Stephanie – Neuroscience student

If you have always wondered about how the brain works or would enjoy studying the disesases that can affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s, then read on to see how being a Neuroscience student could be your next step.

What attracted you to this job?

I have had a passion for the ‘workings of the mind’ from a young age. Although initially interested in psychology, I wanted to approach the brain from a scientific perspective. Neuroscience is the perfect intermediate between psychology and biology!

What does your typical day involve?

It really depends on the time of year! During term time, I will attend lectures and read scientific articles. In the summer, during a lab placement, I will spend most of the day in the lab. Last summer I stained mouse brain sections and looked at them under a microscope to see if early diet affected the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

On a day-to-day basis, I really just love learning new things. In the longer term, I think it’s great that I am contributing to a very large body of scientific knowledge. Some of the things I have worked on may lead to better understanding of diseases affecting the brain.

What do your friends and family think about your job?

They think it’s great! My parents are always asking me interesting questions about the brain: “What are memories?”, “Will I grow new brain cells?”, “How does vision work?”. It always leads to fun conversations! However, some of my friends think I’m mad for staying in education for so long. It can be hard sometimes, with exams year after year, but for me the lectures and practicals more than make up for it.

Tell us more about your environment in terms of work-life balance

I’m currently an undergraduate so although I work hard there’s always loads of social events to attend. I have several hobbies, which I also manage to cram in!

How did you get to where you are today?

I took GCSEs, then did A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths, French and Psychology (I did 3 years at college!).

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following your path

Try to get as much lab experience as you can. There are some schools programmes which encourage lab placements and this can tell you if you’ll really enjoy doing science as a career.

How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for someone in your field, and how much can this be expected to rise?

At the moment I’m paying the university, not the other way round unfortunately!

What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax?

I love pole fitness! It’s essentially about using a pole to do aerial acrobatics, while building strength, balance and fitness. I also play the flute and enjoying reading science-fiction novels.

Have there been any embarrassing moments?

None that I’m willing to tell you about!