into town. York has so much to offer from pubs to shops to independent cafés. You’ll discover so many hidden gems after living here for a while.
Students also get lovely perks like getting into the York Minster for free! Make sure to wander through the Shambles and walk the city walls – the views are incredible.
Make the most of it!
Although contact hours for chemistry are high and it can be a busy week, a little bit of planning goes a long way. There is always time to do something you love or to try something new. If you come to the University of York, make sure to make the most of your time here!