Student Perspective: First year Chem Eng student Charlotte tells us why we should enjoy the journey: "The path may not be entirely clear, but this is because there are so many different opportunities out there."

Posted in: Advice, Career Choice, Career Development, Finding a Job, Tips & Hints

I had never heard of the career that I am aiming to do until the years leading up to university. At first, I wanted to be a dentist, which I realised was not for me. When I started attending university open days, I discovered the profession of chemical engineering. It was a combination of all the subjects that I loved, and the degree led to a wide range of different careers. The adaptability and variety of applications of the degree drew me in, so I applied for some work experience at an oil refinery. My college frequently emphasised how important work experience was, and I have to say I would agree. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Having loved my experience at the oil refinery, I decided to take the advice of a few of the people who I met there. This was looking into several different chemical engineering universities – one of which, was Bath. For me, Bath was by far my favourite university out of these; it provided a year in industry at the end of your second or third year, had a brilliant reputation and a general welcoming atmosphere. I had been told that courses with years in industry were a great opportunity to network and gain experience. Potentially, you could end up with a job offer for the end of your degree. Therefore, I sent in my UCAS application with Bath University Chemical Engineering as my firm choice.

Currently studying first year chemical engineering at Bath University, my career plans are still a little ambiguous. Since my work experience in a refinery, it has been clear to me that I would love to have a career in industry out on the field or in design. Perhaps I might even end up at the same company with whom I completed work experience. There are many opportunities associated with my degree, so my first plan is to research the different types of years in industry. From here, I will narrow down my choices to a couple of key roles that interest me the most. I think that across the first two years of the degree, it will become clear which subjects I have the greatest affinity for. Decisions such as these do not need to come quickly or easily. They are a process of discovery.

At the end of my degree, I hope to have a job secured ready for when I graduate, although this is not the be all and end all. It could be that something comes along only down the line from graduation, or even that I will work my way up to the job of my choice. I will hopefully have a master’s degree in chemical engineering. With this, it would be great to work in a company where I could make a true difference. To make a change regarding protecting the environment or sustainability would be the ultimate goal for me. This is a subject which is not just important to me but also everyone on this planet. As the next generation of workers, we should aim to have sustainable career goals, as this is only going to become more and more important.

Although it is good to have a plan for your career, I feel that it is not something to be set in stone. I try not to worry too much if things do not go exactly to plan. The path may not be entirely clear, but this is because there are so many different opportunities out there. Some of them might not even exist yet! How can we be expected to follow a life plan to the letter when the world is continuously changing and growing – the people along with it?

Posted in: Advice, Career Choice, Career Development, Finding a Job, Tips & Hints


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