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Introducing Elsie Baderinwa

Why engineering?

My journey to study engineering at the University of Sheffield was quite a long one. While I can’t say that I have always wanted to study electrical and electronic engineering, maths and science have always been my favourite subjects and I have always done well in them.

At my secondary school in Nigeria, in your fourth year you choose what stream you want to go into i.e. science, art or commercial. Because of my love of maths and science, this choice was an easy one for me and I chose the science stream.
My love of maths coupled with my desire to know how things worked made engineering a top career choice for me. However, I also loved biology, anatomy and chemistry, so medicine was another serious option.

I found the numerous routes into engineering quite daunting, so I decided to keep my choices open by opting for biology as one of my A level subjects. Fortunately, after taking AS physics at college, I discovered that my dislike for physics had more to do with my secondary school physics teacher rather than the subject itself.

Also, the time I spent volunteering at a care home helped me see that medicine wouldn’t be the right fit for me, so I was confident in choosing an electrical and electronic engineering degree. Two years later I can sincerely say that I made the right decision!

My first year university experience

I was understandably excited and anxious about going to university. I was excited to begin the new phase of my life because university felt like the culmination of my years of schooling but I was nervous because once again, I would be alone in a completely new city.

I was also nervous about starting my course because I felt I wouldn’t be as prepared for it as most students since I had been yo-yoing between engineering and medicine. As a result of this, I was extremely reluctant to join any societies because I wanted to focus on getting good grades. I was however the first year course representative and faculty representative, which was really nice.

It turned out that not having previous electronic experience was a good thing. It meant that everything I was taught was completely new to me, which was so exciting. So my first year was all about discovering electrical and electronic engineering and I loved it!

Admittedly, there were moments of frustration and the course requires an extreme amount of work, but it was definitely worth it. My favourite thing about my first year was the FYGER challenge (first year great egg race), where we worked in teams of five to build remote controlled toy cars. The teams then pitted their cars against each other to try to collect a ping-pong ball. My team won the first round but sadly lost the second, so we did not win, but even so it was an amazing experience!

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