[Day In The Life] Cambridge Natural Sciences Student

Have you ever wondered what life is like as a Natural Science student at Cambridge? First-year student Leah Hurst shares her insights into what life is like.

Last Updated: 19th February 2021

Author: Leah Hurst

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Are you curious to see what it is like to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge?

In this series, we ask past and present students to share what life is like studying at their universities. First-year student Leah Hurst gives us an insight into reading Natural Sciences at Cambridge.

What Is It Like Studying At Clare College, Cambridge?

Clare has a reputation for being one of the friendliest and most relaxed Cambridge colleges, which I can certainly vouch for. It is also renowned for its beautiful gardens and music, and one of our alumni is David Attenborough, which is pretty cool!


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What is Natural Sciences at Cambridge like?

The Natural Sciences course at Cambridge is broadly split into two disciplines: the biological and physical sciences. Although most people fall into one of the two categories, the beauty of the course is that it provides you with the freedom to choose a range of modules from both disciplines.

This is great because you can easily find where your interests lie, and it also helps you appreciate the interconnected nature of present-day science.

There are no two ways about it, the course is definitely intense and challenging at times, and the workload is likely to be higher than what you are used to. However, having said that, if you genuinely enjoy your subjects, then this should not be a massive issue!

And you definitely still have plenty of time for socialising, sport, music etc., as long as you manage your time well. There is more to university than just your course! You will also have lectures on a Saturday morning, but honestly, they’re not that bad!

The Morning: Life As A Cambridge Natural Sciences Student

On a normal day I would probably wake up at around 8 AM, have some breakfast, get ready, pack my bag for the day, and, (if I have time),  briefly read through the lecture notes for that day.

I would then cycle to my lectures for the day. Luckily since Clare is such a central college, this only takes at most 10 minutes! I would normally have two lectures per day, each one hour, and these would either be finished by late morning or 1 PM depending on the day.

Take a look through our collection of Day In The Life articles for more insight into university life:

The Afternoon: Life As A Cambridge Natural Sciences Student

I would then grab some lunch, normally from a café in town, or if I had time the college canteen (called the Buttery), which is a great place to socialise and relax after with others in your college.

As a Natsci (student studying Natural Sciences), you will also have practicals to go to in the afternoon. On some days, you will not have a practical though, in which case you would be done for the day in terms of contact hours.

Practicals last between 2-5 hours, depending on the module, the task, and how efficient you are at work. On most days I had a practical I would normally be done by around 3/4 PM though.

Once I was finished with lectures and practicals, I would cycle back to college and normally have a hot drink and a snack and relax.

If I had a supervision that day, I would go to that, before then having some dinner. I would either make this myself or have a meal in the Buttery depending on if I liked anything on the menu that day.

What I did not realise was that because many Natsci supervisions are in the evening (at least mine were) you do end up missing the time slot for dinner in the Buttery quite a lot (6-7 PM), and so on most days, I would end up cooking for myself.

If you like cooking then this is not an issue, but if you are slightly lazy like me, and your culinary skills are limited, then it can be quite annoying! Nevertheless, it does help you learn how to cook.

The Evening: Life As A Cambridge Natural Sciences Student

After dinner, my schedule would vary significantly day by day.

On some days I would do one to two hours of work, either going over the topics covered in the lectures that day, and jotting down any questions I had or doing work set by my supervisor.

I would normally be done by no later than 9 PM though. On other days I would just socialise, relax and chat with my friends. Often we would end up talking quite late into the night!

Sometimes we would go to the college bar, called Cellars, which is actually underground and is definitely one of the best college bars in Cambridge. Other times we would go out clubbing. I play tennis so some days I would go to tennis training.

So in short, my evenings were pretty varied, to say the least.

Tips For Studying Natural Sciences At Cambridge?

Final Words

I hope you have gained a greater insight into life at Cambridge and, in particular, the Natural Sciences course. I absolutely love Cambridge, the city and the uni have so much more to offer beyond just academics.

If you are not sure whether or not to apply, my advice would be just go for it! Because at the end of the day, what have you got to lose?

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Applying to Cambridge is immensely competitive, and you must give yourself the best chance of success. We help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive NSAA score and teach you how to Interview effectively – covering all areas of your Cambridge application.

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