Written by Sulayman Hussain, second-year Materials Science
I first came across Materials Science in my sixth form at a guest lecture discussing Formula One cars. Why is it that some materials will deform lots under force, like a carbon fibre chassis, and others remain rigid? Why do we use nickel single crystals in the fiery core of a jet engine and aluminium alloys elsewhere? And what is the process of digging rocks out of the earth and transforming them into these high-performance structures?
As is often the case, having been exposed to Materials Science once, I started seeing them everywhere. It seemed like every week; Materials scientists made a breakthrough.
Written by Susannah Lea, PhD Student, Department of Materials
Whether you have heard of Materials Science or not there are often key misunderstandings about what it’s actually all about. While the concept of studying how to improve and even make new materials may start to sound like alchemy or even magic I can assure you that it is very much grounded in scientific principle (and it may well be the next best thing to the Hogwarts letter you waited for). Having studied Materials for my undergrad and continued on to do a PhD I’m hopefully in a good place to help dispel some of the myths and let you know what a degree in Materials is all about.
Being a final year international student in London, one of my main resolutions this year is to spend more time appreciating my surroundings and make the most out of my time here in the UK. However, with travel restrictions and the pandemic around, travelling safely was also one of my top priorities. Having enjoyed previous hikes around Peak District and Snowdonia, I realised that I loved adventures outside the city and had a deep appreciation for nature. Therefore, my housemates and I decided to pack our bags and take a short trip to the Highlands of Scotland during our winter break.
If you have read several previous blog posts from students from Imperial College, you might be familiar with what a Horizons course is. In a nutshell, Imperial Horizons is a wide range of modules to stimulate one’s personal, professional and intellectual growth. I really appreciate these courses offered, as they allow students to pursue and develop passions beyond their primary courses. Some examples of Horizons courses offered in Imperial include Creative Writing, Languages and Global Politics. As someone who has a deep appreciation for the arts, composing and arranging my own music has always been something that I want to learn.
It’s that time of year again, everyone is trying to move into the new year with resolutions and goals to achieve to get closer to their ideal selves. Whether it is academic, financial or personal, here are my five tips that I have found useful for goal setting.
- Breaking down long term goals into smaller daily manageable actions makes it easier to stay consistent in working towards your goals. If you want to pass upcoming exams, breaking that goal down into a plan to have smaller study sessions every day builds a sustainable system to easily integrate into your life. For a lot of goals that aren’t achieved, the intimidation of starting a goal that seems like you can’t succeed puts people off from even starting.
Although the MechEng course is pretty intense, it is a good idea to be involved in at least one extra-curricular activity. Personally, I found unlike school, studying all the time at university tends to be counter-productive- you end up spending more time making less progress than if you had just taken a break and come back to working. Especially if you are moving away from home, it is incredibly important to have some sort of extra-curricular unrelated to your degree to keep you sane.
One way you could do this is by taking a ‘Horizons’ course. For MechEng, in ME1 & ME2 (first and second year) any Horizons course you take will be for extra credit, though in ME3/4 (third and fourth year), it can count towards your degree.
At 18 during my interview for Mechanical Engineering I quite confidently stated that I intended to pursue a career in consultancy engineering and eventually become a Chartered Engineer. And the basis for this? About 2 weeks shadowing at a consultancy company and thinking that it might be what the interviewer wanted to hear.
Ultimately, the reality is that when you are applying to university, or even during your degree, you may not have a concrete idea on what career path to pursue. There probably is that one person who knows exactly what they were going to be at 5 years old and is on it from Day 1, but rest assured you have time and resources to decide your vocation.
A couple of weeks ago, a family friend asked if I could look over their medical personal statement. This made me realise that it has been three years since I submitted my own UCAS application. Three years feels like a pretty long time. Hence, I thought now would be a fitting time to refresh my memory on my application experience as it was ultimately what led me to Imperial. Seeing as the UCAS deadline has been and gone and any prospective students will have already sat the BMAT, I’ll focus this post on the interview and see if I can give you a few tips or tricks which might make the experience feel a little less daunting.
Being in one of the most prestigious universities in the world comes with its pros and cons. Coming to Imperial has helped pushed me in ways I have never thought imaginable. Looking back, I find it hard to believe the progress I have made and the development I have gone through with the encouragement and support of the university and my fellow friends. However, being in a competitive environment like this can also lead to one oversaturating their focus in order to achieve the most out of everything. In the last few years, I have always aimed to submerge myself into every opportunity I am given, and loved to challenge myself whenever I can by trying out new experiences.
Seeing as A-Level results’ day has now passed, and a whole new cohort of students will be eagerly waiting to start at Imperial in October, I thought now would be a pertinent time to offer some advice on what you DON’T need to bring with you to university. Most freshers have the basics covered pretty well, but often end up grossly overestimating what they’ll need to survive university life. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on five things you can probably just leave at home.
- Excessive kitchenware You may think you’ll need a pizza cutter, toastie maker and corkscrew when you’re at uni, and you may well not be wrong.