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William Fenwick - Geography

I applied to study Geography at St John’s after completing AS Levels in Geography, History, Religious Studies, English Literature and Spanish, with the desire to pursue my interest in the social, political and economic systems that underpin the world today. The first year course here has provided an excellent grounding in the subject, with modules spanning from environmental economics and geopolitics to glaciology and biogeography. The contemporary relevance of the course is unrivalled, with lectures covering the Paris Climate Agreement in November and, in the final term, the EU Referendum.

The weekly timetable for first year geographers is, roughly, 5 or 6 lectures, a two-hour practical and one supervision, with slightly more hours in the second term. Material covered in lectures is broad, as both human and physical geography are compulsory, and there are two end-of-year exams testing knowledge of concepts. This is complemented by five pieces of coursework based on practical sessions and fieldwork. Overall, the workload is manageable with roughly 10 essays per term, giving time to pursue interests both related and unrelated to your course.

Having initially been concerned that physical geography would be inaccessible due to my essay-based A-Levels, my first supervisions (small group discussions with an expert in the field) put this fear to rest, with Dr Arnold, the Director of Studies at John’s, providing excellent support and conveying information about complex physical processes in a way human geographers can understand! Likewise, those with A-Levels in the Sciences found there was excellent support in human geography essays and supervisions.

St John’s has been an amazing place to study. A large, historic college, even after a year here I am still meeting people I have never spoken to before, and am still in awe of the architecture. I was worried about being overwhelmed by the grandeur of the college, but there is a definite community spirit here, and you soon become accustomed to college life. There is a wealth of academic and extra-curricular opportunities, meaning that, whether you’re writing an essay on the causes of the financial crisis, playing Frisbee on the backs, socialising, learning a language at the language centre, or taking part in access work, you certainly won’t be sitting around doing nothing.