Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
I applied to Birmingham as I enjoyed the department at Open Day. I loved the campus and the course itself seemed to be of interest to me. I'll also confess that I applied to Birmingham as the university was located within my ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – relative to my home location in rural North Wales, it was close enough that I could call for help from home when needed, but far enough away that my parents couldn't do impromptu visits and disturb my independence!
What are your fondest memories of the University?
My fondest memory of the University is of the campus. Being from rural North Wales originally, the prospect of moving to the UK's second city was both exciting and daunting. Whilst I had access to the intensity of the big city, the green, secluded campus offered a form of familiar escape when needed.
Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?
Yes, I participated in various initiatives within my own department of Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering. I led the department's football team(s) in my latter two years, and was a key member EEE Soc in that time. I also was a tutor on the PASS scheme, which saw me provide extracurricular support to first and second year students with their tutorial exercises. Beyond the department, I also completed the Personal Skills Award which is an additional qualification offered by the University that gave me an opportunity to further develop softer skills, ones that I put to good use on a daily basis in my current role as a Consultant.
How did your time at university help you start your career?
My time at UoB shaped my life and career path in many ways. When I started at university, I was convinced that my interest was in electronics and computers. However, as I learned more about the electrical and energy industries, I became increasingly confident that my life post-graduation would be in them. That turned out to be true, and eventually led me to where I am today. UoB, and more specifically the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) and the Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering also presented opportunities for me to develop skills beyond the scope of academia. As per a previous answer, I made the most of several extra-curricular activities available to me to learn about myself and develop skills that have benefited my personal and professional life.
Is there anything you wish you knew either before you started your studies that would have better helped prepare you?
I particularly enjoyed UoB's approach of allowing first year students to pick a couple modules outside the main discipline (MOMD) to feature within their first year studies. I made the most of this opportunity and picked modules of interest to me that I otherwise wouldn't have encountered: Astronomy and Astrophysics. I thoroughly enjoyed these modules and I'm glad I chose the MOMD that I did. They were a welcome change from an otherwise heavy schedule of engineering-specific modules/lectures. I looked forward to the MOMD lectures and I believe they energised me for the modules that were a part of my main discipline. I saw fellow students choose modules that were more closely aligned with the main discipline and then later regretted it. I'd therefore encourage any prospective student to strongly consider trying something new and different. I learned that UoB provides a safe place for you to experiment with your choices, to help you learn about yourself.
What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?
Don't be afraid to try new things. Be open to new experiences, within academia, extra-curricular opportunities, and within your personal life. This will best place you to confidently start your journey post-graduation in a manner that will ensure you maximise your potential, balanced with your interests and happiness in mind. The latter being critical for the longevity of ‘success’ beyond academia.