Name: Paris Jaggers
Subject: Biological Sciences
Where are you from: Cambridge
As soon as I walked round Merton I loved its cosiness and remember thinking that everyone seemed so friendly. It’s hands down the prettiest college and has a beautiful garden that’s lovely in the summer. Accommodation and food are very cheap too!
Best thing about your course?
Biology is unique in the extent to which it allows you to follow your own interests. While the first year involves exposing you to a tonne of new material you’ve probably never covered before, in your second you’re free to organise your own tutorials in whatever area takes your fancy. As it’s a very broad subject, this means you can be reading about wildly different things each week – I’ve had tutorials on things as varied as game theory, neuron regeneration and empathy this term.
What are tutorials like?
Quite varied. How much you enjoy them generally depends on how hard you worked on the essay – if you’ve found a way to be interested in the topic then tutorials are really rewarding. It’s also helpful to have tutorials with a range of people (mine are usually in pairs but can be one-on-one or with three or four others) as you get to see how other people have interpreted the same question.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Mostly rowing! I’ve been pretty involved in the boat club this year, which means organising training and races. It’s a great sport and introduces you to great people, but does mean getting up before 6am multiple times a week!
What do you do in the holidays?
In the shorter vacations, I do my best to do very little, but over the summer I try to do something interesting to do with my course. Last summer I was lucky enough to get a marine ecology placement in Madagascar and the college gave me a generous grant to support my travel there. I helped with research and conservation on coral reefs - Madagascar is hugely biodiverse and I got to dive on one of the biggest reefs in the world.