Stay on top of your work
Although it’s important to maintain a work-life balance and enjoy everything university has to offer, it’s just as important to stay on top of your work. Try and submit your assignments on time (unless you have mitigating circumstances), complete your homework or reading assignments and keep your notes up-to-date for exam season. If you’re struggling with a particular topic or did worse on an assignment than you expected, try not to panic! Your professor will be more than happy to help you figure out where you went wrong, so you can prepare for the future.
Not only will staying on top of your studies reduce your anxiety when it comes to exam season, a good degree qualification will help you with your future plans. Many universities and companies require graduates to have a minimum of a 2:1 degree. Although there are still opportunities for those with a 2:2 or below, it’s best to aim for a 2:1.
Get involved in societies
Joining a society is a great way for you to meet students who are just as interested in science. Your university will typically have a physics society or a STEM society. These societies provide an opportunity for students to meet other science students and learn more about careers in science.
Some societies may hold networking events with professionals or companies, who will give you valuable insights into what a physics career looks like. Given the underrepresentation of certain groups within STEM, many universities have additional societies, such as a Women in Stem society.
Seek careers advice
Given the broad range of physics careers, many physics students feel unsure about what to pursue career-wise. Your university will have a careers advice hub, which will provide advice to help you figure out your options. Examples of opportunities available include: careers fairs where you can network with professionals, talks from industry experts and pamphlets on different careers. Many universities will provide you with tips on writing your CV, or even mock interview prep. This will be helpful, not only for your future career, but also when looking for insight days or internships.
Complete some work experience
Completing work experience during your studies is a great way to find out what you’re interested in. As detailed above, your university’s careers advice team will help you prepare for interviews and may even know places where you can look for internships.
Many students who complete summer internships receive job offers after graduation! Even if you don’t manage to secure a physics-related internship, a seemingly unrelated job will provide transferable skills. For example, being a waitress at your student cafe will provide you with valuable skills in communication, numeracy and working under pressure.