Ross is one of our US students who is in his third year in Trinity. Here he lets us know about his experience of studying Nanoscience at Trinity.
Your name: Ross Cooke
Where you’re from in the US: Chicago
Your year of study: Third year
Your programme of study / course: NPCAM
Nanoscience – Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials (N-PCAM) is a four-year degree programme, run jointly by the Schools of Chemistry and Physics at Trinity College Dublin.
What made you decide to study your course at Trinity?
I came to Trinity for a couple of different reasons! First of all, I had heard NPCAM was a terrific course and I was really intrigued by the opportunity to study nanoscience. Not a lot of undergraduate science courses in America offer the chance to study such a specific field. Additionally, the course covers both fields I was interested in studying when I came to college, chemistry and physics. Probably the most important reason I came to Trinity though was because I thought it would be such a great adventure. How often do you have the opportunity to live in an entirely new place and experience a totally different culture for four years? It just felt like an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
What, if anything, was the most challenging thing about moving to Ireland to study?
There were definitely a few cultural differences that were difficult to overcome when coming to Ireland,but I think that’s part of the adventure you sign up for when coming here. Besides missing little things from home that I struggled to find over here (like the peanut butter is different here, what’s that about?), the hardest thing for me to adjust to was the grading system. Instead of constant continuous assessment like in a U.S. high school, there are usually only one or two tests throughout the year that decide a significant portion of your grade. That’s something I found a bit daunting when coming over initially.
How did you overcome the challenge?
Even though this style of assessment can be intimidating if you’ve never dealt with a similar system before, it definitely can be overcome and it even has its perks. I was able to do well in this system just by staying responsible throughout the year and keeping up to date with course work. Just reviewing all the lecture slides several times during the year will set you up well for the end of the year when you get a full three weeks off to study before exams. Sure this time of year can be stressful, but it’s pretty easy to put yourself in a good position for success by working throughout the year.
What aspect / module of your course have you enjoyed studying the most so far and why?
I have a fairly small course (just 20ish people) and the camaraderie I have with my course mates is by far the best aspect of my course. Since I work with them so often on assignments, I really get to know them quite well and they have become some of my best friends here in Ireland. Besides that, I have really enjoyed the focused nature of my course at Trinity. All the modules I have taken have been either chemistry, physics, or math related, which is great because I have really gotten to focus on learning exactly what I came here to study.
If you had one piece of advice to any other students about to start your course in Trinity what would it be?
NPCAM is a fantastic course that attracts a lot of highly motivated and intelligent students. It could be intimidating your first couple days in the course but trust me, the work you have done in high school will definitely prepare you enough to not just survive the course but also to excel. Also, make sure you really do like physics and chemistry cause you’ll be doing a lot of it the next four years.
What is your favourite thing about Dublin?
The whole city is so accessible and student friendly that it feels like Dublin is just one big college town! Dublin is a young and vibrant city with lots to explore. And since Trinity is so centrally located, you really get to experience a lot of Dublin while going to school here.
What three words would you use to describe Trinity to someone who’s never been here?
Active. Student Driven. Historical. (I know that’s technically four but just three was really hard!)