Graduation Profile: Emma Watson

Emma Watson, 24, from Wrexham, attended Coleg Cambria before graduating from Bangor University with a degree in Zoology and Conservation

How does it feel to be graduating?
Amazing, a long time coming and so glad all the hard work has finally paid off!

Background…
I have always wanted to study Zoology at university, but at GCSE level I only managed to get a grade C in Science and needed a B to study Biology at A-Level. Even though I had a B in Biology this was not enough, so I saved and paid to resist my GCSE science exams along with my AS-Level exams. Unfortunately, I got exactly the same mark as the previous year, so I left college half way though second year. I worked for a few years in retail and left a Supervisor job to attend an Access to Higher Education course at my local college. After a year I managed to achieve the qualifications needed to study Zoology with Conservation at Bangor.

Why Bangor?
Being the first in my family to attend university, I wanted somewhere close but not too close and after attending the Open Day (on Halloween) I fell in love with the University and city. Also, the chance to go to South Africa on a field trip was very tempting!

Working while studying...
I worked continuously throughout and travelled from Wrexham to Bangor each day. Working and travelling was difficult but a necessity, so I never really thought too much into it.

Student Experience...
I got a place on the South Africa field trip in 2017 which was the best time of my life. I was then asked to come and assist on the Uganda field trip in 2018 as a field assistant helping the year below with their work. I volunteered at the National Bat Helpline and also at the Welsh Mountain Zoo throughout University. My dissertation on the Little Terns at Gronant gave me practical experience as well as the chance to build a network of connections. My dissertation gave me the knowledge to apply for the Warden job with Denbighshire Council this summer, and I got it!

Overcoming obstacles while studying...
The travelling was probably the hardest part as I missed out on a lot of activities outside of study. The fact that I came from an Access course rather than A-Levels was quite a struggle, especially during exam periods. The Warden job was quite a task in the beginning as I had my interview on the Thursday before handing in my dissertation on the Friday and starting on the Monday!

The future...
Having secured a job in conservation before even graduating, I am hoping this will keep me on the right track towards a more permanent position, I’ve also been in talks with the Wildlife Trust about jobs in the future and would like to stay close to home.

Publication date: 19 July 2019