Location, location, location.

Hi, my name is Parizad and I’m a final year Materials Science and Engineering student. I have learned a lot during the past three years and I’d like to share some of this with you.

Where you study is almost as important as what you study. Your environment and campus life have a bigger effect on your wellbeing and productivity than you may think. Nobody brought this to my attention when I was applying, and the thought didn’t cross my mind when I was researching the academic credentials of universities. Luckily, Manchester turned out to be a perfect match for me. There are numerous resources on campus, from study spaces to eateries to research labs, complemented by a diverse and exciting range of student societies and leisure activities. Manchester is a melting pot of culture, a place where I developed interests I already had, as well as discovering several new ones. Whether I’m looking to have a fun night out with friends or a low-key evening, I’ll find the vibe to match in this city.

However, not all students are this lucky, which is why it’s important to choose a university whose course AND city you are compatible with. I recall an incident that was particularly an eye-opener for me in this aspect and made me value my time at Manchester even more. In 2013, I was a committee member of Engineers Without Borders Manchester branch – being a part of this society helps me apply my course knowledge in practical scenarios as well as making a difference in this field of work. Branches from universities all over the country were invited to attend a convention hosted at a university I had applied to (and almost attended). Once I was there, I realised that I would not have been happy at that university. Had I been smarter and attended an open day, I would have never even applied there.

I discussed the importance of visiting universities with my sister when she started searching for possible university options. As a result, she has now attended several open days and is already on her way to making a shortlist. I think it is vital as a new student to realise early on that university life isn’t about attending lectures and parties: you are choosing your home for the next 3-4 years. You need to be comfortable and content in your surroundings to be able to experience a fulfilling and memorable student life, so choose wisely.