Skip navigation

Helen McManus-Reily


Msc Microbiology Student Helenmcmanus Reilly 255Where are you from?

Framwellgate Moor, Durham

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

I love the city of Newcastle. I looked at both Northumbria and Newcastle university, but I found Northumbria to have a much more social, friendly and modern atmosphere. The course content was much more preferred, and even the choice of subjects offered a wider option for students to choose and decide which course was best for them.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

I love Newcastle, and I loved living in the city while I was studying my undergraduate. I think other than shopping, that the choice of attractions such as museums and even the local links to other destinations- like South/ North Shields, make it the best central place to be. I like to visit all these places, and going out for meals in Newcastle is so nice too, with many restaurants and plenty of cinema's to fit going to see a movie around your eating- of course there is also the fact that it is so close to the Metrocentre which increases these opportunities further.

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

The best surprise is how nice people are- in general not just at the university, if you go anywhere else you don't really see it- but you do in the 'Toon'. I think I am very impressed by the quiet park area's in Newcastle such as Jesmond Dene, when you're there, you wouldn't really think you were in the middle of a city, and it's such a lovely place to explore.

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming? Was it easy to fit in?

Yes, very! The staff are wonderful and you can tell they are just as enthusiastic as you are about what your studying, they are there to offer help and advice all the way, and I think the open door policy is a great strength. Fitting in was much easier than being at school for me, I know there were lots of opportunities to go out and meet new people which were driven by the Students' Union. Not only this, but connections on the course are great too, we all get along well and the staff keep a look out to see if there are things that we can do together- from the ice breakers at the start of the course, to trips bowling- which everyone had a good laugh at as I couldn't bowl.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

I have loved my course and I have loved being involved in the union and meeting amazing people that I can call friends. Basically I would have to say the whole experience!

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

Probably my guidance tutor- they are lovely and so down to earth, you can tell they really care if you show you really care and they offer the best advice, even if it is pointing you in the direction of another service within the university that can help too.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

I would have to say- my guidance tutor again, they are just amazing, and the way they teach their subject is very interesting you can tell that they know what they are talking about, and they have been where I want to be and still are- they are very ready to offer advice on the next steps to the career I would like, and very willing to do anything they can to help me get there.

What is your favourite place on campus?

I would have to say the library- I am a bit of a swot, but, seriously, the choice of books available, the improved IT space, opening hours that fit around university life and the gratefully placed chill out area in the base- and tea, they serve tea which biscuits - just what you need to keep you going.

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects? Tells us about the highlights?

I have, been involved in all the above! I was on the women's fencing team,as well as being part of the club, and I served as President of the club for a year also. As well as this I was involved in the union- I did RAG, and Volunteer Northumbria week, and even welcome week- it was all amazing! I am and was a course rep, and faculty rep. I just think that having these opportunities is amazing and the highlights for me was being able to take some part in all of them.

What is the best thing about your course?

The practical aspect along with the teaching- I loved doing my final year project.

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

I have learnt how fun, and harsh life can be. I think the most valuable lesson though is to be yourself, get involved and learn new things- knowledge is the key and success can be round the corner. I have constantly surprised myself by doing all of the above while being here at Northumbria and I have loved every minute of it.

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

I would like to be a research lecturer, if I can inspire people like me to do what they want to do in life and reach their dreams- like my guidance tutor and lecturers alike have with me, I would be very happy. Of course I would still have to do my research as a side- I just love being in the lab. I think my experiences volunteering and getting involved with everything has prepared me better for life and its trails, but also allowed me to grow as a person and be a lot more confident.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

I would say, don't just think about it, do it, get involved and enjoy the entire experience, it will be the best thing that you have ever done.

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

I definitely think that I am more confident, and able to deal with being in the real world better than I would have done if I had just stayed at home. I know what I want in life, I have goals and Northumbria has shown me time and time again that you can get there if you really want to.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Enlightening, knowledgeable and amazing!

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?

Definitely - in fact, I have, time and time again.


a sign in front of a crowd

Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

a person sitting at a table using a laptop
NU World Virtual Tours

Virtual Tour

Get an insight into life at Northumbria at the click of a button! Come and explore our videos and 360 panoramas to immerse yourself in our campuses and get a feel for what it is like studying here using our interactive virtual tour.

Latest News and Features

GFW2024 winner Abbie Inwood
Connie Dalton, Jo Baker, Carolina Gomez
gettyimages/Eduard Figueres
Small Business Charter award
More news
More events

Upcoming events

REVEAL: Architecture
REVEAL: Industrial Design
REVEAL: Graphic Design
REVEAL: Animation

Back to top