Why on Earth do I enjoy physics?
So you may have noticed the title:
Why on Earth do I enjoy physics?
And originally I had followed that up with, And what get’s me out of bed in the morning? hence the cover image.
This may sound like a ridiculous title for an article but it’s also a question I ask myself almost every day. I’ve come past the point where I doubt that I do actually enjoy what I do but I still ask it from the perspective of trying to pin down what exactly it is that I get from my studies. It’s far from a simple question to answer and the only way to really do it is in many parts.
First and foremost, I love that I can sit around and talk about stars and planets and call it work! This to me is a dream come true and it’s what I wanted out of my degree.
I remember one lesson at A Level where we talked about stars from the first bell in the morning for about two hours straight and at that point I remember thinking, if I could do this every day that would be the best degree in the world. University physics isn’t quite that. I can’t just study astronomy. There are lots of other bits that I have to study in between to ensure that the astronomy parts actually fit together and make sense but while at A Level there’s only that one lesson I can remember so vividly, now I get to take whole modules on space, the solar system and the stars and to put it plainly, that’s pretty cool!
I guess the next most important point for me is the opportunity to solve problems. It’s just how my brain works that I love to work through a problem step by step from beginning to end and take immense pride and satisfaction from that feeling of completion. In physics you get to do this every day.
Problems sheets on my course are challenging but the answers are always within reach. I’d say that over the past year and a half I’ve not only had the opportunity to solve problems but learnt new methods and ways to dig myself out of frustration when I don’t seem to be making any progress. The best part about my degree is that all of my work, even down to the exams in summer is primarily problem solving (and of course it’s even better when those problems happen to be space related).
Recently I have been looking into summer placements and work opportunities using my physics skills and I hated hearing it when I was looking around because it felt so vague but it’s true that physics gives you such a wide range of skills and keeps open so many opportunities in the future. While that can be terrifying because it means there is still so much to chose from and decide between, it can also be very exciting for the exact same reasons.
Like I said, when I was looking around and people told me how wide a range of opportunities I would have with a physics degree without ever really outlining what some of those opportunities were, it was a bit frustrating but reassuring at the same time because I didn’t then and still don’t know what I want to do after university. Good thing I’m on such a widely applicable degree then I suppose.
Finally, another great thing that I find about studying physics is the people on my degree course. I think I had a certain stereotype in my head when I applied. I expected to be surrounded by people who were basically exactly like me but this is so far from the truth. I suppose we all share one nerdy trait in that we all love physics but beyond that there is so much diversity in the people on my course and our interests.
I’m sure it’s true of any degree but I love that at university I can know such a diverse range of people before even looking beyond my course. University is such a great opportunity to get to know people that you never though you would and I’d say that meeting these new people have changed the way I view many aspects of life including physics.
Physics is the study of everything in the universe which can sound a daunting task but it has its moments when everything just seems to fall into place and I realise why I enjoy doing what I do.