A Day In the Life of a Third Year Chemistry Student

Hi! I’m Owen and in this post, I’ll be taking you through a typical day in the life of a…

Hi! I’m Owen and in this post, I’ll be taking you through a typical day in the life of a third year Chemistry with Drug Discovery student. With 4 modules on the go, placements to apply to, a part time job and a relationship I have a lot going on. Luckily in my foundation year, year 1 and year 2 I learnt how to manage my time effectively so in this post I will be giving you a run-down of my typical day.


university notes strewn across a table

My timetable tends to change each week but luckily this year I only have 1 or 2 morning lectures a week. Despite this I still wake up at 7am each day. I usually spend the first 20 minutes after this trying to convince my body it is awake by watching some tik toks and turning on my bedside lamps. After this I will have a quick shower then eat my breakfast whilst watching a tv show.

By 8am I’m ready to start the day. I always make sure to have a weekly and daily to do list ready. Check out my post on to do lists here. I spend my morning doing pre and post work for my lectures as well as ensuring that I have my COSHH and prelab work for that week done ahead of my labs later in the week. I typically do this in 1-hour sessions with a 5-minute break in between to ensure that I don’t spend too long on one area and get bored, but also so I don’t go crazy.

I usually make lunch at home and ensure that I have at least half an hour break to refresh and have a clear mind ready for my lectures in the afternoon. If I am doing work on campus before this, I will take some food with me or get a meal deal on the way to campus.


Students on campus

3/5 days midday means the beginning of lectures. I start with a 12pm-2pm then a 3pm-5pm. These lectures can vary from my core chemistry modules to my business regulation and ethics for the pharmaceutical scientist module. As I have dyslexia, I find it much easier to take notes on my laptop than I do to hand write. This also means that I can have a whole module worth of lecture notes all in one document that I can easily search through for anything I need. In the break in between these lectures, I will either go home and snack or head to the swan with some of my course mates for a snack and a catch up.hn


A person running

After my 5pm lecture I head home and get changed into my running clothes ready for my casual run with the Athletics and Cross-Country society which starts at 5:30. This usually lasts 40 minutes to an hour I then head home and have a shower. I find that running really helps clear my mind and reset for the evening. For more info on this check out my post on how getting outdoors can be great for your mental health. After eating my dinner I will either head to work (if I have a shift) or do another hour or so of work before settling down for the evening and putting on an episode of Drag Race.


A job application being written on a type writer

If you are a third-year chemistry student and are on the integrated masters programme, then now is the time to start looking and applying for placements. In the last month I have applied for over 35 placements and this can take a lot of time, energy and commitment. What you need to remember when it comes to the process of applying is to make it as easy for yourself as possible. To do this, every time I fill out an application form I copy my answers into word so that I can reuse them for other forms that have similar questions. After doing the first few you will realise that you will be able to now do them much fast as you have several templates that you can draw from.

Lab days:

A person using chemicals in a science lab

Once a fortnight I have a 9-6 lab day. This day is split into 9-1 in the lab doing your experiment, a lunch break from 1-2 followed by continuation of your practical and analysis of your product using the instrumentation suite in JBL. As long as you pay attention during the prelab seminar and get your COSHH and prelab done before the lab you should be good to go!

Study days:

a person studying alone

At least once a week I have a day off. I use this day to catch up with anything I missed off my to do list from the week before. Making the most of these study days will allow you to remain on top of your work rather than getting overwhelmed. I am also starting to use this time to do research into topics that I could potentially do my structured project on ahead of choosing this in January.

If you are currently a first year or second year I hope this post has given you a great insight into what to expect later on in your course!

Good students aim for good grades. Great students aim for understanding.

Maxime Legace
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