Student bloggers

Life as a student in Bath

Moving on and into a new year: second hear housing

  ,

📥  Faculty of Science, Rob (Physics)

Now that I’ve moved into my second year house where I have spent the summer and will spend the next academic year I thought it would be apt to write a post on the topic of second year housing. Hopefully this post can pick apart some of the aspects of finding housing that people ask about. It’s a big thing, getting your own place.

So the first thing that you’ll notice about being a Bath student is how early those conversations come up. You’ll often hear that you need to get your finger out and start looking early, and that’s basically to do with the issue of low supply and high demand. There’s a lot of students in the city, I think it’s almost 30,000, and there’s only 70,000 permanent residents. There’s space for everybody, of course, but what this means is that the better places sell quickly. It’s actually common for Bath students to sort their second year housing before breaking up for Christmas.

That pattern is one that me and my future housemates followed, and in fact it lead to an unforeseen issue within our halls – see, there were twelve of us in the same building, and from the start of the year we all managed to get along. Obviously some of the friendships within the flat were stronger than others, but on the whole we were all friends and I’m sure we will be next year, and long into our lives in Bath.

Now, you might think that this was blessing and nothing less, but when it came to the decision of who was going to move in with each other, well – then we really ran into problems.

It was a tricky discussion, the whole way through. We had a few emotional nights and some really awkward moments but we managed through and came to an arrangement that suited most of us pretty well.

What I’m saying is that you’ll be unlikely to know for certain who you really want to live with by the time you have to decide- a couple of months just isn’t enough, even living in halls together, to decide who you really get on with. Nonetheless it’ll be fine. Don’t worry. It’s a little difficult, but you’ll muddle through.

When I found out who I’d actually be living with I was overwhelmingly happy. Myself and three of the people who were in halls with me – Josh, another physics student, Phillipe – a chemical engineer, and Kaz- a psychology student. It’s a great group and at the time I was happy, now perhaps even more so.

Also, as a stroke of good planning, four more of our housemates are living a stone’s throw up the road – literally five minutes’ walk away. So, in conclusion – we got there.

We decided to live in Combe Down which is a little village situated a couple of kilometres away from the Uni, and a couple from town. They form a kind of triangle.

We chose to live in Combe Down because we’re all planning to cycle next year and it sits on top of the same hill as the campus. If you decide to live in Oldfield Park it means that you’ve got to brave a grueling trip up either Widcombe or Bathwick Hill – and they’re both inclined at 12% at some points. Coombe Down is a good place to live for cyclists, but maybe Oldfield Park is a better place for parties. It’s where the majority of students live and it’s heavily connected with the university via a near constant stream of buses.

As I said, I’ve just moved in to my new place. I’m staying in Bath to work over summer and because our contract is twelve months I’ve been able to move in early. It’s a four bedroom place with a bathroom, a toilet, a kitchen and a washroom. It’s got a ton of utilities – a washing machine, a dishwasher and even a tumble dryer. There’s also a dead nice garden complete with a pear tree and an apple tree. For the price I think it’s really a bargain. I’ve attached a few photos so you can get some idea of the place.

In terms of money, we’re each paying £390 a month, and that’s before bills, so it’s not cheap – but it’s an unfortunate part of becoming an adult.

Halls is a bit like a half-way house I guess, but this is the real deal. There’s nobody here to take the bins out, or to keep guard of the place, and you even have to buy your own loo roll! Nonetheless it’s definitely worth it for the sense of freedom and independence. You’ll just notice right away that what your parents always “went on about” – turning the lights off, not spending too long in the shower. All of those things make a lot more sense when you’re the one who has to foot the bill.

 

HPC Supply Chain Innovation Placement Blog- Post 2

  ,

📥  School of Management

Welcome back! My second blog will give you an insight in to the three areas of work I focused on during in my time with EDF Energy in Bristol at the Delivery Command Centre (DCC) for the HPC project. Being present during visits from the EDF Energy CEO, the French ambassador and other VIPs, the newly built DCC is a hive of activity; but this blog won’t just be confined to the office: with my team keen for me to get out and about, I have a few interesting events/visits to tell you about.

International Supply Chain Management

I had the unique opportunity to work personally with the International Supply Chain Lead on the HPC Project. With the French energy giant EDF assuming a 66.5% share and China's CGN having a 33.5% stake, HPC is the definition of international collaboration. I was able to see how the complex global supply networks were formed, managed and developed on a daily basis. The complexity is quite overwhelming at first, but fascinating when you start to delve deeper. The aim of the game was to bring international suppliers in to the HPC procurement process to: increase competition amongst suppliers, decipher previous EPR learning and offer fresh perspectives. I was able to put into practice the soft skills I had developed at Bath that were relatable to the international components of my degree.

When a last minute opportunity arose to attend a Team Building event in Paris between EDF UK, EDF France and EDF China, I couldnt believe my luck. After quickly scrambling an overnight bag together, I found myself in Paris listening to how the HPC international supply chain can learn extensively from the two ongoing EPR projects close to completion in France (Flamanville 3) and in China (Taishan). I got the chance to visit FA3 recently (see picture below) and in my next blog will divulge the details.

Taishan, in China, taking shape

Me (left) with my mentor at Flamanville 3

Similarly, I accompanied the HPC International Supply Chain Lead to the Civil Nuclear Showcase 2017, organised by the UK Government Department for International Trade. The two day event took place at a London hotel hosting international delegates, industry experts, politicians and CEOs to promote the revival of the UK nuclear industry. It was particularly interesting to appreciate the perspectives of the Japanese and German delegates/companies, given their recent abrupt scale back in nuclear production. Seeing the other side of the debate is always worthwhile, whether in agreement or not.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox delivering a key note speech at the Civil Nuclear Showcase 2017

Contract Management

During my time in Bristol (and London) I worked in the field of Contract Management across three varied contract formats.  I helped roll out newly developed contract management software in the Project Management Office team, giving me an oversight of how the HPC project was managed from a resource perspective. I also worked on a high value Balance of Nuclear Plant contract, helping with the day to day management of the contract. Towards the end of my placement, my team leader sent me to London to spend time with the Institutional Contract team to observe how the institutional contracts between NNB and EDF Energy, EDF, CGN and UK Government are arranged, governed and managed on a daily basis. Developing a deeper understanding of how the international stakeholders relationships are structured, gave substance to the strategy, organisation and culture modules undertaken during my first two years at the University of Bath.

A few stats about HPC

Financial Management

Aware of my interest in the Financial Management of the HPC Project, my manager arranged for me to spend time working with the financial controls team in London. Working with the financial tools and models used to manage a project of this magnitude was an eye opening experience. I was immediately struck by the sheer financial complexity of the numbers behind HPC, testament to the years of dedicated hard work from all relevant stakeholders. This area of work was probably the most relatable to the modules I have completed at Bath (and during academic exchange in Mexico) such as: Project Finance, Corporate Finance and International Accounting for Managers.

French

Before heading  out to Paris for 4 months on an expat traineeship, EDF Energy provided me with private French tuition for 4-6 hours a week (within office hours) to help with work place integration and life outside work in Paris. French isn’t required to undertake the work in Paris, but is certainly useful. This is an example of the way EDF Energy is keen to invest in all employees. For me personally, being given the opportunity to learn a second language in my placement year was a real bonus.

Next time I`ll be talking about my 4 month expat assignment working for EDF in their Procurement Division for Nuclear Engineering in Paris, including work trips around France. À bientôt

 

HPC Supply-Chain Innovation Placement Blog

  ,

📥  School of Management

First things first

Currently writing from Paris, in the midst of a`canicule` (French for heatwave), this blog aims to give students a flavour of what working in the fields of supply chain management/complex project management entails. Similarly, I’ll be providing a unique insight into my EDF Energy Hinkley Point C (HPC) International Placement year to raise awareness and promote the different job opportunities available with EDF Energy, in light of the new partnership with the University of Bath.

The bulk of my blog posts will be focused around my role for EDF Energy on the HPC project,  high profile events I’ve attended, the international aspect of my placement and how the modules I’ve taken during my first two years at the University of Bath (and during my academic exchange in Mexico) have helped me along the way. With blog publications every couple of weeks, why not read for a glimpse into a placement year that has truly ticked all the boxes.

A little about me

I`m a 3rd year BSc (Hons) in International Management student at the University of Bath with a desire to pursue a career in the low carbon energy industry after graduating. Initially, I applied for placements in the renewable energy sector in Europe (solar and wind predominantly), without considering nuclear. However, when the chance to work on the world’s largest low carbon energy investment arose, it was an opportunity I simply couldn’t refuse (all will be revealed in good time).

I had already secured an academic exchange at ITESM in Mexico for semester one, therefore I deliberately tailored my modules to the work I would be doing for EDF Energy upon my return: supply chain management, project finance, logistics and Spanish (maybe not so useful considering I am now based in Paris).

What is HPC?

Now you`re probably thinking `Okay, but what is Hinkley Point C`? Well, you can find out here. Or, strain your eyes below on the artist’s impression of the multi-billion nuclear construction project of two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) on the coast of Somerset. HPC will soon be the largest construction site in Europe. More photos can be found on the @hinkleypointc Instagram account.

Artist`s impression of Hinkley Point C when completed

 

Me enjoying my weekends in Mexico

Participating in an induction day at ITESM, Puebla (Mexico)

Introducing the ‘EDF Energy HPC International Placement’

An exciting new research partnership between EDF Energy and the University of Bath, School of Management has now been established – The HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab. EDF Energy naturally want to offer placements to University of Bath, School of Management students. I am the inaugural BSc in International Management (BIM) student, so here’s a brief overview of how my International Placement was set up.

The competitive recruitment process consisted of a cover letter/CV, followed by a 1 hour interview with the Commercial Director of the HPC Project Ken Owen and a senior member of his staff. After successfully being chosen for the role, I subsequently went to meet Ken again in July 2016 to organise the details of my placement before heading to Mexico.

Ken made it very clear that the sheer size and complexity of the project meant a placement student would be able to choose from a variety of business/management disciplines to work in: supply chain management, procurement, contract management, finance, human resources, law and the list continues.

You won`t find many Commercial Directors willing to engage with a placement student on such a personal level, showing the high level of attention he has for all young people wanting to join the field of supply chain/contract/project management. We decided to split my 8 months by locations and areas of work to suit my specific interests:

Bristol/London (3 months)- Contract Management, International Supply Chain Management & Finance
Paris (4 months)- Procurement
Bristol/London (1 months)- International Supply Chain Management and Finance

Until next time

I hope my first blog provided a clear introduction into the HPC project, the link between University of Bath and EDF Energy and the EDF Energy HPC International Placement. My next blog will give you an insight in to my day to day work during my three months in Bristol/London. Specifically, working personally with the Head of International Supply Chain on the HPC Project, helping to roll out contract management software for multi-million pound contracts and analysing a multi-billion pound project using complex financial models. Stay tuned.

 

MBA Global Residency in St. Petersburg, Russia

📥  Global Residencies, MBA, Postgraduate, School of Management, Uncategorized

Dee JiaTakahito Honda

by Dee Jia & Takahito Honda (2016-17 MBA students)

We have spent seven wonderful days (June 10 – 17, 2017) in St. Petersburg for the Global Residency program from the Bath MBA. The International Management Institute of St. Petersburg (IMISP) was a great host and presented us with a multi-dimensional experience of Russian business and culture.  Below are a few things that highlighted the trip.

IMISP

Lectures and Presentations  

IMISP is one of the leaders in Russian business education, offering high quality of continuing education for more than 1,000 managers from Russia and Soviet Union. Sitting in their state of the art lecture room, we’ve taken advantage of this great opportunity and learned a great deal about Russia and its culture.

The Professors from IMISP gave wonderful lectures and cases, from which we have experienced a different business world in Russia. The classes on “Doing business with Russian business people”, “Business-Model-Canvas” and “Five Russian Tsars – Five models of Russia’s future” definitely helped us understand the way of doing business in Russia. In particular, “Doing business with Russian business people” has shown us the unique character of Russian culture, and the typical organizational structure and decision-making process. In return, we gave presentations such as “Seven Business Models” to IMISP.

presentation   presentation

Company Visits

We had the opportunity to visit three companies in St. Petersburg during the trip.

· ESTEL: a beauty cosmetic manufacturer;

· Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH): the biggest beer manufacturer in Russia;

· YIT Company:  a property developer.

The company visiting experience is invaluable. ESTEL and Baltic are both Russian-based businesses. These companies are operating in the Russian domestic market, as well as the post-Soviet Union markets such as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Belarus. Due to the massive geographical scale, the companies usually face supply chain management issues. However, they have adopted global operating systems such as the TPS (Toyota Production System) to improve their operational processes.

On the other hand, from the visit to YIT, we learned that there are many Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) who are looking to invest in Russia, especially in St Petersburg. St Petersburg is the biggest trading gateway in Russia and post-Soviet Union market, and several global companies such as Siemens, Coca-Cola and Toyota have already launched production lines in St Petersburg. The challenge for manufacturers in St Petersburg is its infrastructure. For example, the lack of water and an unstable electricity supply.  However, the local government is making effort to solve the issues.

company visits Russia   company visits russia

Leisure Time and Russian Culture

In addition to the lectures and company visits, we enjoyed very much exploring the city! St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and an important Russian port on the Baltic sea. It is Russia’s “Window to Europe”. The city combines Russian, Asian and European cultures in the most extraordinary way. It has many magnificent architectures, museums and parks. To name a few, we visited the famous Hermitage museum, which contains the masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso; we took a wonderful boat trip on the canals; and we certainly did not miss the famous Peterhof Palace, the Russian Versailles. Peterhof is an imperial palace in the suburb built by Peter the Great in 1700s.

While wandering around Peterhof, we couldn’t stop admiring the magnificent palaces and gardens. If you have one day in St Petersburg, we’d suggest you to definitely visit Peterhof Palace!

Sights of St Petersburg

Foods in Russia

We also have enjoyed the diversified and hearty Russian foods in St. Petersburg. The foods are a mixture of Asian, European, Middle Eastern and Russian. For example, Polo (Pilaf) and Mantu (Dumplings) were originated from Central Asia whereas Beef stroganoff and Ikra (Caviar) were from west and sea side. The traditional Russian foods include Borsch (beet and cabbage red soup), Blini (Russian pancakes), Russian salads, and Russian dumplings. This variety of choice absolutely satisfied our hunger for an exchange of British foods…

Russian food 1 Russian food 2 Russian food 3

 

First year Pharmacy course and assessment

  

📥  Faculty of Science, Jemima (Pharmacy)

I wanted to write about what the first year of pharmacy involves (the content and modules), how it is assessed and what that is actually like. I am the second year of the new course and when I was researching universities Bath was still operating its older course so it wasn’t set in stone what was to be included. I think it would be helpful to know what sort of knowledge the course includes. There are 5 modules- Healthy Body 1 and 2 (Biology), Molecules to Medicines 1 and 2 (Chemistry) and Preparing for Professional Practice. You can find more info about these modules here. Each are 12 credit modules and you have to pass all of them and there are some other requirements. First year doesn’t count towards the degree mark, however you do have to pass everything to progress to the second year, so if you fail something you have to retake it in the summer. In addition to the exams for each of the modules there are is also a Pharmaceutical calculations exam- doing calculations such as working out doses and how many grams are in a certain amount of a cream for example, which has a 70% pass mark and you have to pass to progress.

My modules for the first 2 years

There are also two observed structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) in first year, both of which you must pass. The learning for these comes under a mixture of the Healthy body and Preparing for Professional Practice modules. These test how well you can communicate with a patient to find out what is wrong and then give them the right treatment, using clinical knowledge and also knowledge of products and of consultation skill models. To be honest when I heard about these I thought that’s good as I am good at talking, but it is a bit harder than that. You have to learn to a certain extent the Calgary Cambridge model of consultation skills and know the right questions to ask in the right order, checking for any red flag dangerous symptoms. You also have to be able to listen to the symptoms and work out what is wrong with the patient and make sure you get enough medical history, then summarise and give them the right treatment while ensuring you are empathetic and provide good non-verbal communication.

Some of the conditions you cover in first year include cough, cold, flu, hayfever, and sore throat. You sit in a little room with a lecturer and they pretend to be a patient with one of these conditions, and you ask questions and find out what is wrong and offer an appropriate treatment e.g. with chesty cough mixture giving them choices, e.g. drowsy or non-drowsy or children’s depending when their problem is what they are doing, their age. The other consultation is again with a lecturer or someone who role plays a patient who has been given a prescription for, or wants help with, a few different types of inhalers or a peak flow meter for asthma. You talk to them about the device and teach them how to use it properly, checking that they understood. If you fail one you have to retake both, although most people pass as long as you have practised (I did it over Skype with my boyfriend and family and with a flatmate) and have learnt symptoms, treatments and how to use the devices. You also get workshops to help you learn and which provide valuable practice.

The two Healthy body units include things such as DNA transcription, translation, nervous system, cells, microbiology, metabolism, endocrinology, heart, lungs, liver, health psychology- changing behaviours, and much more! Each unit has a 3-hour exam and 60% is multiple choice (with 20% scaling so 20% of your mark is taken off to allow for random guessing). The rest are short answer questions , and typically you can choose four questions from a choice of six. In the first semester we had quite a few 2 hour practicals- for example doing a microbiology practical followed by write ups including data analysis.

The two medicines to molecules units included topics like organic chemistry, bonding, amino acids, shapes and molecular structure, biochemical reactions, drug design, kinetics, pharmacokinetics, acid-base, absorption, analysis and drug development process. These are also 3 hours long exams consisting of some multiple choice questions (some of the patients were Harry Potter characters!) and some short answer questions. We had 3 hour practicals once a week for most of the second semester practising analysis, which was quite interesting, and we also did a practical data analysis which counted for 10% of our second molecules to medicine unit.

The final unit is the preparing for professional practice unit where we learnt things like roles of pharmacists in different departments, different pharmacist skills, ethics, pharmacy law, and evidence based practice which covers how to write continuous professional development entries reflecting what you have learnt. We also practiced dispensing and have worked on two problem based learning projects- a presentation about what to say to a parent of a child with a cough and a summer safety campaign) in our tutor groups which count towards the module as well as an essay. We also have a pharmaceutical calculations exam which is not part of this unit but it is compulsory to pass it 70% for the year which is a mixture of multiple choice and short answer calculations.

 

MBA Global Residency at the entrepreneurial French Riviera: an inspiring setting for innovation

📥  Global Residencies, MBA, Postgraduate, School of Management

Students sitting on a wall by a beach

Once upon a time, nine entrepreneurs from Bath MBA decided to go to Skema Business School's campus located at Sophia Antipolis to get a further understanding of innovation and its endeavors.  Even though Sophia Antipolis sounds like a town in Ancient Greece, it is the European Silicon Valley situated between the sea and the mountains at the French Riviera.

 

collage of beach shots

Looking at the scenery it is easy to understand why Pablo Picasso decided to stay and to see where his inspiration and enthusiasm came from. As Pablo Picasso was the pioneer of the Cubist movement, the Côte d’Azur has at least 200 start-ups in Information and Communication Technologies and Perfumeries spread between five incubators and four accelerators. Our journey in the South of France started on a Sunday. We went to explore Monaco,

Our journey in the South of France started on a Sunday. We went to explore Monaco, Nice and Menton, a hidden magical place located on the Italian-French border.It was the perfect mixture, culture, natural beauty, and leisure.

 

Pablo Picasso house collage

On Monday morning we departed to Skema University, where we met our wonderful professors and hosts: Dominique, Michel, Etienne, and Elisabeth.  During the week, we were delivered the program of innovation and Entrepreneurship: Doing Business in Europe. The content of the course not only was practical but also complemented our studies with an effectual approach to entrepreneurship. Between classes, we developed two different business ideas that aimed to disrupt the fashion and travel industries.

 

Skema University

After Class, we had the chance to explore the little villages around from Cannes to Monte Carlo. Later, between 7 pm and 9 pm, we enjoyed the sunset at the beach only two blocks away from the hotel. La French Cuisine was the protagonist of the trip. Every day we had the opportunity to eat at least one meal by the seaside, and a promenade afterward was mandatory. If we had to choose the best dinner of the week that one would be Chez Lulu, a Michelin recommended restaurant, were we celebrated Joanna’s Birthday.

 

Celebration meal

During the week, among du Vin, de la Champagne, des Macarons, du Fromage, Volleyball at the beach, morning runs and group projects, we had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of Amadeus, the biggest corporation, and employer located in the region.

 

Amadeus picture

We also had the occasion to observe the perfume production at Fragonard, perfumery.  There we explore the whole process, and of course, we had the emphasis on the sales customer journey, which was a total success. Regarding entrepreneurship, we had three talks with entrepreneurs located in a start-up incubator in Le Grasse, the capital of perfume in France.

We could not be more grateful for an experience where we learned by exploring; the Global Residency is without a doubt a very mindful part of the program. It was a lovely event composed of fun, family, friends, culture, gorgeous food and most importantly knowledge.

Animez-vous pour découvrir la France, Bon Voyage !

 

Lisa flowers picture

“The trip was perfect! We saw beautiful sights along the stunning Côte d'Azur, got to enjoy the beach, sea, and sunshine every day, had very interesting company visits and insights into the innovation and entrepreneurship scene in the south of France. I would highly recommend this trip to all future students!”

Lisa Solovieva, MBA student

 

Joanna Borecka photo

"I had such a great time! SKEMA School was so well prepared for our visit, the teaching program was excellent, it has genuinely enriched my understanding of entrepreneurship. It was also a brilliant opportunity to spend more time with my fellow MBA students - they were fantastic companions!"

Joanna Borecka, MBA student

 

We need to start talking about mental health

📥  Faculty of Science, Maho, Postgraduate

- in general, not just in Universities.

With many recognised illnesses, there is one group that is still tough for people to talk about; mental illness. Like any illness, it can impede your progress, but quite often it can remain unnoticed and undiagnosed, making it even more difficult. In fact, I’m often surprised about how many people are affected by it.

Well, I believe that the first and most important thing is to be more open about mental health; this will mean that people are more able to recognise that they are ill, to know that they are not alone in feeling this way. Because there is this stigma around mental illnesses, people may be scared to ask for help, and this could lead to devastating results. By being more open, I would like to think that something can be done before it’s too late, but also that people struggling are more willing to seek help. I also think that by being more open, people who are not suffering from mental illnesses would feel more confident in how to help someone else who is – because, to be totally honest, while I would do my best in that circumstance, I’m not sure if that would be helpful or not to the other person.

One thing I’ve learned about research is that it’s competitive, can be isolating and there are constant changes (the up-and-down nature of research), and this can make it really difficult to make friends. This is made worse by the fact that PhD projects start throughout the year. It’s not surprising to find yourself feeling down when your experiments are not working, and you feel totally on your own. It is usual to feel upset that someone had published something similar to what you are working on, if that does happen. Other things happen too, and if you are struggling, then please do not suffer on your own; there are services, from the University wellbeing service, your supervisor and colleagues, the Ombudsman, your GP. Talk to your friends about what you are going through – maybe they’re going through something similar – and about what would help you. Different things work for different people – I found talking to a psychologist helpful after being diagnosed with a physical illness, but you may find that medication is more helpful.

The thing to remember is, that mental illness can happen to anyone, like physical illness. So don’t be afraid to ask for help, and keep looking until you find something that works for you. Don’t beat yourself up about it – being ill has nothing to do with “just having the blues”, etc. Find people who are willing to listen, and be prepared to listen; by being open, I hope that less people are suffering with a mental illness on their own, and that people feel confident in how to help others who are struggling with a mental illness. Let's stop stigmatising mental illness.

 

How I came to study Pharmacy at Bath

  

📥  Faculty of Science, First year, Jemima (Pharmacy)

I thought it would be helpful to write about my journey to studying pharmacy here at the University of Bath. I will start by saying that while I have enjoyed my first year of Uni, pharmacy is an incredibly difficult course. When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor and even when choosing my A levels I knew I wanted to do something involving patients, using my science to help people. I did work experience in a hospital with the view to do either studying medicine or pharmacy and I honestly found the doctors job on this specific ward very boring, spending hardly any time with patients hours looking at a patients’ tests.

I also spent time with most other healthcare professionals- physios, occupational therapists, nurses, healthcare assistants and a ward pharmacy assistant. I found their jobs much more interesting and rewarding- I talked to the pharmacy assistant about the role of the pharmacist and really enjoyed what the pharmacy assistant was doing, checking drug charts, talking to patients, arranging discharge medicines, roles the pharmacist often did as well. I also did some work experience with emergency nurse practitioners in a minor injuries unit- I loved their role as well but knew that I didn’t want to be a nurse. I found out that pharmacists are starting to be used in this sort of area in A&E and in GP surgeries, and I also considered other potential areas for pharmacists, and from then on I decided that I wanted to be a pharmacist. I completed an Extended Project Qualification (equal to an AS) on the future of pharmacy- how pharmacists’ roles are changing in traditional types and what new areas of pharmacy are emerging.

I first came to the Uni on the open day and I fell in love with Bath straight away, even after a difficult journey that should have taken about 3 hours but which took over 5 (leave plenty of time if travelling by car to an Open Day as Bath can get quite congested!) I had also visited Bath a couple of years earlier and had always wanted to come back and so it was so great that the Uni offered pharmacy. I would really encourage people to go to open days- it is a wonderful way to get a feel for the university, the facilities and the course that they are offering. I think it is so important that I am helping out at our upcoming open days (more to follow).

Bath is one of the top universities for Pharmacy in the UK, consistently getting 90-100% pass rate in the pre-reg exam (which is set by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and all pharmacists must pass to register). As a comparison, one other uni that I applied for had a pass rate of about 50%. The grade requirements for pharmacy at Bath are quite high- AAB, including chemistry and one other science at A level as the scientific content is of a high level and is hard. I exceeded the offer and have still struggled to understand/remember things at times this year!

For me applying to do Pharmacy went like this: I went to the summer open days at the end of first year of college in around June time (Bath has Open Days in June and September) then applied in October for 5 pharmacy courses of different standards/grade requirements. In early November I had my first interview, at Bath! For healthcare courses, you almost always have to have an interview, partly I think to help reduce the numbers of people slightly as lots apply and it is very competitive, but mainly to check that you have the people skills for treating patients, to check your motivation for wanting to study pharmacy and to ask a little bit of chemistry. I was so pleased my first offer was from Bath (my favourite uni) and then over time I had interviews at the other places and got other offers. Once I had got one from Reading as well, my insurance, I officially put my firm and insurance choices on UCAS. I was worried about putting my firm and insurance as Bath and then Reading as they both had high requirements but my personal advice would be to put your two favourites unless you are really unlikely to get the grades.

In April I applied for accommodation,  and then I found out I had a place at Bath on results day in August. From then on I was in a pharmacy Facebook group chat and then we got allocated our accommodation and there were pages set up on Facebook to find your flatmates so then we had a flat groupchat. Then at the end of September I finally started studying Pharmacy at the University of Bath.

Confirmation of my place at Bath!

Confirmation of my offer from Bath!

A bit of advice if you are just looking to apply to do Pharmacy as a backup for medicine-don't! If you are thinking about it be careful as some universities say they would rather have someone with lower grades/lower predicted grades that wanted to do pharmacy than someone who wanted to do medicine but didn't get in. I didn’t realise that Pharmacy would be so hard or intense- everyone thinks of medicine being really hard but I think (maybe controversially) that pharmacy is just as hard and you have to have much of the same knowledge- complex biology and chemistry, potentially even more chemistry and maths doing calculations as well and knowing more about drugs. The course for pharmacy is 4 years as opposed to 5 for medicine but really pharmacy needs to be or could easily be stretched to 5 years (with some unis doing this).

After completing a pharmacy degree there is a year (pre-registration year) where you work in a pharmacy underneath another pharmacist, with an exam at the end set by the GPhC. One of the slightly annoying things about pharmacy is the fact that you have so much knowledge you must know and by the time you are qualified you have had a lot of training and often continue to train (Independent prescribing, Clinical Pharmacy Practice Certificates/Diplomas/Masters etc) and have to complete 9 continuing professional development entries every year. You don’t get paid anywhere near as much as well qualified doctors (although it is still a professional salary), and may not get as much respect from people- some people think you are just training to be a glorified shop assistant, which is really not true and I am glad to say that I think the public perception of pharmacists is starting to change. If you really want to do pharmacy and become a pharmacist, which I personally wanted to, then Bath is an excellent place to study it!

 

PGBio Inspirational Speaker 2017

📥  Faculty of Science, Maho, Postgraduate

Every year PGBio, the post-graduate biology society, invite a senior scientist to deliver an inspirational talk. This year, we were very fortunate to have the Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse come to us. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine alongside Leland Hartwell and Tim Hunt for their work on the regulation of the cell cycle, was the former president of the Royal Society and is currently the director of the Francis Crick Institute.

It was amazing to have Sir Paul talk to us, and later on I had the opportunity along with other PhD students, post-doc.s and a Masters student to have an informal group coffee with him. Sometimes, these kinds of situations can get awkward, but that was not the case here, and I really appreciated his honesty and kindness. Here are some of the highlights from the day;

Attack your hypothesis from many angles, and if it’s still intact, then it’s probably true – I have not considered this before, and I guess a part of me is scared of doing this precisely because whatever hypothesis I have may not stand. But I can see that it is important to let that dear go, so that you can be thorough in your research and, ultimately, have confidence in those hypotheses that remain intact.

Reality of research is that we all make mistakes – this is definitely true, but it’s something that is not always evident when you read research papers; well, they are usually the “good bits”, right? It is comforting to know that you are not the only one to make mistakes.

Enjoy what you are doing, and have breaks – this is something I definitely stand by; the ups and downs of research is tough, and if you’re not enjoying it then it is going to be harder. And sometimes, the best thing to do when things are not going well is actually to have a break, whether that’s going home early and not thinking about whatever experiment is not working until you come back the next day, or just taking a few days/weeks off. It really does help to have a fresh mind!

I am so glad that I had this opportunity, especially at this stage in my career, and this will be one of those events that will stay with me. So, thank-you Sir!

 

First year reflections

📥  Uncategorized

First year is officially drawing to a close, with only one seminar and one lecture remaining for me. This doesn’t mean I’m finished though, as I’m rudely reminded by the list of deadlines on the wall in front of me, but there are just 4 pieces of coursework and an exam between me and a four month summer! It’s very strange in the sense that Freshers' Week feels like it was just the other day, but I also feel like I’ve known my friends here for years, so I can’t really tell if this year has flown by or felt crazily long..

It’s very strange though that knowing that I’ve almost done a quarter of my degree (and I’m doing a placement year, so for those who aren’t they’ve done a third!). I’ve got involved with a lot of stuff this semester and I’m really glad, as, although it’s not good to overcommit yourself to stuff and end up stressed, I definitely feel like you get more out of uni if you put more in. I only realise this now after my mum nagged at me for years in secondary school to get involved with stuff and I could never be bothered… oops! Never too late I guess.

Deadlines- almost there!

Deadlines- almost there!

There are some good things about first year being over. I know that the course next year will be more interesting, as a lot of second years have said that. I’ve still really enjoyed this year, but it’s a fairly broad overview to psychology, and I’m looking forward to focusing in on more interesting aspects and learning about more things which I haven’t studied before. I’ll also get to leave behind the flatmates who never quite learned that the kitchen sink is specifically there for washing up… a concept some clearly struggled with. Ah, I can’t wait to have a tidy kitchen!! And I’ll get to live in a nice, big house with a bath! And a tv!

Halls is like living with your friends and I do love my flatmates, but it is going to be great having our own house and kitchen and being able to sit in the garden and have a local pub.. can you tell I’m excited?? But I also know a lot more about the uni now. I haven’t got the apprehension that came with starting last year about making friends or getting lost. I’m now in societies and do volunteering and just kind of feel like I know what I’m doing which is definitely a nice feeling!

I will miss my room in Norwood

I will miss my room in Norwood

Obviously, there are a few downsides, too. Like, er, the grades counting towards the final degree. I would love to know how many times this year I’ve said ‘it’s fiiiiine, it’s first year; doesn’t count’ when someone’s stressing over work. It’s the go-to phrase in moments of doubt. You just need 40% to get to second year, and while a 2:1 or first is preferable if you’re doing a placement, it’s very easy to forget that when trying to convince someone to come on a night out. I’m also a little bit gutted to leave behind Norwood House. Halls are the epitome of convenience; when again will I ever live above both a night club, a supermarket, a starbucks, etc. etc. etc. And being able to crawl out of bed 10 minutes before a lecture and make it there on time?! I have essentially been living the dream. While there are lots of perks to having a house, halls have been pretty great. And I don’t get to have freshers week again! My friends are reliving it by being freshers crew, where they’ll be allocated a flat and take them to activities and drop them off at different events during the week, but I’ll be working at home so didn’t want to commit. I’m quite jealous though as I’m sure the events will be great again, and I’m still not over missing Russell Howard this year… maybe they can sneak me in..

One of the definite highlights of first year has been making so many great friends

One of the definite highlights of first year has been making so many great friends

First year has been so, so good, and involved all kinds of things, from late night hide and seek in the library, sitting with cider on sunny days by the lake, trying ballet lessons for the first time, nights out in Bath and Bristol, late night work sessions in the library, countless trips to Fresh (the on-campus supermarket), flat walks around the golf course, gym classes, lots and lots of coffee before 9.15s, many, many trips to the various fast food places in town open after the clubs shut… and that’s just naming a few. While it will be nice to go home for summer and have the luxuries of a washing machine and not having to do things like remembering to buy food, uni has been great and I’m already excited to come back for next year!

Laura x

Bath is sooo pretty

Bath is sooo pretty