Why I love York
The University of York was the first university I visited as a small 18-year-old, and I have loved it ever since. The campus feels so inviting and friendly, and there is always something going on or an event to attend; it is a very lively place.
York city centre is just a short walk away, and I quickly (after only a few incidents of getting lost) learnt what a beautiful vibrant city it is. One of my absolute favourite things is the sheer number of independent shops and cafes; I have found some great little places to eat and get coffee with friends and family! It is a buzzing and safe city, and it has great transport links connecting up and down the country. So you can go home as often, or as little, as you please.
I have enjoyed, and to begin with, I was a little blown away with, the diverse range of people you meet at University who are happy and free to be truly themselves. Being able to truly be myself at university has felt amazing, and my confidence has come on leaps and bounds.
In my final year, I became treasurer of the LGBTQ+ social society. I’m very proud to have helped provide spaces and events for people going through similar things as I did at the beginning of university. You can be whoever you want to be at University, and there will be people to surround yourself with that will love and accept you.
The Department of Biology
Being such a large department, I was very nervous in my first week of studying. But the first few weeks are structured in a way that helps to ease students into university life. You receive several different welcome talks from members of the department, module leaders, meet your supervisor and have lab introductions.
The first practicals revolve around familiarisation with equipment and protocols. This helped me greatly, as I was very inexperienced with lab work. I gained confidence and a best friend in my first ever lab partner – labs are also a great way to make friends!
There is also a biosciences society which hosts events such as the lab coat bar crawl in the first few weeks (yes, it is as strange and wonderful as it sounds). This is also a great way to relax and meet fellow coursemates.
The department is home to modern and high tech facilities, from large undergraduate teaching labs to comfortable study spaces.
One of my favourite things about the Department of Biology is it contains several dedicated study spaces, including computer rooms and the creative lounge. So I always had a place to study, this was especially useful when the library is busy during exam season!
When you arrive you are assigned an academic supervisor, who stays with you throughout your entire time at University. They are there as the first port of call, for any issues or queries whether that is academic, pastoral care or personal.
There is also a very wonderful and friendly student and academic services team. They’re also there to support the students within the biology department. All of the members of staff in the department are very friendly and want to help and support students. This is something that has helped me throughout my degree.
The Department of Biology itself has its own independent ‘Rainbio’ (we are very pleased with our name) LGBT+ mixers; as well as disability and BAME groups who meet regularly. These are further ways to meet like-minded, friendly and supportive people.
My favourite thing about my course though, has been tutorials. Tutorials are small groups of students assigned to an academic, who talks through their individual research. For example, I chose a tutorial with the Director of the Cancer Research Unit within the department at York which was both inspiring and fascinating. Seeing first-hand how the research that is happening within the department is having an impact on treatment in the clinic was very exciting.
During my 3 years here I have been presented with so many different opportunities, both within and outside of my course. One of the top pieces of advice I would give to any prospective student is to take as many of these opportunities as you can! This is what will shape your university experience into something exciting and uniquely your own.