Jumana Haque

Foundation year physics student

Jumana is taking part in the new Foundation Year program at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. The course aims to attract bright students from areas where higher education isn’t the typical or easiest path to take.

I used to think studying physics would be near to impossible for someone like me. No one in my family had been to university before or worked in science, technology or engineering. But my parents have always supported me and have never limited my aspirations.

My greatest inspirations are my mum and her parents. They had the ability and potential to do something great but due to their circumstances could never move on to higher education. They never would have expected me to be where I am now, but it is due to their support that I’m here.

At school I always asked a lot of questions – and often baffled my teachers! This quest for finding answers and having my mind blown is what really drew me to physics.

Being a girl from a South Asian family made the decision to study physics difficult. My family wasn’t sure if the course would lead to a specific job, like medicine or law. I decided to do an internship at Citi Banking Group, where the people in my department were physicists and mathematicians. This showed my family that I could go on to do a whole host of jobs.

Physics is about answering questions. It’s the foundation of all the other sciences. It broadens your mind and teaches you many transferable skills along the way. It’s a rewarding and exciting journey.

Best advice

If you’re good at what you do and you enjoy it, don’t step away from the challenge. Regardless of your background, if you’re determined and have the opportunity, take it.

How do you relax?

Reading is my favourite hobby. It teaches you how to think critically. Reading fiction is important for a scientist, as it feeds your imagination.