Elise’s decision to become a student mentor was driven by her personal experiences as a new student. Whilst continuing with her own studies, she is keen to help new faces settle in academically and socially.
“Making the change from school to university has taught me a lot and I want to help other students who are making that change. I’m happy to answer any questions people have about the University; I think it gives new students a great opportunity to really get a feel for Lancaster,” Elise says. “Having a chance to ask questions can help you make the best decisions for your future, and you can get advice on coursework from the perspective of someone who’s studying the same degree.”
Elise is studying chemistry as part of the Natural Sciences degree; a programme that is offered to high-achieving students and teaches up to three degree-level science and technology subjects in a three-year initiative. She feels that chemistry modules are fascinating and helpful, and says that her lecturers have taught her a variety of transferable skills. “I find chemistry invaluable when tackling my other science subjects,” she says.
Emphasising her passion for chemistry, Elise says: “All the topics are interesting and engaging. The extras to the lecture content have really helped, and the workshops and tutorials were enjoyable as it helped me to put the lecture material into context.”
The flexibility of Lancaster’s Chemistry degree allows all students to specialise in a series of optional modules from second year onwards. “I really enjoy finding out how molecules interact,” Elise says, and she looks forward to having the opportunity to develop her knowledge in this area.
Elise has enjoyed her time at Lancaster campus so far, and has found the community to be especially friendly and welcoming. “I like the atmosphere,” she adds. “It made me feel more comfortable with the idea of living and studying somewhere new.” She also praises the Department’s innovative approach to the subject: “The facilities in the Chemistry Department are brand-new; it makes for a modern and productive environment to learn in.”
It wasn’t long before Elise was able to settle into life as a student; she is grateful for the variety of social clubs available on campus. “I found that no matter who you are and what you’re interested in, there's a place for you here. Lancaster is a really inclusive place so it isn't difficult to meet people you can get along with,” she explains. “With this much choice, you can get involved at a level that you feel comfortable with.”
Skills for life
Elise has developed valuable life skills from her studies so far. “Getting to know and working with new people has definitely helped me to develop my communication skills,” she says. “I've also become better organised, as in Chemistry you have many deadlines throughout the term. Chemistry in particular has also helped my problem solving skills,” she adds. “Getting difficult questions in coursework makes you more resourceful and resilient when faced with a challenge.”
Elise is enjoying her time at Lancaster, and praises its reputation and support staff: “It’s is a high ranking university with great facilities and the help you receive for what comes after university is extensive. The Chemistry Department is definitely committed to your development and career progression.”
Elise’s advice to prospective students is to “make sure you choose a subject you have a genuine interest in. You're going to do a lot of independent studying on this subject so a genuine interest is essential to get the most out of your degree.”