Ask a student: why a Science bachelors?
|Date:||08 August 2018|
I asked my friends Lauren, a fellow Physics student from England escaping the high tuition fees and the collapsing government, and Brayan, an Applied Mathematics student from Bulgaria escaping the beautiful women and nice beaches, about why they chose Science bachelors. Here is what they had to say!
1. Why did you decide to study Applied Mathematics/Physics?
Lauren: I loved discovering why things happen when I was growing up and I luckily had an amazing physics teacher that pushed me to do what I love. When I read and started learning about particle physics and electric and magnetic fields knew that I wouldn’t regret studying Physics.
Brayan: I really liked solving logic puzzles and math problems as a child. This drove me to participate in a number of math competitions throughout my high school years. When I had to decide, it seemed pretty obvious that I should do something related to mathematics. In the end, I chose applied because I was much more motivated to work on problems with a real-world application.
2. What surprised you the most about your study?
Lauren: Although the course names seem to imply no relations between them, so many courses interlink and all are relevant in some shape or form to each other. This becomes especially clear in the second year when all the fundamentals you learn in the first year come together.
Brayan: I certainly did not anticipate how much time I would have to put into my studies. They say that following three courses per block amounts to working 40 hours per week. Although this might be an exaggeration, I quickly found out that just attending lectures and tutorials was not enough.
3. What would you recommend to a new, first-year Physics student?
Lauren: To remember you are at university, make sure you study for all exams and manage your time because you can definitely excel at university and still manage to go out with your friends or spend time with them. Also, join sports and subject associations because it’s a way to meet new people and to know when things are happening. There’s a huge support there for you, you just need to use it.
Brayan: Buy a bike and go to tutorials. It is surprising how useful those things are.
4. What stereotype about science students is true?
Lauren: One true stereotype is that we talk about physics a lot. On a night out (which, yes, we do enjoy and happen more often than you think), at lunch, or any type of social gathering, the conversation will go towards physics at least once, we just can’t help it.
A serious stereotype that is unfortunately true is the dominance of men within science. The majority of students within Physics, that I’ve noticed from the later years of high school and in University, are male. The university is trying to close the gap between the number of male and female students but I know that it’s something that has to be focused on from a young age, that women are capable of doing science, and excelling in it, and maybe that will help society’s view of women as well.
Brayan: The worst science student still thinks he is smarter than all non-science students. Of course, this is not true for everybody but I still think that we appear more arrogant than non-science people.
5. What’s your favourite thing about your study?
Lauren: I’m going to go for the typical response and say discovering why things are the way they are and how it works like that. I’m able to try and understand the inner workings of the universe, there is nothing more special than that in my opinion.
Brayan: I enjoy solving math problems so I guess my favourite thing would be that most of the time I am solving math problems. I also like that there are a number of project courses in which you can delve deeper into a topic that you find interesting. For example, one project I did in a course was named 'Detecting Land Mines'. It involved deriving a model to identify landmines which could pose a threat to safety if displaced by landslides, earthquakes, or hurricanes. This was very interesting as it involved using what I learnt in a real-world application, which is why I wanted to study Applied Mathematics in the first place.
6. What’s your plan for after your studies?
Lauren: I’ll probably end up working, either in research or data analysis. They seem pretty interesting to do. I would like to do a masters at some point, and maybe a PhD, but I’m not sure if I want to do them straight away.
Brayan: I am still in doubt about whether to pursue a career in academia or to look for a job in a company. Hopefully, the internship that I have to take as part of the master's programme will help me decide.
And finally, a more light-hearted question…
7. What’s your best science joke?
Lauren: My mathematics skills? (I joke Joey! I joke! I think my skills are better than yours (definitely not true))
A group of investors wanted to predict the outcome of a horse race so they hired a group of biologists, a group of statisticians, and a group of physicists. Each group was given a year to research the issue. After one year, the groups all reported to the investors. The biologists said that they could genetically engineer an unbeatable racehorse, but it would take 200 years and $100bn. The statisticians reported next. They said that they could predict the outcome of any race, at a cost of $100m per race, and they would only be right 10% of the time. Finally, the physicists reported that they could also predict the outcome of any race and that their process was cheap and simple. The investors listened eagerly to this proposal. The head physicist reported, "We have made several simplifying assumptions: first, let each horse be a perfect rolling sphere… "
Brayan: Erwin Schrödinger is driving down the road when he gets pulled over by a cop. The cop walks up to the window and says, "Sir, I'd like you to open your trunk for me." The cop goes to the trunk then returns. "Sir, did you know you have a dead cat in your trunk?" Schrödinger says, "Well, I do now!"
That was it for the questions I asked my friends - I kind of hoped they would have had better jokes to round it off, but what can you do. If you have any questions to ask my esteemed buddies, let us know and we will be sure to answer!