A week in the life of intercalated Zoology and end of term reflection…

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A week in the life of intercalated Zoology and end of term reflection…

A post by Holly, BSc Zoology Intercalator…

My first term has absolutely flown by! Overall, I am loving the course. The content is always engaging, and although it can sometimes be quite challenging to get my head round, I never feel as stressed as I usually do – mostly because I know this year is purely for my own enjoyment and not essential knowledge for a veterinary career!

I have already completed five out of my six lecture units so it’s been a pretty hectic term with not as much free time as I was anticipating! Thankfully though, this means that things should be a lot more relaxed after Christmas. One of my favourite units was “Staying Alive” – I found all the information about different types of camouflage fascinating! As a vet student, “The Ecology of Food Production and the Farmed Landscape” was right up my street (and probably the easiest unit to understand), building a lot on the food production, parasite, and insecticide lectures I’ve had in the past. “Sensory Ecology” was definitely the most challenging – there was a lot more physics involved than I expected!

On top of these units, I have also been working on a practical project. This is done in pairs – my partner, Tirion (also an intercalating vet student) and I have been looking at the feeding preferences of birds to assess whether there is a difference between high fat and high protein food during winter. This involved a lot of trips out to a nearby nature reserve, and many hours of watching back video footage, but seeing the results come together in the past few weeks has been very rewarding! We are currently in the process of preparing a presentation and writing up the report.

Here’s what a typical week looked like for me last term:


2 lectures – “Staying Alive” and “Communication and Cognition in Animal Societies”.


No lectures so a chance to catch up on some reading and work on the practical project.


“Staying Alive” lecture.


“Communication and Cognition in Animal Societies” lecture.


2 lectures – “Staying Alive” and “Communication and Cognition in Animal Societies”. Weekly practical project meeting with our supervisor in the afternoon – this was used to discuss ideas about experimental design, data collection methods, and towards the end of the term, data interpretation and statistics. Our supervisor has been so supportive and really helped us through the sections that we haven’t had much experience with in the past.

I’m excited to see what the next term has in store!

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