I applied for physics simply because I found it to be the most interesting subject at A-level by far, but I wanted to study further, as college level physics only scratches the surface. Knowing that I’d have good job prospects may have been a consideration too!
I particularly enjoyed the work you get to do in the labs, which gives you hands-on experience, often with experiments that were Nobel Prize winners in their time. Another good thing about the course is how flexible it can be if you don’t know what specific area of physics you particularly enjoy. I undertook several different modules before eventually narrowing this down to photonics and metamaterial physics.
The stand-out thing for me had to be the people at the University – if ever you have an issue with the course, there is always someone to help and knowing that you’re being taught by leading members of the field is very inspiring. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals who enjoy your subject is a merit in itself.
The highlight of my University experience had to be my fourth year project. Here, you get the opportunity to do a six month-long project, which is almost like a mini-PhD, participating in current research on a topic. I’d never imagined myself liking the research side of physics before the project, but it surprised me how enjoyable and rewarding it could be when breakthroughs were made. My supervisor was always available to help me and my lab partner and in the end, we manage to design and construct a metamaterial that had never been made before. It’s something that I never thought I could do, but I would love to help with more research in the future.
When I first started at Birmingham, I received the Physics Excellence Scholarship which was for receiving an A* in Physics and Maths at A-level. This took a lot of pressure off me financially and I ended up spending some of it on a new laptop.
Tip from Adam - It is well worth coming to an Open Day and seeing how beautiful the campus is and you will also get a proper feel for the place.