Learning Student-made

Here’s why university helps us learn outside our comfort zone

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We all learn new things every day and studying for three years at The University of Manchester has taught me how to learn and keep at it. It has been a learning experience like no other. Compared to my school in India, the education I receive in Manchester is very different and mind-boggling.

This has not been an easy ride and I have had many ups and downs. But I’d like to share with you my academic journey and assure that one thing I’ve realized is that my learning experience has given me an insight into the real world.

As mentioned in my previous article, I was heartbroken when I did not receive the expected grades in my second-year dissertation. I felt really low but speaking to my dad about it gave me the strength to accept it, move on and learn from my mistakes so I could perform better in my literature review that was due in the next semester.

When I received my final-year project, I felt really anxious and scared because I was expecting to receive a bioinformatics project instead of a biomodelling project considering I’m studying Biotechnology. I had never even studied a Chemistry model before (which the project was based on) and I couldn’t stop stressing over it. I thought of requesting a change of topic. However, that’s when I cam across the fact that there were no pre-requisites for the project and, thus, I couldn’t really ask for a change.

Instead of sulking, this time I took it as a challenge to excel rather than give excuses. I was tired of feeling those “negative” emotions and took whatever obstacles that came my way with a good approach, courtesy to my dad’s words of encouragement and that drive within me to just do it!

I started from the basics like learning how the software UCSF Chimera functions and dealt with things one at a time without leaving everything to last minute.

I am almost finished with my project now and I must admit, it has been one of the most amazing academic learning experiences – so much that I am even considering pursuing a masters in this field. My supervisor has been incredibly supportive with my learning, I was able to develop an in-depth knowledge about the subject and even work on something so different that I’d never known. Discussing the subject matter with my supervisor was quite mind-boggling. But, considering my progress from being a very confused student to being able to debate about certain topics with my supervisor, it’s been a great learning experience. My final year project report is due on the 2nd May and I’m hoping for the best.

This experience has taught me to not be afraid of change and to explore all kinds of new opportunities around us. It might end up being the best thing that happen to you like it did for me or if not, you still learn something new from that experience. After all, knowing what you don’t like also provides a direction in life. Every experience helps us gain transferable skills that might be of help later in life and we also end up learning more about ourselves.

I am graduating in less than 2 months and the University has changed me in several ways helping me stand strong in the face of challenges. My attitude towards being placed outside my comfort zone is now changed and I hope to carry this forward when it comes finding the right job for myself or pursuing a master’s degree.