Discover the world of university life

An engineering graduate gives the lowdown
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The Independent Online

Ian Davis, 23, has A-levels in maths (A), physics (A) and design technology (A). He recently achieved first class honours in his automotive & motorsport engineering degree at City University, London

"From an early age, cars have always held my imagination. I can still remember watching my first Formula One race and turning the key on my first car. This inevitably led me towards engineering. As I once read somewhere: scientists study the world around them, engineers create it. This fascination with understanding the mechanical world, and one day helping to move it forward, led me to my choice of university degree course.

When I was choosing which university to attend, the decision wasn't really that difficult, as for me it was based on the lure of the big city: London. Moving from a small rural village to the capital city was too good to refuse! From saying goodbye to my parents to the first night alone in the big bad world, university life was both everything I imagined and nothing at all like I imagined. London provides a massive culture shock, but I think it is probably the best place for that complete university experience. Very quickly you meet so many new people of different cultures, which can be daunting. I was lucky to live with two of the nicest girls you will ever meet, which made the change in lifestyle a lot easier, and a lot of fun. I don't know how they put up with me.

I came to City University after a gap year, which mainly consisted of working. Making the change back to studying day after day was hard going at first, especially when you know that you should remember all the things they are telling you from what you learnt at school! Eventually, with hard work and help from many great lecturers and staff, I got back into the swing of things. I was very lucky to have the Dean of engineering as my personal tutor. Having a man of his experience to talk to about problems, questions and worries was incredibly useful, and made the whole experience the more stimulating.

Four years at university is quite a long time. Entering the Masters course was a choice I made from the very beginning, and I think that my fourth year was the most enjoyable and productive of the entire degree. As the team leader for City University's Formula Student team, and as a course representative, I became much more immersed in the university world that most students never see. As well as learning a lot from the diverse technical staff, I am now apparently very good at making tea and sweeping up!

Everyone with the opportunity and ambition should discover the world of university life, and I especially enjoyed London. It opened my eyes to how life works; preparing me for the day when I will hopefully be the person recreating the world around me. I enjoyed my time at City University, and will take a lot from the many amazing and interesting people I have met."

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