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People Like Me: Lena

Updated Tuesday, 9th August 2005

Who studies science? We talk to students and graduates - and meet Lena

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The nose of a Sumatran tiger Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Name: Lena
Studying: B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology (2nd year)

Life at university
I started studying Biology, but changed to Zoology after my first year. I really like the practicals, especially the field trips. It means you get to try things for yourself. In the first year we learnt about the variety of life and all the things related to biology. When I came to university, I thought that genetics was the only interesting part of biology, but it is a much wider a subject than I thought it was, and I am now also interested in other areas such as ecosystems.

At the start I was scared that I would not cope with lectures, as my first language is not English. Although I lived in England, I always had science lessons in German. I thought I might have difficulties in understanding lectures, but it has not been the case at all. I didn’t really ask for help that much, but I did go to my tutor explain my problem. He was really understanding, and said I could go and see him anytime I needed help. I was worried that I would not make friends, but I have met lots of interesting people, everyone is really open-minded. I have joined the Karate society and been to see lots of plays and performances at the Union. I would like to join the dance society next year. I love how many things you can do at university, it is amazing, you can’t really choose there are so many!

How I got here
I’m from Germany, although I have lived in England since I was 14. I took a Baccalaureate at a European school rather than doing A-levels. I thought biology was really interesting, especially genetics. Everyone gets involved in biology because it surrounds us. There is so much debate in the newspapers about new technologies and I wanted to know more. When I was studying for my Baccalaureate, I got the opportunity to do some work experience at the University of Oxford via the Nuffield Trust. I helped a researcher investigate proteins in the fly Drosophila, and this work experience showed me that I really wanted to do biology.

I would like to do a Masters. I don’t know what I want to do afterwards, but I do want to use biology and also to work with people so I need to find something that means I can do that.

It’s going to be hard work, the first year is not a doss, everyone says so, but it is not actually true. It is so much fun and you meet new people, you live on your own and you learn about things you never know existed, its really good! You have to be interested in your subject. If you have the chance to do work experience in the area you are interested in, it is really worthwhile.





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