I was raised in a lovely wee village called Balfron, about 40 minutes drive North of Glasgow, Scotland on the shores of Loch Lomond.
Getting good enough grades at Higher and Advance Higher level, I took up a place at Dundee University studying medicine. I learned a lot there and enjoyed the practice of doctoring and learning new practical skills. I received a lot of training in communication skills, leadership qualities, analytical thinking and problem solving using holistic techniques.
I ended up struggling quite a lot with different aspects of the course including the teaching style which tended towards outdated lecture material and disproportionate amounts of self study, which at the time I felt were too unfocused and undirected. Ultimately I left the course after 4 years and took a year out to decide what to do next with the scientific knowledge and practical experience I had accumulated.
In the end I decided that what I needed was to go back into academia to study a subject that would be relatively well directed towards a specific profession but with scope for learning transferable skills applicable to the wider jobs market.
The Civil Engineering course at the University of Strathclyde grabbed my attention for several reasons. First of all engineering in general was attractive to me as its the application of scientific knowledge into the real world for the benefit of our environment and humanity as a whole, also problem solving is one of my favourite challenges and creating a career out of it sounded ideal. Civil engineering over mechanical or electronic sounded best as it keeps things generally large scale which satisfies my own desire to be involved in something important and meaningful. Finally the decision to apply to Strathclyde was dictated by their great reputation in engineering and the percentage of graduates leaving with a job.
I have held several jobs over the last few years, all of them in the service industry where I could put my natural charisma to good use!
First off I got a job as a waiter in a tourist hotel restaurant, this happened accidentally as I had applied for a pool lifeguard job that happened to not exist any more. I stayed with the hotel for several months between the end of high school and the start of medical school and learning how to talk to customers and kitchen staff was the most valuable aspect of the job.
My second job was as a barman in the night club at the Dundee students Union. The biggest lesson here was how to work in a professional relationship where the other party involved has large quantities of alcohol in their circulation.
Next came another waiting job at a Glasgow restaurant. Here again the main responsibilities were caring for customers and communicating effectively with the management. I worked here over one summer and then again over the Christmas break. I decided not to return the following summer in order to allow me to travel for several weeks.