Seven questions with Noor Garawi
30 May 2018
This week we meet Noor Garawi, a Natural Sciences BSc student set to graduate in 2019.
1. Why are you interested in Natural Sciences, and what do you plan to do in the future?
To put it simply, I've always wanted to do a lot, and so natural sciences was interesting for me because I could choose my ultimate combination of physical sciences and mathematics. I am able to study these disciplines in perfect unison alongside computing and research-based projects, and I feel that this has helped me massively in becoming a well-rounded student at UCL.
Knowing that I want to use my analytical and numerical skills whilst working with other people in the future, I am definitely interested in starting my career in machine learning and data science - after some much-needed travelling and, potentially, an MSc.
2. What is the most interesting thing you've done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?
For the past year, I've been working on a project called UCL SciCon with some of my peers, where we aim to connect undergraduates with the scientific research community and opportunities. Seeing loads of students turn up to your event is so rewarding, and we have been fortunate enough to receive support from our department and UCL ChangeMakers.
One of our highlights was the recognition of being invited to the reopening ceremony for the Kathleen Lonsdale building. I was able to hear from the incredible Sir David Attenborough who spoke about his travels and his experiences at university. What a way to start exam season...
3. Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?
A true Bloomsbury gem is the Hare Krishna stall near the UCL Institute of Education (IOE). This sanctuary of a plate of free, hot Ayurvedic food was a saving grace on those intense days in the IOE Library, which is my favourite study spot.
Also, UCL hosts some incredible talks, and I love that student societies in particular are capable of attracting huge industry names through their commitment and vision. My favourites include Johann Worner, the CEO of the European Space Agency and the economist, Dan Ariely for their humour and relatability. Nick Clegg wasn't so bad.
4. Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London
1. Zone 1 is great, but venture out! Must-visits include Hampton Court Palace, Little Venice and Richmond Park. Greenwich Park is also a gem because there is so much to do: boating, visiting the Prime Meridian line and the awesome observatory, and enjoying the beautiful scenery through sunset.
2. My ultimate tip is to walk everywhere! You will find something new every time in this pulsating, modern melting pot, defined by both the old and the new. Also, don't be afraid of being a tourist, and visit places like the Tower of London and the National Gallery to channel your inner geek.
3. London is actually great for people on a budget. If you want to go to the theatre - which I urge you to do at least once - why not visit the Globe with its £5 standing tickets? Or enjoy delicious, cheap eats such as bagels in East London or a perfect shawarma from Edgware Road. You will not be disappointed.
5. If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?
One thing that I feel affects far too many students here at UCL is poor mental health, and so as Provost I would feel an immense responsibility for the university (as a port of call for students) to allocate proportional funds and appropriate resources to helpful services.
I also feel that as a leading research university, more students should be enabled with the opportunity to conduct projects and access the incredible opportunities at UCL, as well as bringing more people from a wider variety of industries to the university - essentially, the bubble should be popped way before graduation if students are to reach their true potential.
During my time as Provost, I would also aim to hold at least one massive event where students could meet different people, have endless conversation and laughter, and find new ways to help their interests blossom. After all, university is characterised by the people we interact with every single day.
6. Who inspires you and why?
My parents. They inspire me so much because of all that they have overcome, and the beauty of their spirit and determination. Their relationship as my parents and as equals is one of the healthiest I know, and I feel so grateful and privileged to be able to look up to them. Perpetuating all that they taught me is the only way I can think of attempting to repay them for their endless support and love.
7. What would it surprise people to know about you?
Despite being a Londoner, I like nature. I'm a big fan of mountaineering, and one of my favourite places in the world is Annecy for its incredible Alpine scenery and paragliding spots.