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The University of Southampton
EngineeringUndergraduate study

Michael Beckett BEng Ship Science 2016

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Ship Science provides a learning experience that you won’t be able to experience at any other university. I have been given a platform to explore my interests and passions surrounded by very helpful and supportive staff.

Can you summarise your time at Southampton?

I spent my first year getting to grips with living away from home, the new work-load and working out how much sailing I could realistically do during term time. In second year I hit my stride and really enjoyed studying and sailing and the challenges that presented. Now at the end of my third year I’m looking back on the incredible time I have had here and how much I was able to achieve.

Why did you choose to come to Southampton?

It was the only place that could offer the engineering degree I wanted to do at such a high calibre, I didn’t really have to consider anywhere else, I just hoped that my place would be accepted!

What have you enjoyed most about your course?

Studying with other people who also share a huge passion for Ship Science and learning in general is a great feeling, and makes the course really enjoyable. It makes all the late nights and hard work so much more rewarding.

Would you recommend your course to other students?

Yes definitely, it is an incredible course with a very high calibre of academics and staff running the course. Ship Science provides a learning experience that you won’t be able to experience at any other university, I was given a platform to explore my interests and passions surrounded by very helpful and supportive staff.

Have you undertaken a project as part of your course? What was your favourite part?

I undertook an individual project, which involved designing a recirculating flume, it was a great experience. My favourite part of this was carrying out all the independent research required which I found very interesting and a rewarding process.

You are a member of the British Sailing Team; could you tell us about this?

I sail a Laser Dinghy, which is one of 10 Olympic classes of dinghy supported by the British Sailing Team, the team is based in Weymouth. On average I spend about 3 days a week away from University during term time, during the holidays I spend my whole time sailing. A lot of the sailing I do is abroad at international competitions or training abroad to escape the British winter! This year (2016) I have already taken 9 return flights, so there is a lot of travelling involved too! My training happens with the other 5 Laser sailors in the team and our coach. The training and racing is usually quite intense as everyone is very competitive, and there is only one Olympic spot for each country which everybody really wants.

How do you balance University with your sailing commitments?

I commit quite a lot of time to planning ahead, I am always very concerned that I will run out of time to get all the work and training done, so I usually plan training, events and deadline months ahead so I have a good idea of how best to spend my time. This is a process I do with the British Sailing Team support staff, who are amazing at helping me manage my time. I try and split my time into blocks depending on my sailing calendar, either into a few weeks where I don’t have any big events coming up so I will try and get studying out the way, or when I have a big event I will just focus on training. It’s very easy stress over the amount of work I have to do each day, but I always try and enjoy every single day which it makes it easier to stay relaxed and focused. I am very lucky to have highly understanding people around me, my coach fully understands my degree and understands if I call him at the last minute to say I can’t train due to studying. Equally, the university staff and my peers are very understanding of the fact that I sail and that sometimes I can fall behind slightly.

What are your career plans after you’ve completed your course?

My plans are simply to graduate and then sail full time with the British Sailing Team, in a similar capacity to at the moment but I will be able to commit more time to the sport.

How do you think your course will help you in your future career?

The skills Ship Science has given me I’m sure have set me up really well for a career in the engineering or maritime industry.

If you could give prospective students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Really take full advantage of the opportunities given to you while you’re here, many of which you may never get again in the rest of your life! Explore your passions, ask questions and do as much research as you can into your own interests. The resources for learning available at the University of Southampton are second to none, make the most of it.



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