Tag Archives: Interconnect

New girl in town?

Starting university is pretty daunting, especially when you’re going into a subject where you know you’ll be in the minority.  However, well done you for taking those first brave steps into studying a SET subject!  You’re going to do just fine.

If you’re still feeling a tad nervous, here are some handy hints to get you through the first few weeks:

  • Don’t be daunted if you’re the only woman on your course.  You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of testosterone in the room at first, but the nerves will pass and things will get better, I promise!  You won’t receive any special treatment, nor will you be singled out or ignored; you’ll be seen as just another student and soon enough you’ll forget that you’re the only one with two X chromosomes.
  • If your university has a group or network for women SET students, get involved as soon as you can.  As well has having a welcoming network for people in the same position as you, it’s a great opportunity to meet other women in your school or faculty and you will meet a lot of strong people from both academic and professional backgrounds.  If you’re a Scottish student, Interconnect can point you in the right direction.  If you’re studying at Edinburgh Napier University, I’m the Student Champion for our group, Connect, so please do get in touch if you’d like to join us.  I wrote a blog post about networking a while back, which you may enjoy reading.
  • There are loads of events for women in SET going on all the time.  Get yourself over to Eventbrite, a wonderful resource for finding out what’s going on in your area.  Many of these events are free, but if some require money your university may be able to help you with funding or even a free ticket.  Don’t be afraid to apply for events or conferences – a lot of students don’t be cause they think they won’t be successful, but how do you know if you never try?  I can highly recommend Target Jobs’s IT’s Not Just For The Boys!; this year they’re holding two events in London, so why not apply for both dates and see what happens?
  • Don’t alienate yourself by staying away from the guys.  You’ll find most of them to be very welcoming, plus you’ll have new friends to bounce ideas off.  If you are unlucky enough to run into the type of guy who likes to make jokes about sandwiches and kitchens, kick him inna fork just smile and walk away.  Alternatively, ask him why he hasn’t made you a sandwich – sorts like that don’t like the taste of their own medicine and will learn to leave you alone.  You may even find your newly-found male friends sticking up for you.
  • Lastly, you are a woman in SET and everyone salutes you.  We need more women and it’s fantastic that you’ve made it into your chosen subject, so let the bad stuff wash over you and focus on the positives.  University is a wonderful experience, so enjoy your studies, make the most of student life and celebrate your inner geek!

If there’s anything you’d like to add or ask me about on this topic, feel free to drop me a line.

Edinburgh Napier Applicants Day 2013

Connect

Saturday saw me spending a very enjoyable – if freezing cold – morning helping to man (woman?) the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SRC) stand at Edinburgh Napier University’s Applicants Day.

For the uninitiated, the SRC runs Connect, the Napier branch of Interconnect, a national networking group for female STEM students.  We set up our stand with the aim to speak with as many potential female students as possible and tell them all about our experiences with the group.

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In addition to applicants getting the opportunity to speak with us fabulous reps about how much fun we have being members of Connect, we laid on lots of information and freebies (the mind maps were designed by schoolkids for a sister project).  These babies went down rather well too:

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Engineering sweeties!  Oh yeah!

All in all it was a pretty successful day, with lots of applicants and staff alike stopping by for a chat and a lemon flavoured spanner.  The women we spoke with were mainly engineers so I didn’t get much of a chance to sell the School of Computing, however we all had a great time discussing why groups like Connect are so beneficial for female STEM students.  The main thing that came out of the discussions we had with applicants is that we all enjoy being part of such a lovely, friendly and resourceful network of women from lots of different disciplines.  After all, who can argue with cake, coffee and a good old moan about coding?