November 5, 2020, by Matthew Lumley
How the Advantage Award helped me as a Science student
By Diya Nakrani, MSci Hons Natural Sciences
For those of you on vocational degrees, your next steps following your degree may be obvious. That is not always the case for science students.
After a science degree, what is the next step? Pursuing a PhD and researching? Maybe something that is not scientific at all?
I chose to do the Nottingham Advantage Award to make more sense of my career prospects and prepare myself for what I ultimately decide to do. There are countless opportunities available to students and trying some of them out is always a good place to start.
You have to start somewhere
I did not start the Advantage Award until I was in my second year. Do not be put off if you did not start in first year, there is still time to get involved in at least one module.
My first module was Peer Mentoring in Natural Sciences because I was already a peer mentor. Taking this module meant that I did not need to commit much extra time outside of the mentoring scheme itself. It also let me get more out of the mentoring experience – a win-win situation.
The module helped me develop my ‘soft skills’ – communication and teamwork – as well as getting to know more people. Science degrees tend to be more focused on technical abilities such as coding and proficiency in the lab. Therefore, developing other skills is a great way to make yourself a more-rounded individual. It allows you to improve those highly sought-after transferable skills.
You can never have too many transferable skills
Transferable skills are an excellent thing to have in your arsenal.
Being a part of the Natural Sciences Student Ambassador Scheme involved much responsibility and I learnt on the job. It was overwhelming at first, but I took away a lot from it.
I diversified my skill-set and built my confidence by scheduling posts for Natural Sciences’ social media platforms and presenting to audiences of prospective students. Now I could showcase myself at interviews, clearly explain my strengths and have the evidence to back myself up. The Advantage Award looks great on your CV and provides you with plenty of examples to demonstrate your skills.
After spending a considerable amount of time in the lab during my degree, I now know that I definitely do not want to work in one.
My third module – Boots Commercial Enterprise – had nothing to do with my degree. Before taking part, I had no marketing knowledge or experience unlike others with whom I was working. I felt quite out of my depth when I started. However, I really enjoyed the module in a field I had never considered before.
One of the benefits of taking a science degree is that you develop a variety of skills that can be applied to any field. Therefore, if you choose to pursue something outside of science, you will already be equipped.
Do not be put off from taking part in activities you do not know much about. You never know what you are going to get out of new opportunities. It may not lead to you finding the job of a lifetime, but it could be a step in the right direction.
The Advantage Award is what you make of it. Whether it is career skills or personal development, you can tailor the scheme to gain the experiences that you want.
There is something for everyone and you will not regret getting involved.
Use the module search tool to find the one that is right for you.
Spring applications opened on 1 November so apply for modules now.
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