I think I was the happiest I’ve ever been when I secured my placement year. I was working in a lab at GSK; it was really competitive and I didn’t think I would get on it, but I did. The placement actually exceeded all my expectations, because it really helped me develop my experience of working in a lab. Obviously when you do lab work in class, it’s not quite the same as when you’re out there working for a company, so I’ve learnt a lot of techniques and skills that I’ll be able to use in the future. It’s such a good addition to your CV so it’s really great that Essex offers the option to do a placement year as part of your course. When you apply for PhDs they like you to have some experience as well, so it will really stand me in good stead. I’d definitely like to work for a pharmaceutical company in the future.
I’ve had a really good experience in the School of Biological Sciences at Essex. The lecturers are always available to talk to and you can form a good relationship with them, so I’ve never really struggled with work because the support system is so good. It’s hard when you’re trying to juggle applying for jobs and getting your coursework done, though; you really have to find that balance.
The community at Essex is also really lovely. Because it’s such a small university, it’s really friendly; you kind of get to know everyone. I’m part of the netball team and it’s really given me a great social side to my university life. Whenever I’ve gone to visit friends at other universities, there’s never been the same kind of friendly atmosphere that you get at Essex.