Well done to the 15 School of Physics and Astronomy Students who received an Edinburgh Award at a ceremony in April.
The Edinburgh Award
The Edinburgh Award recognises the non-academic University activities, such as volunteering work, community activities or part time work, which some students take part in. The Award encourages students to reflect on and develop the skills gained through taking part in such activities. One of the important aspects of the Award is the opportunity for students to articulate what they have gained from such activities – a skill which will be of advantage when communicating with potential employers.
The School’s Edinburgh Award recipients had contributed to the School’s Physics Outreach Team or the Maths Buddies scheme.
The Physics Outreach Team work to engage the wider community in physics and science through the delivery of educational activities. Students delivered activities at events such as the Festival of Physics, and at various venues in the city. Students also planned and organised their own activities, including a weekly science club in a local primary and high school, and an astronomy science event at Craigmillar Community Science Festival.
Physics Outreach Team award recipients are:
The Maths Buddies scheme enables senior students to provide support and guidance to more junior students with regards to their mathematical physics course material. During sessions, junior students complete maths assignments in the company of peers, get support on course-related questions and coordinate with likeminded people who enjoy solving maths challenges. Buddies also provide guidance and answers to questions posed online.
University can be daunting. If you’re reading this you’ve been there. You know the anxious feeling you get before leaving almost everyone and everything you know. Nobody wants to leave their dog behind – wagging it’s tail – oblivious to the fact you might not come home again for months at a time.
I left home to fly up to Edinburgh on a rainy Monday afternoon. All I was sure of, is that I had a place at University and an Airbnb for a week. Was I scared? Sure. Was I worried? Absolutely.
I landed at Edinburgh airport, made my way to the taxi rank and stood in line. I thought they were all joking when they said Edinburgh is cold, windy and wet. I found this out the hard way hopping from foot to foot to keep warm.
Eventually I got to the front and was directed to the taxi. I hopped in and told him the address, not expecting him to talk to me too much. 5 seconds into the trip, he complained about students and how busy they were making the airport. Awkward. I laughed it off and told him I was a student. I’m not sure what it is about the Scottish accent, but that 20 minute conversation we were about to have completely relaxed me. The taxi driver (who shall remain nameless because I can’t remember his name) asked me all about my course, suggested some great beers and places to eat, told me all about the bus m-ticket system among other small talk.
We arrived, I got out and paid my fare. I stood there to open up Google Maps to find the Airbnb before a sudden wave of realisation washed over me. I hadn’t thought about how much I missed my family, or my dog, or even about the fact I still hadn’t got a place to live. This taxi driver – just acting how I assume he does every other day, selflessly helping out a newcomer to the country – had completely calmed my fears and anxieties. As I looked back to my phone, an email popped up as a banner across the top. My heart skipped a beat as my brain went into overdrive. “Tenancy of **** ****”. My palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy as I realised I had a flat to live in now. Everything was falling into place. Edinburgh wasn’t terrifying. I wasn’t scared. In hindsight, Edinburgh is one of the friendliest cities I’ve ever visited, with some of the most exciting opportunities I’ve ever had.
I’m not scared, I’m not alone, I’m excited. I can’t wait to see what this year brings.