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Life As A Food and Nutrition Student

Are you curious what it’s like to be in the shoes of a nutrition student? Have a glimpse into a typical day, or better said, what you can expect while studying on a Food and Nutrition degree at Newcastle University.

Work, eat, sleep or…not… REPEAT!

Nicoleta, second year Food and Human Nutrition student by the Tyne Bridge

Nicoleta, second year Food and Human Nutrition student

7:50 I wake up sleepy, a quick snapshot of my busy day is enough to remind me I cannot be late for lectures and I drag myself out of bed.

8:15 I try not to skip breakfast, but if I do I will grab a banana or any handy fruit to have it on the go, otherwise you would face the humility of your rumbling stomach complaining to all of the class that you haven’t given it food yet. So I have my usual oats porridge with soya milk and a bit of honey.

A useful tip to save time in the morning is to prepare your porridge the night before: heat the milk before, add 3-4 tbs of your oats to it, cover with cling film and let it sit overnight at room temperature. Next day your oats will be fluffy and the only thing you need to do is to pop it in the microwave, 2 min and your breakfast is done!

Can you tell I am a Food and Human Nutrition student?!

8:30 It takes me 20 minutes to be just in time for the first lecture, I rush to get through the crowd of students.

9:00 At this point there are a couple of options of how my day proceeds:

Milk sample in a petri dish 1. Some days it’s Immunology up at the Medical School, about 5 minutes from the main campus so I’m in a rush to get there in time (my trusty water bottle is my salvation). It’s a 2 hour lecture, introducing us to the different types of micro-organisms, the concept of microbes as infectious agents and the defense systems that have evolved to combat them.

It’s a tricky subject sometimes but I try my best to concentrate and take lots of notes.

2. I have a 3 hour lab for Food Microbiology until lunch time. Today we are testing if milk has been pasteurised or ultra-pasteurised correctly in 3 samples of commercial milk brands.

It can be tough but my lab partner is there to help me whenever I am stuck with calculations and to be honest, writing reports is actually not that bad (for me it’s far easier to write a report than writing up an essay).

11:00 I’m in urgent need of a coffee and I am craving sugar. I have just an hour before the next lecture so I head to the Student Union shop to buy a chocolate bar and then cross over to EAT@CENTRAL to grab a cappuccino.

12:00 Another lecture. I am looking at a slide that has a diagram explaining what are the principles of countercurrent extraction. It’s quite a difficult subject but I know if I don’t understand I can speak to my lecturer or do some extra reading.

The majority of our lectures are “Re-Capped”, which means they are recorded and then uploaded online, so I can always revisit them if I have had a lapse in concentration!

13:00 It’s lunch time, finally! Today it’s a store bought sandwich and an apple. It is never easy to just pick something to eat, looking at the nutritional label and comparing between prices has become a habit.

If I find an available computer in Students’ Union then that’s the usual place I eat my lunch. While eating I chat with my friend to see how far on she is with her essay and I ask a couple of questions regarding today’s microbiology lab.

As part of the course we have to apply for a placement, so while talking to my friend, wondering how to improve my essay, I open a few websites that might offer a 9 month nutrition placement. I scroll through the requirements, check the deadline and decide to apply.

Lunches can be busy times too, there will always be things that need to be done.

Nicoleta in the lab

14:00-17:00 Usually we have 2 more lectures, which might have a 2 hour gap in between. If this is the case I would just go to Students’ Union and work.

Instead of lectures we sometimes visit food producing factories or farms. We’ve visited the Greggs production site of sausage rolls, Northumbria biscuit factory and many more. But the most memorable of all was the beer brewing practical.

We went to a beer producing lab and created our own beer, how exciting is that! I even got to take 5 bottles of the beer I made with me home, needless to say I made my grandpa really proud!

18:00 I return home, I make dinner and then I head back to Robinson library. I make sure I take plenty of snacks with me and tea bags. If I finish lectures around 4 pm I also go to the gym.

19:00 Once at the library I am just a regular student around others. Occasionally working until 12 to finish a report or assignment.

The library is open 24 hours a day during term time so there is always enough time to write a report or revise. Sometimes I pull an all nighter and stay in the library overnight, but that doesn’t happen very often. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really need to finish an assignment that is due the next day!

24:00 Walk home, Sleep, Wake up next day and Repeat.

What about my social life? The weekends are my special rest days that I spend with my friends, either watching a movie, cooking together or just playing board games.

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