Katie – BA Geography

Katie is currently a first year BA Geography student in the Faculty of Environment.

Why did you choose your degree?

I chose Geography because I find the interconnectedness of the world and how we interact with the environment fascinating. I love learning about other countries and other habitats and finding out about how they affect us in everyday life. I enjoy the wide range of topics that Geography covers, as it does not narrow me down to one specific area of study.

What has been your favourite part of the course so far?

My favourite part about the course so far is the wide range of topics which we have covered in the first year. We have been taught about the environment and climate change, but also about how disability and health can vary between locations. One of my favourite moments from the course so far is taking part in group assignments – it allows you to understand the way different people think and how they interact with academic material, which you can learn from whilst also make friends.

What did you study at school and/or college?

For GCSE, I chose to do Geography, French, Music and Art which allowed me to learn both academic subjects and express myself creatively, which is important. For A-level, I chose to do Geography, Economics and Music, which all seem random at first glance but do complement each other. Economics taught me about how the economic systems worked and how they impact society, which links to the different powers countries have in Geography. Music taught me to think analytically and this has enabled me to look critically at academic sources and analyse readings in Geography and Economics. Although my A-levels don’t directly link with Geography, they have taught me skills that are important to bring into higher education.

How is studying at university different to school and college?

Studying at university is very independent. There are much fewer contact hours than at school. One of my modules only has one seminar a week meaning we have to watch the lectures, make notes and do the reading in our own time in preparation for discussions in the seminar, where everyone is expected to have read the set reading. This means that time management is extremely important as there is nobody telling you what to do. At first, this can be overwhelming but once you have figured out a schedule that works for you, it becomes much easier. The readings are also numerous which can often seem daunting at first as you will want to read everything. The important thing to do is read what you find interesting and then you will be able to tailor your essays into something you are passionate about, which can help you to achieve a better mark.

Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?

I am part of LUUMs (Leeds University Union Music Society). This is an overall society for music-related extracurricular. I am currently in the Symphony Orchestra playing the violin and I rehearse for two hours each week. This helped me to make new friends but also keep up a hobby that I already had. I also play badminton in the university sports hall which has given me the opportunity to stay fit but also have fun during the term. This is important as it is good to have a balance between studying and doing things for fun. I am part of GeogSoc which host lots of socials which gives you an opportunity to meet lots of people on your course who you can also talk to if you have any questions about your studies.

What do you do in your spare time?

At university, you often find you have spare time in the middle of the day. I love to go on runs around the university grounds and appreciate the environment. I am also part of a band which I sing in and it is a great escape from studying and allows me to express myself, try lots of new things and meet new people. I also like to attend live music events and performances which are entertaining and inspiring.

What are your top tips for applying for University?

My top tips for applying to university are to be ambitious. If you see a course that you are interested in, aim for it, because it is important that you enjoy what you study.

Sum up your university experience (so far!) in one sentence!

Lots to do and lots of fun!