Chemistry Personal Statement (with gap year)
I first became interested in chemistry at GCSE level as this was the first time that I had studied the sciences separately. I found it a subject that I understood and have continued to find thoroughly enjoyable and achieve very well in. I am currently spending my year out working as an analytical chemist for xxxxx and I am finding my interests towards a career using chemistry continually confirmed.
At A-level I found all the topic areas covered by my course fascinating, including the biochemistry option at A2 where the chemistry of cell processes and organic compounds was described. The overlap with modules studied in Biology was very valuable and I found it satisfying to have certain concepts explained in more depth – for example the reasons for solubility of carbohydrate polymers and why nucleic base pairs only occur between complementary bases (or rather, why they are complementary).
I enjoy learning theoretical concepts and applying them to problems – this is my common interest between chemistry and studying mathematics at A-level. I feel my interest and ability in Mathematics has helped me a great deal in how I approach similar problems in areas of Chemistry and I would welcome any opportunity to further my mathematical study alongside chemistry.
I also thoroughly enjoy learning practical techniques; at A-level it was applied in coursework. Being given the opportunity to visit the University of Surrey in the first year in order to perform a practical was fascinating and a useful as a glimpse into university study.
It involved preparing a sample of aspirin and analysing it using Thin Layer Chromatography and Infra Red Spectroscopy. Having also observed these techniques in the workplace has allowed me to appreciate the link between studying and application in industry.
My work place experiences have also shown me the standards of accuracy and precision expected and their importance, especially at xxxxx where drugs are being tested and so Good Manufacturing Practice regulations have to be followed. I have been able to apply some principles from A-level study, such as accuracy in using pipettes, burettes and volumetrics.
To begin with I have been performing simple extractable volume and pH tests on cytotoxic samples, preparing mobile phase for use in HPLC machines, creating analytical specifications on a computer database, and carrying out swabbing of isolators and mobile vessels for cleaning validation. My training is being continued in the use of other analytical equipment for UV-Visible spectroscopy and water content analysis.
Being able to observe the use of such machinery, including the HPLC machines, I feel will give me a great advantage in my study at university.
Last summer I went on a mountain trekking expedition to Morocco organised by First Challenge and I feel it will always remain one of the best experiences I have ever had. It was a fantastic example of team-work and the group spirit was overwhelmingly strong – everyone achieved so much and supported each other through difficulty.
I am already planning to continue travelling, including a venture at some time during my gap year, and am confident I will continue to build on the skills and experiences I began in Morocco – as a leader as well as a team member.
As a student I take great pride in my work, especially in large projects such as essays and science coursework and try extremely hard to meet deadlines.
I have a great love of music and during my gap year I am intending to start violin lessons again as well as possibly learning the guitar. I have also enrolled in classes to learn Russian. A friend and I are planning a trip there in the future but I also feel that I would enjoy the challenge learning would pose.
I've taken out the name of the company I worked for but other than that it's how I submitted it. It's possibly a bit verbose (trying to be too specific) but I'm guessing that's what I was advised to do at the time!