Tag Archives: dissertation

Astynnia’s Second Year (International) Blog

Second year came and flew by real fast, beginning from the Experimental Design Module (EDM), January exams, Research Skills Module (RSM), dissertation and up to today with my revision for summer exams. I remember those stressful days when I was overwhelmed with preparation for my dissertation. The grade was announced 3 weeks ago and I am glad that everything went well, better than what I was expecting! So I’m very pleased with that, as it was a whole 10 credits (1/12th of the year) in itself. This year has been so enjoyable and it’s gone so fast that I almost can’t believe that in less than a month, I will be flying back to Malaysia for the summer. I booked my flight tickets without telling my family because I wanted to give them a surprise, which is something that I am looking forward to. 🙂

My overall experience of 2nd year has been amazing. The most valuable thing I have learnt is how to manage time effectively. With all the deadlines I’ve had to meet this year, it’s made me more organized and efficient at getting things done (well) on time! This is definitely an essential skill for undergraduate, and I believe this will come of great use to me in Final Year – when I hear things get real hectic!

I have also used this year as an opportunity to travel while I have been away from my home country. I have learnt so much about different cultures, and have created some great memories which I can look back over as making travel videos are my favourite post-vacation activity.

This year, I got to know more people and made more friends in Biomedical Sciences, which definitely made my life in Manchester more exciting on the social side of things. Although at the moment it’s all study, study, study, there are a lot of gatherings being arranged for before everyone parts for the summer holidays. Oh and the weather is finally picking up too, so there’s plenty to look forward to!

A catch up with my best buddy on a sunny day in Manchester last week

A catch up with my best buddy on a sunny day in Manchester last week


So much excitement during Kygo's concert!

So much excitement during Kygo’s concert!

Catching up from my previous blog post, there has been so much going on! To make the most of my time in Manchester and all the brilliant music venues there are here, last month I went to a concert at Manchester Academy (which is right opposite the Stopford building, where most Life Sciences lectures and practical’s take place – ideal) to see a DJ called Kygo. The music and atmosphere was amazing. The music scene in Manchester is definitely something I will remember!

Also, as a lot of my friends are graduating this year, we had a formal dinner at The Living Room Restaurant in Deansgate. We had a great night there and it was very fancy! It’s always nice to get dressed up for a formal event every once in a while. The restaurant was elegant and modern which made for a lovely atmosphere. Oh and the food was delicious too!


At the Graduation Dinner

At the Graduation Dinner

I also attended a sports event that we, as part of the International Society, organized at the Sugden Sports Centre and it was really fun! We had 6 station games and the ideas for the activities were modified from a Korean reality game show called Running Man such as “Flying Coins” and “Ping Pong ball Piggyback”. Then after the hectic and fun-filled day there, we moved on and ended it with a karaoke session! It was such a fun day!

Sport day at Sugden Centre

Sport day at Sugden Centre

As second year comes to an end, it’s time for me to start thinking about what Final Year Project to do next year. There are a number of different options, and I’m not quite sure which one I want to do yet but I will have a good think about it once exams end. To help me make my decision and to learn more about the different options, I attended the business pitches by the final year Life Sciences students earlier this month. It was a presentation for their Enterprise Final Year Project and it gave me an idea about the business style enterprise project option which I find interesting. One of the topics that caught my attention was “Diagnostic test for Schizophrenia” as the team members designed a tool virtually to test for the disease.

But before all of that I have semester 2 exams to get through! I have mixed feelings about my upcoming exams but I’d say I am most confident about my ‘Parasitology’ exam. It’s been my favourite subject for me throughout the whole of 2nd year as I love microbes! Plus there is no essay in the exam, only short answer questions! I also find my other modules ’Immunology’ and ‘Cell Metabolism and Metabolic Control’ interesting – revision isn’t all that bad when you’re genuinely intrigued by the things you are learning! The exam that I am the least confident about at the moment is ‘Clinical Drug Development’. It’s quite different from anything I’ve done before as it’s more pharmacology based rather than focusing on how cells, organs and systems function in the human body. However I am working hard so I’m still hoping for the best!

I know that final year is not going to be easy, but in the midst of busy schedule, I am looking forward to some more memorable experiences and taking advantage of all the fun things there are to do in Manchester. Even after 2 years of living here, there is still so much more to do! Academically, I am looking forward to doing the volunteering work with my friends as part of the Final Year ‘Leadership in Action’ module. It is always a good idea to do some community projects over the year as it will help me to take some time off from the books and get to know more people around the university. I think it will be good for my CV too!

Well that’s it then! Good luck in upcoming exams and I hope that you guys enjoyed reading my 2nd year journey! 🙂




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Dan’s Final Year Blog

Hello everybody and welcome back. Oh how I have missed you all, I hope everyone had a good Easter and that I find you all well today!

Let’s get right to the point – it is a momentous day on which you join me, for it is the day that I have submitted my Final Year Project report. *Rapturous applause* Please though, hold your congratulations… No but really, that is quite a big thing right there. Me, myself, I, the one who rarely even knows where I am, let alone what day of the week it is, has managed to fire off a 19 page report a whole 2 days before the deadline! Who’d have thought that would happen!? Now I have a whole 2 days to send irritating snapchats to people who haven’t finished yet, reminding them of the misery in which they still reside… Haha!

I think the last time I was on here talking your ears off was the day before my exhibit at the museum, on which my entire project was based… You’ll all be relieved to know that the exhibit went really well, loads of budding young future scientists coming in to learn from me about their vision and their eyes. It’s a lot of work though, hosting a science fair stand, believe me! It might look like we’re just standing about confusing little kids, but that volume of talking and gesticulating is pretty draining, even for yours truly. The public loved the Body Experience event so much in fact, that the organisers told me that people had been asking for it to be held for a second day! Even the little post it notes on my feedback board were good. Kids as young as 5 or 6 saying they “loved it” or that it “opened my eyes” – great vision pun whoever wrote that one! One person even wrote “Dan is fantastic”, and before you say anything, no it wasn’t my mother, who did, of course, insist on showing up to the exhibit. Luckily all my friends were too busy to swing by and see me in my “I am a Drosopholist” T-shirt.

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So anyway yeah, project is done, leaving my only 40 credits worth of exams to go, that’s only one ninth of a three year degree left to do, that’s what I call progress. Obviously that now puts me in the no-man’s-land of wanting exams to be over, but not wanting Uni to be over.. At least the timetabling gods have had the good grace not to put an exam on my birthday this year, as they have done every year of Uni so far.. There’s one on the day after instead… thanks. They have also had the great idea of timetabling the only three compulsory Neuroscience exams for this term all on consecutive days at the start of June, not sure how I feel about that, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Blah work work work work work, what else has been going on? Well you’ve all been on Easter holidays haven’t you, I hope they were more productive than mine. I had the best intentions, I really did, but as I’m sure you can guess, not a lot got done. I did have a lovely trip to the south of France though. A friend of mine from the trip I took to China last summer is on her placement year in Montpellier so I had Easter weekend down there, on the beach. It was pretty nice, not going to lie. It’s very picturesque, Montpellier, really pretty. Good food, good wine, good sun so all in all, can’t complain. Other than that, a pretty uneventful Easter, with the exception of a night out in Camden dressed as the cast of Archer… I was Archer, obviously.

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We final years, or Golden Oldies are we are also affectionately known, haven’t had lectures in life sciences since the Easter hols, so not much else to report academically I’m afraid. All our lectures for modules in second semester take place in the first half of the semester, so that we have the whole of the second half to devote our time to our Final Year Projects. I have had to do presentations about our projects for tutorial, but they’re never really an issue – I love getting up to talk and our tutor, is always a great audience.

What else is coming up? Well final year project hand in deadline will come and go, and then it will be senior ambassador’s end of year BBQ at Professor Sheffield’s house! Weather permitting obviously, but whatever happens, we all know that it will be a good night – if there’s anyone in the faculty who knows how to have a good time, it’s the staff!

The other big thing to look forward to of course is graduation in the summer. Still trying to decide on what type of dance to do while I’m up there to be honest… open to suggestions from the audience at this point. However before having to head out into the real world to be a real adult, I’ve got lots to look forward to in Manchester before I leave – including festivals Pangaea and Parklife!  Then I think the most grown up option at the moment is looking like a graduate scheme at the Wellcome trust, which seems pretty tasty, good benefits and only half an hour from home (it’s in London Euston).

All that though, is still a world away so wish me luck getting there, and I’ll speak to you all again soon!

Lots of love,

Dan xX

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Astynnia’s Second Year (International) Blog

Hello everyone!

In my last post, I talked about how busy my academic schedule was with my Research Skills Module (RSM) and Dissertation. Since I am done with them now, I can assure you guys that RSM online assessments are actually not as daunting as many would perceive. Basically, us Biomedical Sciences students were introduced to 4 different clinical sciences specialism in 4 weeks – Clinical Microbiology, Clinical Biochemistry, Clinical Pathology and Clinical Haematology. By the end of the week, we were required to complete an online assessment either in the form of short answer questions, a summary of a scientific article or methods and results writing. As long as you have a good understanding of the experiments and follow the assessment guidelines, you’re likely to do well! The assessments are worth 50% of the module, so it is important to ask the practical supervisor if you are having any problems understanding the topic. There’s no need to feel shy about this though because they are always more than willing to help you!

As for my dissertation, titled “Gut Microbiome and the Health of Colon” my supervisor gave me two articles as starter references. It took me a little while to get my head around these as nothing is easy when you are doing it for the first time. However, the more you read, the easier it is to understand what you need to include in the 9-page literature review. An easy trick is to always refer to the reference list in the starter references provided as they will provide you with other related scientific articles. And voila! Your reading list is sorted :). It is important for you to properly understand the content within your dissertation because you have to present your dissertation topic to your academic tutor and tutorial group members!

Before parting away for Easter holiday, my best buddy and I had a delicious Korean meal at Seoul Kimchi on Upper Brook Street. It seems like we found another one of Manchester hidden gems! If you are craving or would like to try authentic Korean food, this place is the right place to go to!

Kimchi stew with rice and beef bibimbap. Side dishes anchovies, kimchi (fermented cabbage) and pickles.

Kimchi stew with rice and beef bibimbap. Side dishes anchovies, kimchi (fermented cabbage) and pickles.

However our 3-weeks of Easter break is now at an end. I am currently still doing the modifications works for my RSM lab report. In the coming two weeks, there will be spot tests for Immunology and Parasitology and they are worth 10% each for the modules. I’m a little nervous for these as have found it hard to fit in revision this Easter holidays. That’s because I spent 12 days of the holiday in Norway and Iceland! I’m really making the most of being able to travel around and see as much of Europe as I can while I am over here for my studies away from Malaysia.

The best way to experience Norway is from above. Naturally, that involves a lot of hiking and battling with steep cliffs. However, you will get postcard views of stunning fjords (pulpit rocks) and that is the time when nature makes you feel like a tiny ant in a gigantic world. Iceland was equally as enjoyable with magical cinematic landscapes to leave you in awe. I was able to witness aurora borealis (also known as the northern lights) dancing above my head in Reyjkavik, which was absolutely wonderful. I also visited Seljalandsfoss waterfall.


I would say that it has been a productive semester for me with the right balance between work and play. As much as I wanted the holiday to last, I am looking forward to finishing my 2nd year as well, which means I am only 2 months away to be back home. 🙂

First day back at university after 3-weeks of Easter holidays celebrated with a McDonalds catch up lunch break!

First day back at university after 3-weeks of Easter holidays celebrated with a McDonalds catch up lunch break!


Astynnia x

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Astynnia’s Second Year (International) Blog

Amazing how time flies so quickly. We’re partway through the 2nd semester before Easter break now!


Anyway, thanks for stopping by and welcome to my international student blog. As an introductory post I’ll keep it real sweet.

I’m Astynnia, a 2nd Year Biomedical Sciences student. From one of the world’s most multilingual and multicultural countries, I proudly represent Malaysia – specifically Sarawak, which is the home for Borneo’s natural wonders. And yes, just in case if you’re wondering, I do have a distinct Malaysian accent.

A snippet of my hometown

A snippet of my hometown

I survived the first semester! I have to admit that there was a huge transition from 1st year to 2nd year in terms of workloads and examinations. The key to success is consistency and discipline because you cannot afford to leave all your revision for lectures at the eleventh hour with the amount of facts that you have to remember. My recommendations for choosing 2nd year modules would be, go for those you’re interested in and refer to the handbook descriptions. Personally, I find that I score better in short-answered questions than essay-based questions because I find it easier to revise for specific and precise answers. So I made sure to choose as many modules with this exam format as possible! During  1st semester, I was pretty confident with the “Molecules and Cells in Human Disease” module because I’m really interested in pathology aka the diagnosis of disease. So in the 2nd semester (right now), I’m doing “Immunology” which is an extension of the module and it actually overlaps with another module I’m taking called “Parasitology”.

Some people say that 2nd semester of 2nd year is the most hectic period for a Life Sciences student. Yup, at the moment I can agree that they could be right! To start with, we are required to write a 9-page essay for our Dissertation based on the topic that we have chosen and it is worth 10 credits. It is similar to a Literature Review, where you read several scientific articles and gather the bits and pieces of information together to write your own essay. My topic is “Gut Microbiome and the Health of Colon”. Fret not as your supervisor is always available to help with the planning, so make sure to co-operate well with him/her. At the same time, we have a Research Skill Module (RSM) which goes on for 4 weeks. Basically, it comprises of 3 lab sessions per week, from 11am-5pm but it really depends on the complexity level of the experiment. It is a tiring month, but definitely valuable as it has made me feel like a real Biomedical Scientist, as we get hands-on experience to do blood and urine analysis. RSM has helped me to deepen my knowledge in clinical pathology and biochemistry. This is the career field that I am interested in, and I have done similar work during an internship back in Malaysia last summer. Also, the experiments that we conduct each week come with 4 short-answered assessments and an extended practical write-up (50% and 40% respectively).

After reading all this, I know it might sound scary with the overwhelming amount of work, but it is more than manageable. Especially when you have a best buddy who is taking the same modules and RSM as you! We always discuss and study together and have done since our 1st year. We’ve been lab partners ever since then! My first and last days of semester are always dedicated to her, and sometimes over the weekends we enjoy exploring Manchester’s cafes and restaurants. Being together for 1.5 years, I have learned a lot about Japanese culture which I find really interesting and unique such as “Coming of Age Day” and “Mochi-Pounding Ceremony”.

From Malaysia to Manchester, it takes me 3 flights and a total of almost 22 hours to arrive to the destination. So why is Manchester worth the effort? To begin with, I was privileged enough to be awarded a scholarship to pursue my degree in UK. I put UoM as my first choice because it has a high student satisfaction score for FLS and it was listed in the top 40 universities in the world for Life Sciences and Medicine. The cost of living in Greater Manchester is also more affordable in comparison to central London in terms of accommodation rental, transportation and eating out. So basically, I’ve got the best of both worlds – studying in a university with high reputation and good quality of student life. As a traveler/ globetrotter/ wanderlust (and any other similar terms that can be used to describe my passion), it is also easy to fly out from Manchester to other parts of Europe. As you might be able guess, travelling is my favourite pastime during the semester break and I have covered 17 countries since I graduated from college. I’ve just been to Spain and Morocco during the last Christmas break! As much as I have learned academically in the university, I have also acquired a lot of survival skills from general university life, such as organization and planning, adaptability and being street-smart as I travel. To best describe my adventures, I’ll share a few photos with you.

I think this pretty much sums up my first half of second year. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – so I strongly encourage you to enrich your university life with your passion because what makes you an all-rounder is not just your grade, but the experiences that you take away from university life. The people you meet, the contacts you make, the skills you learn, the activities you do and the fun you have – all of them pay higher returns in both the present and the future than your textbooks ever will.

Until next time!



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Ayesha’s second year (international) blog

Hi all!

Welcome back to my second year blog!

CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE… and SO IS MY BIRTHDAY (the 21st if you’re wondering. I am expecting presents, thank you)… WOOOOOOOOH!!!

Since my housemates don’t celebrate Christmas, and I am too broke to buy any decorations, sadly my house lacks festivity. However I did go to the Manchester Christmas Markets! It’s so merry and lovely. I don’t normally celebrate Christmas either at home in India, but I’ll admit that whilst in Manchester I can’t help but get into the festive spirit. The Christmas Markets are such a great thing to go to at this time of year: the buzzing atmosphere, the amazing food, the cute little mugs they give you to drink your hot chocolate from, the lights and the BIG SANTA in Albert Square.

albert square

Christmas markets in Albert Square

I’m not going back home over Christmas this year. But it’s okay, some of my friends are planning on staying back as well, so I’ll have company! The good thing is, they are all on my course, so we’re planning to get a ton of revision done together for January exams! I do really miss my family though. It’s not really a big deal for us as a family to not get together for Christmas as we don’t celebrate it, but it’s just been so long since I last saw them. I’m going to have to make do with Skype for now. All hail technology!

Now, let’s talk about Uni. So I got allocated my dissertation topic which is ‘Heparin- history, mechanism of action and clinical uses’. It wasn’t my first choice but that’s ok because it turns out that Heparin’s cool. Who’d have thought Anticoagulants could be so interesting?! I haven’t had much time to work on my dissertation yet which is fine for now since it is due for March next year. But currently, I’m working on my lab report (which is due tomorrow, and I am barely half way through it.. AHH!!!!). It’s so weird because no matter how much work I get done, there’s still always so much more left to do! Having said that, I do prefer having coursework for labs rather than a final exam like last year.

The exam format this year is so different to last year’s. We don’t have multiple choice questions anymore. It’s either short answer or essay type questions. I didn’t think I’d say this, but I actually much prefer this format. Yes, you do have to do a lot more extra reading, and have to have a solid understanding of the core concepts being taught- but that’s not a bad thing, is it? It is a lot more work but you just know so much more about life science topics, it does really make you feel a lot smarter. AND, there is no negative marking! Hoorah!

My best tip to stay on top of work is really obvious: GO TO LECTURES. Now that I have been to most of my lectures, I at least know what’s going on. I don’t necessarily understand all of it while attending the lectures, but I get the gist. And that’s what has helped me plan my revision schedule. I know what’s easy and what’s harder so I know how much time I need to dedicate to a particular topic or how many days to a particular unit.

Right then, I’m going to end this post on that note. Sorry for a short one but like I said, I really need to get on with my lab report, it’s worth 20% of my grade! Wish me luck guys!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season this year! Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to all of you!


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