My student experience

Student profile

Matthew Bone

"University has been a fantastic experience for me, and one that will definitely shape my future. I’m very glad that I chose to study at Surrey."

"I decided to come to Surrey in part for its league tables; they were good when I applied and were clearly on the rise. However I can’t understate the importance of the location, as well as how nice the campus and town is. Guildford is close enough to home that it’s easy to travel back and forth whilst also being large and well equipped for everything.

I did attend an applicant day and that was key for me. Originally my choice was Sussex and I was pretty set until Surrey blew me away. I really loved the Department of Chemistry and the confidence of the staff. After that day I was very clearly swayed.

Matthew Bone
Matthew Bone

I like the optional modules on my course. To me they get into the nitty gritty of what chemistry is, and they allow me to specialise and focus on the areas I enjoy the most. I also enjoy the lab work and the problem solving that comes with it. Chemistry labs are tough experience at first but nothing is more rewarding than a lab day going to plan.

The academic staff are not only incredibly knowledgeable but are so enthusiastic about their subject area you can’t help but take an interest.

The fact the staff have well equipped labs and the latest instruments means that their teaching is enjoyable. Facilities were a big component of what I was looking for in a university since there is little point learning only outdated techniques. Chemistry at Surrey definitely has this well covered.

I lived on Manor Park accommodation during my first year and had a good time there. The rooms were nice and modern and the people I lived certainly improved the experience.

The sports facilities at Surrey are fantastic and easily one of the best parts.

The gym leaves you spoilt for choice and the Olympic-standard pool is something you’d struggle to find at other universities. The campus in general is also a very nice environment; a good mix of green spaces and amenities in amongst the departments.

I spend quite a lot of time on campus. In the summer sitting by the lake is nice way to break up exam revision but I’ve also spent a lot of time in the 24-hour Library around the busy end of semester period. In general a lot of time is spent in my Department but lunch is always in Hillside along with the occasional breaks in Starbucks.

I did a Professional Training placement in between my second and third year at Thames Water in London.

My work on placement was hugely varied. I did a good amount of chemistry for analysis of water samples but I also was put to work in an engineering environment which was a big boost for my knowledge. I was also instrumental in designing software for statistical analysis; learning the code from scratch and then applying it to the data we were generating from sampling.

The skill I learned that I value the most is definitely the coding knowledge I picked up, since this will stay with me now and be key for my future career. However I also learnt a lot about managing projects as well as my own time as well as massively improving my presentation and public speaking skills.

My workplace was very supportive of me whilst I got to grips with what the job entailed. They gave me a lot of freedom to make progress and helped me to set right any mistakes I made. The University also supported me very well during this time. The three placement visits during the year helped me to understand what I was doing well and where to focus next. As well as this they provided some extra one-on-one stats training that was vital to my work.

I would thoroughly recommend a professional training placement year to anyone.

It makes you a more well-rounded individual, teaches you skills that help you perform better in your final year of your degree and gives you much need experience. My best moment so far at Surrey has to be my placement year. It was a welcome, valuable break to my studies which allowed me to come back and excel at my course. The experience I had there will put me in good stead for my future career and I will look back on it fondly.

I have certainly changed since I started university at Surrey. I matured a lot more and became a lot more able to learn new information. It has helped me to be more applied and motivated in whatever area I’m learning and made me appreciate learning a lot more. In general, I’m more laid back and individual then when I started, to the point where my parents barely recognised me by the Christmas holiday!

When I graduate I’m definitely going to go into chemistry field and make the most of my degree straight way. However I have ambitions to go further into a more business-orientated environment which is an area I’ve always enjoyed. Although I am going to have to consider a postgraduate research degreeafter having done a lot of research in my placement year.

University has been a fantastic experience for me, and one that will definitely shape my future. I’m very glad that I chose to study at Surrey: it has catered for all my needs as they’ve changed over the years and will be place I don’t forget."


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Professional Training placement

Company: De La Rue