My name is Ewen and I study Physics at Bath. At A level I studied Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Biology which led me to study Physics. I am currently in my first year, just having finished my first semester. I completed the Discover Bath physics strand in the summer of 2019 and it was a thoroughly enlightening experience.
I chose to take part in Discover Bath because it was an opportunity to complete real university lab work and to gain some important experience in being independent. It was my first chance to live and work as a university student. There was also the added bonus of it looking great on my personal statement and the opportunity to get a first-hand feel for what Bath university was like.
The programme was meticulously organised; I was met at Bath Spa train station by a friendly student ambassador and taken to the University by coach. On arrival, I was shown my accommodation. I stayed in Marlborough Court which was an impressive student hall with its own en-suite, a spacious desk for me to work on and a shared kitchen in the flat.
I knew I wanted to study physics for a long time. I enjoy problem solving and am deeply fascinated by the laws of the universe. Discover Bath just reinforced my decision to study physics at Bath because it gave me a glimpse of the work I would be doing at uni.
The lab work consisted of 4 hours a day, with 2 hours before lunch and then 2 hours after lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the experiments we did in the labs were exactly the same experiments that are conducted by first-year students. In one of the experiments, I had to calculate Planck’s constant by the measurement of the maximum kinetic energy of electrons ejected from a metal surface as a function of the frequency of incident light.
I found this experiment particularly awe-inspiring as I was able to calculate a fundamental constant of the universe to a decent degree of accuracy. When I did the same experiment again in my first year, having attended Discover Bath, it meant I was able to complete the experiment more efficiently and obtain results to an even greater degree of accuracy.
Discover Bath was not just an academic experience. In the evenings we played sports, games and there was even a DJ event on the last night. I had no difficulty making friends as everyone in my physics group was very friendly. Another valuable outcome of this experience was that I kept in touch with some people I met on the programme, a couple of whom also ended up coming to study at Bath. Hopefully, I will be able to see more of them when Coronavirus restrictions come to an end.
I chose to make Bath University my firm choice because I felt like it was the university I most connected with. I knew that I wanted to be on a campus university and I also fell in love with the city. You won’t find prettier buildings anywhere else in the UK than Bath.
My advice to year 12 students would be to start preparing yourself for university sooner rather than later. You will have to become much more independent and conscientious with regards to studying in order to keep on top of the workload at university. It is therefore important to take the initiative yourself and sign up for programmes such as Discover Bath, whether it's in-person or online because of the pandemic.
Academic reasons aside, I felt a lot more comfortable starting university in September at a university where I had previously lived and studied for a week as it was very familiar.