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Natural Sciences (Psychology) - Sophie Catt

Why St John’s?

'I hadn’t completely decided what subject to apply for when the open day came around, so just signed up to the open day of a fairly central college that offered all the courses I was considering. When I got here, I fell in love immediately – the atmosphere of the college was amazing. The facilities offered by John’s (like free laundry, the gym, the JCR) are amazing, and much better than you’ll find at a lot of other colleges.

Having come from a state school that didn’t send many people to Oxbridge, I was worried that I’d be surrounded by loads of posh people and that I wouldn’t fit in. It’s nothing like that! Everyone’s really friendly with each other, no matter what background you come from.

I was also worried about the workload, but it’s not as scary as it seems. If you’re ever struggling, there’s loads of people you can talk to, whether you need an extension on a deadline or just a comforting hug from the nurse.

I’m involved in the JCR committee, who act as a go-to point between students and College authorities. It’s a great way to see all the different sides of John’s, it doesn’t take up too much time, and it makes you feel good that you’re doing something to help other students.'

Why Natural Sciences?

'I chose Natural Sciences because I wanted to continue on with aspects of all of my A-levels, and this course gives the opportunity to have a very broad focus early on. In my first year, I did Maths A, Biology of the Cell, Physiology, and Evolution & Behaviour. I found that my experimental subjects complemented each other well, but many people choose to do less obvious combinations – NatSci gives you that possibility.  For my second year subjects, I focussed mainly on human biology with Physiology, Neurobiology and Experimental Psychology, and I’m now in my third year doing Psychology.  When I was applying to university, I didn’t even consider that I would end up doing Psychology, but going through the NatSci Tripos has allowed me to specialise more and more each year on what interests me.

The teaching of Natural Sciences at Cambridge is done mostly at a university level, but supervisions are mainly taught at an individual college level.  As one of the largest colleges, St John’s has many fellows with wide-ranging specialisations, so almost all supervisions will be within college with Johnian supervisors.  The location of St John’s is ideal for Natural Sciences – about halfway between the Chemistry and Physics sites, with the Downing and New Museums sites (where most Biology lectures and practicals are held) even closer.  The college library is very well stocked, with a whole floor for Sciences.'

- Sophie Catt, graduated 2012