Pupil Contributions, Clifton College

Pupil Contributions, Clifton College

Lauren O'Hagan: 19/12/16

In September, lower and upper sixth biology students were invited to attend a lecture about Ebola and the research being undertaken at Bristol University from Dr David Matthews. Truthfully the idea didn’t appeal to me at first;  I was shattered and the thought of staying in school for a further three hours made the lecture seem a rather uninviting prospect; however, I am glad that I was encouraged to go to the lecture.

It was a fascinating talk. Being new to the school as well as being new to the sixth form, I truly did not know what to expect from these talks, presuming them to be long, drawn out and tedious. I couldn’t imagine why the biology teachers were being so “over enthusiastic” about the whole ordeal. I was thoroughly taken aback by the pace of the lecture; the flow was quick and I was kept engaged the entire time, a complete contrast to what I had been expecting. Giving true understanding on the importance of vaccination research, where viruses such as Ebola originate from and the difficulties faced by researchers today, it has opened my eyes to an area of science about which I understood little yet now find truly intriguing.

I know I have only just begun two difficult years of A-level study, but conversation has already begun to drift to beyond sixth form study. Do I know where I want to go for university? What would I want to study? What do I need to do to get to university?

Although I may not be able to answer all of these questions just yet, what I do know is this. Universities want students who have an interest in the course, who have read around the subject, found areas that they can engage with and deepen their own understanding. When trying to narrow down such broad topics within each of the sciences, the task can seem daunting and overwhelming, at least to me it has. However I do feel a lot more confident now, having been to the lecture that there is at least one area of science that I can read about to greater levels of detail. Moreover I encourage to anyone who doesn’t necessarily know what areas of a given subject appeals to the, who wants a bit of direction about what areas to look into, to consider the different societies.  

The reality is I understand that the thought of these lectures will not appeal to everyone, understandably, but it is my honest opinion that they can be a major benefit, you just need to attend.