Student Profile: Khansa Iqbal
Khansa took part in the Manchester Distance Access Scheme in 2018, taking the Chemistry stream and is now in her second year studying MChem (Hons) Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry. This post was written shortly after Khansa started her degree in 2018.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from a small town called Nelson in Lancashire. I’m a science-geek but am also interested in the human mind. I did A-level Biology, Chemistry and Psychology at college. I’m finding university life very enjoyable — I get to study the subject I love with a diverse group of awesome people, be a member of societies with goals in the wider community, and be in a city of vibrant culture!
How did you hear about the MDAS programme?
As part of my application, I was invited to a visit day where I was interviewed by a member of academic staff. They told me that I was eligible to get a one grade differential offer if I completed the MDAS programme. I thought it may be something I would regret not doing come August if results day didn’t go as well as I hoped.
What did you enjoy most about participating on the scheme?
The fact that we were able to learn new, interesting and more complex concepts through a lecturer at the University. It made me excited to study chemistry because I was a bit apprehensive about the physics parts. It was a new learning style and I enjoyed adapting to it.
How did the programme help you to get to where you are now?
My transition to university was much smoother by completing the MDAS. It gave me a better understanding of the level of challenge and the sort of learning and note-taking style that is best to adopt. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the new challenge of university lectures because, through MDAS, I had already experienced it. It gave me more confidence in my ability to learn independently, to take an explanation of a concept, critically think about it, use wider research to understand it more holistically and then put it into my own words — a crucial skill at university.
What advice would you give others who are thinking of taking part in the programme?
To be on the safe side for results day, I think completing the programme is a must. Make the most out of the programme because it is a unique and one-off opportunity to really understand the independent learning aspect of university and develop your academic skills. It will ease you into university, which makes the transition infinitely less stressful.
We caught up with Khansa again recently and asked her how she found the rest of first year.
How did you find the rest of first year?
I really enjoyed the latter half of first year as I was able to fully settle in. I found my favourite study spots in the Main Library, including desks in Blue area with beautiful views outside, or the more ambient vibes of Purple depending on whatever study mood I find myself in that day! With such an optimal environment, I was able to finish the year with a first. One of my favourite parts of the course has been labs where I’ve significantly progressed my practical skills and have been able to find which aspects of Chemistry are most intriguing. I was also lucky enough to win a BP Scholarship worth £1000 that was offered by the Chemistry Department for first- and second-year students.
You can find out more about MDAS on the University website.