Department study spaces
One thing I really love about Biology at York is the availability of study spaces open just for Bioscience students. Areas such as the Creative Lounge are a comfortable and quiet place to work. This is especially useful for students like me who tend to get distracted easily! I really like the varied study spaces available in the Creative Lounge. From the individual work areas ideal for quickly catching up on emails between lectures, to the large booths with screens which are perfect for working together on group projects and meetings.
The Creative Lounge also has its own mini library of textbooks and material recommended by lecturers for wider reading. This is very useful if you want to quickly look something up without having to trek to the library.
In addition to the Creative Lounge, there is a large Biology computer room. Here you’re able to practice on software such as RStudio. There are also more casual work areas available, such as in the Biology Department cafe, ‘Cookies’. Here you can enjoy a coffee and some homemade bakes whilst you work!
Another of my favourite aspects of studying Biology at York are the tutorials. These are regular meetups with a small group of students and a department academic, generally focusing on the academic’s area of research or study. Tutorials are a really interesting and engaging way of expanding your learning and exploring different areas of biology. You have the freedom to choose and learn more about a topic that already interests you. Or, try something completely new! I’ve found that my tutorials have really helped me to develop my thinking and analysing skills. I’ve improved both my verbal and written communication, through creating informal presentations, participating in discussions and debates, and writing tutorial essays. Tutorials have also opened up new areas of biology that I never realised I was interested in before. I’d like to explore these areas further in the future.
As well as lab and lecture based learning, field trips offer the chance to see biology in real life. At the end of my first year, I attended the optional trip to Millport, a small town on the tiny Isle of Cumbrae, off the West coast of Scotland, where we spent ten days learning about Marine and Coastal Biology. The trip was great fun, and also very interesting. We learnt (with a very hands-on approach) to sample and identify many different marine species such as whelks, crabs, seaweeds and more, on different types of beach along the coastline. Towards the end of the week we started designing and conducting our own mini research projects to investigate one of the island’s many species, for a detailed research report written in the Autumn term.
For me, the highlight of the field trip was our fishing boat ride over the Firth of Clyde. We were lucky enough to see ‘Kylie’ the local (but very elusive) dolphin swimming next to the boat. That’s something you’d never experience from just learning in a lecture theatre!