Why did you originally apply to the University of Birmingham?
I love physics and studying how things work, so after receiving a few scholarships for master's courses, I chose Birmingham. This was because I have a long-standing history with the University, its staff, some of the public lectures hosted there. Additionally, the general interactions I've had with people in the University have been amazing. I chose to specialise in Nuclear Reactor Physics and Technology because of my passions during my undergraduate degree doing modules in Radiation Physics and Physics and Energy of the Environment. This got me thinking about how I could use my knowledge for some common good and Birmingham is second to none when it comes to nuclear reactor physics and technology, with a long-standing heritage of training people with the fundamentals to go into the nuclear industry .
What are your fondest memories of the University?
The amazing people from around the world whom I got to socialise with and experience their culture and understand their perspectives. The sporting facilities and amazing campus are something like a dream, second to none in my opinion and the campus and its buildings have the right balance of being a place to study knowledge as well as yourself.
Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?
Yes, I volunteered at several charity events and took part in campus activities and helped mentor other students. I was also doing an industry-based course which had several guest lecturers who practise what they teach and I got involved with some of the external industry talks. For example, I managed to get several work experience opportunities in patent law through networking events at the university and even attended a few consulting and finance events at the business school to build my wider understanding of the world outside of science. These are a minute amount of the vast variety of things that you could get involved in. These things set you apart from others and improve you, your knowledge, and experiences. Just enjoy yourself and spark your internal flame to keep exploring and learning.
How did your time at University help you start your career?
The exposure gained to different topics, and things in life are amazing and it is definitely a time to capitalise on and not waste time. Build some life capital in these years in all aspects of life, such as learning how to manage your finances, budgeting, managing daily life activities. Getting involved in projects and events will stand you in much better stead in the industry if that is where you intend to go, likewise getting involved in research, academia, learning and reading are invaluable. Don't spend your time frivolously; get busy doing something and reflect on what you like and don't like and use that to your advantage.
What advice would you give to current students?
The degree is almost entirely based on industry and common practice around the world. Attend as many lectures as you can and ask as many questions as you can. Don't care about making mistakes as that is the best way to learn in a safe environment such as this course and the University in general. Make use of the private MSc student room, and reach out to PhD students for the workshops. The workshops are like having a primer for best practice and knowledge.
Any final words?
I have too much to write here as a mentor, feel free to reach out to me and I will try and help you if I can.
I tend not to accept "random" requests that seem to have no context or have no message with the request.
I am a huge fan of LinkedIn and use it often and one thing that will help the current students is learning how to reach out with relevant and engaging messages, it's a small thing that can go a long way. 'You don't ask, you don't get!
You can contact Sully via his LinkedIn Profile