Between trying to revise for my imminent exams, I wrote two short essays: the first about the use of stainless steel in structural applications, which I was writing my dissertation on; the second about the Shard, whose female lead structural engineer, Roma Agrawal, had encouraged me to pursue civil engineering back in sixth form.
I received an email to confirm that I’d made the longlist that was being sent to Laing O’Rourke. Thinking that was as far as my application would get, I was thrilled to find out I’d been chosen to attend the assessment centre at Laing O’Rourke’s head office in Kent. Unfortunately, the snowy weather meant it got cancelled and I had to turn around and drive home again!
I was offered a Skype interview instead, in which I got to talk about my passion for engineering and the skills that I felt an ‘Undergraduate of the Year’ should have to offer. It was hard, but having to weigh up my strengths and weaknesses was a valuable process.
I was so excited to find out that I had made the final ten. It was a brilliant day – beautiful weather, an amazing location and well organised. Being able to meet and talk with such inspiring and interesting young people was great. It felt particularly poignant that our host, Rachel Riley, focused her speech on women in STEM, considering eight of the ten construction and engineering finalists were women. I left feeling empowered and ready to take on the world – or at least, to take on Canary Wharf tube station at 5.00 pm!
Overall, although I didn’t win, my experience of the Awards is something I wouldn’t change. I am so glad I decided to take a chance and apply, as it has taught me skills and provided me with experiences that I am sure will shape my career from now on.