Joshua Rabone

rabone-joshuaBSc Biochemistry

“The fact that Birmingham is research-led really struck a chord with me, having meaningful research being carried out by the individuals who teach us really adds deeper meaning and value to their lectures.”

Why I chose Birmingham

There were several factors which particularly drew me to study at Birmingham. I was very impressed by the quality of the labs and other teaching and research facilities within the department – all of which are very modern and extensive. Additionally, the wider facilities available across the campus are useful and easy to access. The fact that Birmingham is research led really struck a chord with me, having meaningful research being carried out by the individuals who teach us really adds deeper meaning and value to their lectures.

Being from Birmingham myself, the area is familiar to me and I knew that I would feel right at home studying here. The railway station means that the campus is well connected to other places, with easy access to the city centre and other parts of Birmingham and the West Midlands. 

What is unique about my course

The personal tutor system here is excellent. Each student has just one tutor over the three years of their degree, which allows a real relationship to be established. Tutorial sessions are held frequently and involve various group based projects and activities which link in to the content being covered in the course.

All of the lab classes are practical applications and extensions of content covered in the lectures. This allows a much deeper understanding to be developed than a purely theoretical approach and means that the lab work meshes well with the lecture content, to form a cohesive whole.

In the first year the modules cover a good range of content, all in great depth. There is a great variety in the modules on offer for the second and third year of the course, making it easy to specialise in particular areas of study.

One of the great things about the biosciences department here is that students are given plenty of time to choose which academic path they wish to follow and specialise in. In addition plenty of time is given to decide how the degree will be structured with the possibility of work placements, study abroad and masters’ programmes.

Living in Birmingham

I grew up in Birmingham and still greatly enjoy living here. Birmingham is a modern and very culturally diverse city that provides the opportunity to meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds. The city centre is just a short train ride away from the University, aided by the on-campus station. The city hosts a vast variety of services and facilities to suit all interests, ranging from shopping centres and restaurants to concert halls and theatres. In recent years new public space developments have been constantly taking place throughout the city. The new library was opened in 2013 and the Grand central shopping centre at the end of 2015.  The paradise circus is also currently being redeveloped.

The University itself also offers a wide range of easily accessible modern facilities across the campus. New developments are taking place here too, with the new library and sports centre due to open at the end of 2016.

Clubs, societies or events I've been involved in

I work for the Biosciences department as an ambassador. This provides an exciting opportunity to engage with the department and directly represent the University to applicant visitors.

I have joined several societies including the rock climbing, cocktail and vegetarian and vegan societies. These involve frequent meet-ups, with activities based around the theme of each society.

There are many sporting opportunities available and I imagine this can only expand with the opening of the new sports centre. I have joined a beginners group that gets together to play squash each week, similar groups are available for other sports such as tennis, badminton and boxing. 

My aspirations for the future

I intend to go into a career working in either drug development or genetics, possibly after completing a PhD. 

My top tips for prospective Birmingham students

One of the greatest pieces of advice I can give is that in addition to working hard at the academic side of things, students here should be sure to engage with the social side of university life.

There is a wealth of extracurricular opportunities available here such as bursaries, scholarships and internships – the biggest hurdle is to apply for them! Additionally, there are countless societies, clubs and groups to join. There is so much more that we can take from university than just a first class degree, it would be a shame to miss out on these chances.