Who are you and in which double major are you?
My name is Alessandro Pacco and I am an Italian student from the promotion BX20. Before coming to the Bachelor I was studying in Italy at "Liceo Scientifico N. Copernico di Udine", a scientific High School, in which I studied a lot of math and physics and in which I made strong bonds with some of the best students in math in all of Italy. Therefore, now I am pursuing a math and physics double major.
Why would you recommend the Bachelor Program and where have you been admitted so far and what do you intend to do after the Program? Any other general comment on the outcomes of the Bachelor Program at this stage?
I entered the ENS Ulm at the end of my second year through the "University entrance examination" (or "Voie Universitaire"). Therefore right now I am still enrolled in the Bachelor while studying at ENS (where I will stay for my Master in Physics). After one year at ENS I can say that the Bachelor gave me a much better and broader preparation than many students coming from the Preparatory Classes. Before going to ENS I thought that once entered there I would have been at a much lower level than all the others, however it was not the case at all. What I have understood from my experience so far (from High School onwards), is that what really matters is not where you are, but who you are with. What I mean is that the most important thing is not who teaches you, but with who you are in class with.
No matter how good or bad your professors are, what really matters is your classmates, and how smart they are: if you are surrounded by smart people you will try to catch up to them, whereas if you are surrounded by bad people you'll most likely conform. In the Bachelor you won't like everyone of course, but the quality of the students is very high, there are excellent students in each field of study, and that's the only thing that matters at end. If you follow the good people you'll learn a lot from them, and once you go out you will see the rest of the world with different eyes. Indeed I think that it is very important to get used not to being scared by unknown things and by people's capabilities, and the only way to achieve this is to see many realities before. Put simply: if you work hard, do difficult things and get in contact with smart people now, then when you'll go into other places everything will appear normal and you won't be surprised by anything; on the contrary, if you stay with mediocre people in mediocre places, then everyone will seem like a genius when you go in other Universities or work places.
When I arrived in the Bachelor it was its first year, there were no people to give us suggestions and everything was completely new. However now it is much different, all the problems that we encountered are now solved, and each course has its own lecture notes, its own books, problem sheets and everything is well made and settled for the next generations. If I could go back I would enroll again to the Bachelor, and I would take it with much more dedication than what I did three years ago.
What would be a piece of advice that you would like to share with future students?
My suggestion is to go there, and start already with the right mindset of doing all the work necessary to succeed in the courses and to take all the opportunities that are being given. Indeed the Bachelor is an ocean of opportunities, there is so much to learn and so much that is given to you: you just need to be prepared for it, be open minded and learn as much as you can. If I could go back I would do it all again with this mentality, to try and learn everything that they give to learn, even those subjects that you might not be interested in.
What would be a great memory of your time in the Program that you would like to share with future students?
Despite what happens in all the other Universities, in the Bachelor there are many trips, sports and all types of events that are being organized. This aspect is very important too, since having great experiences with your friends and many other people is, after all, the most important thing in life. The greatest experience that I have ever had was in the Bachelor: during the first year we went to a military base in Mount Louis, a very cold and snowy place at 2000m of height, where we had all kinds of activities and excursions in nature. It was just amazing!