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My first year studying science

16 December 2016
What is the first year at uni really like?

At the end of this first year of university, Bachelor of Science (Advanced) student William Zhou looks back on his experiences.

This time last year, my UAC preferences and I were in a perpetual struggle of deciding what to pursue after high school.

I had flirted with the idea of joining the army instead of going to uni. Come January when UAC preferences were about to be locked in, I was in complete panic mode.

Then, on a flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, I found myself squished in between an elderly Malaysian couple for eight hours without any inflight entertainment. I was forced to converse with them. I got to thoroughly know their children, their idealic family size (8) and their aspirations of Australia. I came away from the flight knowing that I loved the feeling of being in the unknown; meeting new people and grasping new cultures. I knew then that I wanted to go to uni. And it was the University of Sydney that I wanted to attend.

When UAC preferences were about to be locked in, I was in complete panic mode.

Having fun at Science Society Camp

I had considered doing a course in finance or accounting, but always one to always try before I buy, I elected to do a course that allowed me plenty of flexibility before needing to specialise in one particular area.

I selected the Bachelor of Science (Advanced) because it was a solid platform to try many areas before majoring in a particular field.

My eagerness to discover the unknown was exactly what happened on my first day of semester. 

I met people from places I had never even been or heard of before; a girl doing chemistry from Singapore, another doing medical science from Emerald and one doing nursing from Scotland Island. University brings people from across the world together into one dynamic campus.

I’ve had the opportunity to do writing units from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as well as undertaking malaria research as part of the Chemistry Special Studies Program. I’ve even seen my own DNA! Being part of this environment has enabled me to form what I'm sure will be life-long friendships, some of whom I will be flying to Africa with for a beach getaway!

You are able to meet so many people who have similar interests. I joined countless societies, filled with people passionate about similar things. I’m in the Magic Society (you can’t have the Hogwarts quadrangle without it) where I’ve learnt almost every disappearing card trick there is and attended the Science Society camp where I was able to get to know my cohort. I even have friends who now host their own radio program at USYD’s SURGFM!

I get taught by professors who are leading their respective fields and dedicated to helping you learn

Dr. Alyssa O’ Brien one of my lecturers. I’m in my student ambassador gear here!

I get taught by professors who are leading their respective fields and dedicated to helping you learn.

My chemistry lecturer A/Prof Chris McErlean is available anytime during the day for help. While my physics professor Professor Tim Bedding even has an asteroid named after him (231470 Bedding)!

I also decided to become a student ambassador because I wanted to help other year 12 students through the anguish of trying to decide between university courses.

There is so much opportunity here and I just want to assure you that everyone finds their home at the University of Sydney.