As a first year Physics student, Sam has found attending PAL valuable in solving problems and understanding concepts on his course. Here, he shares his thoughts on attending PAL sessions.

"It allows you to work through the problem together and make sure you really understand what’s going on."

- Sam Hayward, MPhys Physics with Professional Placement

How would you describe PAL to someone who has never been before?

PAL is a great opportunity to get help from students who have already experienced what you’re doing. Of course, you could ask lecturers, but sometimes that can be a bit intimidating, especially at the end of a lecture when you’ve both got to be somewhere. PAL sessions provide a much more relaxed, approachable environment to ask for help, and the PAL students will usually completely understand where you’re coming from (and maybe have experienced the same problem themselves).

What has been the most positive thing about attending PAL sessions?

The most positive thing has been the ability to ask something without feeling you’re going to get judged, and no matter how silly a question it seems. It allows you to work through the problem together and make sure you really understand what’s going on.

What has surprised you about attending PAL/something that you were not anticipating?

I was surprised by how similar my experiences are to the 2nd years’ – that is, I may have a problem and they say “Oh, I remember this question and was stuck too” or “This used to confuse me too but now I have this way of remembering it...”

How has PAL helped you with your course?

It has helped me understand concepts that I was stuck on, as well as answer problems that were proving too difficult. It’s also provided a distraction-free environment to get some work done!

Would you encourage others to attend their PAL sessions?

Because it gives you a chance to get help with problems and questions you may have been stuck on, from someone who just experienced the same problems, meaning that they understand where you’re coming from.

If you had to sum up PAL in three words, what would they be?

Opportunistic. Relaxed. Judgement-free.