Alex Jenkins – (Natural Sciences, 3rd Year)
FROM: British, living in the Netherlands.
SCHOOL SUBJECTS: IB Maths, Physics, Chemistry (higher level) Further Maths, English Lit., Geography, Dutch B (standard level)
Why Natural Sciences?
Natural Sciences (affectionately known as “NatSci”) is a great course! Lots of people recommend it because it gives you so much flexibility to study whatever sciences you want and gradually figure out what you’re interested in. Don’t be put off if you’re already pretty sure you know what you want to specialise in though: I came to uni knowing that I wanted to specialise in physics, and the NatSci course has been perfect for that. It’s hard work, but you get to learn a lot of really fascinating stuff, to a level of detail that most other unis don’t reach. If you love physics, or science in general, then Cambridge is *the* place to study it.
What advice would you give prospective students?
Come to an open day, if at all possible. Not only will it help you decide where you want to live and work for the next 3+ years, but I found that it really motivated me to get the grades I needed to get in! Other than that, try and do something outside of school which is related to your subject – find an internship, go to talks/events/competitions, or even just do some reading into the parts of your subject that you find interesting.
Any specific interview advice?
Try as much as possible to be calm, and be yourself. Your interviewers won’t care about who you are or what your background is, they just want to see that you’re (a) good at your subject, (b) really passionate about your subject, and (c) willing to tackle tough problems. One important thing not to do is to just sit there in silence: if you don’t understand something, then just say! The answers won’t be immediately obvious, but that’s because they’re not meant to be. Just say whatever comes into your head about how you’d go about solving the question.
Has Trinity Hall lived up to your expectations?
Definitely. The main reason I went for Tit Hall was the fact that it’s a smaller college, which has a reputation for being really friendly and laid-back – and three years in I can say that it definitely is!
What do you do when you’re not working?
I’ve spent a fair amount of time rowing (give it a try! it’s good fun), but other than that I like going to watch debates at the Union, or just generally seeing the vast variety of pubs/talks/shows/miscellaneous social events that Cambridge has to offer.
What’s your favourite thing about Trinity Hall/Cambridge?
Definitely the people. There’s such a great, interesting, friendly community here – especially at Tit Hall.