Obaidah Sheikh

Obaidah Sheikh

After some 12 weeks of study, the ability to hold up a completed circuit board – gloriously jam-packed with all of its various components – and be able to say 'I actually understand what all of this does' is quite a delightful achievement.

 

Partway through my A-levels I became sure that my future was in engineering, as it was the perfect balance between Maths and Physics, and played a key role in the real world. Choosing Manchester for Electrical Engineering was a decision I finalised after visiting the EEE department on my interview day. The strong links with industry combined with the broad- based first year made Manchester the perfect choice for me.

The most enjoyable part of my course would be the embedded systems project. Engineering is naturally a very academic course, but our end goal is always to use this knowledge to build something useful in the real world—and it is for this reason why I find this project so exhilarating. Working in groups of four or five, we are tasked at the start of the year to design and build an autonomous line following robot. This isn’t just a technical challenge which can be solved by mere number crunching—but it requires teamwork, creativity and sound organisation. Just as though we were in industry, we work together considering our constraints and resources to build the fastest buggy to win on race day. After 24 weeks of intense lab work, vigorous calculations and numerous group meetings; watching our buggy make its first steps across a home made mock track really is a heart touching moment.

To see university simply as a means to higher education would be wrong. It’s a much greater step than that: a step up into the real world, where most students—for the first time—feel the independence and responsibility for their own lives. And because everyone’s in the same boat, the environment is booming with activity and opportunities. Undoubtedly for me, the greatest skills I have gained from my course would be the constant opportunities to talk with potential employers and gain a deeper insight into the industrial world of engineering. Manchester offers a perfect work-life balance for everyone, so it’s down to the individual to ensure they can uphold that balance.

With regards to the course itself, I would say it’s very well designed. We have a nice balance between lectures and tutorials for theory, and then practical lab sessions and projects where we apply the theory we’ve learnt. There is also an EEE society that organises various socials and other events. And with everything else on at University, you’ll probably find that your weeks are very packed out!

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