As I dive into my final year as a home student studying Biomedical Science here at Cardiff University, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to reflect on the experience I’ve had so far.
I’m from Barry, which is around a 30-minute drive from Cardiff, so growing up I spent a lot of time in the city centre. When applying for universities, I attended various open days around the country, but nothing quite stood out to me like Cardiff did. The fact that everything is so close together and well connected with transport links, the buildings around campus are gorgeous, and you have everything you ever need in one place is really what stood out to me when it came to making my final decision on UCAS.
Choosing Biomedical Science
Having always had a strong interest in science, I knew I wanted to peruse a science related degree but never had a definite area of interest that I wanted to go into. When I stumbled across Biomedical Science it was perfect, a broad degree that allowed me to study what I was interested in, and that’s exactly how it has been for me throughout my degree.
In first year, the entire of biosciences studied the same 6 modules which is great as you get an overview of all the different areas you can go into (Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biomedical). This really helped me decide what modules I wanted to study in my second year, and I choose 3 quite broad modules: Physiology, Cell Biology and Concepts of Disease. The same applied to second year, I really found my interest through these modules, and I’m now studying 2 disease related modules alongside Advanced Physiology in my final year.
My time on the course itself has been brilliant. There’s been a great balance of time spent in lectures, workshops, meetings with personal tutors, laboratory time and then free time to study and get involved with the University. My second half of second year was interrupted due to COVID, but the quick transition to online learning has been flawless. It’s weird because I think I prefer it. Other classmates and I are more inclined to ask questions using the chat function, and the lectures feel more engaging through the use of polls and other various quizzes.
Commuting into University
As I’ve previously stated, I’m a home student. I live in my family home in Barry, which really isn’t too far from Cardiff. It’s about a 30-minute drive away, traffic dependent!
In my first and second year I had been commuting into university via train, and I really enjoyed it. It would take me about an hour in total from leaving the house, walking to the train station, getting the train to university, and then from the train station to my university building. It worked well for me, and I’d often spend my time on the train working on any assignments due or going through some flashcards on my phone on Quizlet. I wanted to stay as productive as possible, so I wasn’t feeling like I was wasting time with my commute. Now most teaching is online, I only go in once a week for small group teaching, so drive in which for me is so much better. There’s plenty of space to park around Campus.
When starting at University, I was worried that the social aspect of my experience wouldn’t be as great, purely because of the fact I was a home student. I really was wrong. I’ve been able to make so many friends here at Cardiff and have got involved in so many things that my younger self would have never imagined.
If you’re worried about commuting into University, don’t be. Your experience can still be as amazing as everyone else’s. That being said, do weigh up the pros and cons and see if it realistically will work for you!
Opportunities within the University
19-year-old me applying to University never in a million years would have imagined I’d be involved with as much as I currently am. Before University I was such a shy and reserved person, and now I’m happy to say I’m pretty much the opposite.
There are endless opportunities to get involved with in the University, from societies, volunteering, Give It a Go sessions and trips, student led services, part-time work, the chance to be on a committee, or even represent the student voice.
In my first year here at Cardiff I was a student representative, and thoroughly enjoyed being able to represent the student voice. I volunteered at a few events, engaging with students to collect feedback and implement change. In my second year, I was a student mentor and had a group of 6 students who I held meetings with about various topics such as home sickness, budgeting, housing, making friends, all that kind of stuff. That was something that really allowed my confidence to bloom. At the end of my second year, I started to write for the University’s Student blog, and answer queries from prospective students. Now in my final year I’ve carried on the roles I had in second year, have progressed to Student Mentor Consultant and am now a Student Champion working alongside the Centre of Education Innovation and Support. I’m also volunteering for St Johns Ambulance this year and attend a weekly training session to improve my first aid skills!
Safe to say, there is so much to get involved with at Cardiff, and the only regret I have is that I didn’t do more with my time in first year. Take every opportunity you can get your hands on; it really will add to your experience and you’ll be able to meet new people from all different backgrounds and make friends for life.
Overall, I have really loved my time here at Cardiff University. I’m going to be so sad to graduate (fingers crossed) and leave Cardiff University next year, but I really do feel like it’s equipped me with all the life skills and lessons I need to move on with the next chapter of my life.
My final year isn’t exactly how I anticipated it to be, but it’s been a great way to learn and adapt, and the experience that I’ve been able to have remotely has just been just as good so far. Here’s to the future!
If anyone has any questins about studying Biomedical Science here at Cardiff University, you can contact me via UniBuddy by clicking here.