Transferring Skills From the Physics Classroom to Co-op

Our guest blogger for the post below is Soukayna Mardas, a fourth-year Drexel student pursuing a bachelor's degree in physics.

When choosing a college major, it felt very important to find one that balanced my interests, hobbies, and professional goals. It was very tempting to go the traditional pre-law route and major in political science or criminal justice, but during high school I found myself wanting to learn more about STEM fields and wanted to develop that interest. Physics, in particular, stood out to me. My high school physics class focused more on the conceptual aspects as opposed to the mathematical core, but nevertheless stressed the need for critical analysis and abstract thinkers. As I took more classes, I learned that the skills needed to become a successful lawyer were the same ones needed to become a successful physicist. I began to see the intersection between the two fields, and that motivated me to pursue a physics degree.

Being a physics student in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel is even more special because of the co-op program.

Aside from the incredibly interesting content, I found that physics also teaches you to think in new ways. It forces you to approach a problem from several perspectives and strengthens your problem solving. Paired with critical thinking and abstract analysis, these are very important skills that can be transferred to any part of your life. In short, the same skills that allow me to work with Schrodinger's equation are the skills that will help me succeed on the LSAT.

Being a physics student in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel is even more special because of the co-op program. As a pre-law student, I am not able to directly apply what I learn in the classroom to my co-op, but I am definitely able to bring the transferable skills I developed through physics to my work environment. This past year, I had the opportunity to work as a Congressional intern. Working on the Hill taught me more about the inner workings of our government and gave me first-hand experience in reviewing legislation up for vote. I had the opportunity to sit in and write memos on Congressional hearings and briefings. Doing so not only improved upon my writing abilities — a skill necessary for law school — but also allowed me to learn about new policies and concerns affecting us all.

In doing my daily tasks, I constantly relied on skills learned through my physics education. If the briefing had a legislative ask, I had to analyze how it affected the Congresswoman and those in our district. Speaking with constituents required quick problem solving and sometimes quick thinking, too, if they ended up not being a constituent after all. This co-op experience immersed me in all things legislation and allowed me to find my policy interests. Because of the Drexel Co-op program, I am able to choose a major that fulfills my academic interests while still getting experience in my desired professional field. For many, those two are the same; but, when they are different, Drexel and its co-op program are a great way to explore both.