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Cardiff Insiders

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Welcome to my world

Well hello there! If you’re reading this I suspect you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “Who is this guy, what is he doing here and why on earth did he take the time to memorise the entire periodic table song?”

You probably won’t be all that pleased to hear therefore that I can only really answer one of your questions right now. My name is Jack and I’m a first year physicist (just in case you didn’t already read my bio). If you want to be particularly specific, my course code is F302: BSc Physics (with professional placement) so there’s that, although for the moment at least it really doesn’t affect what I’m doing all that much, since all students on physics degrees do the same set of core modules (but I suspect if you’re genuinely considering doing physics here you’re already aware of that, so I’m not going to go into it too much)

My main aim with this blog is to provide a window into my life, because if we’re honest, we’ve all made mistakes at some point, and I’m not going to claim that I’m an exception. The song “Dear Younger Me” by MercyMe pretty much exactly sums up how I feel about life so far, but because I can almost guarantee that you’ve not heard it, I’m going to share some of the words here, and hopefully things will make a bit more sense:

Dear younger me, where do I start? If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far then you could be one step ahead of all the painful memories still running through my head. I wonder how much different things would be… Dear younger me…

Dear younger me, I cannot decide. Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life? Or do I go deep and try to change the choices that you’ll make ’cause they’re the choices that made me? And even though I love this crazy life sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride. Dear younger me…

Yeah…

To be honest, I wasn’t sure really what to write for a first post, there’s just so much I want to talk about, but I figured since in all likelihood the people reading this won’t necessarily know me that I’d start from the beginning, and just make this a brief introduction so you can all get an idea of who I am and what I do. With a bit of luck I’ll even answer some of your questions!

So I do physics. Lots of people have asked me why I chose to do physics, but the truth is I have absolutely no idea, so if you’re currently going through life and you don’t know what direction you’re headed, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. I guess it just kinda seemed like the obvious option at the time. I’m a very mathematically minded kind of person – give me an equation and I’ll happily do my best to try and solve it, but give me an essay to write and expect me to score zero. – Trouble was, I was good at maths, but at the time a maths degree really didn’t sound all that interesting (and sorry, I’m not trying to put you off, all the maths I’ve done so far has been fascinating). That pretty much left engineering or physics, and I ultimately decided to go down the physics route because I’ve never really been much of a practical guy. With that, I had a path (of some description) and could start thinking about where I was going to go to do it.

I decided pretty early on that I wasn’t going to go to a university that I hadn’t physically visited. I’d been to a couple of open days in various places just to get a feel for university generally but not actually looked at anything specific, and with the decision on course now made I was able to focus on location. “How did I do this?” You might ask… Well… I made a spreadsheet:

(Just a quick disclaimer here, the information on this spreadsheet may not now be entirely accurate, and is almost certainly incomplete, I did this nearly 2 years ago. This is also very much my opinion and should not be taken as fact, everybody is different)

Essentially, I went on UCAS and found every single university that offered a physics degree, and then went on a rankings website, the complete university guide, as well as unistats to get an idea of numbers (because I’m obsessed with numbers and statistics and things like that) and I ranked universities by CUG rank. I then went on UCAS and managed to find typical entry requirements for every single course at every single university and manually entered them, at which point I began to ruthlessly eliminate universities from my list. First I eliminated any university with entry requirements I wasn’t ever likely to meet, I then went from the bottom up and looked at websites of universities and eliminated them based on a few critera, which I had predetermined. Eventually I was left with the magic number: 5 universities that I could apply for.

I won’t discuss UCAS stuff right now, but I applied, and got back 5 offers (trust them to make my decision the hardest it could possibly have been!) and it was time to think about applicant days. If you’re not sure whether or not to go on an applicant day, I’d definitely suggest it, because every single one completely changed how I thought about the university I was visiting (for better or worse). The rest is honestly just history, though there’s a bit more to the story which I might go into at some point (and seriously, it justifies it’s own entire post), we’ll just have to see how I feel about it ;)

So now you know how I got here I suppose I should get onto the really important stuff: The Elements song.

To explain this one, I shall leave you with a quote:

“Why? Because I can!” – Katarina Du Couteau

 

 

Oh, before I go, one last thing: Let me know what you think about my cover photo, I’m not really convinced it’s the right fit but I’m going to go with it until I can find something better. I’m open to suggestions for a new one (within reason).

If you have any questions, or ideas for things you’d like me to blog about then feel free to get in touch with me by leaving a comment below. I’m looking to set up an email account as a way to make this sort of thing a bit more interactive, but until then I guess I’ll just try and read every comment!

Anyway, it’s currently almost 4 AM so I really should probably sleep, because it would be really really bad if I missed lectures because I was blogging too late…

Until the next time then… ;)

*Update* Cover photo didn’t post, so ignore that, I put it below instead:

Failing to succeed does not mean failing to progress

Game: Antichamber

 

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