Rebecca-Marie Rolfe - BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences
What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?
I’m originally from Whitby, North Yorkshire. Northumbria University has an amazing reputation both in an academic sense but also with past and present students. The reputation of my course is well known in the professional world which was very important to me when choosing Northumbria. Also I wanted to stay in the North of England so it ticked more than one box.
What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?
The fact that my degree is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science, was a key factor in my decision about the course as this allows me to work in the National Health Service once I graduate, without having to do another year at the end of my degree.
What qualifications did you have?
I have A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Drama and Maths. Although I came through clearing on to another degree at the university a year ago, I then transferred to Biomedical Science after the successful completion of the first year of my previous course.
How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?
I was very nervous, so I thought I wouldn’t like my first week of university or even the first few months. The good thing however is the fact that everyone is in the same boat. So I was surprised when I found my first week to be enjoyable and so much fun, and the people I met were so friendly.
What do you like most about the course?
I love the fact that there is a perfect balance between lectures and practical work. One week we will be learning the theory about bacteria and the next week I’m actually looking at them under the microscope. Theory into practice is a great way to learn and really works for me.
Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently?
Recently we were told to go and find a scientific paper from a fairly recent journal and condense the report to a word limit. The joy of this assignment was the free reign we were given to choose the subject area. I’m particularly interested in MRSA so I chose to find a paper on studies in this area; it was very interesting and a good test of library skills also.
How do you get on with your tutors?
The tutors are great and are always willing to help. I’ve just been made the course rep for the year so I’m sure I will get to know them even more when I take the student views to them, which they are very willing to hear and take on board.
Do you have the opportunity for any optional work placements during your course?
Yes we do, it’s a placement taken after second year and before your third year. The placement takes place in actual science labs in the professional setting, this offers invaluable hands on experience which will set applicants aside when applying for jobs once graduated.
What do you do when you’re not studying?
I have a part-time job with the National Trust and I also work for the university as a student representative on events such as Open Days. I’m also a scout leader and spend my Friday nights teaching 10-14 year olds about scouting skills. Newcastle is a lovely city with an amazing atmosphere that you can’t help but love.
What’s your accommodation like?
I currently live in a shared house in Fenham, which is very nice. I have a large room which is always good. The other perk is if I’m feeling very lazy it only takes nine minutes on the bus to get into university.
What would you like to do when you graduate?
When I graduate from this degree I plan to apply for medicine. I dream of being a doctor one day. So this degree is a jumping off point for me.
Have you used Student Services during your course?
I have used the Careers Service when I was looking for a part-time job. The help they gave me was invaluable, they made me aware of how much paid work I could feasibly undertake without affecting my studies.
Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?
Some advice that was given to me when I came to university was that you only get out of something what you are willing to put into it. This is true for university if you are willing to work for it you’ll get what you want.
Also applying to university can be very daunting but the most important thing to remember is that there are other ways to do what you want to do, not necessarily your ideal way of doing it but it’s still do-able. Don’t give up if you don’t make it to your first choice, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you do get offered.
How would you describe your time at Northumbria?
Exhilarating, challenging and most importantly fun!!!