Hey Freshers! First of all, congratulations on getting into Worcester! We are all really looking forward to meeting you when you arrive in October. My name is Robbie and I’ve just finished my first year of the physics course, along with the other six physicists pictured below. We will be your college parents, role-models and idols for the coming year…or not!! But while we probably can’t help you by setting a good example or even answering many of your problem sheet questions for you, we will all do our best to answer any questions you have about the course. So if you have a problem, don’t hesitate to track one of us down and ask us. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first year course is split into two maths modules, two physics modules and one short optional module. The majority of the maths and physics will be covered in the first two terms, with the short option being covered in the summer term. The topics are taught through a mixture of lectures (about 10 hours a week) and tutorials (about 2 hour-long tutorials a week). There are also practicals one day a week. These practicals are split into different topics including general physics, optics, and electronics and computing. Generally, you start in the lab at 10 and finish at 4.30ish with a break for lunch. However, by working quickly (and cutting the odd corner!) you can attempt to finish a bit earlier.
For this profile, I’ve tried to put together a couple of bullet-points of advice for your first year so you hopefully won’t make all the same mistakes that I did:
- Get yourself a copy of ‘Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering’ by Riley, Hobson & Bence before you arrive here. You can borrow all other books from the many libraries of Oxford, but this one will become your bible over the next few years and owning your own copy can be really useful.
- Relax and have a great summer before starting here. Apart from perhaps looking over your A-level maths, you definitely don’t need to do any extra work before you get here! You will probably be set a problem sheet by Prof. Ewart to complete for when you arrive and this really is all you need to do.
- First year is the only one that doesn’t count in physics, so make use of it. Join loads of societies; get involved in loads of sports teams or orchestras. Just spend time doing anything that isn’t physics!
- Ask questions in tutorials! Tutors aren’t there to test you; they are there to try and help you learn. If something isn’t crystal clear to you, ask about it. Don’t be scared because it really helps.
- Lectures are definitely the easiest way to learn topics. The lecturers set the exams, so it makes sense to let them teach you the topic instead of toiling away by yourself with a book.
- Don’t be worried if you don’t get all the questions right on a problem sheet! Have a good a good go at all the questions but you don’t need to work into the early hours of the night to get them all. It just gives you something to go over in the tutorial.
- The added motivation to get out of the lab that comes from a hangover means that practicals are most efficiently done hungover.
That’s all from me. I guess all that’s left to say is welcome to Worcester. You’re going to love it here!