Category Archives: Student Profile

A Week in the Life of a Dental Student

Hi, I am Aurelia, currently on my 4th year studying Dentistry at Newcastle University. I am going to be talking you through my day to day life studying at the university.

Why do I want to study Dentistry?

I have been a very curious, caring, and crafty. As I grew up, I have enjoyed learning about how the world and human body works, so this naturally drew me towards science related subjects. I particularly enjoy doing the hands-on practicals and communicating with people. Visiting the dentist regularly during my teens for braces treatment inspired to think about Dentistry as a career. Dentistry aligned with my strengths and interests because it is a great combination between science, healthcare, and manual dexterity. So, I arranged to have a work experience at a local dentist and joined a summer programme to observe how dentists work. That experience confirmed my interest!

How does your week start?

I like to start my day with a workout. I live very close to the university gym, so it is very convenient for me to go in the morning. I feel great and ready to start the day after a workout. I make sure I have time to change and get breakfast to keep me going through the day.

As a dental student, I start university quite early compared with other students in different courses.

On Monday, I started my week with an early morning lecture at 8.45 AM (this is the earliest time we have lectures). We had lectures for about 45 mins to 1 hour, leaving some break for us to go to our lockers and get our lab coats for the practical at 10 AM. In the lab, I was studying about how I can restore people’s teeth with crown and bridges. The lab technician helped us to understand the making of the crown and bridges before dentists put it on the patient. That ended at 12.30 PM, leaving me some time to make my lunch at home. I was back to the university at 1.30 PM to prepare for clinics that starts at 2 PM. On Monday, I was in radiology, taking dental x-rays for patients who need it in the hospital to look at any disease in their teeth that we cannot see by eye. This x-ray will then be given to the dentist to help them make a treatment plan that is suitable for the patients.

Tools used for polishing the crown in the teaching laboratory

I have different clinical sessions everyday in which I practice different skills. Here is the typical week in dental school!

So, does that mean you start university at different times everyday?

Yes! In the university, we rely on our academic timetable and we go to different classes (more often also in different places) everyday. We are trained to be independent to do our own learning and be responsible to find our classes. Therefore, looking at our timetable is important so we do not miss anything.

What do you do on different clinical sessions?

In each clinical sessions, we focus on performing different treatments. In Newcastle University, we have 8 different clinical sessions:

  • Radiology: where we practice taking a good x-ray of the patients, whether it is inside the mouth or outside the mouth
  • Endodontic clinics: where we help patients clean the inside of their tooth. This treatment is called root canal treatment.
  • Prosthodontic clinics: where we practice to make dentures for older patients.
  • Outreach clinics: where we go to a community dental practice and treat patients depending on their need. It is a great opportunity for us to get used to practicing in a dental clinic and work as a team.
  • Child Dental Health clinics: where we treat young patients and prevent the progression of tooth decay.
  • Conservation clinics: where we treat adult patients with the aim to prevent tooth disease, save their tooth and educate them about oral hygiene.
  • Oral surgery clinics: where we help patients to treat infection or take diseased teeth out.
  • Dental emergency clinics: where we help patients to understand what was causing them pain and offer immediate help

These clinical sessions are highly supervised by qualified dentists who ensure everyone’s safety, we learn so much from their guidance.

Aurelia in the prosthodontic clinic with a very dental Christmas tree.

Do you have any days without clinic?

In a week we usually have a day or two where we don’t have clinics. This is a perfect opportunity for me to do some independent reading for my modules, or to do some extracurricular activities. I am involved in a society called Brush Up, which is an organisation leading workshops for reception or primary school children around Newcastle. In these workshops, me and other dental students teach kids how to brush their teeth properly. This is such a great extracurricular activity as I get to meet kids and practice how to engaged with them. It is helpful so I can improve on my practice in dental clinics, especially in Child Dental Health Clinics.

What other extracurricular activities do you do?

University offers a lot of activities through societies. You can think of it like a after school club! I love to dance, so I joined dance society! This is where I make friends outside of my course where we share similar interests. I go to dance classes once or twice a week. As this is a student-run society, I also volunteered to instruct one dance class per week as part of the committee. It is a nice break from studying and a great opportunity to sweat!

What do you usually do on the weekend?

On some weekends, I have part-time jobs to do. I am part of the Street Science team at Newcastle University where I teach the member of public, especially school children, about science. Usually, on Saturday, Street Scientists hold a booth in the Great North Museum: Hancock and where we explain science based experiments to the visitors.

My weekend activities varies depending on the university workload. If I have any assignments or revision that I need to complete, I would to do that. However, weekend is a perfect opportunity to recharge and refresh, so I tend to plan some catch up with friends, go to yoga class, or practice some of my dance routine on the weekend.

Do you have any tips for prospective students who are soon going to university?

For those who are deciding to go to uni and not sure what to study: Explore and try new things! It is challenging to decide a subject to study in the university as there are so many things offered there. For example, you like to eat and curious about how the food industry works, maybe try reading magazine or books that give you an insight into that industry and roles involved in it. If you know anyone in the industry, have a chat with them so you can ask your burning questions and get a feel of what working in the industry is like! When you try new things and get involved in more activities that seem to spark your interest or excitement, that will lead you to your answer eventually.

For those who have had a rough (or clear) idea about which subject they want to study in uni: Gain as much experience in those fields as possible! By searching opportunities in the subject area of your interest, in the form of an internship or short observation for example, you will be able to understand the skills needed and whether you suit that kind of environment. Also, look for the type of courses offered and the requirement they ask of you, so you can plan and aim to achieve that. Good luck!

Why I chose to study Marine Biology at Newcastle Unviersity

Marine Biology student, Demi, tells us all about why she decided to study Marine Biology, here at Newcastle University

Research

When researching where I thought I would want to go for university I simply googled ‘best places to study marine biology in the UK’ and Newcastle was one of the first to come up. The main thing I looked on the website for were the course content and the University’s reputation, neither of which disappointed! I found the course content and module choices at Newcastle were much more suited to my interests than any other universities I researched. Newcastle ranks 4th in the UK in the Earth and Marine Sciences category, has the TEF Gold award and is the only course that I researched which is accredited by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST). All of these things were really important in making my decision.

Facilities

The specific marine science facilities at Newcastle are another reason I chose to study here. They have their very own research vessel, the RV Princess Royal which gives us the opportunity to carry out our own research in the North Sea. On top of this is the Dove Marine lab, a university building right on the beach which is purpose built for marine research which I found very exciting!

View from the Dove Marine Lab

Field trips/ Placement year

One of the main things I looked for in university courses was the opportunities for experiences in the field. Newcastle university offers two field weeks in different coastal habitats around the north east plus a residential field trip to Millport in year one alone!

As well as the opportunity for a work placement at any organisation in the world between years 2 & 3 and the overseas field trip to either Portugal, Mexico or Bermuda in year 3.

Open day

My Open day experience at Newcastle was what confirmed the Newcastle was the city and the university for me. Attending open days for universities is so important and I would definitely recommend it if you can! The minute I stepped on campus I felt excited, it was this gut feeling (that I couldn’t get from the website alone) along with the amazing campus, extremely friendly student and lecturers that were happy to answer all of my many many questions that ultimately made my decision for me.

PARTNERS Scheme

The PARTNERS scheme was something unique to Newcastle that I didn’t find in any other university I applied for. It gives students from disadvantaged backgrounds a better chance at getting into university by reducing the grade boundaries subject to certain criteria and you attending a summer school. I attended the PARTNERS summer school in the July before I started and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, it gave me a head start to the lab equipment and online material as well as allowing me to make friends before I started in September!

City

Newcastle is a relatively small and lively city; similar to my own home city so I instantly felt at home here! It’s perfect for student life with the campus and student accommodation so close to the centre of town meaning everything is within walking distance which I really enjoy. The campus is extremely pretty and the people, both students and locals are all positive and friendly making Newcastle a home from home and the perfect place to spend my university years.

A Year in Industry as a Chemical Engineering Student

Chemical Engineering student, Rosie, gives us an insight into her placement year, working for AstraZeneca.

After my 3rd year of studying a 4 year integrated masters in Chemical Engineering, I worked as a Process Engineer at AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company for a year. The first thing I learnt from this experience is that a Chemical Engineer and a Process Engineer are the same thing. I actually think Process Engineer better describes the profession which is all about designing, developing and improving processes that make chemicals. AstraZeneca researches, develops and manufactures medicines for cancer, respiratory, kidney and cardiovascular diseases. I worked in the department that develops the process and technology used to manufacture the medicines.

During this year in industry, no two days were ever the same. My role included a variety of tasks and responsibilities allowing me to develop my technical skills as an engineer and increase my confidence to work in a professional environment. I also developed a lot of skills that will help me function in a graduate role, such as communication and time management, which are essential for effective teamwork. In the pharmaceutical industry, chemical engineers are involved in work to develop the manufacturing process, as well as facilitating manufacture of material at varying scales for clinical trials or commercial supply.

I worked on a project to develop the manufacturing process for a cancer medicine, completing a lab based investigation to gain understanding of a filtration process in the current manufacturing route. A normal day would mostly be spent in the lab. I ran a set of experiments over several weeks, each taking a whole day. The experiment aimed to measure change in concentration of a liquid when recirculated through a filter. There were 4 key stages in the experiment; set up the equipment, run the experiment while taking regular samples, shutdown and clean up the experiment, and then analyse the samples. Once the lab work was complete, all the results were analysed to draw conclusions from the project. I then shared my conclusions and learnings from the project through oral presentations and written reports, in order to maximise the learning of the company from my project.

Rosie and her colleagues on their placement year at AstraZeneca

I also worked as part of a team to facilitate the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals for clinical trials. The work I completed involved assessing the safety of the manufacturing process. Chemical plants have to adhere to very high regulations on pollution and emissions from manufacturing activities, and my work included checking any release of chemical from process into the environment is within the limits. I was also involved in altering the manufacturing site to install all equipment required to manufacture this particular medicine.

Despite being in a professional environment, I found there was still a strong social aspect with my co-workers. Admittedly this was not comparable to attending university with thousands of other students in a city, however at AstraZeneca there were social events at an office level and entire department level. There were also around 20 other students completing the Year in Industry, and I made some good friends and enjoyed exploring the city of Manchester which was only a short train ride away.

A Week in the Life of a Marine Biology Student… in the Field!

First-year Marine Zoology student, Demi, tells us about her experience of a spending a week at our Dove Marine Lab in Cullercoats and in the surrounding coastal area.

Monday

To start off the week we boarded the coach to the Dove marine lab; the university’s specialised research facility right on the beach. In our morning activity we learnt about the different types of keys that can be used to identify marine organisms, which is very important so that when you find animals out on the shore you can tell what they are. We then split into groups and tried making our own keys to identify people in our groups; this was a great activity as it allowed us the get to know our course mates better.

The afternoon was spend looking through seaweed samples and identifying all the little organisms living within the seaweed. I really enjoyed this as it highlighted that all the little and “less exciting” animals can be just as fun to look into as learning about the larger animals!

The view from the classroom in the Dove Marine lab

Tuesday

Back at the Dove Marine lab, Tuesday morning was spent out on the rocky shore of North Cullercoats Bay (battling the northern wind and rain), collecting all the organisms we could find (essentially rock-pooling). We found everything from crabs and fish to starfish, snails and limpets. In the afternoon we did scientific drawings of the organisms we found. For this we used the keys we learnt about the day before to identify the scientific names for all of the animals. My favourite was the bloody henry starfish (Henricia sanguinolenta)

One of the crab species we found on the shore; Carcinus maenas

Wednesday

On Wednesday morning we went to Black Middens, at the mouth of the River Tyne. Here, we had the chance to look at different sediment types in an estuarine environment and how this influences the organisms found there. It was such a beautiful place! We did field sketches, which is an important skill for ecologists and looked at the human impacts on the site. In the afternoon we visited the commercial fish quay at North Shields to look at the fishing boats and the types of fish caught in the North Sea. We also met the Quay Master who spoke to us about management mechanisms and fishing quotas, which was very interesting!

Black Middens

Thursday

Thursday was spent at St. Mary’s Island; a small island near Whitley Bay where we experienced a different type of rocky shore to the one at Cullercoats. We were introduced to the key identifying features of common rocky shore plants and animals and how they’re adapted to their place on the shore. We also had time to get all our notes and field sketches up to date before heading back to campus.

St Mary’s Island

Friday

To end the week, we were back on the rocky shore at Cullercoats assessing the abundance of 3 common rocky shore animal species: the limpet, Patella vulgata; the dogwhelk Nucella lapillus; and the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides. In the morning we were out with quadrats collecting data, in the afternoon we were back in the classroom at the Dove Marine Lab where we learnt how to do basic statistics on our data in order to analyse their distribution patterns.  

The common limpet; Patella vulgata

   If you would like to learn more about studying Marine Zoology, click here to visit the course page or click here to chat to current student.

A day in the life of…a Civil Engineering student

First year Civil Engineering student Toby Loveday talks us through what a typical day is like for him studying and living in Newcastle.

Hey,

I’m Toby, a first-year Civil Engineering student at Newcastle University. I remember when I was deciding which Uni to attend; the hassle of writing my personal statement, attending the open days and interviews it was all a bit of a nightmare, until I found Newcastle.  The mix of student life coupled with a word class university was a no-brainer.  With so many different routes into my future career, Newcastle was by far the best option for me. Newcastle not only has great connections with industry but has world leaders in the Civil Engineering industry, which is incredibly inspiring.

Most mornings, I’m up by 8 and in uni for the first lecture of the day by 9. Contact hours vary throughout the year with 4-5 hours being common, but as exams rapidly approach some days can have up to 6 or 7. Although this may seem daunting, it is all beneficial, well that’s what I tell myself! I also try to spend another 2 hours in the library after lectures, catching up with content as well as reading around my course modules.

Being a Civil Engineering student, I study a wide array of modules from engineering maths to environmental systems, which in my view provides a great mix.  So far, my favourite module is design of sustainable engineering systems which continues through the first two years. One of our recent projects for this module was designing and building an aluminium truss, then testing it to destruction.  This was an incredible experience; it taught me practical skills, helped me to appreciate my design and to see if my calculations were correct!

Another important module which I have enjoyed studying is Geographical Information Systems, which allows engineers to model and analyse spatial data. This module is extremely important as it is the future of engineering and planning development. Although challenging at first due to no prior knowledge of ArcGIS, after multiple tutorials and one to one help, I managed to design and present a residential development right here in Newcastle.

Civil Engineers at Newcastle are encouraged to join the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Being a student member of ICE opens up opportunities to attend conferences and improve my contacts into the industry. Through ICE, I have expanded my knowledge and I get the opportunity to speak to experts in the industry.

Outside of my academic studies I am a member of the Cross Country and Athletics team, as well as the Cycling Club. After a hard day of studying, I often find myself going for a run with the Cross-Country team where I get to catch up with some great friends. Being a member of both clubs, I get the opportunity to travel to various events all around the country competing for the university.

Not only do I love to participate in sport, but I also like to watch the ‘Toon Army’ play at St. James Park. One of the best things about the city of Newcastle is the nightlife.  With a variety of student friendly clubs, pubs and venues there is always somewhere to go. When you make the right decision and come to Newcastle you may see me out sometime.

Thanks for reading!

Toby

A day in the life of…a Geographic Information Science student

Second year Geographic Information Science student Sheoma talks us through what a typical day is like for her studying and living in Newcastle.

Hi everyone!

My name is Sheoma and I am a second year undergraduate student studying Geographic Information Science (GIS).

Newcastle University was the obvious choice for me as the city seemed very small and friendly and the quality of the teaching on my degree was extremely high.

My typical day consists of being at university from 9AM – 5PM for lectures and practicals. After, I usually head home to work on assignments. Sometimes I socialise with friends by heading to the cinema or catching student deals at my favourite spots.

Lectures

My course consists of many lectures and modules that are all interconnected and contribute to my overall learning experience. Practicals give me the opportunity to practice skills or theories that may have been discussed in lectures. They also allow you to gain a better understanding of the course content by giving you hands-on experience. Don’t worry if you find yourself saying ‘aha’ during a practical. It is expected that they clarify things that may have been otherwise difficult to comprehend. There are also occasionally a few seminars where specific topics are discussed to stimulate ideas and encourage everyone to participate. Although there are many lectures and practicals, you will appreciate them when you realise that they have equipped you with all the skills necessary to be one of the best in your profession.

Social Life

As a GIS student, you can become a member of the Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEGsoc) society. They organise a variety of events that range from socials to paint balling. A particular favourite of the society is the annual Christmas Ball where everyone puts on their most exquisite attire! If you fancy something else, there are over 160 societies to choose from, as well as the many adventures that await you in the ‘Toon’.

The thing that I find most interesting about my course is the strong links with industry. We constantly have the opportunity to network with employers who value and appreciate the level of academic excellence at Newcastle University. This makes the placement and graduate process more straightforward because we have already been exposed to a lot of different companies and have an idea of what they expect from graduates.

Hope to see you soon!

Sheoma

A day in the life of…a Marine Technology student

Second year Marine Technology student Yanis talks us through what a typical day is like for him studying and living in Newcastle.

Hey guys,

I’m Yanislav, but most people call me Yan or Yanis. I am currently a second year student and I’m studying a masters programme in Marine Technology w/Naval Architecture.

Newcastle was my first choice university for many reasons, the biggest one being the feeling of community and connection between the course and student. It really does feel like your degree doesn’t just matter to you, which makes studying much more enjoyable!

Another benefit of being here is the incredible city itself. From stunning architecture and high culture art installations/indie digs, to the wide array of bars/social spaces, restaurants and shops, it’s easy to find something new to do or a place to relax.

University and student life are, as everyone likes to joke, very different to anything you will have come across before.

Most of my days will start anywhere between 9am and 12pm and typically I will have at least 3 hours of timetabled activity, but this can easily be as much as 7 hours at the busiest times of the semester. The amount of contact time may seem big, but this is a blessing in disguise really! On any given day I will tend to do 2-3 hours of additional work in the many libraries/study areas around the university and I use this to keep on top of the lecture content and complete any additional work needed to do well in assignments and exams.

The lectures and content studied are quite varied; compare pure Engineering Maths with a wordier Production Management module; which provides a nice mix of study. Personally, I really enjoyed the Marne Engineering and Naval Architecture modules, as they had a good balance between the science and maths you’d expect to study.

Something I didn’t expect to do was coding and some of the Computer Aided Design, like modelling a single-cylinder engine. Although not easy to start with since I had no prior experience, I did find both very interesting and satisfying once I got the hang of it.

Outside of academia I am a member of the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme (DTUS), as a Royal Navy sponsored student. This means I attend the local naval base once a week and develop the skills I will need in order to be a technical officer. Alongside this I also get the opportunity to lead and develop various Adventurous Training, specifically for me Offshore Sailing.

In my downtime I like to experiment with cooking, picking up various bits and pieces to try from the massive Grainger Market. I also enjoy watching the rugby at the nearby Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park stadium and there is also the compulsory night “Ooot in Toon” which you will no doubt experience at least once (a week).

Feel free to send me a message on Unibuddy, you are more than welcome to ask me more about my daily happenings, the course or any concerns you have about the step up to university!

Cheers for reading!

Yanis

Engineering: Graduate Prospects

Third year Mechanical Engineering student Jenny Olsen talks us through the many options that are available to engineering students once you graduate.

So you’re thinking of choosing an engineering degree to study at Newcastle University – great! You’ll learn lots of practical skills and engineering theory that will make you both knowledgeable and employable.

First of all – there are lots of different types of engineering; Mechanical, Civil, Bio-medical, Electrical and Chemical (to name just a few!). That means lots of different career routes, but despite there being lots of different streams of engineering we all study quite similar topics (at least for the first few years of your degree). Often, companies hire engineering graduates from more than one discipline, so try to study what you think you’ll enjoy the most! If you have a set career in mind, look at what types of engineers they tend to advertise vacancies for and consider tailoring your degree towards that.

So what happens after you graduate? You’ve passed all your exams, you’ve been at University for 3-4 years, maybe taken a placement year or Summer internship – what now?

As an engineering graduate, there are lots of options open to you – if you’ve graduated with a BEng and want to become chartered, the next step is probably taking an accredited Masters degree. Alternatively, some graduate schemes are tailored to take BEng graduates straight to being a chartered engineer, however these are harder to find and require a longer training period.

If you’ve taken an MEng and want to be chartered: straight into a graduate scheme or professional job role and you’re on your way to chartership!

There are plenty of places to search for graduate roles or engineering vacancies – using sites like Gradcracker is a good place to start however they generally only list big companies which makes the roles extremely competitive. The University Career’s Service also lists vacancies in the UK and abroad from companies who are actively seeking to recruit Newcastle graduates which is a brilliant resource. Alternatively, asking your lecturers if they know any companies that are hiring is a great way to find out about smaller companies that won’t be listed on the other sites!

But what if you’re not ready to give up Uni life just yet? If you’re one of the many students (like myself) who aren’t quite ready to leave behind the lecture hall, maybe further study is for you? There are plenty of research degrees or Doctorate schemes available, and this is a great time to specialise as you’ll already have had 3 or 4 years to discover what you really enjoy learning about.

Whatever you choose to do after your engineering degree, you’ll be well prepared to fit into a workplace, communicate with your colleagues and tackle the problems of our generation!

Jenny

A day in the life of…an Electrical and Electronic Engineering student

Third year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Di Muanza talks us through what a typical day is like for him studying and living in Newcastle.

Hi everyone,

My name is Dinduele, known as Di,  and I am a third year student at Newcastle University studying MEng Electrical Power Engineering.

I chose Newcastle University as my first option for many reasons. Firstly, the teaching quality that they provide for Electrical and Electronics engineers is outstanding, which is very important for future engineers. The environment the university creates for all students despite their background, culture and race is also another major reason that made me pick Newcastle as my first choice. As an international student I feel welcome and I enjoy as much as I can because I am part of Newcastle University community.

The university campus is in the city centre and Newcastle is very compact city and everything is close by, which makes it very convenient for everyone living here – especially students! I personally love being able to get around without much effort or need to use public transport.

As an engineering student, you must be committed and ready for anything that you might face.

As a third year student most of my time is spent doing my final project which is a big part of my course and as a result I don’t have many lectures. I do have lectures on Tuesday from 9am-11am and 1pm-3pm, which focus on Electric Drives, where we consider topics such as drive configurations and load characteristic, motor modelling; and Renewable Energy where we talk about renewable energies such as solar, wind and wave energy and many other factors related to energy generation. On Friday I also have two lectures from 11am-1pm and 3pm-5pm; Law for Engineers where we learn the basic law concepts that are very relevant in the life of an electrical engineer; and Power System Operation where we analyse modern electricity network. During the breaks between lectures I might do some work on my assignments or  continue reading up on some topics that are relevant to my project.

It is essential as an electrical engineering student to feel confident with maths because most modules will require you to apply the mathematical knowledge you have and the lecturers expect you to know – especially if you are third year student.

I essentially have the rest of the week free, so I focus on reading and working on my project. I have my own studying program – each day I have a specific module that I consider and I spend 2 to 3 hours working on that particular module. Sometimes I go to the library or student union building to read or I can work at home. My project involves modelling and simulations as well as building a prototype. To model and simulate I use specialised computer software which means I use my personal laptop and to build a prototype I use the university electronics lab in Merz Court for soldering and testing. I work on my project almost every day, and it is a commitment you should definitely consider making as a stage 3 student.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering gives you an insight into communication, power (machines/converters) and electronics and at the same time it provides an opportunity for specialisation in your third year, where you can choose anything depending on what you like the most. I personally prefer power so that is what I chose to focus on.

When I am not in university I get involved sometimes in activities that the various socieities or NUSU (Newcastle university student union) organise, such as volunteering. I also do some occasional paid work that the university offers for students which is an excellent way to gain experience (and earn money) whilst studying.

I enjoy watching documentaries, anime such as one piece and some series I find interesting. I like going out with my friends/girlfriend or just hanging out at home, drinking/eating and play video games (even though I am not very good at them!) Sometimes I DJ and I really enjoy doing that. I also like cooking (my friends have all told me that they think I would make a great chef!) I go to the gym sometimes as I believe it is very important do some sort of exercise and I am currently learning how to swim – it is never too late to learn something new!

Please feel free to get in touch with me @dimuanza (Instagram/Facebook) if you would like to ask me about the course or anything else.

Thanks for reading!

Di

A day in the life of…a Chemical Engineering student

Fourth year Chemical Engineering student Joanna Snape talks us through what a typical day is like when you’re studying and living in Newcastle.

Hi everyone,

My name is Joanna and I’m currently completing my 4th and final year of my MEng degree in Chemical Engineering.

Newcastle wasn’t actually my first choice of university when applying, but now having spent 4 years here, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to have gone anywhere else. Newcastle is, without a doubt, the best student city there is. It’s so friendly here and I always feel safe; even at 3am after a night out! It’s a fun, bustling city filled with all sorts of things to do. Compared to bigger cities like London, living costs are cheap which allows way more room for opportunities to do fun things. I think it’s important to be in a city where there’s lots to do, especially when you’re doing something as tough as engineering.

That is the un-sugar-coated truth: engineering is TOUGH, but it’s also extremely rewarding. It is no understatement that the things you will learn in this day and age will have a huge impact on many of the important industries of the world.

As a chemical engineering student, my schedule always changes. There are a lot of contact hours. There are times where I’m only in for an hour or two and some days where I’m in from 9am-6pm – let’s just say you will definitely get your money’s worth from doing this course. A lot of the particularly long days are due to labs, which typically take about three hours. I like labs because the practical aspect of it means that time goes by pretty quickly and helps with the learning experience. Also, you only have labs every two weeks at most, so it’s really not too bad.

On a standard day, I would go to uni and go to my lectures. On a long day, during breaks I would usually go to the student union with friends to have lunch and maybe even have a drink or two. During the more demanding times of the year, I would spend my breaks working on assignments. A lot of the projects I’ve had throughout my degree have been group projects, so breaks between lectures are the usually the best times to meet up with everyone to get things done. A lot of group-work also means that we are a very tight-knit course, which is really nice because having people to go through it with helps to keep up the motivation. After uni, I would go home for dinner and relax with friends, or sometimes go and get ready to enjoy the famous Newcastle nightlife. Me and my housemates often have games nights or movie nights together.

Chemical engineering offers a very broad learning experience. A common misconception is that it’s predominantly chemistry with a bit of maths. It’s actually a lot of maths and physics with some basic chemistry. A lecturer of mine gave us a great analogy to better understand what chemical engineers actually are: “If chemists are the chefs then chemical engineers are the ones that run the restaurant.” We also have to learn a lot about finance and economics, as well as general safety engineering. The degree also incorporates aspects of mechanical and electrical engineering. We even do a lot of computer programming for simulating processes. This is all great because if you change your mind on what you want to do, mid-degree (or had no idea what you wanted to do in the first place), chemical engineering could get you into anything.

So chemical engineering is pretty intense, but I still have a lot of time to focus on other things. I’m currently in the dance society, I love drawing and playing music, I try my best to go to the gym as much as I can, and also do some tutoring and volunteering. It’s all about time-management, which you will inevitably become very good at as an engineering student. There is so much to talk about when it comes to the whole uni/student experience so if there’s anything you want to ask me, feel free to reach me via email on j.snape1@newcastle.ac.uk.

I hope this was helpful and thanks so much for reading!