In the midst of final year

Zainab Aljawahiri

Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Biology
Course: BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation
Category: Animal sciences

6 January 2015

Hi everyone and Happy New year!

Being in your final year means preparing for exams. The last two weeks before we broke up were quite stressful to say the least. Yes, you have seen us with baggy eyes for a reason!

One of my modules is mammalogy, and for that we have a written exam and a practical exam. The practical exam is basically what it says on the tin. However, you really do not know what your lecturer has decided to include… so out comes the let’s revise till god knows what time o clock (yup, one was till 4am with one of my good friends!). It consists of pictures of mammals, skulls, specimens, teeth and even hair. Us life sciences students really do not get it easy! Just look up mammalian orders and families and you’ll see what I mean.

Once the practical exam was over, yep you guessed it, let’s prepare for the written tests. I did say before that being in final year isn’t a joke. One unfortunate thing however is the fact that I had to change my dissertation around… with a day to come up with a new idea. I gladly thank my mother who provided me with The Natural History Book. Yes it was heavy, and yes, I did carry it on my back, looking like a penguin at 7.40am! (I forgot breakfast existed as well.) Luckily that book did save my life and now I am writing about the the biogeography and conservation of turacos.

I am now days away from my exams and have prepared for them as best I could. One top tip for those of you in your first year: do not take your marks as a joke. You will find that when you enter your second year things get a lot harder – by that I mean they will place a mountain of work and less time to complete it on top of your heads. So if you thought that year 1, semester 1 was a breeze, think again! I’m only saying this because I’ve been there and done that, as the saying goes.

Now you may think, well she has four weeks after her exams to sit and do nothing, or as some people say, diddly squat. Erm, no. I have four weeks to sit and collect data for my project ready for analysis. Oh, and I aim to have my introduction of 1,000 words completed to a first class standard before the semester even begins. How, you may ask? Well I’ll be going into my supervisor’s office with draft after draft until I am happy and he is happy too.

Advice for first years: you’re fine so far. Just keep at it or, if you know you need to up your game, now is the time to do it.

Advice for second years: yes it’s hard, I know… but keep on going even if you’re finding it a challenge. I promise you it does get easier with practice and patience. 

Third years: just keep on going, we are almost there. Good luck to all doing dissertations.
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