"Physics at Surrey has helped me gain a greater understanding of the subject, and the Professional Training year has increased my employability and helped me test the waters so I know what career to pursue in the future."
Placement companyRutherford Appleton Laboratory
"As part of my degree I participated in a Professional Training year at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, as a PR and Events Assistant. My main roles included planning events for public, educational and internal events and creating promotional materials through posters, flyers and updating the website. I was well-supported, receiving useful advice and support from the Professional Training Administrator and the Professional Training Senior Tutor. My placement tutor visited me on site and I was also able to email my personal tutor and others if I needed to. My favourite memory was working at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh during their open weekend: I and a colleague created a show based on infra-red astronomy, which we delivered to groups of 30-50 people at a time. Nearly 4,000 visitors came through the doors over the weekend so it was an incredibly busy, rewarding few days.
To anyone considering taking a Professional Training year, I’d definitely recommend it. Not only does the opportunity improve your employability, but it also helps you gain a greater understanding of your subject because you see real-world application of the things you’ve been learning about. You come back feeling refreshed and ready to learn more, which helps so much with your final year. A placement also gives you an idea of what you want to do after university. For instance, I know now that I definitely want a career in science communication – but before my placement I didn’t have a clue what to do.
The lecturers here are really good and I like the fact that most modules include a coursework element. The number of tutorials given, coupled with the availability of past papers, also helps when preparing for exams. Most of the lecturers upload useful content on Surrey Learn too, which I really appreciate. My favourite module at the moment is ‘Nuclear Astrophysics’ as I enjoy learning about how elements have been created in the universe, and discovering why certain nuclear reactions occur more frequently than others.
I lived in halls during my first year, and really enjoyed the space and chance to meet new people – some of whom are now my best friends. Student life here is great, and I’ve been lucky enough to help out with student media, and was recently voted in as Editor-in-Chief for the Students’ Union. Student life isn’t all about partying and I really appreciate the number of societies there are, and the way you can pursue your own outside interests alongside your degree. There are also loads of places to eat, drink and catch up with friends on campus as well, which is important.
Physics at Surrey has helped me gain a greater understanding of the subject, and the Professional Training year has increased my employability and helped me test the waters so I know what career to pursue in the future. I’ve definitely seen myself grow in confidence in my own abilities and in myself, and I feel like I can manage my time more effectively that I could before coming here."