For this month’s edition of Alumni Updates, I interviewed Earn (Nawapat Kaweeyanun) from CO’14. Earn is currently a junior studying at Imperial College London. Here’s what he had to say.
What are you studying? Why did you choose to study in this field?
I am taking a Master of Science (MSci) degree in Theoretical Physics. Why theoretical physics? I have always wished to know how the universe functions at the fundamental level, and I believe that physics is the best tool we have to see through the unknown. Through physics, the universe is explained through an elegant (although imperfect) framework within which all knowledge is logically interconnected, and I hope one day we will be able to fully understand this framework and use the information for good.
What advice do you have for students in MYP and DP?
I think the most important advice is to build up strong time management skills. In university, there is no one to push you and the professors are not obligated to care if you fail their courses. You have to balance your time between studying and society obligations, which become harder and harder as your workload increases and coursework becomes harder, but you are an adult and the university trusts you to act like one. Building time management skills is not easy and takes a long time, hence I suggest you start early and try to keep yourself organized even at MYP and DP levels. It is never too early and it will also help you with your current grades!
What do you love most about your university?
I really enjoy the feeling that I am being pushed to achieve as much as I can. The coursework can be extremely difficult and stressful (for any student), but then any success I achieve becomes even sweeter. I am also delighted to be studying under world-leading physicists, the amount of knowledge they have is outstanding and I look forward to gaining quite a bit of my own.
What do you miss most about KIS and Bangkok?
I certainly miss my family and my friends, but I am trying to keep as much contact as I can through social media (though with social media, you can never truly say goodbye!). Otherwise, I also miss the food. No Thai food is as good as one made by Thai people, and I look forward to gaining weight next summer!
Why did you choose to study at Imperial College London?
I chose Imperial College because of its strong physics curriculum. It is very important to do your due diligence when choosing your next place of study. For me, academic strength is a priority as studying is basically a full-time job, and at Imperial I can design my own future in any area of physics without sacrificing the quality of education.
What are your future plans?
I plan to obtain a PhD degree and if possible enter a career in academia. Otherwise, I would be happy to work in private sector (mainly in Research & Development) or go into teaching!
What advice do you have for aspiring physicists?
To be a good physicist (or scientist), the first thing you should do is find an area of knowledge you are passionate about. The field of physics is extremely large and it is frankly impossible to know everything about this subject. Even in your field, it is easy to become daunted in face of difficult concepts and mathematics, and without genuine love you are unlikely to overcome these challenges. Otherwise, build your problem solving skills. Most physics problems cannot be solved by brute force calculations, but instead require tricks and approximation techniques which can only be obtained through practice.
How have you contributed to the university? What clubs, frats etc. have you joined?
Imperial College London has an extremely large student population (about 20,000!), so it is quite hard to contribute to the college at a large scale. However, the large population also means there are many more people who share your common interests. So far, I have joined the Rifle & Pistol Club and the Table Tennis Club, while also playing football for the Imperial Thai Society.
Do you continue to exemplify the IB Learner Profile even though you are studying in university? How?
Of course! It is more important than ever to follow the IB Learner Profile at the university level. In academics, I remain a thinker under challenges, a knowledgeable problem solver, and an inquirer with a love for physics. In social settings, I learn to be open-minded and caring towards people from all walks of life (and at Imperial diversity truly shines). But most importantly, I learn to balance the work and fun parts of life and be reflective of my own strengths and flaws. I learn to correct my own mistakes and improve myself without envying others for their own successes. University is where you truly find yourself, and I believe following the IB Learner Profile will be helpful for this.
How has the IB program prepared you for university?