So you’re about to start studying Maths and Physics…
If you are about to start your Warwick journey, congratulations! I hope that you are excited to get stuck into campus life and make the most of all the opportunities here. If you are about to start your Maths and Physics degree, you are certainly in for an exciting few years! In this blog post, I wanted to talk to you about what to expect in your first few weeks. Since I was in your position three years ago, I wanted to offer you some words of advice as well.
Firstly, congratulations on getting here in the first place! The entry requirements are high and so earning your place on the course already means that you have done an amazing job. Hold on to that achievement if you feel like you are struggling; you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t deserve it.
Within the first few days and weeks of term, you will be introduced to the department, academic staff and your course-mates. Going to induction sessions, meeting with your personal tutor and getting involved with PhysSoc events will be useful. Maths and Physics is a relatively small course, so you will be in lectures with physicists and mathematicians as well. One of my main pieces of advice is don’t be afraid to talk to new people in lectures and at events; I found that this was a great way to make friends, or at least have another friendly face around campus. I can guarantee that everyone will be eager to make friends too!
In your first year, you will have regular meetings with your personal tutor. This is a member of staff who normally will be your tutor for the duration of your degree. You will meet with them in a small group of students and will be able to discuss problems with them. In my tutor group we often attempted problems relevant to modules we were studying which helped to clarify any gaps in our knowledge. I enjoyed getting to know the other people in my tutor group too.
Your personal tutor is one of the people you can go to if you need some extra support. When I started to struggle in my first term, it was my personal tutor who I went to see first. He helped me to evaluate the reasons why I felt like I was struggling and also gave me some helpful goals to work towards. Maths and Physics is an intense course, especially in the first year, and so there is a high chance that you may start to feel a little overwhelmed. This is understandable, and a lot of people I know, including myself, have felt like that. Just remember that this doesn’t mean that you will feel that way forever, and seek out support when you require it. Many lecturers are happy for you to email them with questions, and support classes are also a good opportunity to ask for further explanations. The Physics Society also runs regular events where you can ask second/third/fourth years for help. If you need additional pastoral support, there are the wellbeing services and SU advice centre. There is no shame in asking for help; it is much more important to look after your well-being.
The first year of Maths and Physics is busy but exciting! You will cover lots of modules, covering a variety of areas. Although this makes the course full of lectures and assignments, it does mean you get a good overview of maths and physics. When you get to later years, this groundwork enables you to choose which topics you like and explore those areas more.
Finally, I hope that you enjoy it! I have loved studying this degree, though it certainly hasn’t been easy. The challenge is something I have come to relish, and the experience has definitely improved my skills and knowledge as a mathematician and a physicist. If you have any questions about the degree, please let me know in a comment!
PS. Don’t leave your assignments until the last minute. Trust me, it’s not a good idea.