A Day in the Life of a 2nd Year Neuroscience and Psychology Student

Hello! I’m Stella and I am about to finish my 2nd year on the Neuroscience and Psychology course here at King’s College London. In this blog, I’ll be taking you through what a typical day in the life looks like for me as a student. I do a lot of different things at uni, so every day looks different for me. What I do in a day is usually dictated by how much work I have and other social commitments.

7.30-9am This morning, I have a 9am seminar so I wake up a little earlier than usual. After my alarm goes off, I go downstairs and make a coffee for both myself and my flatmate Amy- something we alternate each day. We like to chat for 30mins in the morning, just to catch up and make the early start a bit less painful. At 8.30 I head to campus which is Denmark Hill, and thankfully I only live around 25 minutes away by bus, so I can get to my class in plenty of time.

9-11am I now have a 2 hour practical for my Cognitive Brain module. In the lectures this week we focused on functional connectivity in the brain. One of the best ways to directly view this is through fMRI, so our professor let us play around with some fMRI data using a neuroimaging package AFNI. This package contains lots of neuroimaging data from real people that you can access and learn from. Below is an example of a participant who has had their brain scanned, and the red and blue areas are the active areas which light up after doing certain tasks. We then tested our knowledge which included naming brain structures that showed correlations with other structures, amongst other things.

An example of the software that we use to view fMRI images

11-11.30am Along practical in the morning always tires me out, so I decided I needed a coffee. My friends and I headed to the Wohl café where we grabbed a drink and had a quick chat. As a way of encouraging students and staff to get tested for Covid-19, King’s offer a “get tested, have a drink on us” scheme whereby presenting a negative test taken in the past 24 hours gets you a free hot drink. I make use of this offer frequently as it means I can save a bit of money whilst also being sure that I don’t have covid.

11.30-1pm I then head to the Weston Education Centre (WEC) library where I grind out some lectures. Today I’m going over my Electrophysiological brain content before the practical tomorrow, where we will conduct an EEG on our peers!

1-1.30pm I meet my friends again for a quick lunch. I usually try to prepare my own lunch since it’s cheaper, but today this didn’t quite go to plan. If I don’t have the time or ingredients I usually go to the canteen, which caters for many different dietary requirements. I grab the vegan meal for £5, which is a veg burger with sweet potato fries.

1.30-4pm Once lunch is over, I head back to the library for a few hours. Once I finish my lecture content, I move on to preparing for my presentation on Thursday. As part of our Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience module, we give group presentations every other week on a research paper that our tutors send to us. This week, my group received a paper about hearing regeneration in mice. This paper describes how mice who lost their spiral ganglion neurons after injury were able to regenerate these through an application of growth factors and a drug which is used in epilepsy. This enabled them to hear again; something which had never been seen before. It was my job to prepare the introduction and conclusion, so I scanned the paper for the main points before condensing it onto my PowerPoint slide.

4-7pm I hop onto the 35 bus and go to Brixton where I meet my friend for a bouldering session. The climbing gym is brand new and huge, so it feels like we have the place to ourselves. As students, we get a reduced rate. We spend a few hours testing out some new routes before heading home for dinner.

A picture of my favourite climbing gym: Substation

7-10pm My flatmate and I have a meal plan which we do most days. Usually, it’s just the two of us but today my other two flatmates join as it’s our favourite: tikka paneer wraps with raita taken from Mob Kitchen. After eating, we catch up on the latest episode of the Apprentice.

10-11.30pm I then head upstairs to bed, where I go over some final admin. As the vice-captain of my netball team, I needed to make sure that we had enough umpires for our netball match tomorrow, so I send them a quick text. I then spent 30 minutes reading my latest book and scrolling through TikTok before turning the light off and getting a good night’s sleep.

Total money spent inc. transport: £19

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