When I started the Applied Physics programme at TU Delft in 2009, I had not thought much about future career prospects. My only doubt was whether to choose applied physics or general physics. During an open day for the programme in Delft, my choice became clear – choose Applied Physics, because this programme will make you "more attractive" to the job market. For a young pupil such as myself, this argument was sufficiently strong to convince me to start studying at TU Delft.
I quickly realised that the programme at TU Delft was different from what I though it would be. I didn't pass a single exam in my first period and discovered that it was relatively 'normal' for a student at TU Delft to try to complete a course several times. Fortunately, I quickly learned a good study method and eventually earned enough credits to continue my studies.
The second thing I discovered was that all technical and engineering courses were difficult and less interesting to me, while I enjoyed the more theoretical and mathematical courses and achieved high grades for them. This led me to often question whether or not I made the right decision to come to Delft. As a result, I decided to continue my studies with a Theoretical Physics Master's programme abroad. I moved to Sweden to continue my studies at Lund University.
Shortly after starting in Lund, I gained a new appreciation for my Applied Physics BSc. Not only did I have a significant advantage over the other students with regard to practical and experimental skills, but I was the only one who had learned to write a paper in a structured manner and conduct a proper academic literature survey. In addition, my theoretical fellow students had never built measuring equipment and had not learned much about programming. Furthermore, I was often the first student to think about the technical applications of a theory, and the importance of the saleability of technologies in the economy. Of course, I also discovered that I lacked some (theoretical) knowledge. In my entire Bachelor's programme, I had never learned anything about elementary particle physics, nuclear physics or atomic physics, for example. In general, it was clear to me that the fast pace and high level at TU Delft ensured that I was able to work much harder than many other students in my Master's programme. During my Bachelor's degree programme, I developed an indispensable strong work ethic and perseverance, and I believe that my prior education at TU Delft prepared me well for the follow-up programme.
Finally, I can state with certainty that I am very happy with my choice for Applied Physics at TU Delft. Even though I struggled with the technical nature of my Bachelor's programme, I am convinced that all of the practical knowledge and analytical skills that I learned in that programme are extremely valuable to me.