Sophie Wright – Student Profile

Sophie and DogSophie Wright from Edinburgh discovered her passion for horticulture whilst gardening for her elderly neighbour and her family. Looking to take that passion further Sophie started at SRUC to study for an NC in Horticulture and is now studying for an MSc  in Sustainable Plant health. We asked Sophie about her time at SRUC and what advice she has for prospective students.

What made you choose SRUC?

Honestly, it was the only place that provided the courses I wanted to do in Scotland and moving down to England just wasn’t an option.

What have been your highlights from studying at SRUC?

Meeting some incredible people – lecturers and students alike. SRUC isn’t like an average college, the people that come here are weird and wonderful which constantly makes it interesting. It was also very eye-opening to discover how broad the subjects are. I came into the course not knowing what to expect and each year I have been reminded of how extensive the industry can be. I came in not knowing where to even begin and slowly started to find my feet. You are introduced to so many different aspects of the industry, it’s nearly impossible to say that it is boring.

What do you want to do after you complete your course/what are you doing now?

I am now studying MSc Sustainable Plant health at the University of Edinburgh. When I first began studying at SRUC, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. In fact, I had no idea what I wanted to do until I got into 3rd year. I started asking my lecturers questions and was referred to specialists in particular fields who discussed their jobs and interests with me which helped to choose the path I am following now.

Any particular obstacles you have overcome?

I was never an academic. I hated school and nearly dropped out of HNC because I was failing all my assessments. I realised that my studying method wasn’t working so I had to change my way of working and thinking which was extremely difficult – seeing as it got me through high school. I am a very hands-on person and I never imagined myself getting anywhere near where I am now.

My health had not been particularly good during my time at SRUC; I was diagnosed with an incurable condition which can affect my studying.  I was also hospitalised during my 3rd year which had taken a considerable toll on my studying. I came extremely close to deferring after having missed so many classes and struggled to keep up. But I kept in regular contact with my advisor of studies who ensured the university could accommodate to my needs which helped tremendously and I managed to get through the year and achieve the results I needed to get into 4th year.

Sophie in labHow was life on campus?

Oatridge was absolutely amazing. Between the canteen and the outdoor space with such an array of planting and open space, it was hard not to fall in love with the college from day 1. Plus there was plenty of space to play with their machines too!
Edinburgh was very different. Edinburgh shares a campus with Edinburgh University which has countless cafes and open spaces to sit outside. You feel like you are in the centre of a town and you’re never further than a short walk away from a coffee shop.

How did you find the facilities at SRUC?

I have found that all campuses are very different. Oatridge has their own café and bar. Because Edinburgh shares its campus with Edinburgh University, we are able to use most of their facilities and cafés.

Advice or words of wisdom to prospective SRUC students

Whether you feel that you are good enough or not good enough, you will never know unless you try. I struggled all the way through my studies but the lecturers are always there to help and advise. They don’t want you to fail either! Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, and don’t ever be afraid to fail. My honours dissertation project failed massively right from the start but I forced myself through and still passed with a decent grade. I was told to “quit while I was ahead” by friends and colleagues after receiving an A for my HNC – I now have a BSc Honours degree in Horticulture.

Anything else you would like to add:

An NC is not “just an NC”. It’s the grounding for your future.  It was one of the best years of my life and I will never forget it.

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