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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:


 

Student View – Is Computer Science for You?

Introduction

My name is Gladys. I am doing my Master’s in Advanced Computer Science at the University of Manchester. Growing up watching movies portraying how scientists achieved some of their missions using various intelligent computer applications made me fond of computer-related courses. That's why I did a BSc degree in Computer Engineering. As the world is now technologically based and computing is the foundation of so many advancements happening in this digital era; my passion for computer science has been enhanced.

If someone asks me why I wanted to study Computer Science at the University of Manchester; my answer would be that I wanted to study this course at one of the best Universities in the UK and the world. With enough lecturers who know their area of interest intensely, it has led to the production of graduates/experts who are doing well in the computing industry hence inspiring new applicants like me, to opt for UoM.

Why You Should Study Computer Science

Everyone at one point wants to be a problem solver and the most important aspect of computer science is problem-solving! Most successful businessmen such as Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft), the late Steve Jobs (founder of Apple), and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of  Facebook) are from the computer science industry. As a computer science student, you will study the design, development, and analysis of software and hardware used to solve problems in a variety of business, scientific, and social contexts.

Here's some reasons why I think Computer Science is such an important degree:

  • Computing and computer technology are part of just about everything that touches our lives from the cars we drive, the movies we watch, to the ways businesses and governments deal with us.
  • Computing enables you to make the difference in the world as it drives innovation in sciences from impacting the health industry, automation of the majority of business processes, and enhancing our social life just to name few.
  • Computing jobs are among the highest-paid and have the highest job satisfaction.

Why Manchester?

The University of Manchester is the best place to highly consider as it has state-of-the-art computer laboratories, experienced lecturers who provide constant support whenever you need it, big libraries with about 4 million books, the list goes on! UoM is home to great scientists who transformed the computing industry. Alan Turing, the pioneer of modern computing and a great Mathematician; and Thomas Kilburn, who invented the world's first electronic stored-program computer also known as "Manchester Baby". To honor them, the Computer Science building is named after Kilburn and the school of Mathematics building is named after Turing.

The computer science modules at all years of study are interesting and very engaging preparing you for a prosperous career, with room for modifications/improvements to keep up with the industry demand. I am confident in saying that this course has everything one would wish for in this computing industry. There’s room to learn modules such as software engineering where you will learn various programming languages such as python and java; machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, etc. and you can do modules from other courses too in order to strengthen your knowledge base.

The career path for computer science students is smooth as there is a huge increase in demand for computer science professionals all over the world. Some popular jobs are data scientists, software engineers (programmers and developers), cybersecurity specialists, game designers and developers, IT consultants, information system auditors, machine learning and artificial intelligence experts and so many other opportunities.

The Alan Turing Building on UoM Campus

Is Computer Science for Me? 

This is the one question most of you desire to get answers when you are faced with several options especially when it comes to University and degree selection. It is not necessary to be certain about what specialty in computer science you would like to follow. Just have some passion for technology and you will find yourself in the richness of this beautiful computing world. 

Keep calm and join computer science. The current and the future is digital!

To learn more about Computer Science at UoM, please visit: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2020/00560/bsc-computer-science/entry-requirements/ 

For more information about Computer Science careers visit: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/computer-science


 

Student View - Managing Your Wellbeing at University

Introduction

Hi. I’m Eve. I’m 20, a third-year Law student at UoM, and I have a mental health condition. There’s so much I wish I could tell my first-year self about managing my condition around University, so I thought I’d share some tips with you! Here’s how to manage your wellbeing at Uni.

Social life

Don’t worry about being ‘cool’

  • I spent lots of time in my first year of University trying to seem cool. I felt the pressure to socialise rather than spending some much-needed time alone, because I didn’t want to miss out on anything or lose potential friends. As much as socialising is great fun, don’t worry so much about constantly being around others especially if you’re an introvert who likes time alone. Good friends will understand the need to balance socialising and resting, and won’t make you feel bad about it, either!

Do what you want to do

  • A healthy social life will look more active for some, and less active for others. It might involve sports, or chess, or computer games – no two people are the same! If you prefer watching a film to playing football, choose accordingly. There is a society for everything at Uni, so take advantage of this opportunity to meet like-minded people and make good friends. If you love classic films, go to film society and skip football. And, don’t make apologies for it!

Try new things

  • If you’ve never tried needlework before, or photography, or creative writing – but you’ve always wanted to give it a go, now is the time! University is about dipping your toe into the water of adult life; and making your own choices. Trying new stuff is great fun, and you might develop a new interest you’d never have experienced if you hadn’t tried.

Look after yourself

  • Eat a balanced diet, exercise, and get enough sleep. Have a routine you follow each day and make looking after yourself part of it. This will help promote a stable mood, which is so important especially in Uni. You’ll enjoy social interactions so much more when you feel good. Something I’ve learned is that skipping an event to re-charge and rest will make the next event you do attend even more enjoyable.

Give it time

  • Uni is a huge transition. It is often the first time in your life you’ve lived away from home, not seen your friends’ every-day, and this first taste of independence can be very hard to swallow. It’s normal to feel awkward at first. Just remember – everyone feels the same way, and this alien territory will be your new normal before you know it.

Academics

Take it slow

  • Assessments and deadlines can be very scary. Days at sixth form are much more structured and controlled than at University, and sometimes independent learning can feel so overwhelming and can trigger anxiety. You will get better as you progress on your programme, and you don’t need to ace your degree in your first semester or even your first year. Your academic performance isn’t a measure of character or intelligence. You got onto your course for a reason – remind yourself of this in moments of doubt.  

Schedule

  • In first year, I worked excessively and I burnt myself out, which had a really negative impact on my mental health. If you plan your deadlines, assignments and exam dates onto a calendar and work for a specific amount of time a day over a longer period, you’ll be doing more than enough. This will also leave plenty of time for self-care.

Speak to someone

  • When I first started my degree, I didn’t even consider informing the School of Law of my mental health condition – that felt like asking for special treatment. It was only in my second year that I reached out for support; informing the Disability Advisory Support Service (DASS) of my diagnosis and difficulties. I wish I’d done it sooner. UoM wants to support you. DASS offers confidential advice, additional learning resources and can put measures in place to help you perform to the best of your ability such as podcasts, deadline extensions, and exam support. If I could go back, I would have been upfront about my condition from the start. UoM don’t consider mental health conditions to be weaknesses, and neither should you.

Most importantly...

Be kind to yourself!

  • UoM doesn’t consider diagnosis as a part of your identity. Mental illness is something they work with you to manage to maintain a normal, happy life. So, don’t be ashamed. Prioritise your mental wellbeing when applying to a University in the same way you would other factors such as course modules, accommodation costs, and campus facilities. Ask questions - do you have a counselling service, a DASS department, what’s your view on mental health in the student population? And, when you get to Uni, be open and honest and they will support you. Remember - you deserve to enjoy and fully participate in University just the same as any other student, and with patience and self-awareness, you will lead a happy ‘student life’.

Below are some resources that help me maintain good mental wellbeing during Uni:

  • https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/my-possible-self/ - This app allows you to track your mood, then collates the data and provides insight on any patterns in your moods (helps identify triggers). Also lets you focus on different topics which might be helpful to you, such as overload, low mood, etc.
  • https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/student-health-app/- Student Health App. Includes tips and resources for physical and mental health support, actions to take, self-care tips, and resources for emergencies. Turn to this in a crisis or to inform you about the link between lifestyle and mental wellbeing.
  • https://moodspace.org/ - A great app designed to change your thought patterns and improve your mood based on CBT strategies. Includes small tasks to be done once a day to improve wellbeing.
  • https://www.elefriends.org.uk/ - A lovely platform where you can share stories and experiences and connect with others who have mental health conditions. Helpful for when you’re feeling lonely.


 

Student View - The 'Living At Home' Experience

by YPU Admin on May 21, 2020, Comments. Tags: Humanities, Law, live at home, stay at home, student life, and student view

Introduction

As soon as you get the confirmation that you have been accepted into university, your mind goes all over the place - planning what you will do. For many, it is sorting transport and moving away to your very own place. However, the side of this journey that is not always seen is those who decide to stay home, like me. When I got accepted to the University of Manchester, I knew immediately I was going to stay home. I am not a very adventurous person and have never even left Manchester without my family. I had no idea staying at home would be an adventure in itself. My name is Faryal and I live at home with 8 other people whilst studying Law at the University of Manchester.

The Ups and Downs of Living at Home

Staying at home does have many positives. I do not have to pay rent, bills and I do not need maintenance loans. I help at home when I can but it costs considerably less than having my own place. Travelling to university comes at a cost but compared to travelling home on the weekends, it is much less. I personally believe staying home has helped with my mental health, being surrounded with people I am comfortable with and have lived with my whole life.

Staying at home, however, is not all money-saving and family time. It does come with its struggles. Peace and quiet are pretty much non-existent in my home. It is also more difficult to make friends when you do not live with other students. Travelling to university can be hectic in itself as there are specific times you must be there and busses coming on time is as rare as sunny British weather. The biggest issue is definitely how to make the most of university when living at home, how to live the true university experience.

How to Make the Most of Uni

These disadvantages can be overcome. I cannot stress the importance of these tips and wish I really took full advantage of the opportunities. The most obvious way is to join a society or volunteering. Freshers Fair at the University of Manchester is full of societies signing up new members. There really is a society for everyone. The best thing about joining a society or volunteering is you are surrounded by people with the same interests as you, whether it is Mixed Martial Arts or Accounting you are interested in. The Manchester Students’ Union lists all sorts of different societies. Listing the societies you are interested in as well as being spontaneous and trying something new is the best way to go for Freshers.

Seminar groups really push you to meet new people. The best advice I could give is when you talk to people in your seminar group, ask for a way to contact them. Whilst you may seem shy, they probably want to ask you the same thing.

As a home student, seeing other students already knowing each other, it could really affect your confidence, not only in making friends but also speaking to people in general. During the beginning of my first year, I found myself barely participating or asking for help. It is so important to push yourself within the first few weeks to participate in seminars and ask for help when you need it because you can then fall into a habit of being withdrawn and quiet. It can be really daunting at first and you feel like everyone is watching you but it soon becomes second nature. It is so vital to ask for help when you feel your mental health is not the best it could be. The University of Manchester counselling support is amazing and really can make the difference. University is such a special experience and getting into university is a fantastic achievement so you should really make the most of it.

One thing I love about the University of Manchester is the campus. The greenery, the libraries are all great places to spend your time. Instead of rushing straight home, go to the library or even take a walk around the campus and just enjoy the experience.

Staying at home is as ‘boring’ as you make it. It can really be the best experience if you take full advantage of all the opportunities you have. For me, whilst the beginning of university was really difficult, once I pushed myself and became more social around the university, I really loved it and cannot wait to start my next year, surrounded by my family when at home and by friends when at university.

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