Who am I?
Hi! I’m Tia, I’m a Physics undergraduate student at Cardiff University. I’ve been a mentor for 2 cycles and when I’m not mentoring, I really enjoy reading, listening to music and doing mind puzzles.
My Physics Journey
My physics journey is quite ironic because I used to hate the subject. I was discouraged from choosing GCSE Triple Science by a couple of teachers because I’m female and I was told there was no place for me. I was defiant and chose it anyway to prove them wrong, but between Year 7 and 9 I absolutely hated Physics. Things drastically changed in Year 10 though! I was a lot more academically adept at the subject, which had previously been an issue due to changing schools and curriculums, and I changed teachers to Mrs. D, who was amazing. She’d overheard me saying I hated Physics and couldn’t wait to drop it after GCSE and challenged me that she’d change my mind by the end of the year, then taught me to keep an open mind about Physics. She was right! We started astrophysics content; exploring the origin of stars and their lifecycles, and discussing theories on how humans are made of stardust – concepts that had been mind-blowing to me. After that, I did all sorts of research into physics as I wanted to know more than I’d learned in school, and by the end of my GCSE I loved the subject and had all these questions I wanted answered. This realisation came after I chose my A Level subjects, which initially all related to English (another favourite subject). By the end of the summer, I’d changed my options to do Physics and Maths along with English and Theatre Studies; two different routes in case I changed my mind. Now I’m doing a degree in Physics – and while it was somewhat unexpected, I’m glad I chose physics because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
My Mentoring Experience
Being a Mentor this year has been absolutely fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed running sessions both in person and virtually, showing young people – especially girls – all the different opportunities out there with a Physics A Level, and de-stigmatizing the concept that physics is a subject that only highly intelligent people or men can study. The latter is particularly important to me because that’s how physics was presented to me in school. Those opinions leave a lasting impression, especially at secondary school age. Physics is a subject that’s for everyone; there are so many transferrable skills you gain from even just basic understanding of physics concepts, and they can lead you down all sorts of different career paths – some of which surprised me when I was doing the research. Plus, there are still so many different aspects within Physics beyond the A Level that haven’t been explored yet! I hope to continue showcasing this to young people and help inspire them to study physics, like Mrs. D inspired me.