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The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Kaan Onder BSc Mathematical Physics

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Hi, I'm Kaan Onder and I am studying BSc Mathematical Physics.

I think the whole experience was exhilarating. I felt like the course gave me access to the beautiful world of mathematics and theoretical physics and I loved the challenge. All my lecturers and tutors were always very supportive and helpful which made the experience so much better. They were very passionate about their teaching and research which was very inspiring.

Why did you want to study Maths?

Before going to university, I used to be a racing car driver, driving for BMW and Audi. Having worked with many great engineers, I applied to the Foundation Year with an aim of studying mechanical engineering. It was during this year where I developed a deep interest in mathematics and physics. This was completely due to how inspiring I found all my lecturers. Therefore, I decided to swap and study Maths and Physics thanks to the flexibility offered by the university.

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

I remember the first time I came to visit Southampton, I was very impressed by the atmosphere and feel of the campuses. It felt like there was a great community feel which I found very impressive. Combined with the great reputation and research conducted at the university, I decided to choose Southampton.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

I think the whole experience was exhilarating. I felt like the course gave me access to the beautiful world of mathematics and theoretical physics and I loved the challenge. All my lecturers and tutors were always very supportive and helpful which made the experience so much better. They were very passionate about their teaching and research which was very inspiring. I particularly enjoyed third year and working on my undergrad project. It was very exciting to have the opportunity to study a topic in depth in an independent manner and it definitely prepared me for my postgrad studies.

What was it like studying here?

I had such a great time as a student in Southampton. I met so many students in my course who were very passionate about science which inspired me to work really hard. On the other hand, there was so much to do outside studying. I loved the endless social activities and all the different societies. I became the striking captain of the MMA society which was so fun. I made so many friends through it and it was wonderful to have a balance of studying and sports.

How do you rate the study facilities at the University?

The one place that stood out for me was the Maths Student Centre which I spent most of my days in. It was great having a dedicated study space for maths students. I still miss my late study nights there, I loved working on problems with my good friends!

I think the overall campus design in Southampton is fantastic too. It was great having all my lectures close by so I didn’t have to commute in between lectures. The sports facilities were all world class. I really enjoyed having lots of different vegan food options around too.

Did you stay in University accommodation? What has your experience been like?

I stayed in Montefiore halls in my first year. It was so fun living there, had access to great facilities and made so many friends. I loved the social atmosphere.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?

Life as a student in Southampton was great. I really liked the tranquil feel of the main campus and I loved the parks nearby which were great for running and going for long walks. On the other hand, it was also great having the city centre so close by. There was always so much to do which was very exciting.

Did you undertaken any work placements, collaborations with industry, internships, studying abroad or volunteering? How did these enhance your experience?

I volunteered at my local animal shelter which was so great. It was something very satisfying to do.

What are you most proud of from your time at Southampton? (This could be social or academic)

The academic studies aside, me and my closest friend got matching Velocity Raptor tattoos inspired by our first year special relativity lectures. It’s based on a game with a dinosaur running through spacetime. Quite hard not to be very proud of that.

What do you think you have gained from your studies that you wouldn’t have developed without them?

The standout skill I gained which I am still working on developing now is a rational and scientific way of thinking. I had access to a wide variety of scientific ideas which promoted independent thinking and constantly questioning my own views. I think this lies at the heart of problem solving and in promoting a better world for everyone.

How have the people you have met at Southampton changed your life?

Without the amazing lecturers I had in the Foundation Year, I would not have swapped to studying Mathematical Physics, which in hindsight has been one of the best decisions of my life so far. My tutors always pushed me to do better and thanks to their advice and support I am now pursuing a PhD in the topic I love.

I am still very close with many friends I made during my time in Southampton too which has been an absolute joy.

Have you undertaken any extracurricular activities? How have they enhanced your experience?

I was a member of the MMA society and became their striking captain in my third year. I loved learning so much about martial arts and it was also fantastic having the opportunity to teach other fellow students as the striking captain. It felt very rewarding and the teaching skills I gained have helped my academic career too.

How did your time at Southampton help you to grow as a person and help you get to where you are now?

My time in Southampton made me become more independent and self-sufficient. I learnt how to tackle challenging academic problems which along the way aided me in understanding my own mind. It gave me the tools to have a work/leisure balance in my life which has helped me immensely in my further studies.
 
What was the hardest aspect of studying in another country? How have you overcome the challenges?

Learning to live away from my family and friends at home was definitely a challenge but also a great opportunity to grow. I loved the fact that no one here knew me so I could be the person I wanted to be, there were no pre-existing biases which felt very freeing.

How did the University help you to adjust to living and studying in a different country?

Living in halls during first year was fantastic for this. I made so many friends and had a strong community feel so I never felt isolated or alone.

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