Rab Kassie-Sheeran

How did you first decide to study a Biology-related degree?

I chose to study biology as it was my favourite subject at second level. I had a great relationship with my teacher and this certainly contributed to my enthusiasm for the field. I am also from an agricultural and veterinary background, I believe I had fascination for the living world from a very early age.

How did you decide to study at St Andrews?

I didn't originally intend to study at St Andrews, but my secondary school in sixth form brought us to a University Fayre for attracting prospective students. I came across the St Andrews stand and spoke to a few of the students representing the University there. They really showed their passion and fervour for this place, and from that moment on I knew I would definitely apply here. Fortunately, I was offered a place here and excitedly arrived here that September.

What are some of your degree highlights?

I think my biggest highlight as a biologist in St Andrews, was figuring out what I want to do in later life – biology teaching. I took the 'Communication and Teaching in Science' module, where I visited a secondary school over one semester. During that time I was given responsibilities in the classroom, helping out and answering question, which eventually culminated in me getting the opportunity to lead the class for a lesson of my own.

Other aspects that led to my development as not only a biologist, but a well-rounded person in general, was the modules that required a lot of presentations and talks from students. Many people may be reluctant to do this at first, I cannot emphasis enough how beneficial it has been to me, enhancing my public speaking and communication skills which I know will essential in later life.

The third highlight of my times studying biology, was the, I believe unique relationship between students and staff members. Whether it was discussing issues, seeking and advice or just having a friendly chat. I found biology staff always approachable and ready to assist, something I've heard can be non-existent in other institutions. And something I think that has been particularly advantageous to us St Andrews students.

What do you do outside class at St Andrews?

I have been heavily involved in the South Asian Society here, this is the largest cultural society in St Andrews. Our aim is to promote the culture, tradition, dance and food of South Asia (India and its environs). I filled three important committee positions; Secretary, Treasurer and President. Working with a large committee really improved my team work and leadership skills. And I was responsible for handling relations between the committee, member and student union. In my opinion, this has added to my skill set and general management abilities, as well as contributing material to my CV.

What did you learn about yourself while at the University of St Andrews?

I learnt that I am quite a patient and level-headed person. I realised this developing during my time here as I was becoming less panicked over assessments and exams. This was not because cared less, but because I think St Andrews does equip you with skills for being able cope and manage work. St Andrews also allowed me to get in touch with my South Asian side (I'm half-Indian), which I'd never discovered prior to University. I found I really enjoyed cultural events and Bollywood dance nights.

What advice would you give anyone considering a Biology-related degree at St Andrews?

Definitely get up to speed with statistics computer programmes, particularly 'R'. This will help you enormously in completing assignments and lab reports successfully. Also, if you have any doubts, do speak to current students or members of staff – they should be to answer your questions.

What is your next step?

My next step is moving on to become a teacher, I start teacher training in London in September. After that, I haven't decided where to teach.

name: Rab Kassie-Sheeran
degree: Biology

Rab Kassie-Sheeran