Student Voice: Natasha Tait

If I had to put a word to it, I’d say that NMITE was simply open. Everyone was incredibly friendly, and the students were very much encouraged to work with each other. The people around me were complete strangers but I found it so easy to start working with them...

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Natasha Tait, January 2022 Cohort

I had very little idea what I wanted to do with my future when I chose my GCSEs and mostly ended up doing the subjects I was good at, which fortunately happened to be the subjects I enjoyed the most. By A-level, I’d decided to go for engineering because I realised one of my favourite things to do in maths and physics was problem solving. Also, many of my teachers had commented on the fact that I came at problems from angles they didn’t expect.  

However, even as I’d decided to do engineering, I didn’t know exactly what kind of engineering interested me. Most universities have specialised courses that focus on specific aspects of engineering (mechanical, electrical, chemical etc), but no general course. As most secondary schools and sixth forms don’t tell you much about what engineering really is, I didn’t have any idea what kind of engineering I wanted to do and began searching for general courses. Unfortunately, very few universities have non-specialised courses, and even fewer will allow you to remain un-specialised for your entire degree. 

I eventually found a suitable university course and started in September 2021. I struggled a lot because many of the lecturers seemed unapproachable and there wasn’t much of a sense of camaraderie among my course mates, so I didn’t feel able to ask them for help either. With the way lectures and even tutorials were structured (never less than forty people in a room with only one teacher to help), I never really had a chance to make friends within my course and the course itself was too busy for me to make friends outside of it. I was in the engineering building 9-5 whether I had lectures or not and often still had to do work on weekends. 

With all the money involved in choosing a university, I’d resigned myself to being stuck there for the next four years. Then I was reminded that NMITE had given me an offer when I’d applied in the summer of that year and said that I could join in January. 

Moving university was a tough decision to make. NMITE being brand new obviously made me nervous as it doesn’t yet have the same standing as a well-known university, but NMITE was kind enough to allow me to complete three trial days in late October and the difference between where I currently was, and NMITE hit me within the first hour. 

If I had to put a word to it, I’d say that NMITE was simply open. Everyone was incredibly friendly, and the students were very much encouraged to work with each other. The people around me were complete strangers but I found it so easy to start working with them, helping them and asking them for help. When teamwork is so important in engineering, it baffles me that traditional universities don’t emphasise the importance of working together the way that NMITE does. 

Even as I realised that NMITE was really the place I wanted to be, I still had concerns over money. Changing university was going to be expensive, particularly with ending my accommodation contract. Thankfully, that’s where NMITE’s bursary came in. 

For the first time since possibly my primary school, I’m excited to come in every day and learn. NMITE has exceeded my expectations, not only in their teaching but also in how active they are in seeking out feedback from students and acting on that feedback—My previous university often asked for our feedback but then didn’t give any sign of acting on it. At NMITE, it’s made clear that the student voice is heard and paid attention to. 

With the way NMITE’s course places a heavy emphasis on applying knowledge practically, where traditional courses fall short in this respect, I feel confident that I’ll be more than work-ready when I graduate.