Chemical Engineering undergraduate

Jurproop in a lab

I'm a second-year undergraduate studying Chemical Engineering.

I wanted to apply to Imperial as it was the highest-ranked institution in the country for chemical engineering and continues to rank highly year after year.

But also, the facilities at Imperial are amazing. In the chemical engineering department, we have a pilot plant which is state-of-the-art with all the latest facilities for carbon capture, which no other university has in-house.

That was another thing that was really attractive to me about Imperial as it meant I could have hands-on, industry experience before even graduating.

Imperial also offers something called a mastery module, where you get to apply all of the information you learn across your regular Chemical Engineering modules into a final paper. It gives you an almost simulation of what a day in life would be like for a chemical process engineering consultant. It’s great as it brings everything together in a practical sense – you think about problems from a problem point of view, not from a module point of view. It teaches you to learn about the content holistically and apply it in a meaningful way.

I also chose Imperial because it has the most clubs, societies and projects in the whole of the UK than any other university. There’s so much you can get involved with to meet like-minded people.

Jurproop in Canary Wharf, London

Deciding to study Chemical Engineering

My journey to Chemical Engineering was actually really interesting. When I was in my first year of high school I saw a poster which just said: Why not ChemEng? At that point I had no idea what ChemEng was – I looked at it and thought why would you do Chemistry and English!

Then a couple of years later in a biology lesson, we were looking at something called mycoprotein. I’m vegetarian, so the sources of protein are quite limited compared to if you eat meat. One thing I eat quite a lot of is Quorn. And I’d always wondered, how is it meat-free and what exactly is it? We learned about mycoprotein and how it’s actually made of fungi which to me was mind-blowing - how you can take something that doesn't remotely look anything like or have any relation to meat and turn it into something that has the same nutritional value, was quite insane to me. So I asked my teacher – who would do this sort of thing? And she replied: Chemical Engineers!

The final thing that really pushed me towards chemical engineering was when I learned you can join the pharmaceutical industry. I’d always been interested in the discovery and creation of drugs and therapies; when I did work experience in a pharmacy in Year 11 I asked – who actually makes the drugs?

I learned that by doing Chemical Engineering and then specialising, I could join the pharmaceutical industry. Chemical Engineering has such versatility, you can go on to do almost anything!

The course has been amazing. I think one of the things about chemical engineering is it’s demanding, but once you understand that you can really enjoy it. You won’t understand what you’re learning straight away, but then suddenly it will just click and everything will make sense. That for me is what’s really gratifying.

Selfie with Jurproop and friends

Staying in London

Being born and raised in London, there were lots of benefits to staying at home. While it was tempting to go out of London, I wanted to stay in the capital because it was close to home. I also knew Imperial has a really strong international community and I wanted to be able to meet people from across borders.

Adjusting to university 

Going from high school to university was a complete culture shock. I have a proper commute from home, which takes about an hour and a half door to door. Compared to my high school which was just behind my house, this took a lot of getting used to!

There’s also the greater onus of being independent with your learning when you’re at university. When you’re in high school, everything is heavily guided. Even in lessons, the teacher will talk to you first, then you’ll spend the rest of the lesson doing questions or exercises and the teacher will guide you through them. But at university, you’ll have a lecture for the full time where you just listen to the lecturer and make notes.

Time management was also an important thing to get used to, balancing all your different assignments. Teamwork is also a big thing at university, as you have to work with other students.

Imperial gave really useful support. I reached out to my personal tutor to discuss how I was doing. It was a challenge to feel empowered to ask for that help, but I would tell everyone to not feel embarrassed to ask questions or for help – no one judges you! Getting over the initial block is hard, but the support system that’s available is amazing.


Societies and extra-curricular activities

I’m on two society committees – the Punjabi Society where I’m the head of sponsorship and the Chemical Engineering Society where I’m the first year coordinator. For the Punjabi Society my role is to secure sponsorship for the society throughout the year and essentially make sure we have the funding to do the activities we want to. For Chemical Engineering, my role is to help first year’s  get adjusted to university life. It’s kind of a continuation of what I do on my YouTube channel. I also have an active interest in the Imperial Consulting Group, and follow along with everything they’re doing.

Societies are great because it means you can develop your personal skills, meet new people and enjoy yourself, but also develop professional skills. There are lots of societies out there that are really good for your CV.

Creating video content

I’ve always been very active on YouTube – I used to have an informal channel when I was in high school, just because I enjoyed filming, scripting, editing and uploading. I found it almost therapeutic in a way. And when you’re filming yourself, you get to see the way you’re speaking and you can pick up on things you’d like to improve – it’s a great way to improve communication skills. I really enjoyed it because I felt like if I made one video, I knew the next one would be better. I wasn’t a very confident person, and YouTube was a way of escaping and sharing my thoughts. 

When I was I in year 12 and looking to apply to study Chemical Engineering, I realised there was a lack of detailed guidance and in-depth notes about the process, how you can succeed and how to get by the difficult parts. My school had brilliant support for the UCAS application, but when it came to interviews and admissions assessments, I couldn’t find anything. So when I was successful, I wanted to share with other prospective students the information and learnings that I’d picked up: about the university application process, how to ace interviews – that sort of thing. And that’s how ChemEng Weekly came about!

Since then I’ve started to diversify my content, focusing on careers with Chemical Engineering, how it is portrayed in the media and more like that.

The Imperial community

There are so many things I love about Imperial: my course, the facilities, and the opportunities I’ve been given. But if I had to put it down to one thing, it would have to be the Imperial community.

At Imperial, you meet people from all over the world. It’s shown me that no matter where you come from, we’re actually not all that different – we might have our differences but at the end of the day we’re all human. No matter where in the world you come from there are common struggles and interests that you can relate to people with. I know that if I hadn’t have come to Imperial, there’s absolutely no way I would have ever met some of my closest friends! The international community and the effort that Imperial puts into maintaining this is probably the thing I most enjoy.