Chemistry and turning weaknesses into strengths

Second year MChem Chemistry student Chloe talks about turning weaknesses into strengths. From getting better at organic chemistry to making friends and gaining new skills and experiences.

Chloe Foster is studying Chemistry, MChem.
Chloe Foster is studying Chemistry, MChem.

“I decided to study here after coming to an offer day. The staff were very welcoming and enthusiastic, as were all the student volunteers. They all assured me that, in addition to the course, there was always something to do from joining societies and sports clubs to going to pub quizzes and social events. Everything was also within walking distance, the halls, the town centre and train station.

"And, most importantly the course was right for me. I enjoyed chemistry, but didn’t know what to focus on, so the range of course topics appealed to me as did the interactive lectures and class size.

"I’ll always remember my first week, I’d moved a long way from home and all of my flatmates were local, but they made me feel so welcome and I settled in very quickly.

"Also, when I started, I realised that whilst I was confident in chemistry, there were areas where I was weak, like organic chemistry, and that would cause my grades to drop. At first in lectures I would try and hide but I realised that the best way to learn is to have a go. If I get it wrong the lecturers point me in the right direction and I get there eventually.

"Most of my lectures takes place in the Leighton Building, they tend to be very interactive and involve problem-solving and example exam questions. There are opportunities for discussion and most of the lecturers are happy for you to go and see them whenever you need help."

"Lab work is in JB Firth and I’ve used, with guidance, most of the analytical equipment including NMR machines, IR, ICP-OES, SEM and XRD machines. Lab sessions are supervised by a lecturer and a demonstrator who ensure that everyone knows what they are doing and are being safe.

"I’ve also been involved in coursework presentations, working in pairs to research a given topic. The rest of the class and lecturers ask questions and give feedback. In my third and fourth years, I understand project work will become a larger proportion of the course. I look forward to the new areas of chemistry that this will open up for me.

"In July 2019 I start my first industrial 12-month industrial placement. I hope to gain a lot of great experience and to narrow down my career options.

"My top tip would be, don’t let not knowing anyone stop you from doing anything. If you want to join a club or society but don’t know anyone else think of it as a great opportunity to make friends and gain new skills and experiences.”