Zoe Stephenson (Marine Biology)

Name: Zoe Stevenson
Age: 20
Course: Marine Biology
Hometown: Banbridge, Northern Ireland

Why did you choose Swansea University?

I was torn between two universities in Wales and after attending both open days I was still having a lot of trouble choosing between them.  One looked good on paper and had a good academic reputation and Swansea had a brilliant location (especially for Marine Biology) and the staff seemed so friendly.   I put a lot of thought into it, and it was soon clear that Swansea was the university for me.

What do you like about your course?

It's very practical, especially during the second year.  If I was given the choice I would live my second year several times over!  As well as this, a wide range of topics are covered, so you really have the opportunity to learn about a lot of aspects of Marine Biology. Your final year project then gives you the opportunity to specialise in one area.   All members of the department are really friendly and experts in their fields.  They are top scientists working at cutting edge of research, and you get to know them and work with them, they don't just use text books, they write them! 

n the summer of the second year a week is spent at Millport Marine Biological Station in Scotland.   It's an exhausting week, but so rewarding.  Coming out of the lab at 9 o'clock at night, after a day of sampling and identifying, but still enjoying myself was when I knew that I would be happy be doing that sort of work for the rest of my life.  The memories that I have of that week will never fade.

What's the best thing about being a student in Swansea?

Like most Freshers (first years) I joined every club that I wanted to experience but soon found didn't have time for them all!  These included, surfing, snowriders, badminton, photography and board games. However, in my second year I settled into just a few and now, in my final year the ones I attend on a weekly basis are the Christians Union and the Dance Society.  I enjoy them both immensely and have made a lot of friends by attending meetings and social events.

The best thing about being a student in Swansea though is definitely the beach!  On a sunny day, there is nothing better than hitting the beach in between lectures, or for a barbecue or even lighting a campfire and watching the sun set.  If you've got a car it's even better, you can spend hours exploring the beautiful beaches on the Gower peninsula.

What advice you would give potential future students?

Learn how to cook before you go to university!  Being able to cook just a few meals is a huge advantage, not to mention a good way to impress your room mates.  I love cooking dinner for my friends, it gives us time to relax and chat over a nice meal.  Also, try something new, something that you've always wanted to but never had the means or opportunity to.  

No two days are ever the same and there is always something happening on or around the campus.  If you're a Doctor Who fan it will interest you to learn that many scenes have been filmed in the Swansea area, including the University library.  Just the other day, I watched Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) driving a motorbike outside a building not more 500 meters from my house!