Shakera Rahman - BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences
What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?
Northumbria University has a reputation for offering the highest class of education as well as a high standard of student life in general. People I knew who already studied at Northumbria recommended the university as it offered great teaching and student help. Particularly I chose to study my course in Northumbria rather than Newcastle University as Northumbria is the only university in the area which has been accredited by the IBMS thus ensuring me a huge variety of careers to choose from after university.
What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?
I’ve always been very interested in sciences as I find it very interesting to understand how life around us works. Sciences are not the easiest subject to grasp but with a little effort you find yourself suddenly able to understand and explain something which makes you feel as if you’ve gained so much more. I singled out Biomedical Studies because it involved understanding how human life functions and combined my interest in biology with my like for the practical side of chemistry.
What qualifications did you have?
I applied for university through UCAS and after receiving my acceptances from various universities, I chose Northumbria. I didn’t choose an insurance choice because I knew I only wanted to study at Northumbria. At A-Level I took Biology, Chemistry and English Literature.
How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?
The first week of university was hectic at best. In sixth form everyone knew everyone else but at university everyone is completely new. From trying to find the correct room to approaching new people and enjoying the vast social-mixing opportunities, welcome week is a week where no one really feels all too steady on their feet. But the important thing to remember is that everyone is in the same position.
What do you like most about the course?
When I applied to Northumbria I hadn’t known that the teaching week comprised of only two full days. Because of this, I’ve found a part-time job which doesn’t eat up into study time.
Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently?
Recently I took part in an assessed practical for Cell Biology. The practical involved Gram staining various bacteria to better understand bacterial cell structure. Using various procedures and chemicals, the samples either stained purple or red – depending on the chemistry of their cell membrane. Using a microscope I was able to view these samples and take down notes on what I saw. The next part of the practical involves answering various multiple choice questions online about the Gram staining process.
The actual process of Gram staining was completely new to me but with the information in the hand out, the demonstration from the lecturer, and the on hand help from both the lecturer and the technician I came out feeling very confident about Gram staining.
How do you get on with your tutors?
The relationship between tutor and each student is very different from that at sixth form. Tutors are there if anyone needs any extra help, either at the end of a lecture or via emails.
Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?
There is the opportunity to have a year out, work placement during the 3rd year.
What do you do when you’re not studying?
I have a part-time job working in cosmetics and fragrances, as well as that I split my spare time between socialising with friends, volunteering for local charities and shopping away every penny I have.
What’s your accommodation like?
As I already live in Newcastle, I decided not to go into accommodation.
What would you like to do when you graduate?
When I began the course I wanted to go into some form of work in biomedical labs. Since starting the course I have learned much more about the different types of biomedical labs in hospitals and at the moment I would like to work in a histology lab.
Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?
I think one major thing everyone applying for university has to do is to sort out their student finance. I always procrastinate and only actually sent in my paperwork the week I began university, which meant I was very lucky to get my loan a month into university. Thankfully I had a job, so my wages saw me through everything I needed before I received my loan.
What three words would you use to describe your time at Northumbria?
Fun, hectic, brilliant.