Life as a Geography Student

First Year, BA Geography Student, Navya, talks about her experiences at Durham University!

What is the best thing about your subject?

That Geography allows you to study sciences and humantites at the same time.

What is the worst thing about your subject?

That due to the course intake being very large, getting one-to-one help with essays is not as easy as in other courses because there are few close student-staff relationships, especially as tutorials are not weekly or biweekly.  

How many contact hours do you get per week?

7-9 depending on whether there are practicals/tutorials happening.

How do people respond when you say you’re studying the subject?

‘Ah the colouring in subject!’ 

Examples of modules you have studied?  

Geographies of Crisis,

Environment and Society,

An Introduction to Geographical Research 

Do you know what career you’re aiming for and if so what do you want to do?

Not quite sure yet. 

What do you do in your tutorials?

Review articles we have been asked to read, watch educational videos and have group discussions.

If you weren’t studying this subject, what do you think you’d study instead?

English Literature 

What subject-related societies/events are there at Durham?

DUGS – Durham Undergraduate Geographical Society

What is it like studying your subject in Durham?  

There’s a huge amount of variety. One day you might be discussing philosophical/political theories such as Marxism and the next you’ll be studying chemical isotopes and the stratigraphy of an ice core.

An example of something especially interesting that you’ve learned?  

How we can use GIS software to measure the width of a river in Switzerland, or how much the UK government might pay to install a boulevard of trees in a local council area – all from sitting behind a screen in County Durham.  

Do you have the same or different lecturers each week?

Our lectures change every few weeks when a new block of a module begins.  

Something you’d wished you’d have known about your subject before you arrived at Durham?

Be prepared to get on with a genre of writing and work that you are not accustomed to. You’ll be asked to write scientific essays even if you haven’t taken a science/math A Level and likewise, if you haven’t taken any humanities – don’t be surprised if you’re sitting in class and you’re asked to comment on anthropological theories or if to give your view on philosophical thought in a tutorial. All in all it makes you well-rounded as a student and learning something new is never a waste of time.

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