Clare College Cambridge

Natural Sciences

Alex Batchelor

Sixth Form College,Warwickshire 



At school, I was fortunate to be taught science by some eccentric and quirky characters. I learnt Astronomy because the head master thought we should all know our place in the universe and he himself taught me Chemistry despite him being about 103 years old at the time. So before I took my GCSEs I knew I definitely wanted to do science. Why wouldn't you want to study a subject where you have to evacuate the classroom because you've filled it with fumes? I studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths at A Level and wanted to do a degree where I could carry on with all of them. With a bit of research I realised that Cambridge is really the only place where you can do that. At Cambridge, I could learn to be a scientist rather than having to chose a specialism early on.

So I went to a few open days. The first was with the Student Union at Easter which was really informative. I knew all the colleges were similar academically but I wanted to be at a college that was on the river and close to the city centre, so I visited Clare on an open day with my sixth form college. I went to some talks in Clare about Natural Sciences. There, all the academics and students were really friendly and passionate about their subjects. The accommodation and gardens were also awesome. So, I was convinced that Clare was for me.

On arrival at Clare I soon found that Cambridge has students from all walks of life with one thing in common - they all love their subject. The supervision structure of the course allows for in depth discussion on particular topics within a small group of students and an expert tutor. My favourite parts of the course have been the practicals and field trips. You also get to do some novel research. At the end of my second year, I was fortunate to be awarded Clare’s Watson Scholarship to take part in a Research Programme at The Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York. This research was a great opportunity to confirm that I wanted to specialise in Neuroscience and to pursue a career in research. I'm looking forward to the research project I'll carry out as part of the Natural Sciences course in my third year. After graduating from Cambridge I'll apply to a PhD program. I think Cambridge Natural Sciences will have prepared me well for this.

Apart from science, I've also had time to carry on with singing at Clare. I decided the Chapel Choir wasn't for me and sang with Clare Voices instead. I was in a University-wide production of 'The Pirates of Penzance' at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall during the summer after my second year and have also been in several other operas and musicals in Cambridge.

I am thoroughly enjoying all aspects of my life at Clare. The work is challenging and interesting, the fellows inspirational, the city wonderful and I have made some fantastic friends.