Ruth Arnold

2020, Biology

Doing my undergraduate in Biology at Oxford, nestled within the Pembroke community, has been an exciting journey. In the lead-up to my final exams, I tried to strike a good balance between academic and extra-curricular life. It was a very rewarding time, as I planned a couple of exciting summer internships working in the Amazon rainforest and on coral reefs on Nusa Lembongan Island. I also volunteered as the vice president for Oxford Development Consultancy, which helped me to contextualise a lot of the conservation, ecology, and sustainability theories that I was learning in the biology course. 

The examinations themselves involved a range of skills development - from coding and statistics to essays and presentations. Two stand-out moments come to mind from this period, one of which involved working on my presentation project titled 'Psilocybin - medicine for the future?'. This research explored the potential application of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of mental health disorders. In allowing myself to fully engage in the topic, including meeting with some of the leading researchers in the field, I found the sense of work greatly diminished. The other stand-out moment was working on a coding project modelling species distributions under different climate change scenarios. As coding is not my strongest area, I remember spending many hours following coding tutorials and asking countless questions. This meant the final product was all the more fulfilling.  

I want to encourage everyone who doesn't feel 'good enough' because I've been there. In and amongst various personal hardships of the past 3 years, I have been surrounded by wonderful tutors and fellow students who have helped me along the way. So thank you Pembroke!