Charlie Stevenson

Charlie Stevenson

Why did you choose to study chemistry?

At A-Level I studied chemistry, maths and psychology and I was struggling to decide which of the three to take to degree level.

After much deliberation I realised that a chemistry degree had the capacity to encompass all three aspects, from quantum mechanics to drug discovery for mental health.

This broader horizon appealed to me at sixth form as narrowing down my discipline so soon seemed rather daunting when I couldn't even decide what I wanted for dinner that day!

Leaning slightly towards the more organic side of chemistry I chose to study MChem, BSc Medicinal Chemistry and I couldn't be happier with my choice!

What attracted you to the University of Leeds?

What drew me to the University of Leeds is that it is a campus university within the heart of a fantastic city and so students get the best of both worlds – a friendly, student-orientated campus with everything you could ever need just minutes walk away.

As soon as I walked down the pedestrian street in front of the Students' Union I found it hard to imagine that I could live anywhere else. The spirit on campus is always cheery and you know you belong here.

Did you visit us on an open day? Did you find the open day helpful in making your decision?

I didn't visit on an open day. Instead I came for a campus tour which are held throughout the year and additionally I arranged a tour of the School of Chemistry.

The light-hearted, chatty staff and students sang the University's praises and I couldn't help but fall in love with the place!

It was my extremely positive interview day experience that confirmed to me I wanted to study at Leeds. The interviewer cared about my personal interests in the field of chemistry and said that the University encourages you to explore these and by then I was sold!

What do you enjoy the most about your course?

Most of the time in chemistry, there is a right and a wrong answer and it is this lack of ambiguity that I love.

As frustrating as it can be to at first not understand a concept or not get perfect crystals in labs, that feeling of relief and joy when you finally crack it is all worth it!

The practical aspect of chemistry is not only very useful for consolidating lecture notes but most importantly for me, provides a new challenge each time I enter the labs whether that be using a new piece of equipment or trying a new technique.

Becoming competent in the laboratories is a thoroughly rewarding experience. 

The diversity of chemistry, both within the discipline and its interface with others, is great because there are so many areas you can explore. Already in my first year I've found that my original chemistry aspirations have changed and the degree of freedom to explore your own interests within chemistry is encouraging. 

How would you describe student life at Leeds?

Student life is better than I ever imagined!

You're constantly surrounded by your friends who soon become like family to you. There's nothing better than getting back home after a long day at uni to a house of your favourite people.

Everybody is so friendly, it's hard to go out and not come back having made a new friend or two! There's so much to do in the city and particularly at the union – the Terrace will become your go-to in the summer, relaxing in the sun with your mates!

Are you involved in any clubs or societies?

I'm involved in the Yoga Society which holds numerous weekly classes which are great for clearing your mind and having some 'me time'.

I'm also proud to be involved in the Animal Welfare Society which has shown that a small group of people can make a change when a demonstration we held stopped the selling of fur in a local Leeds store. Next year I look forward to joining the Snowriders and having the time of my life on the Easter Ski Trip!

What is Leeds as a city like?

Beautiful! From the stunning architecture of the Town Hall to the modern sanctuary of Trinity Shopping Centre, there's something for everyone.

There's so many quirky places hidden round corners and down streets with so many I'm yet to discover!

The variety of clubs, warehouses and pubs means there's always a place to suit your mood and the luscious green spaces like Hyde Park are the place to be come summer.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying to the School of Chemistry?

Do it! It was the best decision of my life and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else!

What are your plans for the future?

My desire is to travel as much as possible because the world is just too big and exciting to stay in one place.

I know that I want my environment to keep changing and whether this be working as a scientist over borders with health organisations, in the Navy, researching abroad for broadcasters I am yet to decide.

That is what I find so desirable about Chemistry. It can take you to a limitless amount of places with many travel stamps and stories to tell along the way!