Anna Hellermann is a first-year student of Physics. She is pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree.
What made you choose this degree programme?
Even as a little girl, I wanted to do something with astronomy. I had actually discarded that plan once I realised that I would have to study physics for that purpose, because I’d thought: “You won’t make it, anyway.” Eventually, I decided to give it a try. Fortunately!”
In which respect have or haven’t your expectations been fulfilled?
Difficult to say, because I didn’t know what awaited me to begin with, as I’d not had physics at school for a long time. I suspected that maths would turn out to be very abstract – that suspicion was confirmed. On the other hand, I find several fields of physics much more interesting than I’d ever expected.
Which aspect of your degree programme do you enjoy most?
I have not encountered much yet, but so far it’s definitely experimental physics. I often find the explanations of everyday phenomena baffling that you usually don’t give any thought to. I often enjoy calculations where maths is actually applied and leads to concrete results.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Maths. It has nothing in common with maths that you know from school, and I still find it difficult to learn the way of thinking that you need to understand my assignments. It is like a wholly new language!
What would you like to become after completing your degree?
I’m not quite sure yet, because there are many options open to physicists, many of which, however, I don’t fully understand yet. So far, my dream has been to work as an astronomer in research.
Which advice would you like to give to students who consider enrolling in this degree programme?
Don’t let them put you off. Even if you didn’t choose advanced maths and physics courses at school, it doesn’t mean that you cannot study Physics. That had been my worry, but it turns out in Physics you’ll start from scratch anyway, so that everyone’s got a chance to catch up. Those who studied physics at school might have a small head start, but it doesn’t take long until the content of the curriculum goes beyond what you’d learned at school. What’s important is that you enjoy it – if you don’t, you might find the heavy workload discouraging.