Student Profile

Doyin, Fourth Year Astrophysics

The first time I came to St Andrews was for a visiting day, and I knew straight away that it was the right place for me. The atmosphere, scenery and people all made me feel far more at home than other universities I’d visited. I originally started as a student of French and German, but after a semester decided it wasn’t for me. A friend in the Physics department invited me along to a lecture to see if I’d like it, and I loved it! As I had the relevant qualifications, I requested to change degrees to Astrophysics for second semester. I had a lot of support from members of the department throughout the process, and I’ve never looked back.

The School of Physics and Astronomy is very small and friendly. Staff members are really approachable and are willing to go the extra mile to help. Doors are always open for students to chat about life, the universe and everything! As the years have progressed I have found my love and curiosity of Astrophysics increasing, and I feel that this is very much to do with the passion and enthusiasm conveyed by the lecturers and tutors during classes.

There is a wide range of modules that are not just about learning equations and theories. This year I’m on a module that sends university students to local primary and secondary schools to learn to teach physics and develop communication skills, which I’m very excited about starting. Other modules such as Transferable Skills for Physicists teach skills that as a physicist might not come naturally, like writing and presentation skills. Part of that module involved spending a weekend away with the entire third year class and many members of staff at a mini-conference, which was the most fun I’ve had whilst here! It gave us the opportunity to get to know our class and department better, whilst learning some new physics ideas.

Aside from the academic aspect of university life, there are lots of things to be involved with. Within the school I love helping out making electronic bagpipes with local children, and speaking to prospective students on open days. I am also an active member of the university’s Celtic society, where I regularly teach Scottish country dance classes and call ceilidhs. That's not necssarily what you would expect for someone who came to St Andrews from Dudley, near Birmingham. The social side of university life was an important factor in choosing a university, and there really is something for everyone here.

At the beginning of university I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I still don’t! Degrees in Physics are really versatile and don’t just confine you to science, teaching, or finance. Since being at university I’ve had internships in sales and marketing, and logistics of buses during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The skills I’ve learned as part of my degree such as computer programming, thinking and reasoning skills, however, have helped me and will continue to help me in whichever career I choose. I may not have chosen the most conventional route into Astrophysics, but thanks to staff members and students, this has been the most enjoyable experience of my life.

First posted BDS 4.09.14