Previously in a Warwick Physics Degree
If there’s been a big break between one season and the next in a TV show I always need a recap at the start of the new season. I am hopeless at retaining all the details of what came before so need a moment to reacquaint myself with the state of play.
Having had such a long break from university recently, I’ve really been feeling like I need a voice-over to guide me into the next year of my degree. I feel a bit like I’m going into my first year again in many ways so I need to remind myself of the progress I’ve made so far.
In a way, I’m writing this for myself as a chance to reflect on my first two years at Warwick but I thought this would also present the perfect opportunity to mention what I have gained thus far in my degree now that I have reached the halfway marker.
One of the things I heard most frequently before starting my physics degree was that you gain problem solving skills. It always sounded like such an easy answer that was vague enough to not really tell you anything at all but now, it is clear why this is a big selling point.
I remember looking at my first problem sheets thinking they would be easy because there were so few questions but while there weren’t many questions, there were multiple parts to each. Learning ways to tackle these kinds of problems was one of the biggest challenges of my first year and this has forced me to improve my ability to assess a complex problem step by step in logical sections.
Of course I have learnt more than I can even keep track of within physics. My subject knowledge has progressed so much since my A level studies but the structure of the course at Warwick has made it a smooth and achievable progression for me.
The diversity of the content within physics is also quite impressive. It feels like we study everything as we jump between quantum and astronomical scales, stopping at every point in between. This can seem daunting at times but also it is great to have the freedom to delve into anything and everything throughout the course of the degree.
There are also many other transferable skills that have come out of my time at Warwick. University teaching methods have made me a more organised person, labs and report writing have taught me about proper scientific procedures and even things beyond my course like writing this blog have helped me build on my fluency in writing and my ability to interact with an audience.
University offers such a wealth of opportunities and you can look to improve yourself in so many different aspects. Even if you don’t actively seek it, you will more than likely pick things up without even realising it at university. As an example, my confidence has grown so much over two years just by being in a new environment with challenges I had never faced before.
I’m also extremely glad that last year I took a risk and added an Italian module into my course. It wasn’t my strongest subject but added diversity to my days and has given me a basic understanding of a new language that no one can take away from me. Surely that can only be an advantage later in life.
Then of course, there are things outside of academics. Throughout my first two years I’ve met people who I hope will remain lifelong friends. I have found new hobbies and interests by attending events held by different societies. I have become more independent and now no longer fear the idea of moving away from home quite like I did in my first year.
So I suppose a lot has come out of my first two years at Warwick. I’d say that I am a more well rounded person, I’ve gained confidence in my academic ability so feel more comfortable in my department and I feel like I have more to offer in every aspect of my life in the future.
I don’t quite know where I want to end up after my fourth year at Warwick but writing this post has made me realise how far I could go in my final two years. Looking back, I never could have imagined the way I would change over my first two years so I’m excited to see what comes next when we all get back to university.
My piece of advice from this all would be not to fear change. Big changes come in our lives and university brings many of them all at the same time but so much good can come out of them.
If I were to carry on with the TV show recap metaphor I suppose I could be wrapping things up with a ‘next time’ paragraph but like I said, I really can’t predict where I’ll be this time next year. Instead I’ll offer the advice I try to tell myself. Be true to yourself and see where university takes you.