Studying biomedicine at university during a global pandemic

Carmen Barber is a biomedicine undergraduate student at the University of East Anglia. 

Continuing our science communication series with UEA students, we asked her why she chose biomedicine and what university life is like during a global pandemicwith lectures online and changes to the way we interact, learn, work and socialise. 

I am studying BSc Biomedicine at the University of East Anglia. Biomedicine is at the heart of improving human health  a constantly evolving subject. 

I’ve never been one of those people that were set on what they wanted to do after graduating so picking this course was mainly due to having a keen interest in science. Plus, biomedicine covers modules and topics that are so broad it allows you to retain lots of flexibility in your future career options. 

I find the whole topic of biomedicine interesting, I would say I prefer the health and disease topics about infection and immunity, as well as antibiotics the most. I don’t think that studying during the pandemic has changed my interest in the topic too much as I already enjoyed it, however, it is fascinating learning these topics, and about a pandemic as it unfolds. 

Learning at university during a pandemic is definitely a test on students’ motivation and dedicationwith minimal contact hours, online learning is now the main teaching mechanism. Blackboard collaborate or zoom are the most social contact some people will get in the course of a day. Finding a seat in the library is difficult due to the new limited capacity.  

There are things that I miss about pre-lockdown Uni life, such as your typical trip to the Union Coffee Shop; Unio, or the Library to study with friends, or the social events run by the Student Union, or just spending time on campus. Group work is much easier in person. 

To people who are considering coming to university in the near future, my advice is to make sure you are prepared for independent study. This is good advice even without a pandemic, but it is even more important at the moment. I’d also try joining a sports or society that is still runningdefinitely an invaluable way to keep busy and socialise whilst options are limited. 

Despite this, education moving online has not been all bad, I now get to watch lectures in the comfort of my own bed. Surprisingly, not having to commute to campus saves a lot more time during the day than you would expect. Zoom socialsalthough not the samecan also still be entertaining. 

I’ve never been set on what I wanted to do after graduating but I’m spending time this year exploring different options available. UEA definitely make this easier with services such as Career Central and just general help from lecturers. I’m still debating whether to continue further with my studies, extending my stay in Norwich or to venture into the world of full-time work”. 

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