Course: MSc Neuroscience
A levels: biology chemistry maths and AS level physics
Undergraduate: BSc Biology
Journey in 3 words: challenging, unexpected but exciting.
Briefly describe your course: I’ve started a taught masters in neuroscience. It’s going well so far, but very intense! Lots to do in a year so I’m trying to stay on top of it all as I’m also working part time in retail so time management is key
What motivated you to pursue a career in science?: I wanted to study medicine at first which is a goal I am still working towards. My desire to improve lives through understanding and treating disease is what pushes me to medicine, but a research career looking into neurological disorders would allow me to apply that interest in a slightly different way to a medical doctor, but with the same goal of understanding a disease, developing treatments and improving lives.
What keeps you motivated ?: Understanding the biological phenomena that drives every aspect of our lives from the chemical reactions in our bodies to the chemical reactions in the world around us is what draws me to a career in science. Through my voluntary experience I have worked with dementia patients, which is what motivated me most to pursue neuroscience; neurological disorders can have a devastating impact on an individual and the people around them. Research is advancing rapidly in neuroscience, but there is still so much to learn; my enthusiasm for the subject and desire to help others is what pushes me to purse this subject further and further so that one day I can be a part of and contribute to the groundbreaking research that I am always reading about.
Work-life balance: Time management is key! I’m not the best at it, but I’m working on it. My only advice here is learn to say no to going out etc when you know you’ve got a lot of work to do.
Why didn’t you do a PhD straight away? - It’s something I’m still unsure about as I’ve mentioned before I’m interested in studying medicine. Studying a masters will give me a good insight into PhD studies and life as an academic, thus enabling me to make a clear decision on what career to pursue.
What is important when picking masters? - for me it was what I enjoyed most. I’ve always loved science, but neuroscience truly held my fascination and it was something that never felt like work when I studied. My advice is pick what you enjoy most and where you feel you can truly make a difference.
What Advice would you give someone wanting to follow the same path as you ? : don’t give up. Pursing any scientific career is a difficult path and with few resources and access to info about such careers, a lot of people stray. But just take advantage of every opportunity that comes you way and get involved in the science community. Being surrounded by people with similar goals and facing the same struggles will keep you motivated.
What advice would you give on Picking universities?: don’t limit yourself, always aim for the best in your eyes and make sure you’ll enjoy being there, that’s the most important thing. When I picked universities for my bachelors and masters some of the things I took into account is ranking, research, facilities, distance from me, fees and most importantly how I felt when I visited that university.
Here’s a little story time -
... after sixth form I didn’t so well at A-levels and got a place at Kingston through clearing studying biomedical science. I wasn’t happy there and I knew I would not enjoy my 3 years there so after a week I dropped out, took a gap year and retook some exams and reapplied. I ended up studying Biology at Queen Mary and I have no regrets about that - I’m so glad I took that chance because I don’t think I would’ve ever come out of Kingston with a first. The same sort of thought process went into my masters selection with regards to picking a university, and so far I’m very happy with my choice. So don’t be afraid to take a risk if need be - the university you go to is almost as important as the course you pick, so really do your research!