Let me introduce myself first! My name is Ayesha and this year I’m going to be writing for the international section of the FLS student blog. I’m currently a second year student studying Biomedical Sciences here. A little backstory, I was born and raised in India (represent!) and moved to the UK only about a year ago for my studies.
As far as my first year goes, if I had to sum it up in a word, it was amazing. It was such a good learning experience for me from never even having flown before in my life, to coming all the way here to a completely different continent altogether all by myself. It may not seem like a big deal to many, but for me it was huge! I’m so glad I chose to live at Hulme Hall for my first year- the people were so friendly and welcoming, and not to mention diverse (if you haven’t already heard that a million times before). I also went on my first rollercoaster ride ever! This was at Alton Towers- please go, it is so great! As weird as it sounds, it was one of my highlights from last year.
University life was pretty good too! In first year, no matter what Life Science course you were studying, we all had to do a set of compulsory modules so that we had a good overview of key life sciences topics. At first I wished that we could have had a little more flexibility in terms of picking our modules – but this soon changed because if it had been up to me, I would never have chosen the pharmacology module ‘Drugs- from molecules to man’ and this surprisingly became my favorite module of the year and even made me consider switching my course to Pharmacology. But I don’t regret this as now my degree gives me the flexibility to choose any module I want including the Pharmacology ones.
Cut to present time, I moved out of my halls and am currently renting a house with some of my hall-mates from last year. Since I got back here a week earlier than Welcome Week, I figured I would go over to London (only 2 hours away!) for a bit and do all the touristy things I didn’t get the chance to last year. It was a great trip and I highly recommend it to those who haven’t been before.
Alright, back to Manchester! Welcome Week was really busy as you would expect. With the new and returning students swarming through the streets, I felt so nostalgic! I miss being a first year student. I went to the Welcome Fair again this year – it was immensely packed, but I survived. I managed to join the Taekwondo, Kickboxing and Trampolining societies. Don’t be fooled, I’m almost as physically active as a slug but I decided it was time I let go of my sluggish ways and make a new start. So far, it’s been great! I’ve met so many new people and upped my fitness game a bit. Also, trampolining is so much fun, I highly recommend it.
As far as uni goes, obviously in the 2nd year your workload increases as you would expect BUT, I really enjoy it this year. I was able to choose all of my modules, which I’m so pleased with. It’s great because I actually love what I study now. What I’ve noticed is that everyone around me is also a lot more focused on their studies now compared to last year which I actually find quite inspiring. It motivates me to spend more time studying and that helps me stay on top of my workload.
Something that is new this year is that we need to write a dissertation (a 9 page write up). I got to choose 8 topics from a list of over 380 so I was spoilt for choice! I wanted to combine my new found interest in Pharmacology with my passion for Biomedical Sciences so 6 of my choices are Pharmacology themed, specifically looking at how various drugs affect our system. Topic allocation is due by the end of this week, so I don’t know which one out of these 8 topics I have been allocated yet. However, to be really honest, I don’t mind which one I get allocated because they all interest me.
The careers service is on top of their game right now, promoting work opportunities and providing help to improve our employability skills. I actually had an appointment with the careers service this afternoon, and it was so helpful. They gave me good advice and directed me to all the right people to help me get started with gaining useful work experience.
Speaking of work experience… alongside my studies, I am an International Student Ambassador (paid) and Student Representative for the second year students on my course. It’s quite nice being in the student body as it helps you build a stronger network with other students as well as the staff. Also, it gives valuable transferable skills like leadership, communication and teamwork.
Finally, I have been exploring Manchester a lot more this year. As my halls were catered last year, I didn’t get to dine out a lot. Northern Quarter has a lot of nice little restaurants and cafes which I only discovered this year. The Curry Mile has become my go to place to go grab food. Food there is so cheap and delicious, and also reminds me of home.
It has been a great year so far. I just want to take advantage of all the fun things I can do here while I can before the dreaded exam stress dawns upon me!
‘Til next time,
PS. This is my first time writing a blog post, so please bear with me until I get the hang of it!
PPS. I’m really sorry for not including many pictures! I would love to but I just switched my phones and have lost all of my photos. I will make sure to put them in next time!