School of Physics and Astronomy

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Alice Healey

MPhys, BSc Physics with Astrophysics

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I first considered Leeds as it’s a Russell Group university, so I knew I was guaranteed good teaching and that the university would be good for research. Then when I came on an Open Day I immediately felt at home, so that was the main decider for me.

Why did you choose to study Physics with Astrophysics?

It’s amazing to study how the universe works and what it’s made from, and I'm fascinated by astronomy and want to go into research in the future. I decided to do the MPhys programme as the integrated masters leads well onto a PhD, and I feel I'd be better prepared.

What do you like most about your course?

The lecturers are researchers too, so they’re incredibly knowledgeable in their subject and can answer almost any question you have (unless researchers in the field are still in the dark about it themselves!). The astro modules are great and they allow me to start to specialise in the areas I'm interested in.

What skills have you gained from your course so far?

I've learnt how to code in Python, and I’ve really built on my problem solving, mathematical analysis and presentation skills and my ability to write scientific reports.

Can you describe what student life is like at Leeds?

I usually have a few lectures during the day, then afterwards I write up notes and make sure I’ve properly understood the material, and on other days I have lab. Outside of uni I enjoy cooking, seeing friends and getting involved in lots of societies, so I usually have an orchestra rehearsal or some other session in the evenings. In terms of living in Leeds in general, it’s really easy to get everywhere because the bus and train network is so extensive and things are easy to walk to as well. There are so many beautiful green spaces so you never feel trapped by the busyness of the city, and there are also loads of restaurants and places to shop, and the diversity of the people and cultures is amazing!

What were you most worried about before arriving at University?

I was worried about not finding many people who weren't interested in going out and partying all the time. To maximise my chances of finding similar minded people I joined lots of societies to meet people with the same interests as me, and that way it was really easy to make good friends quickly!

What do you like most about being a student so far?

I'm constantly meeting new people through going to events, joining new societies all the time and doing various activities, so that’s always really exciting, as at school you mainly just knew your year group, whereas age doesn’t really matter here! I also really enjoy being independent and cooking for myself, making my own decisions, helping to keep a household going (and learning things like cleaning skills and paying bills!) and having the freedom to go wherever and do whatever I want, whenever! It's also great being able to walk everywhere here in Leeds because it’s all so close and I've had some amazing opportunities offered to me of things that I can get involved in.

Is there anything which particularly surprised you about being a student?

I was surprised at how quickly I was able to find myself and how quickly I changed, and also how confident I was in networking with everyone. I've befriended people of all ages, and I get on with those a lot older than me just as much as I do with my friends my own age!

What do you like the least about being a student?

I stayed in Oxley in my first year and it was a bit of trek getting into uni in the morning (and the traffic on Otley Road in rush hour is pretty bad!). Apart from that, not much!

What do you plan to do at the end of your course?

I’m going to go to Canada for my PhD, which will lead me on to astro research.

What do you do outside of your studies?

I’m co-managing the Symphony Orchestra this year, so I do a lot with the Music Society, and I’m also the Equipment Secretary for Archery. I've also recently got involved in volunteering with Green Action at the Food Co-op in the Union, and I go to meditation and liberal religious sessions at the University Chaplaincy and Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel in town.

Are there any other comments that you would like to make about being a student at the University of Leeds?

There are so many opportunities just waiting for you to grab, and the people here are amazing - everyone is just so friendly. You can find whatever you're looking for in a university experience here as there really is something to suit everyone!