Former A level Environmental Science, Geography and Maths student Isla talks about her experience at Callywith and studying Ocean Exploration and Surveying at Plymouth University.

Previous School: Sir James Smith Community School

Courses studied: A level Geography, Environmental Science and Maths

Extra Activites: Netball Academy

Progression: Ocean Exploration and Surveying - Plymouth University

How are you finding your course/experience at university?

My course experience out of lockdown was amazing. I have had lots of theoretical lectures as well as lectures based on case studies. Out of the lecture theatres we've also gained practical hands on experience using CTD, ADCP, Velocity Profiling equipment and much more. My experience in lockdown has also been very positive with lectures being held from the boats and streamed to us via Zoom. Normal lectures have also been adapted to make content more engaging from our rooms! We've been able to access software from home that allows us to practice modelling and presenting different datasets.

How did your time at Callywith influence and support your choice of/transition to university?

Callywith was very supportive with the transition to uni and wanted you to make the best choice for you. In my case I wanted to study something based on the Geography and Environmental Science route and when looking at universities they were able to show the degrees which wouldn't normally be the generic route but options that could work well for you and are in full support of that. When I found that the University of Plymouth offered Marine Science related degrees it really showed that the advice and guidance I got from Callywith paid off in getting where I wanted career wise.

What do you enjoy in particular about studying Geography ?

I enjoyed Geography at Callywith because not only did it introduce relevant real world content, but it also showed that these things occur locally and it's scenarios that you can encounter in everyday life. For example, the trips that are on offer as part of the Geography A-Level are fun as well as informative and apply classroom teaching to outdoor teaching which I found really helpful when sitting my exam as I could relate well to what I'd seen. The classroom lectures are also made fun to keep everyone engaged and you're treated like an adult where it was easier to make that step to university. I chose to study Ocean Exploration and Surveying because I really enjoyed the Coasts module and the physical geography at A-level as well as the science aspect of the environment which I got from the environmental science A-Level. My degree pulls aspects from both A-levels and is very industry based which I enjoy.

How have your A Levels helped you in your degree?

My A-levels have helped a lot in my degree. Where most people had narrow options for their A-Levels Callywith was able to provide A-Levels that can expand and project your learning and put you ahead of many other applicants. The content delivered in my A-Levels was very broad, and broad enough where such a narrow fielded degree like Ocean Exploration and Surveying encompases a lot of what was taught an A-Level where it is then slightly expanded into your area of interest. 

What are you hoping to do in the future?

In the future I hope to go on to do a masters after my undergrad degree and hopefully look at either consultancy or go into renewable energies in and around Cornwall. I feel Cornwall has a lot of resources that can be used to create clean sustainable energy and it would be great to make Cornwall a hub of environmental change.