My first year of physics

Published on August 25th, 2011
My first year of physics

Smanga Phoseka is doing a BSc (Bachelor of Science) in applied physics and chemistry at the University of KZN. We chatted to him about his experience so far

What made you decide to study physics?
Truly, physics was the subject that I enjoyed the most at school.

What was your first week at university like?
It was my ambition to study at UKZN and my dream came true, so let’s just say that I was really excited when I arrived to start my degree, and it was a great honour for me to meet new people from different countries.

What have been the best and most challenging parts of your first year?
UKZN has adopted me as their child. The lecturers are very open and approachable, and the students nominated me to be their class captain in both physics and chemistry! The faculty of chemistry also invited me to come and motivate learners from different schools to choose science during the Young Scientists Expo.

As for the most challenging part, university is always challenging, but it depends on who you are and what you want in life, so I cannot complain about being overloaded with work because I’m here for it.

What are you going to do when you finish your degree?
I want to be a physics lecturer.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
Doing some research and inventing principles as an astrophysicist.

What school did you go to and what were your subjects?
I went to Ezinhlabeni High at Ingwavuma Area, south of Durban. My subjects were physics, mathematics, biology, agriculture, business studies, English and Zulu. My favourite subjects were physics, mathematics and biology.

What subjects are required for physics, and what type of person would do well in it?
Physics needs someone who is very creative and motivated. It requires someone who is a hard worker, and who always thinks of new things – a person who doesn’t want to be a problem but always a solution. You need to be someone who pictures things and is willing to know every new angle when it comes to science, and someone who asks when they don’t understand. Physics and maths go hand and hand like x and y, so you need to know maths as well.

What is your motto in life?
I used to tell myself that nothing is complicated, and never to listen to what people say about me or what I am doing. My driving force is God, so usually I preach to people and this has led me to be a preacher of physics. I usually say, you must walk, cry, laugh, smile, dance, sleep and sing physics because it is easy as A, B and C.

If your house was on fire, what’s the one thing you’d save?
Mmm!!! At least two things: my science textbooks, because they help me relax, and the Bible, because it drives me to my future.

What advice can you give high-school learners?
Know what you want in life, and study very hard because without a high-school background, you cannot do well at a tertiary institution. Remember that nothing is impossible – anything can happen if you are dedicated to it.

I used to say that if something cannot talk, then it cannot defeat me because I am able to talk. Textbooks cannot talk but we can, so we mustn’t be overpowered by them. Ask questions from your teachers and do not depend on your physics teacher only but use other teachers for more information. Work coordinately like x and y and you will make it in your life.