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My Surrey experience – Jessica Hyland, MEng Civil Engineering

"The programme itself is very diverse, and the companies I’ve spoken to say they like employing Surrey graduates as they’ve got a very well-rounded degree"

I’m currently in my fifth year of my degree. I’ve always enjoyed maths and physics, but wanted to use them on a more practical level, and that’s what made me consider civil engineering – it’s instrumental to life as we know it. I chose to come to Surrey to study the subject because they’re a leading university and also on the open days I didn’t feel that they were riding on their reputation; I felt like they actually had an interest in each student.

The facilities are good at Surrey, there are more than enough computers to go round, and there’s WiFi all over campus. The lecturers are very helpful too. I still remember my first year when I struggled with a topic and went to the lecturer for help. He sat me down with a cup of tea to answer all the questions I had.

In terms of course content, I’ve particularly enjoyed the group integrated design modules, created to pull together everything learnt throughout the year. In our third year we were tasked with designing a sports park – everything from planning regulations, foundations and landscaping to structural engineering, fluid dynamics and wind engineering. The programme itself is very diverse, and the companies I’ve spoken to say they like employing Surrey graduates as they’ve got a very well-rounded degree.

I took a Professional Training placement year at Surrey with EvolveUK, a structural engineering consultancy based in London. I found my placement through a family friend, but the University was very helpful in setting up the placement as the company hadn’t placed a student before. The best thing about placement was realising why I learnt about certain things in class, and being able to visualise different aspects to projects first-hand.

My confidence has grown immensely since I started at university, and I’m now a class representative, student guide, applicant day helper and open day helper outside my studies, and really like conversing with prospective students and sharing my experiences with them. My increased confidence is down to lecturers who have always believed in me even when I haven’t myself, and also due to a set of friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin. My awareness of what civil engineering is has also grown and I’m now aware of the vast array of issues addressed by civil engineers.

After I graduate, I’d like to go into the oil and gas industry, as this is such a diverse area and encompasses so many aspects of civil engineering.

I would definitely recommend Surrey to prospective students – the campus is a happy friendly place and Guildford has all the amenities you could need. There are also societies for almost every interest and background too, including the Harry Potter Society!

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