Life as a fourth year


Before I’ve even had time to blink, yet another fortnight seems to have flashed before my very eyes. Unlike the clock of St. Salvador’s chapel which appeared to have stopped ticking momentarily last week, time here in The Bubble certainly does anything but stand still. Not wishing to begin a countdown towards the moment that my days as a St Andrews student reach their end, I cannot help but feel a pang of sadness at the thought of its imminent arrival. It does not help that many members of our Saint editorial team are but babies (pfft, second years!), and that I thus experience flashes of intense jealously at the knowledge that they still have time left. Time in which to continue with a job that I have completely (and rather unexpectedly) fallen in love with.

Having thoroughly enjoyed everything that zoology has thrown my way, I must admit that my final year as a newfound ‘Saint’ has already contributed to something special. I have come to the conclusion that our team motto should be something along the lines of ‘work hard yet play harder’ (I think that this translated into Latin would be so much classier, as conveniently we have several classicists at our disposal). Having worked around the clock to publish our first issue of term and launch a brand spanking new website – both of which I am incredibly proud of, well done team! – we then rewarded our efforts by partying into the early hours at our hugely successful Old Course event, warming Ryan into his new old flat, and most recently cheering on as ‘St Andrews, Gray!’ countered Paxman in the opening round of University Challenge.

I always knew that I enjoyed all elements of text; at school I achieved my best grades in English classes, I have been an avid reader ever since I can remember, and I take great pleasure in listening to the words and stories of others. Why on earth then, did I not know sooner that the world of print may be calling?

Working with such a dedicated, intelligent and highly focused editorial team makes me equate my hard work with the student paper to that of a full-time, professional job. The team of writers signed up to Features are eager to provide this section with unique and interesting pieces, and I have now appointed four very promising sub editors to help keep me on track this year. Keen to ever expand on the section, I am now introducing a science theme to the mixing pot, in the hope of combining my current education with my desire to write and report. Science is not all about the lacklustre, middle-aged and balding men donning white laboratory coats, and I often think that an overhaul in how the scientific world communicates with the outer is required to break down the rather dull façade often given to the discipline.

A module that I am taking this semester is focusing on the question of evolution within human behaviour, which is in itself the most captivating of topics. It is remarkable to read and learn about the scientists (Darwin, Galton, Lamarck, Spencer, Lorenz, and Tinbergen, to name but a few) who managed to advance so radically the way in which we view our species, simply through a handful of influential papers and the words enclosed within. Science to me is a truly fascinating concept, encompassing everything from the latest photographic updates of Mars, breath-taking breakthroughs in stem-cell research, agricultural implementations to prevent mass crop failures, or even studies attempting to understand the intricate spatial memory and learning behaviours of Rufous hummingbirds. How better to communicate these extraordinary occurrences then through the world of publishing?

Anyway, I digress. I fear that I may now fancy myself a bit of a National Geographic-er, explorer-come-author…

Life as a fourth year is still daunting, but by gosh it is also a heck of a lot of fun!


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