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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Meet the Undergraduate - Tayyib Ahmed Saddique, MSci Chemistry

Tayyib has recently graduated from his MSci Chemistry degree and in this blog he explains what studying the subject at Queen Mary has been like 

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Hi! I’m Tayyib and I’m a MSci Chemistry graduate. Having studied at Queen Mary University of London for the past four years, it’s been an incredible journey honestly from joining all sorts of societies to making lifelong friends.

My journey as a commuter:

My first few weeks of university started with sheer excitement about the events being hosted during Freshers Week and studying a subject I genuinely enjoyed. Freshers Week was honestly incredibly immersive with a variety of different events, from clubbing to more casual society-led events so there’s bound to be something for you! As a commuter, I’ll admit starting university felt a little daunting with the fear that I’d not have the opportunity to immerse myself socially as well as students in halls. But that fear quickly diminished when I discovered the sheer number of students who also commuted to university. In my first year of university, I had the opportunity to attend plenty of different events and join different societies, despite being a commuter. In fact, most students here at Queen Mary are actually commuters, so you’ll bound to find someone who has a similar commute to you!

Autonomy studying Chemistry:

Throughout my degree, there’s been plenty of different things I’ve enjoyed, including the autonomy of exploring Practical Chemistry, particularly so, in my MSci research project. Having the opportunity to have my own autonomy to research what I wanted to is what I enjoyed about studying Practical Chemistry at university. Being able to craft up my own experiments during my research project whilst be at the forefront of cutting edge research was an exciting opportunity to develop new practical Chemistry skills and techniques. With the recent renovation of the Joseph Priestley Building, being taught Practical Chemistry in the new undergraduate teaching labs is an exciting chance to use new equipment as an undergraduate (plus you won’t have to share your fumehood with too many others!)

Teaching in Chemistry and wider support:

Another thing I really enjoyed about Chemistry was being able to understand how Chemistry plays a role on a practical level and in research. From learning about how superconductors work and their applications to understanding how nanotechnology can play a role in self-cleaning windows, you’ll actually begin to appreciate why Chemistry is so important in real life. You’ll also be exposed to new research, which means that what you’ll be studying is at the forefront of research.

I also found that the career support provided by the Department and the wider university really helpful, allowing me to develop professionally. Being able to access the Careers and Enterprise Team and booking regular appointments helped me to apply for internships and graduate schemes. If you’re interested in gaining some experience during your degree, there’s also the option to opt-in for a sandwich year where you can undertake a placement. The Chemistry Department has a unique Industrial Year Placement Coordinator who can direct and provide you with plenty of support. A sandwich year placement is a great opportunity to gain experience whilst at university and really boosts your applications once you’re graduating.

So how do you actually study at university?

Starting university, I wasn’t sure about how to study effectively for exams. I remember my A-Level days where I’d be answering exam questions after exam questions and learning about how to use mark schemes. But at university, independent studying isn’t as black and white. My advice to prospective students as they begin studying Chemistry is to make sure you’re making revision notes regularly, asking questions whenever you’re stuck and using all the resources available to you. Your lecturers are your examiners who are making your exams, so chances are they’ll be the best person to ask for advice about how to answer exam questions. Your revision techniques will change during your time at university so it’s important to take the time to learn what works best for you. Remember there’s not a single blanket rule for everyone!