On Wednesday I joined many others in the sunshine to finally graduate, and I’m happy to say I did so with both a first and the graduate of the year award for Natural Sciences. The ceremony itself was bizarre, with a mixture of superfluous rituals and attire, several hours of oscillating applause, and some interesting stories from those receiving honorary degrees after graduating from Leicester many years ago. The Physics and Astronomy department also held a reception, where graduates and their families from Physics and Natural Sciences gathered for lunch, photos, and to say farewell to the many staff that have been supporting and inspiring us over the years. As I’m currently working in the department the feeling of closure was slightly dampened, considering I’m still seeing most of them everyday! But it was great to have everyone together one last time.
It’s been a real privilege to blog for Natural Sciences over the last two years. The course itself is still young, celebrating its ten-year anniversary only last September, and the research-based teaching methodology that forms its foundation remains unique to any other degree in the UK. I’ve always thought this is the way science should be studied, and it’s what drew me to Leicester in the first place. The carefully designed interdisciplinary content, research questions that form the centre of every module, and extensive focus on problem solving are all a far cry from sitting in a lecture theatre taking notes for an exam, and the last four years have been an inspiring mosaic not just of the many peaks and ravines of the natural sciences, but of how to actually be a scientist within and across these fields. This would never have been possible without the dedicated Natural Sciences staff, all of whom go well beyond their job roles – something every Natural Sciences student has really appreciated! I’m really glad I got to be part of a course that challenges the traditional university degree, and I look forward to watching it continue to grow in the future.
In September I’ll be remaining in academia as I start a PhD in theoretical chemistry at the University of Oxford, so I’ll now be leaving you in the more than capable hands of Leah!