I fell in love with Brunel when I visited the campus whilst studying for my A-Levels. I was exposed to nothing but friendly, engaging and welcoming people and I just knew Brunel was the only place I wanted to be.
My career aspirations and expectations from the course were unclear to me when I applied and even when I started my degree. This worried me initially as everybody around me seemed to have some life plan except for me. Brunel cultivated this, providing me with insight into different paths presented to me and sparked ideas for my future career. Most of all I was taught how I could develop myself personally and professionally to make these routes more accessible. This led me to co-found and become the Treasurer for the Brunel Biology Society, which allowed me to meet like-minded people on a social level. I also had postgraduate and other students to go to for advice and guidance while staff and my peers supported me, and that made me feel a part of Brunel for more than just studying.
I opted to extend my course by an extra year and took my third year as a placement year, where I worked in industry conducting first-in-man clinical drug trials. This experience was invaluable, not only because it put 12 months of relevant professional work on my CV, but because I learnt about life after university. Whilst I enjoyed my time on placement, I learnt that I personally did not suit clinical ward work and that the aspects I enjoyed most were reading the research behind new drugs, and the logistical work that goes into running a clinical trial.
The optional modules in Levels two and three allowed me to tailor my course to my preferred and strongest subjects, enabling me to get the most out of my degree. Soon I found myself enjoying the content and teaching style so much that it barely felt like work, and learning no longer seemed a chore, as it used to through school. The lecturers involved in the research centres CCCB and BIAS, particularly Dr Bridger, nurtured my research interests and enabled me to become confident in myself. This was most apparent throughout my final year project, which I thoroughly enjoyed and even miss working towards.
Now I work for the NHS in a service development role where I get to put into practice healthcare aspects learnt in my degree, and team it with the logistic work I enjoyed on placement. In the near future I am hoping to return to Brunel to study part-time for a PhD (alongside my current career) under the supervision of the staff that supported me so much through these vital years of my life, and for whom I have endless respect and admiration.
- Sarah was the 2013 recipients of the Astus Award for Best Final Year Project for Progeria Research