Life Away From The Bench

College and University

All PhD students at Cambridge University belong to a college. For most people, the college forms thier first point of contact with Cambridge away from the lab. Many people live in college accomodation, at least during their first year, and this provides a great way to meet other students outside the lab.

Each college is different, but most provide sporting facilities and a lively calendar of social events organised by the college's MCR (Middle Combination Room). The graduate students of each college are known collectively as the MRC, and each MRC has a committee, which is responsible for organising social events and looking after the welfare of the Graduate Students.

University-wide societies cover almost every interest: mountaineering, wine tasting, sailing and debating to name but a few. Go tot he Fresher's Fair in the first week of undergraduate term in October to find out more.

The University also provides academic opportunities that compliment life at the LMB. As a University member, you are entitled to attend any lecture (just contact the lecturer first to make sure it's okay), and you can take advantage of services like the Language Centre, which offers free language courses, literature and opportunities to improve your language skills by getting to know native speakers. The School of Biological Sciences also offers courses specifically for graduate students in biology, which cover topics ranging from computer programming to presentation skills.

Check out it's website for more info:

Finally, if you are interested in teaching in the future, it is a good idea to get some experience now. Graduate students often supervise undergraduates in their specialization area, and you should talk to someone at your college for more information about this.