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Student View - The 'Personal Excellence Plan' at Manchester Medical School

by YPU Admin on June 2, 2020, Comments. Tags: biology, biology medicine health, BMH, medicine, Research, and student view

Introduction

My 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 globally.

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!

Going Further...

 

Student View - Work Experience for Your Medical School

Introduction

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 daily needs.
  • 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. 

Going Further...

To find out more about Medicine at Manchester - https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/medicine/
To find out about entry requirements and more about the course at UoM - https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2020/01428/mbchb-medicine/
Find out ways to volunteer during the Coronavirus pandemic - https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavirus-volunteering

 

Student View - Studying Physics at University

by YPU Admin on May 29, 2020, Comments. Tags: Physics, science, STEM, student view, and UoM

Introduction

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 experimental laboratories.

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.

Going Further...


 

Student View - Engineering is for Everyone

by YPU Admin on May 28, 2020, Comments. Tags: Engineering, materials, materials science, science, STEM, and student view

Introduction

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 it!

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:


 

Student View – What is it Like to Study Mechanical Engineering?

by YPU Admin on May 27, 2020, Comments. Tags: careers, Engineering, mechanical engineering, Research, STEM, student view, and UoM

Introduction

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 pay. 

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 degree.

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: