Could you please introduce yourself?
Hello! My name is Sascha Rosenbaum, I’m currently a first year Bachelor Student at École Polytechnique where I will be enrolled in the Math-Physics major. I am Russian-American, I grew up in New York City, but have been living in Paris for the past 4 years, where I graduated high school after having taken the International Baccalaureate.
Why did you choose Ecole Polytechnique's Bachelor of Science?
After graduating I wasn’t sure of whether I wanted to pursue a purely STEM degree in engineering or whether I might be interested in pursuing a humanities degree later on to specialize in policy and governance. The bachelor offered a perfect opportunity to deepen my interest in mathematics and science while also having the flexibility to decide whether I might want to take the economics or physics majors. Moreover, I wanted to stay in France but in an international environment, which is exactly what the Bachelor provides. There is a rich cultural diversity within the program within the context of a French campus, which connects us to the culture in which we’re living. Finally, I loved the small community spirit that I felt was fostered within the Bachelor, and is one of the reasons I really love the program.
Could you tell us how the first year is going?
So far I’m really enjoying my first year here. It is a very demanding program from an academic point of view. The workload is heavy and all the subjects, while fascinating, require lots of focus and determination to understand fully. That being said, when the understanding is achieved, the subjects becomes all the more fascinating and rewarding. Additionally, there are lots of committees to join. I’m a part of the Delta debate committee, the Music committee, the NeXt environmental committee, the consulting committee as well as the fanfare (brass band) binet and orchestra. There is an activity or hobby for everyone to join, and are great opportunities to relax with friends and enjoy leisure time, as well as to meet new people with shared interests. The campus sports facilities are also a great way to take a break from work and to exercise. Personally I love playing tennis and swimming at the pool.
Do you have a favorite course?
My favorite course this year was Electromagnetism and light. I had really inspiring instructors who went above and beyond to explain concepts that were sometimes outside of the scope of the course but were fascinating. I especially enjoyed being able to describe physical phenomena that I had learned about partially in high school, but using much more complex mathematical vocabulary and tools to understand what was going on.
What would be a memory of your first year in the Program that you would like to share with future students?
I think one of my favorite memories of this year is Campaign week. Every year a new student organization called the "l'ore" which is charged with coordinating all aspects of student life (including sports, parties and events) is elected in the spring. Right before the elections happen an entire week is dedicated to campaigning for each group of students wishing to become the l'ore. The week is filled with lots of events, crêpe eating, and time spent together bonding and having fun. I think this will forever remain one of my favorite weeks of the year, and I will always cherish the time we all spent together.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I’m most likely going to go to graduate school in the UK or the US, but I’m not entirely sure yet what my future plans are.
Any piece of advice to future Bachelor students that you would like to share?
Be prepared to do lots of math! This is a program that is challenging and fascinating, but make sure that you are really passionate about math and all the ways in which it can be applied, both theoretically and practically.