Skills Hub


Student perspectives - Tayo

Tayo Oladele

Second year Electrical and electronic engineering



My name is Tayo Oladele.  I'm in second year of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. 

Why did you choose to study at Sussex?

I chose to study at Sussex because of the environment and the quality of teaching which I had heard about from people who had already been to Sussex. And when I came down for the open day I talked to a few lecturers and they explained everything about what goes on at Sussex and what they want to get out of students. I realised that every lecturer at Sussex really wants to make a difference to the world, they want to make changes and that's my whole aim as well - I want to make changes to the engineering world and make the world different.

What did you do in your year out before university?

I took a year out after college, just to work for a bit, and I worked for an engineering company to get some experience of what engineering is about.  That really helped with doing my practical session because I knew how to use all the equipment  before going to the lab so I tended to walk through the whole lab session really quickly. 

What do you enjoy most about studying on your course?

The thing that I enjoy most is the lab session because it gives you an idea of what the whole of engineering is about. You get a lot of experience from it. You go to the lecture sometimes and you think, ‘What is the lecturer saying?'. You hardly understand what he is saying but once you get to the lab you understand. It gives you the bright idea that is hidden under the whole engineering material, you can see what is really going on.  

How much time do you spend studying on your course per week?

On my course normally we get about twenty hours a week of teaching sessions, apart from that you're expected to do another twenty hours a week of reading on your own to make forty hours a week altogether. That is what the lecturers will tell you that you have to do in order to get through the first year.

What is the teaching like for your course?

Mostly you get up very early. Your lectures mostly start at nine o'clock in the morning. You finish a bit later as well, if you've got a lab session because most of the lab sessions are in the evenings but you get breaks in between. Apart from lectures we also have workshops as well, which last one hour. This is a session you can go to and talk to the PhD student about the worksheet that you're given in the lectures. So it's a session that you can go to for help with your course. Apart from that we have seminars which are three hours long - that is really long but you gain a lot from them because you talk about what you're not going to talk about in the lectures because lectures are just one hour long - you can't talk about all the stuff in one hour but when you go to the seminars you learn a lot from them as well.

How do you balance your study time and your social life?

The main thing about studying engineering and bringing your social life to it as well is that you've got to plan yourself right. It's all about time management! You've got to think, ‘What do I need to do this week?' at the start of the week and look at what you've got. Have a list, this is what I need to get through this week and think, ‘I'm going out this day and doing this that time'. You've just got to plan yourself right, think ‘If I'm going out this night, I've got to finish this before I go out. If I don't finish it that means I'm not going out'. It's all about planning yourself right.

How do you approach writing reports for you course?

The way I work is that after I finish each programme, I always take a five-ten minute break just to write a simple report about what I've done in that programme. So, by the end, before you've even finished the whole programme, you've got more than a 2000 word essay that you can just join together. So you just try doing it, bit by bit, and that will make it a lot easier and once you get everything, every bit together, that will make a full report.

How do you approach reading for your course?

Once you get into the Uni, try and make friends with people on your course so you can get together and start group reading or group discussion where everyone goes back home, reads this chapter and then you  talk about it the next day. You get a lot from each other doing that kind of group reading or discussion but I believe that each individual has their own ways of reading or learning. Most people prefer reading through day or night but people like me, I can't do it. I prefer waking up in the morning and just reading a few pages, close the book , enjoy the rest of the day - by doing this I learn a lot . Some people just prefer reading straight for hours but I can't read that straight. I like reading bit by bit. I realise that I always learn a lot from that.

Do you make notes when you're reading?

It is really good to make notes when you are reading but the way most people read is different. So you've just got to find the right way that best suits you. When I am reading something that I know I don't really understand I always make notes. Sometimes, when I know I know it, I just read through it and probably, at the end of the whole week, I just sit down on my bed, I just lie there and think,  ‘This is what I have learnt' - and probably just stick a note on your board, ‘I know that and I will never forget it'.

How do you make your notes?

The way I do mine is to write hints. Once I can remember that hint I remember the whole thing. Some people prefer to draw pretty pictures - I have got a mate and that really helps his learning. But I just write hints. If I can remember that one hint that I've written down, I can remember everything. Make sure its on small note paper and that way even if you are on the bus you can just flick through your notes and read them and just remember them.

How do you revise for your exams?

People always say that you should start revising really early for your exam. If you read every week, you don't need to start revising two months before your exam because you're used to it anyway - you read every week so you learn a lot from that. I do it every morning when I wake up, which I really enjoy. Just lying in bed, I've got my books next to me. I just wake up with my morning tea and read this page and then that's it, close the book, have a shower, go to my lectures.

How do you get feedback on how you're doing with your course?

You get feedback every week because during the lecture sessions they give you a worksheet and you have to take it home and do it on your own and if you need help you go to the workshop and ask the PhD student - they will help you out.  Apart from that, you can just go up to your lecturers and just talk to them about what you don't really understand and what you're doing wrong.

How does working with other students improve your learning?

Within your mates you're going to have some people who are really good, like brilliant!  Talk to them, there's no need to be shy. You are both learning, you can get a lot from each other because when you say it you think about it as well, you think ‘What am I saying?' ‘Am I saying the right thing?' and from there you understand, ‘Yeah, I am saying the right thing' or ‘the wrong thing' and you just figure it out. If you think you can't even say anything about that topic then go home and  look at your reading.

What is it like giving presentations on your course and do you have any advice for giving a good presentation?

On my course we have to do presentations. I learn a lot from it. You get to see your confidence, your level of confidence, you've got and you tend to like learn from it. From the feedback you get. The main advice I'd give to students that are doing a presentation would be to be confident, be yourself and just enjoy it. Even if you're not quite confident with talking about that topic, let them ask you questions, answer the questions and keep eye contact.

When you're working in pairs you need to be careful to avoid collusion (a form of academic misconduct), how do you do this?

When you're doing lab sessions never give your lab book to anyone. Make sure that your lab book is yours, no-one has access to it because once you start giving your lab book to friends or your lab partner they tend to get something from your lab book and they might put it straight into their lab book and that will be like plagiarism. They're going to tell you that you have to have a pair to go into the lab but it's not like pairs where you have to do the same thing. You're doing the lab together but your report, it has to be different.

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