Helen Newson - MChem Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with a Year in Industry Helen Newson - MChem Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with a Year in Industry

Why did you choose UEA?

When I came to visit UEA at the open day, I felt there was a really friendly atmosphere, and could feel that most people were really happy to be a student here. I also chose UEA because it offered the course I wanted to study and I also really liked Norwich city centre, particularly the shops and nightclubs.

What do you like most about your course?

I especially enjoy the laboratory work, as it is exciting and can help to demonstrate and explain the theoretical side of chemistry. I also really like the chemistry tutorials, where small groups of students work through problems with a tutor, and I find this way of learning more efficient and social.

Did you find it easy to settle in?

I found everyone at UEA very welcoming, especially the other first year students. I quickly made friends with the other people in my flat during Freshers week, and met other people through my course and sports societies. I enjoyed the independence of moving away from home, and living with others my age.

I found the style of my degree needed a little bit of getting used to compared to A-levels, as it required more independent learning and the laboratory work was a lot more challenging, but definitely a lot more fun.

Can you tell us about your year in industry placement?

I worked a 12 month placement for Novartis, a large multinational pharmaceutical company. My role was a synthetic organic chemist, and the laboratory skills that I learnt during the year were invaluable. I really enjoyed the whole experience of working in industry, everyone there was very kind and helpful, and I also received a salary of £16,500.

Did you enjoy living on campus?

I lived in Suffolk Terrace in my first year. This was standard accommodation where both the kitchen and the bathrooms were shared, but each bedroom had a sink in. The bedroom was decent sized, with a single bed and large desk. There was a big wardrobe and drawers underneath the bed, so there was a lot of storage space.  I didn't have a problem with sharing the bathrooms, and very rarely had to queue. We had a cleaner that cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, and I really enjoyed living with other students my age.

How was living in rented accommodation off campus?

Living off campus is different, as it is with a smaller group of people. However, as you choose who to live with, it's more likely to be with people that you are good friends with. Most students live in the ‘golden triangle' which is between campus and the city centre. There are regular buses that run until the early hours of the morning, however I chose to cycle or walk onto campus.

What advice would you give to new students starting at UEA?

I was very excited for Freshers week. My advice would be not to feel nervous, as everyone is in the same position, and most people want to have a good time and make friends. I would also recommend joining at least one sport society, even if it is new, as these are really good ways to meet people.

Have you participated in any extra-curricular activities since you've been at UEA?

I joined the UEA karate society, as I had trained in the martial art previously. I also participated in rock climbing during my first year; this society also offered weekend climbing trips away for very affordable prices.

What are your plans for the future

After finishing my degree I would like to get a job working in research for a pharmaceutical company, similar to what I did in my year in industry.

The UEA careers centre has been really useful, and helped me develop the CV and covering letters that I used to apply for my industrial placement.

How would you describe Norwich?

Norwich is a really nice city, with houses for affordable rent. The city centre has two large shopping centres, along with many nightclubs and bars, which makes Norwich great for a night out.