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My Surrey experience - Emily Rastrick, MChem Chemistry

"I have definitely changed since I started at Surrey. I have gained more confidence and have been able to develop both personally and professionally."

"I chose to study chemistry as it is a fast moving area with a large number of diverse sectors in which to go in. I really enjoyed the theory at school and wanted to build on this by choosing to study the subject at university.

I chose to come to Surrey as it offered a Professional Training placement which was important for me in order to gain experience to prepare for the competitive job market. The graduate employability standards were also reassuring when considering Surrey as a prospective university. Surrey’s location close to London was a selling point due to a love for musical theatre and the chance to explore the city. 

I attended an Open Day and it definitely helped me to make the decision to come to Surrey. Seeing the campus on the Open Day and the facilities that are available within the department, as well as across campus, were my reasons for choosing Surrey. 

On my programme I enjoy learning about the recent developments within the area as well as being able to apply the theory when completing lab practicals. Learning about different areas of the subject such as Chemistry of Modern Materials and Forensic Chemistry was also interesting and continued to fuel my interests. 

The academic staff on my programme are very supportive and encourage you to achieve the best that you can. The modern facilities are able to accommodate all of the different areas within the department and there may be the chance to use them throughout the degree. 

In my first year I lived in halls and the accommodation was nice - giving you everything which was needed. Sharing with a group of students was a good way of getting to know people and settling into university. I am a member of ChemSoc to fit alongside my degree, they have hosted a number of events over the years which have been fun and a nice chance to get to know people on your course and mix with other years. 

Surrey Sports Park is an excellent facility with the ability to cater for a large range of sports. It gives the chance to try out different sports as well as getting back into sports which may not have been played since school. Guildford is a lovely town with a large range of shops and restaurants. Everything is available within a small distance of the campus which is nice when moving to a new area. 

Completing my Professional Training year has been the greatest achievement of 2015. It has allowed me to decide what I want to do as a career and given me the motivation to do well in my degree in order to graduate and apply for jobs. 

I went on a Professional Training placement as part of my degree, I worked for Intrinsiq Materials based in Farnborough as a Research Scientist. 

I found out about the placement by the advert being emailed to students by the department. A CV and covering letter had to be completed and these were checked by tutors to ensure they were at the best standard to secure the job. I had an interview for the company and received a job offer soon after. 

I worked in a research and development department which was responsible for a number of funded projects completed with other companies. Most of my work was carried out in the lab, synthesising materials and then completing their subsequent analyses. There was the chance to be involved with review meetings and I was encouraged to propose thoughts and ideas. Being treated as a member of staff as opposed to a placement student was a highlight to the year as it gave you the chance to have the responsibility and the confidence that you were trusted. 

I would recommend a Professional Training placement to others as a lot of experience and skills can be gained by working in industry. Working alongside colleagues who are skilled in the area was also interesting as a lot of knowledge was learnt from them. Personally, completing my placement allowed me to be sure about what career I wanted to pursue when I graduate."

Read more student profiles and explore our chemistry degrees.

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