Hi I’m Sam, I studied geography at the University of Portsmouth and I’m one of the co-founders of Get My Grades! In this blog, I’m going to tell you a little bit about what it’s like to study geography.

Throughout secondary school, my aspirations of what I wanted to be when I grew up changed dramatically! Whether it was going into law, finance or something more creative, I could never really make up my mind about what my future would look like. I always enjoyed my geography lessons at school, in particular, the physical side of the subject. So, when it came to choosing what I wanted to study at university, I chose geography as I knew that I enjoyed it and I’d rather do a subject I enjoyed as it would be much more rewarding and easier to motivate myself!

My method for choosing universities was probably seen as ever so slightly dubious by some of my teachers; I had my heart set on Royal Holloway because when I went to their open day, one of their undergrads did their thesis study on a volcano. I just couldn’t get the images of this student standing at the crater of a live volcano out of my head! How much fun would that be! My remaining four choices were taken up by universities situated on the south coast. Growing up in London, I thought it would be lovely to live by the sea for a while as I enjoyed sailing and scuba diving, and so this pretty much dictated my following four choices.

On A Level results day, I got the marks I needed to get into Royal Holloway; however I decided to turn this offer down, as I had not been offered halls on campus and my desire to live by the sea helped me make my decision.

As I had accepted my offer to Portsmouth rather late, it also meant that I couldn’t get any accomodation in halls, so I went to some sort of ‘student accomodation speed dating’ evening, where we could meet other students in the same position, socialise that evening, and go house hunting with whomever you had grouped with the previous night. Luckily for me, Luke, from my secondary school was also coming to Portsmouth University and in the same position as me, and at the accomodation evening, we met Annie, who was looking for accomodation with Jack, who she also knew from secondary school.

As for my course; I absolutely loved studying geography at university. The first year was mainly spent learning the foundations in both ‘physical’ and ‘human’ geography, and from the second year onwards you got to specialise more in the niche parts of geography that interested you. I absolutely love skiing, and snow, and in my second year I got to go on a weeks research trip to Kevo in Finland! I ended up writing my dissertation on the snow distribution in Kevo over the previous five years, which in terms of any long term impacts of climate, is far too short a period of time to draw any useful conclusions from.

Overall, my only piece of advice would be to follow your heart. Doing what you enjoy most will usually see the best results, because you are more driven to be involved because you actually thoroughly enjoy what you are doing!

So what are you waiting for? Learn more about where you can study a Geography degree on the UCAS website here!

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