Liam Hartley

Liam Hartley
Second Year Physics Undergrad
Hi everyone! My name is Liam Hartley and I'm just about to start my second year of Physics at Queen Mary. I come from Exeter in the south west of England and I am now living in East London with three course mates and one long term friend. Aside from studying towards my degree, I also enjoy; Surfing, swimming, skateboarding, writing, making music and hanging out with friends.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I did it!

I made it through another gruelling semester of exams. They were extremely stressful, but they only come around once a year, so we should embrace them! Because now that they’re all over, I’ve got so much to look forward too!

Long evenings spent relaxing in the park with your friends, exploring beautiful cities for their historic wealth, days where you can open the window and smell the morning air without your whole room becoming a freezer. I love summer.

Although I’m probably one of the worst people when it comes to receiving results, because I can’t think of anything but think about what my results might be! Which is silly, because no matter how hard I think about my results, they won’t get any better (I wish they would).
So this time, I’m going to try and spend more time doing the things I love as opposed to waiting for nothing to change.

These results are as big as my last year of college, because once again, they will determine whether or not I get into another university, but this time, it’s in Miami.
A 2:1 with no fails guarantees my place at the university. And to be honest, anything less than 2:1 will be disappointing because I know that I’ve done better than that!

I hope everyone gets what they’re wishing for this summer. If you don’t, learn from it and come back stronger. It took me three years to pick the right A-levels for university, but once I picked the right ones, I soared.

Wading Through the Mud

We’re in the thick of it.

Long nights at the twenty four hour library, ramming so much knowledge into one ear you think it’s about to come out of the other, enough energy drinks to actually give you wings and the daily countdown to each exam.

These times are tough, but they’re made possible with enough drive, ambition and friendship. I honestly don’t think I would’ve got through my exams last year without my friends helping me out along the way, with those group study sessions and huge Facebook group chats.

Ever since I got my offer to study at Miami, it really feels like I’ve got something huge to work towards, sadly, it will mean I leave a lot of people behind, friends and loved ones. But opportunities like this only come around once in a life time, and I’ll be back in London to do my masters next year!

Yes, exams are hard, and there are plenty of them in physics. Yes, these exams are stressful, and some don’t understand why we carry on studying if we complain about it so much. But there’s a much bigger picture behind all of this.

Obviously I don’t enjoy trading out my lie ins for more time in the library. But I know that I’d enjoy receiving an email saying I got a first this year, as opposed to the 69.5% mark I got last year (0.5% away from a first).

The little inches you need to be great are all around you, so go get them.

Unleash the exam timetables!

“Unleash the exam timetables!” said the head of department, and so it was done.

The Exam Timetable

My exam timetable this year has been more forgiving than my previous timetables. But with seven exams spread out over four weeks, it’s still safe to say that it’ll be hard work! Especially because I’ve found the content much harder to comprehend this year. But I’ve almost finished all of my coursework just in time to start revision about a month ahead of the first exam.

These last few weeks before Easter have also been crowded with a heap of job applications, which means writing and re-writing a lot of cover letters. Although it’s starting to pay through as I’ve already managed to land myself an interview with BAE Systems for a job in augmented reality! Where I’d get to work with exciting new technologies such as the Oculus Rift. It’d be the perfect summer plan before jetting off to Miami!

The Oculus Rift

Since I’ve only got what feels like a very short time to enjoy London right now. I’m trying to make the most out of it! Tonight I’m suiting up and going to the end of year sports ball at Queen Mary’s Great Hall, I’ll be arriving with my swimming team, who I’ve loved training with this year. I really came for the swimming, and stayed for the people.

Last night I had an evening in Soho with a couple of my flatmates as well, the prices in central London reminded us why most students stick to the east of London!

The Boys

It’s important to find the balance between work and fun, it’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learnt this year.

The World is Yours

Hard work pays off.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email which let me know that I’d been selected for Queen Mary’s International Exchange programme, which means that, assuming I can get a 2:1 again, I’ll be in Miami in about six months studying for my third year of physics!

Miami acceptance

As well as this, it simultaneously means that if I go to Miami, I’ll be studying at Queen Mary in my fourth year for my Master’s Degree in Physics! This is an incredibly exciting prospect!

And whilst Miami might sound just like a yearlong holiday, I’ll still be doing a third year in physics, the only difference is I’ll be doing my revision in my boardies on a beach!

The theme of this month is definitely ‘Preparation’. On top of loads of paper work to get myself into Miami, I’ve got a lab report to write and midterms to revise for!

Last time I had midterms, I was in the midst of trying to get my business off the ground, now that everything has settled a bit more, the revision should be much easier to get done. And as for the lab report, I actually enjoy writing long pieces of coursework, there’s an immense amount of satisfaction getting a good mark for a paper you’ve worked on for hours on end.
It’s just a matter of putting asides enough time to get all of the work done!

So now that the dream is real, all I’ve got to do is prepare, and show Miami why I deserve to be there!

F5’ers – Refreshers

The nights are cold, and the work is hard. But with some fresh faces, the start of the second semester has been a lot of fun!
Every semester our university picks up some new international students! Which is great for societies and sports clubs, as it gives us a chance to show them everything we’ve done and everything we plan to do!

Surf QM

Surf QM


QMBL Swimming

QMBL Swimming

As February draws ever closer, I’m waiting on a decision that could affect me tremendously. As I’ve applied to be an international student. If I get the place, it means I’ll spend my third year studying physics at the University of Miami! Which would be amazing! Although I’ve tried not to get my hopes up as it’s a very competitive program at our university.

The University of Miami

The University of Miami

The second semester of my second year has proved to be quite tough in terms of content. Go figure. But fortunately I’m doing less outside of university this semester, so it gives me a bit more time to sit down with my notes and make sure I understand everything. And if you give physics enough time and attention, you’ll begin enjoying understanding the fundamental laws of the universe.

There is always plenty of social events going on this time of year, most are oriented around Valentine’s Day. On the 13th of February it’s the Physics Ball, and I can’t wait, last year was amazing.


This year, let’s make it even better.

The Great Struggle

After some well-earned family time at Christmas and an amazing start to 2015, it’s time to get back to real life. And first things first, it’s time to look for a job.

Family Christmas

Asides from the horrifically high rent prices, London somehow manages to just get more money out of your pocket. The temptation to indulge in consumerism engulfs us.

So the choice is to either keep up with the cost of living, or move out for the summer! I’ve had such a good time in this city, I’m not sure I’ll be moving out for a while! So, to survive in London over the summer I’ve got to get an internship! So although term has just started, there’s plenty of preparation to do already.

Gazing at the Wharf

Fortunately, I’m in the right city to make it all happen. I’ve found more internships in London through our physics office and Google than I even have time to apply for! So whilst the work load is light, it’s time to start applying to as many as I can!

Although I’m not looking for a physics orientated internship, a physics degree is very satisfying to type into an application form. And without it, I think I’d have a very hard time getting into the finance industry!

Moving into my house this year has been inspirational enough for me, as our Juliet balcony overlooks Canary Wharf, the financial capital of London. I’ve already learnt that enough hard work pays off.

So let’s do it again.

Mid Term Results and Christmas Vibes

It’s December, and that means one thing. It’s Christmas time! And it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. These last few weeks have been exceptionally hard!

My reading week was time I had set aside to seek advertisers for the next issue of my magazine, it takes up a surprisingly large amount of time and energy! But throughout the whole week I had the prospect of Mid Terms on my shoulders. Which were due to start the Monday we came back!

But I did my best to do business during the day and hit the books hard in the evening. Unfortunately I didn’t quite manage to do everything I wanted to, I ended up being short of resources for my business and studying had to take over at a critical time.

The good side to all of this? I got two firsts and a high two:one in my exams!

I think university is a bit of a balancing act. Which is summarised quite nicely here. You’ve got to make sure you find time for: your studies, your friends, your family and what you love. I’ve had my balance a bit off recently, but I’ve loved relaxing a bit more recently and just chilling with friends.

With the holidays around the corner, it’ll be a great time to reflect on the year as well as all of the amazing lessons and experiences I have embraced.


Have a great Christmas and enjoy the New Year! x

The Real Rewards of Studying in London


My whole life I was told to just get that little bit further with education. I’d always hear; “Just get your GCSE’s and it’ll be fine”, followed by; “After A-Levels, you can stop” and finally; “I swear university is the last step”. And as far as a formal education goes, it probably is the last stepping stone for most. And as far as educational institutes go, for me, it’s been the most enjoyable by a long shot.

Flat Party on top of London

If you’re looking for the traditional university experience, London is NOT for you. Because London doesn’t offer the traditional university experience, it offers something far greater than that. When you’ve finished your coursework for the week, where do you want to go? You local pub or the student union down the road? How about into one of the best cities in the world?

A city where the night is exactly what you make of it.

Spontaneous Night in Paris

Spontaneous Night in Paris

Last Saturday I committed to a small social experiment. If you’ve ever seen “Yes Man”, it followed the same concept, it’s a simple one.
Say Yes to everything.

Meeting celebrities mikill pane)

Meeting Celebrities (Mikill Pane)

Now to do that forever is difficult and impractical (I tried). But for one night, it was so much fun! We started at a Jazz Club in Dalston, before going through Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Whitechapel. We did the whole East End in one night!

I could talk about the spontaneous adventures I’ve had in London forever, but I think I’d labour my point.

In summary, London is a completely unique experience, it could be argued that it’s the best city in the world. Why wouldn’t you want to spend your prime years there?

I want to.

Thames Boat Party

Thames Boat Party

Second Year Choices Begin

This week is setting up to be crazy, and I’ve hardly started my second year!

I can’t actually blame anyone apart from myself though. Back in late August I decided to set up my own business, Array London LTD. It’s become a lot more time consuming that I ever imagined!


Array Magazine's First Issue!

Array Magazine’s First Issue!


As well as this, I’m the President of the Surf Club, Social Secretary of Physics all on top of a physics degree.

Coming back to physics hasn’t been easy so far, the content is more unfamiliar and feels more difficult. However that remains to be seen over the coming weeks. For now, I think I just need to sit down with all of the notes and make sure I can keep up with my university work, whilst trying to manage a business at the same time.





It might sound like I’m complaining; it’s hard not to sound a little bit cynical right now.

But I’m not complaining.

I had an equally busy experience in my first year. And I managed to get through it! In hindsight I wouldn’t have done my first year any differently. I haven’t come to university to sit down and watch that £9,000 trickle out of my account; I want to make my time in London count. And that’s why I’ve tried to grab every opportunity that comes my way!

I’m looking forward to getting through the end of this freshers period, although I’m not waking up horribly hungover every morning. I still feel equally tired.

But I think it’s for a better cause this time.


Making the most out of London

Making the most out of London

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