Jamie Mars was initially considering an apprenticeship but found he had a knack for academia after commencing a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at James Cook University (JCU).
“Chemistry is one of the pure sciences, but it’s an applied science at the same time. It is the applied nature of chemistry that I really like, compared to maths and physics which are a lot more theoretical. For all Science disciplines at JCU, regardless of your major, you do general science subjects which cover a lot of science for the Tropics.”
It’s not only the application of chemistry that Jamie likes but the way the course is taught as well, particularly the teaching staff.
“A lot of the pracs are interesting and fun. The teaching staff are really animated and not monotone, which I think some people expect of lecturers. JCU has got a much more laid back atmosphere and a much more laid back mindset compared to a lot of other universities. The lecturers, tutors and general teaching staff really feel like normal people and they’re not afraid to have a laugh.”
After being away from study for a number of years and moving to Townsville to take up the degree, Jamie found there were some challenges to adjust to.
“I hadn’t done any academic study for the previous six or seven years so working out how to study was one of my biggest challenges, but moving to Townsville wasn’t hard at all. Any suburb you move to here gives you access to a supermarket, doctors’ surgeries and all of those necessities. Nothing’s far away.”
Jamie also notes the University’s free facilities for students and staff members who cycle to the Douglas campus.
“There are bike racks everywhere for people whoride their bikes to campus and shower facilities for those who ride a long way. There’s also a bike pump outside the library.”
By studying a versatile degree, Jamie is able to work in a variety of industries which use the skills obtained with a major in Chemistry.
“I’m looking at a couple of options, either a sugar chemist or a polymer chemist, but my dream job is to be a high school science teacher or a lab tech for the mining industry. Chemistry permeates just about every industry. You will find chemists everywhere and a degree in chemistry can lead you into a number of fields. You can find a job just about anywhere in chemistry if you look.”