March 24, 2021, by School of Medicine
Hannah: My experience with cancer sciences
My name is Hannah and I’m currently in my first year of studying Cancer Science at the University of Nottingham. I grew up in Reading in the South East of England, but decided that I wanted to move away from there when I was choosing my university. As someone who has been doing archery for many years now, my inner Robin Hood made sure that Nottingham was naturally one of the first places that came to mind when considering where I might go.
Why did you choose to study Cancer Science at Nottingham?
I was fascinated by the idea of going into a career in cancer research. It’s thought that cancer will affect ½ of us in our lifetimes, so the more we know about it the better chance we have of stopping it. People don’t always realise how broad of a topic Cancer Science is; There are over 100 different kinds of cancers that can be caused by different things and treated in different ways. It has never been more important than it is now to get into cancer research, and so this course felt like an excellent choice.
But why study at Nottingham? Well, aside from the stunning campus, stellar location and amazing facilities, one key thing that swayed me was the way the course is taught. There are practicals, lectures, workshops, seminars and more, so whether you prefer hands on coursework or testing your knowledge in exams there will be something for you. Your lecturers here are people who have real experience in the world of medical research. You can tell from how they talk that they’re truly fascinated by the subject they are teaching, and that interest is contagious. Plus, you have countless opportunities to talk to clinicians, researchers and patients who come in as guest speakers in the seminars held every fortnight. This really helps to widen your horizons in terms of where the degree can lead whilst also putting into context just how much you can positively impact real people’s lives.
After seeing the campus, meeting the lecturers and looking into how the course was run, it was no longer a question of where should I go, it was a question of when could I start!
What do you like about studying Cancer Sciences at Nottingham?
I love the location of the University. It takes less than 20-minutes by tram to get into the heart of the city centre. There are loads of places to go and things to do, so no weekend is ever dull.
I also love the facilities at the University itself. We are so lucky to have Queens Medical Centre right next to the campus. We get to do our practicals in their labs and they have an excellent library for medical students, making it the perfect place to go when you need a quiet place to study or just need to find a few more sources to finish that essay. Also, significantly less important but still a fun extra, they have a costa coffee there which, if you’re anything like me, is an absolute lifesaver!
If you have got involved in extra-curricular activities, what are they and why did you get involved?
I’ve been doing archery since I was around 12, so naturally I had to join the archery team here. Even if you’re a complete beginner, I would hugely recommend that you check it out. Unfortunately, a lot of competitions had to be cancelled due to Covid, but despite this the club still managed to keep up morale. Even during lockdown, the committee were still running virtual socials such as film nights, quizzes and games nights to help make everyone just that little bit less bored of being stuck inside.
Recently, some second-year Cancer Science students came together to set up OncoSoc – a society for students studying Cancer Sciences. Its early days at the moment, but I’m hoping to be able to do lots with other people on my course through this in the future. Hopefully one day I may even get onto the committee to run things for new students in the future.
Where do you hope your degree in Cancer Sciences will take you? What would you like to do after you graduate?
After I graduate, I want to stay in academia for a little longer to get a PhD. There is something so exiting about being able to find something new that no one has ever discovered before (plus being able to introduce myself as Dr sounds super fun)!
Once I have that, what I do next will depend on my experiences. I am taking the Cancer Science MSci, so I’ll have gained experience working in industry through that, and through my PhD I’ll gain experience doing research in a University. So, my plan is to weigh up which one I liked most and then get a job in that.
What advice would you give to anybody thinking of studying Cancer Sciences next year?
Best piece of advice I can offer is to get involved in as much as possible. The first year is all about finding your feet and figuring out what works for you, so try stuff out. Go to the freshers fair, join societies, sign up for engage sessions, chat to people, make friends, and most importantly have fun!
Do you have fun fact about Nottingham?
All of the trams in Nottingham is named after a real person from the county. Some are celebrities such as Torvill and Dean or Brian Clough, and others are normal people nominated by their community for doing great things.
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