When asked to write about my experience at university and what I would encourage other students to perhaps pursue, my mind immediately shifted towards my passion; I think that this will be the main takeaway from this article: act on your passion and turn it into a career.
I have always been very curious about understanding how and why things work, which was my reason for pursuing a career in engineering. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the significant gender gap in STEM fields. Quickly, I started to realise that I’m always one of the few females in any room. However, that fuelled my passion to do something about it. I spoke to different students across engineering departments and, together, a group of female engineering students and myself founded the University of Nottingham’s first Women’s Engineering Society. This was not only a great way to get involved in activities at university but also a way to build a network of females across different engineering disciplines.
Often, we are told to only network with ‘like-minded’ individuals, however, I disagree. By speaking to a variety of people, one can gain an insight into different industries, learn new things and grow their professional network. This was something that helped me a lot in my first and second year at university. By speaking to people from outside my department, I grew an interest in programming, started to pursue it and attend events organised by Bright Network as well as societies on campus and I am now going into a technology analyst summer-intern role.
To conclude, my main takeaways from trying a lot of different things at university are:
- (Ironically-enough) Try new things
- Push yourself out of your comfort zone by speaking to people that you wouldn’t think would have anything in common with you
- Be a part of communities such as Bright Network, Women’s Engineering Society, etc. in order to always stay informed about potential opportunities in the industry.