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Generation Green: Ariane Rees, 21

Generation Green: Ariane Rees, 21

Ariane Rees, 21, Pharmacology Student

Irish Heritage

My maternal great-great-grandfather was a Deery who emigrated to Australia from Derry around the 1850s.

Dreaming of the Green

Ireland is a bit of a distant fantasy for me. I imagine untouched rural greenery; warm people with a cheeky sense of humor; ruins and castles from distant centuries.

I would love to visit Derry and see where my grandfather’s family originally came from. I would hang around various towns to experience the atmosphere and try the local food, as well as visit historical places that are unlike anything I have grown up with in Australia.

All the Irish people that I have met over here seem so friendly and happy: I remember an Irish friend in primary school called Aoife Nugent, who was the funniest girl in the class.

By the Book- Studying Science

I really love my Science studies, so I have found the right path: I am majoring in Pharmacology and minoring in Microbiology. I was always drawn to science and really loved maths at school. I will probably end up doing postgraduate study as well, so it is a long journey. Ideally, if I get the marks I would love to sit the GAMSAT medical exam for postgraduate students, which is a very common route to doing a medical degree. It’s an arduous four-hour exam, so it’s pretty intimidating.

Funnily enough, for a really long time I wanted to do Law because I'm good at speaking on my feet and making an argument: I loved debating in high school. I wanted to be a barrister but when I got older and realised that I hated essays, the thought of having to pore through large cases and masses of text for ages put me off.

Science has always appealed to me - plus I like the thought of being with and helping people.

Medicine marries those things, so it seems more and more interesting to me. The great thing about choosing the life of a scientist is that it is an ever-changing realm. It will never stay stagnant and I will always be learning new things.

Being a female science student used to be rare, but now that depends on the subjects. In my Chemistry tutorials there are only two girls in our group of nine - yet in my Biology subjects the ratio is more like 60% -70% girls. In general, girls are definitely more attracted to Biology type subjects but things are really changing for women in science.

Older women have told me that a lot more girls are taking an interest in predominantly male areas such as Statistics or Computer Science, compared to when they were studying. My Data Science tutor told me that when she was studying about five years ago, she was the only girl in a lot of her tutorials - whereas now it's pretty even.

Ultimately, I see myself focusing on the Chemistry arena. Both people and organisms are pretty fascinating! If I don’t go into Medicine or the health sciences then I could delve into maths and computers, even trying Engineering. I am so glad I ended up going into science in the first place, which allows me to branch out into so many other degrees and professions.

The world post-outbreak of Covid-19 has made studying a lot more isolated, which can be challenging. I spend a lot of time by myself; it’s easier to lose focus or get distracted when watching a three-hour laboratory demonstration without the live spark of a group class. It’s also hard because I have never met half the people in my course, so the current climate is a lot more
anti-social. University life is usually the time when people make lifelong friendships. Sometimes I wish I could have more companionship while doing this course, swapping advice and sharing the same experiences.

Out on the Land

We Aussies are a down to earth, friendly lot. I believe that Australia’s multicultural influences from around the world have helped form us into the open people we are: we can kind of get on with everyone. I love the sun and grew up on the beach. My grandparents used to live in Tin Can Bay, a lovely coastal fishing village on the Sunshine Coast, where we would spend a lot of time over the Christmas holidays.

I have loved to ride ever since I can remember, about four or five. My mum is a country girl from Moree, about four hours northwest of Sydney; it is real inland, bush country. She would take my sister and I up there to visit my godparents every holiday. I started to head up there by myself every school holidays to spend time with the horses and help out on the farm.

I have trained one of the horses, and helped out with the cattle mustering, which is moving cattle and other livestock around the property. Cattle are really good to move in a group: they have a follow-the-leader mentality, whereas sheep can sometimes head in different directions. One person will be on a horse, and maybe someone else on a bike or ute. You have to move and manipulate them across the property - sometimes along stock routes, which are big areas of grass that are next to highways and roads in the country.

My godparents gave me a horse who was quite young, so I was just so comfortable with him and could happily jump on or off and head out for a ride. Moree is really flat, so there are such beautiful sunsets. It’s that very Australian dusty, dry iconic landscape. Peppy is a black, absolutely gorgeous horse whose coat becomes a deep, rich chocolate in winter.

Every few months during one of my uni breaks, I take him out for a ride towards the horizon. The sky will be melting into gold and it’s almost like a meditation. Riding out in the great wide open, as well as learning about the world at a microscopic level, is my happy place.

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