Ana-Maria (Ami) Tudorache
"My Clearing experience was definitely one of the most stressful periods of my life, but the outcome is far better than I could have imagined in those moments and it turned out Surrey was the best fit for me."
Can you talk me through your Clearing experience?
Despite obtaining maximum results in two of my three exams, for the third one, emotions got to me and my results weren’t as good as expected, closely missing my two offers. As soon as the panic of the first moments faded, I contacted my firm and insurance choices, informing them of my results and my interest in still being accepted at the course if possible and providing additional recommendation letters from my teachers explaining my near miss. At the same time, I emailed the 2 offers (one of them being Surrey) I had to decline earlier in the year due to UCAS’s application policy.
Had you done any research on Clearing before results day?
In Romania results are released at the beginning of July and I hoped until the last moment that my results were going to get me into my chosen university. I knew that even if I needed to consider a Clearing option, I would have the time. I started researching as soon as I found out my results and I knew being accepted to my two choices couldn’t be guaranteed.
What made you consider Surrey?
Surrey was one of my initial five choices on UCAS and I got an offer but decided to decline it. Looking back now, I can’t point my finger to a certain reason why. Considering Surrey as my Clearing option for me was more about going back to the initial universities I liked rather than jumping into the unknown of a completely new one. The reasons I initially considered Surrey was the possibility of doing a professional training year, the fact that the course is high in rankings and the location is so close to London. I feel like if I took the time to come to an open day I would’ve fallen in love with the campus and it’s surrounding as quickly as I did when I first arrived.
How did you find out what courses were available?
I looked up all biomedical engineering options on UCAS and individually searched each university’s Clearing website to check the requirements of the courses offered and other similar courses I could choose. I emailed all the universities I found suitable and informed them I was interested in their course, attaching my grades, my personal statement and further recommendations from my teachers.
How did Surrey help the process?
The Surrey Clearing team was quick to reply and, if I’m not mistaken, it was actually the first university to get back to me, but I had to wait until A-Levels results day for a final answer. They told me to check the clearing website for updates on the courses offered, as Biomedical Engineering was not available at that time. A day before the Clearing phone line opened Surrey still had no spaces for Biomedical Engineering, so I called to apply for Electrical Engineering. I was fortunate to ask the operator halfway through the chat if there were any available spaces for Biomedical Engineering, and luckily there was! I changed my option on the spot. From then on, the whole process went so smoothly.
What has your University experience been like?
Everyone says university is the time of your life and especially your first year will be the best, but it truly is hard to believe it until you experience it. I’ve been told I’ve changed and I can safely say it is for the better. I’m more independent then I ever was and equally more responsible. Homesickness turned into a warm feeling of missing home from time to time. I discovered how to learn in new ways and how to turn my mistakes into development opportunities. I met people from all sorts of backgrounds and formed friendships that will hopefully last for a lifetime. I fell in love with a sport I never even considered: archery! I’m now training at least three times a week and preparing to be the president of the club for 2019/20. I understood how to balance studying with having fun and I created some of the best memories in my life. I accepted most opportunities of getting in contact with the real world of engineering (be it presentations, talks or conferences) and next year I will also be the president of MechSoc (the departmental society of Mechanical Engineering students). Surrey met and exceeded expectations I didn’t even realise I had and helped me grow in ways I never could have imagined.
What do you want to do in the future and how is Surrey helping you get there?
I haven’t yet decided what path I want to follow once I graduate, but I’m confident my next four years here will help me make the decision for myself. First year was a mix of consolidating the general engineering knowledge foundations we all need for our specialised courses in a mix of theoretical, practical and experimental modules, from presentation skills and learning how to write a lab report to workshop practice and using a milling machine or creating a toolbox from scratch. We’ve been offered opportunities to get in contact with the engineering world by taking part at a weekend long Women in Engineering Conference or visiting a MedTech exposition. The help offered by our academics was essential most of the time and they take the time to be available for questions, making sure we are up to date with our studies without neglecting our wellbeing. I can’t wait to experience next year, the satisfaction of creating a bionic hand from scratch, the process of applying for placements and all other unexpected opportunities that will rise along the way.
What advice would you give to other students?
Not getting into your dream university might be the end of a well thought out plan, but it definitely isn’t the end of the world or of your academic career. Forgive yourself for nearly missing one of your goals and make sure you make the best out of the second chance you’re given: Clearing. Do your research thoroughly, ask questions and even if you need to make compromises, don’t completely give up on what you want to do. Contact universities as soon as you make up your mind, and never hesitate to send a second email to show your interests. Most importantly, try to keep in mind your new university might turn out to be the best choice you ever made and be prepared to have the time of your life!