name is Minahil Qureshi and I am currently a third year medical student at the
University of Manchester, and prior to this I hold a first class degree in BSc
Clinical Sciences. It is a huge privilege to attend a Russell Group university
that is so well known for its research, and through the Manchester Medical
School, have been lucky to do my own research as part of the course.
What is the Personal Excellence Plan?
During the five years of the medical course, we undertake a module called the
‘Personal Excellence Plan’ (PEP), which becomes more advanced as each year goes
by. This is a module that we have the ability to really make our own and can
tailor it to fit our future career goals and research interests.
During my first year, I carried out a group project to create a scientific
poster about the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the possible reversal of
diabetes. I also wrote a solo report summarizing my main findings. Creating a
scientific poster is very different from the kind you may create at school, but
thankfully we had a very knowledgeable tutor who helped to facilitate our work
and guide our research in the right direction. I really enjoyed this project,
as it gave a good taste of how to create and present scientific work, and also
how to collaborate with others on research, which is so important locally and
For my second year PEP, I wrote a mini dissertation about my chosen topic: ‘The
link between mental and physical health’. I am extremely passionate about
highlighting this relationship, because knowledge of the many factors affecting
the two forms of health can help us to combat the adverse effects on our
wellbeing. My work was greatly commended by my tutor, and they asked for it to
be showcased on the website for other medical students to look to as an example.
This piece of research is definitely a noteworthy highlight for me thus far as
a medical student!
This year, I was really excited to do my third year PEP, as I had transitioned
into the clinical years of my degree, and thus the PEP was also set to be more
clinical. The work from this project had the potential to directly impact
treatments and patient care, and could have even been published in a scientific
journal or presented at an international conference! These accolades would look
brilliant on any doctor job applications in the future, and so really
emphasises how useful this PEP module is at Manchester.
I had been lucky enough to secure my first choice research project, which was
going to be based at Salford Royal Hospital in my current favourite specialty:
neurology. Neurology is all about the brain and its function, and I truly find
nothing else more fascinating, thrilling and impactful. Unfortunately, due to
COVID-19, this dream research project was cancelled.
However, I was not distraught for long, due to the wonderful kindness of my research
supervisor. Despite the fact that my supervisor is a senior neurologist on the
frontline, they took the time out to email me about the possibility of writing
a mini report that could get published! This is now something I am doing
separately from the PEP module, but this has only been possible due to the
professional networking that this module gave me the opportunity for.
I hope this report goes well so that I can repay a little bit of my supervisor’s
kindness! At the University of Manchester, it is the eagerness to teach and
generosity of talented academics that really makes the experience of being a
student here one of a kind. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Applying to medical school can often be a daunting
experience that seems like never-ending hurdles! However, piecing apart a good
application can be helpful in finding out what will make you stand out from the
crowd. My name is Cameron and I’m a final year medical student at the
University of Manchester, in this blog I will focus on a key part of any
medical school application: work experience.
Classically work experience is perceived to be countless
hours following doctors around a hospital. Although this can be useful, many
other activities are equally acceptable to talk about in a personal statement
or at interview. The key concept universities are interested in is
demonstrating that you have experience in a caring environment. This can range
from volunteering in an elderly care home, shadowing a GP or other healthcare
professional in primary or secondary care, or caring for a friend or relative
with additional needs. The idea behind this is to gain an insight into what it
is like to care for someone else and crucially what you learned from it.
When it comes to work experience its quality over quantity.
Describing your time in a few settings is much more beneficial for your
application than listing all the departments you visited in a hospital. The
most important part to write about, and a crucial skill to develop for a career
in medicine, is the ability to reflect. How did the caring experience make you
feel? What did you learn from it? How has this benefited you? And crucially,
what have you observed that will change how you act next time? Reflection is a
crucial skill that is continuously needed in a medical career. Showing that you
can talk about not only what work experience you did but how it gave you an
insight into medicine, showed you what skills are required as a doctor, will
make your application stand out from the rest.
Finding Work Experience
It can be hard to find work experience opportunities, but
here are some tips that can help:
- Ask the relevant member of staff at your
school about possible opportunities in a caring environment or any work
experience schemes ran with the local NHS trust.
- Look online to find
opportunities for shadowing and volunteering.
- Phone up your local care home or
charity to see if they are willing to allow you to come and help out, whether this
is something as simple as chatting to elderly residents and supporting their
- Charities are always welcoming additional support so this experience should
be easy to find.
Currently during lockdown, it is difficult to find these
opportunities however you can still use your time effectively. Take up a new
skill or hobby that you can demonstrate requires the vital skills of a doctor.
There are numerous volunteering opportunities observing social distancing that
you can take part in, for example participating in schemes that telephone
isolated individuals who are particularly vulnerable in lockdown. Also, keep an
eye on university websites and social media channels to see what is suggested
for those seeking to study medicine.
It’s good to bear in mind that any form of work or
volunteering can be discussed at the interview or in your personal statement to
demonstrate the skills and experience you have. Whether this is working is a
supermarket or helping out with your local sports team. Think out how skills such
as leadership, teamwork, reflection, timekeeping, and organisation can be
discussed and applied to why you would make a great medical student.
My name is Yulia Yancheva and I am currently a third-year
MPhys Physics student at the University of Manchester. The Physics course at
UoM is a combination of theoretical and mathematics subjects, programming, and
How is Physics Different at Uni?
One of the main differences between university and high
school is that at university, the degree is focused mainly on one topic, in my
case Physics. This allows students to gain a lot of subject-specific knowledge
in significant depth. For example, in Physics, we do not only learn different
subjects, but we also learn how to think like physicists. This allows us to
often know the answer to questions that we have not seen before just because we
have enough knowledge of the basic physics laws in the world that surrounds us.
Another major difference between high school and university
is that in university, students are mainly independent. This means that it is a
personal choice for each student how to organise their time and make sure they
are up to date with all new material. There are lectures, tutorials and
workshops that help us to organise our time but we do not have a teacher who
makes sure we have attended and learned the new material – it is our
responsibility to do that! Everybody tries to keep up with all the new lessons
because at the end of each semester we have exams where we can show what we
have learned during the semester.
Physics at Manchester
I have studied a very diverse range of subjects during my
university degree in Physics. For example, in my first year, I had a module on
astrophysics and cosmology during which I learned about stars, planets,
telescopes and the Universe in general. I also had a module on quantum physics
and relativity, which was taught by Prof Brian Cox. During this module, I
learned about time and space as scientific concepts as well as about black
holes and even various scientific paradoxes.
Apart from the theoretical subjects, I also spend a lot of
time in the experimental laboratory. For example, in my third year, I was
working with graphene – this is a material that was discovered by Professor Sir
Andre Geim and Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov at The University of Manchester
for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. I spent four
weeks in which I was investigating the electrical properties of graphene and I
found the work very interesting and engaging – it felt like real research. Here
is a photo of myself doing a task that was required for this experiment – I was
handling ammonia and hence the safety goggles and the face mask.
At the University of Manchester, Physics students work in
pairs in the laboratory. We also have lab demonstrators who introduce us to the
experiments and help us if we get stuck. However, in third and fourth year,
most of the time students work with their lab partners without the
demonstrators being there all the time. This makes the lab experience unique –
there is a lot of brainstorming going on between lab partners and it almost
feels like solving a puzzle.
My name is Gabriele and I was born and raised in the marvellous lands of
Lithuania, but for the past 2 years I have been living in the UK. I am a second
year Materials Science and Engineering student at The University of Manchester.
Many people ask me what Materials Engineering is and why I choose this subject.
Well, I have always enjoyed Physics, Chemistry and Maths and I was searching
for a course combining all of them. Until, nanotechnologies and graphene popped
into my radar and without a second thought, I applied to the university where
graphene was found. As a teenager, I was always striving for challenges so studying a course with so many different fields (biomaterials, tissue
engineering, polymers, alloys, ceramics) was exactly what I was looking for.
Why I Like Being an Engineer
Engineering is the most male-dominated field in STEM; therefore, whenever
I tell people my degree, I receive stereotypical questions about
being a female in engineering. Engineering captivates me as I am in lectures
with world-class researchers and this inspires me to improve personally, contribute
to society using tools of engineering and make a difference. Being so
interested in the academic world, I asked my favourite lecturer if I could do a
summer project in his team. After my first year at university, I got an
internship at Manchester Institute of Biotechnology where I conducted research
on self-healing polymers, made from oxidised lactose.
Imagine getting a one-page long description of an experiment, where no
measurements, concentrations, catalysts are given and you have to make a final
product, which in theory, when pressure is applied, should be able to recover
the tears. I was working with extremely time-consuming and expensive products
and every small mistake could cost a lot of money but because of my hard work,
the results of this extremely challenging project surprised the PhD students
and raised eyebrows of post-doctorates. No one expected the first-year university
student to succeed and be able to contribute to the academic paper – but I did
Why I Joined a Society
Universities are famous for their range of different societies. As I was
interested in Aeronautical Engineering, I joined Flight Simulation society where
I soon became a part of the committee. During my time here I expanded my
knowledge by designing my own aircraft with some help from Aerospace Engineering
students and in my second year in the society, me and my teammate (we were the ‘strangest’
team, as I was the only female participating and he is a first-year student)
designed a vertical take-off and landing aircraft and were chosen to represent
the university at an aircraft designing and handling competition in the United
States of America.
It is such an amazing feeling to be surrounded by like-minded people who
are passionate about their field of studies and it has encouraged me to learn
more and participate in discussions about new concepts. In the beginning, it
was difficult to be a part of this society as I had no knowledge how an
aircraft works, but slowly I became equal to all other members and involved in
socials and events. This year, I taught first-year members how to
use flight simulators, shared my experience about ‘living conditions’ in the
simulator room and got to fly my aircraft in it with the full motion power – I
felt like I was a real-life pilot!
What Lies Ahead?
During my second year at university I found out that Rolls Royce
together with Target Jobs were conducting a competition for Female Undergraduate
of the Year. Over 800 applications were sent and only 20 students were invited
to attend an assessment centre in Rolls Royce. Proudly, I can say that I was
one of those females. They were 2 amazing days, filled with networking, getting
to know the company and finding out possibilities for after I graduate. One of
Rolls Royce’s goals is to have more senior female engineers and attract them to
the engineering world. This company conducts a wide range of projects where you
can put yourself in a position of a real engineer and what it feels like
working there and I really saw myself undertaking the challenges in a world-leading
company and who knows – maybe in a couple of years I will go back there and
lead a group of apprentices into the engineering world.
I cannot imagine studying another subject. Engineering
intrigues me every day with new technologies, new materials being invented, and
it gives me many different opportunities to improve.
Read more about engineering here:
Hi, my name is Abdullah. I am 21 years old and currently in
my second year studying at the University of Manchester. I study Mechanical Engineering
which I find exciting, inventive and fun! So, what is it like and what can you
do with an engineering degree?
Why I Chose Mechanical Engineering
First, let’s see the many reasons for studying it. I chose
the course so I could become an engineer primarily because I enjoy STEM subjects.
Studying engineering has enabled me to use the topics I liked the most in one
course: Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Furthermore, being an engineer provides
the opportunity to apply your knowledge to real-world situations and be
creative every day, solving real-world problems. Additionally, the rapid and
constant developments mean the subject will only become more interesting and
engineers will be more and more sought after. There are always plenty of jobs
and you will never be bored with what you do.
A Day in the Life of a Mechanical Engineering Student
On a typical day, I wake up at around 7.30 am and travel by
bus to the university which starts at 9 am most of the time. With around 6 or 7
hours at university, the day is made up of a mix of lectures and tutorials
spread over 2 campuses: Main Campus and North Campus (where engineers are
mainly based). On North Campus, lectures are always in the Renold Building. Also, there
is the George Begg Building with exceptional computer facilities. This is where
I prefer to work with friends; 2-3 hours of study is required each day. Finally,
to research for assignments, I go to North Campus’s Sackville Street Building
library for books.
In terms of work outside classes, this contains coursework,
reports based on previous lab sessions or rewatching lectures once uploaded
online to further grasp the concepts. In addition, there are tutorial sheets
that I need to attempt before the tutorial class. These are questions based on lectures
in the past week of that module then the class tutor goes through the solutions.
While this seems like a lot, there is still plenty of free time if you chose to
study Mechanical Engineering!
What Can You Do With a Mechanical Engineering Degree?
Using the Careers Service and career fairs at the
university, I have learnt about options you have after you finish the course in
lots of detail. The obvious one is to become a mechanical engineer which most
students do. Mechanical engineers are mostly hired by the aerospace, automotive
and manufacturing industries. After the course, you can also do a Master’s
degree which is another 1-year degree. With this, engineers are able to become
chartered engineers in the future which means faster career progression and increased
Surprisingly, there is considerable demand for engineering students in investment
banking too. Generally, it is working as an analyst to predict market trends
because students are taught the numerical and analytical skills applicable to
the role. Alternatively, I learnt at a university career fair that there is
also scientific research in engineering as an option but this requires an extra
Overall, I would conclude that studying Mechanical Engineering
has a lot of benefits and an extensive range of excellent career prospects that
it leads to. To learn more, details can be found on the university website in
the links below: