"I can see that everything I have achieved over the past few years has come from not just taking opportunities that are offered to me, but going out of my way to look for ways to involve myself."
NYSF 2014 alumnus, Matthew O'Brien believes in creating his own opportunities. Read on to see why Matthew thought Macquarie University was the best fit for him.
"After attending NYSF in 2014 and finishing my HSC, I started studying at Macquarie University in Sydney in 2015. Before starting university, I knew that I was passionate about Physics, and wanted to study in an environment which would let me explore many of the different aspects of the subject. I wanted to be in small classes with plenty of discussion instead of massive lecture theatres, and to be able to interact with my lecturers in order to benefit from their experience and knowledge. This is ultimately why I chose Macquarie. Over the last few years, I have also been able to get a taste of other areas including electronics engineering, as well as mathematics, which I picked up as a second major in my degree.
However, my most valuable experiences at university have not been in the classroom. Since my second year of study, I have had the opportunity to work with several of my lecturers on a wide range of research projects. These have included working in an optical laboratory to study the effects of exotic forms of light on nano-particles, and studying the quantum theory of how light interacts with mechanical systems. I have also worked on building a system to levitate small particles and study their behaviour, which has lead to being able to travel to Spain in September 2018 to present our research findings at a conference.
Four years and many great experiences later, I am very glad to have been able to attend NYSF, as it was there that I finally became sure of what I wanted to do after leaving school. I also met many incredible people whose passion for science is still clear in the stories they share.
Being so close to finishing my degree at the end of 2018, I can see that everything I have achieved over the past few years has come from not just taking opportunities that are offered to me, but going out of my way to look for ways to involve myself. In fact, no matter how much I think I have learnt in class, it is always when I am able to apply my knowledge to a new problem that I learn the most. It is with this thought in mind that I look forward to pursuing further study and a lifetime of physics."