My time at Nottingham Trent University, from undergraduate (FdSc to Bsc Environmental Conservation) to postgrad (MRes Global Food Security) was the most fantastic and transformational period of my life.
I started with a clear goal: to get the qualification and experience necessary for a career in environmental surveying. However, over the progress of my studies, a world of opportunities opened up. Ways that I could do just what I love, and contribute to making the world a better place. Now I am a PhD student, investigating the distribution of beetles beneficial to agricultural pest control. I am enrolled at Reading university, and based at Rothamsted research.
My experiences from my time at NTU have got me where I am now; and I hope NTU continues to help others to achieve more than they ever thought possible. But to get the most out of your studies, you really need to put the right things in. here are the key things that helped, and continue to help me!
I know it’s hard to keep up with your studies, and it’s easy to just do what you need to for those module points, but there will be many candidates for jobs and research positions with the exact same degree as you. Volunteering is a great way to expand your CV, it can be really fun too! I did some work surveying for BTO, the Woodland Trust, Plantlife, the Wildlife trusts, and my local entomological group. The survey skills and contacts I built up then continue to serve me, and are very happy memories.
They say it over and over, but it’s true! The formative assignments on my course were really well designed to develop key skills and knowledge. One assignment made me follow news stories on my topic- a habit that stuck, and is really useful to keeping up with current research now. Another required me to design a poster- in both my courses it was not a module requirement, even for my dissertations; but now I have to produce them for my work. Also team assignments, whilst difficult at the time, taught me how to work with others effectively, a skill I use every day now.
Trust me- I won a prize for my dissertation!
Oh yes, it’s so obvious, and you will be told this over and over as well. Doesn’t make it much easier to get into the habit of. But you’ll be glad of it in the end, trust me! I was so glad that with both of my dissertations I allowed enough time to put it down for a couple of days before my final review. It really is surprising the silly errors you can make when you are pressured for time before a deadline. Do your future self a favour and at least try to plan it in.
I wish all readers the best of luck with their studies, and if you would like to know more about my career, follow my twitter: @kelly_jowett or Blog: https://beetlekell.wordpress.com/
Kelly Jowett (MRes Global Food Security and Development 2017) –
Kelly is an NTU Alumni Fellow. You can find out more about how to get involved with the Alumni Fellowship Programme here
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