Rane is currently a third year BA Geography student in the Faculty of Environment.
Why did you choose your degree?
I love how broad Geography is and enjoy studying the link between people and the environment. It looks at all aspects of life and I like how much of it is constantly changing to reflect the current world. Because of its all-encompassing nature, we learn about aspects from many other diverse disciplines, from environmental politics to sociology, so it’s hard to run out of topics to be interested about. Geography also equips you with many transferable skills, so I won’t be restricted to one specific field after I graduate.
What have you found most challenging about university?
I found it quite hard to settle in at first, especially living far away from my family. Living alone for the first time was quite difficult. However, it’s normal to feel anxious about it all and everyone is in the same boat, with many of the same worries. Just opening up to some friends really reassured me as I realised I wasn’t alone in how I felt.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Leeds?
As soon as I stepped onto campus I felt at home and very welcomed. I thought the facilities were outstanding, especially the Student Union. The content for my course stood out the most as the modules were very up-to-date and there was a broad selection of topics. The opportunity to study discovery modules from different schools (as long as they fit within your schedule) was also very enticing. For example, my course is mainly Human Geography, but I was able to study my favourite Physical Geography topic from A-Level, Natural Hazards, through a discovery module.
How is studying at university different to school and college?
Learning at university is very independent. Many of the lectures are usually just a starting point whereby you are encouraged to do your own research and reading for a topic. This gives you the freedom to tailor your degree to your interests. Essay writing is also quite different from school because your answers can be so broad and abstract, as opposed to the strict limitations of a mark scheme at A-Level. You also have to learn how to reference, but with practise and guides from the University library, this will come naturally.
Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?
I am part of GeogSoc and have attended many of their socials which has been a great opportunity to meet other people on my course outside of lectures. I am also a member of LUUMIC (music impact in the community) and have volunteered to run music therapy sessions in the community, as well as performing at local care homes and hospices. I hope to start up my own ukulele project at a local school in the coming year with the society. I am also part of the Leeds RAG society, helping to raise money for local charities.
What are your experiences of accommodation at university?
I loved staying in University halls! I chose the smallest halls available, North Hill Court, because of its value for money and distance to the University. It was self-catered and had a shared bathroom. It was half-way between campus and the student area of Headingley which was nice as there were more areas to explore. The onsite staff were lovely and because it only had roughly 80 people, it had a nice community feel. I ended up making friends with people from many other different halls, but after visiting others I still preferred North Hill Court.
What is the best bit of advice you would give to your 16-year old self?
I would tell myself to reflect on what I enjoyed the most at school and to do some research. Some courses have certain subject requirements, so if you know you are interested in a particular field, keep them in mind when choosing A-Level subjects. Don’t limit yourself to subjects you already know about – you might find you enjoy parts of a particular subject at A-Level and through research find out you can do a whole degree in it! Conversely, you could find a completely new subject that is offered at degree level that your current subjects will give you the skills for. But most importantly, try to find something that you are passionate about and this will motivate you to work at your best!
Sum up your university experience (so far!) in one sentence!
Most intellectually stimulating but fun and unforgettable time of my life so far.