There are many ways to tackle physics psets, but by far the best is to do them with others. One place where this happens is at WIP Study Sessions. Every Tuesday night, physics majors from all years and classes gather from 8:00pm to 10:00pm to eat pizza and cookies, work out challenging problems on blackboards, ask other undergraduates who have taken the course for advice, and get help from two wonderful graduate student mentors. By the facts, it is a study session where people come together to do physics problems, but it is also more than that. The WIP Study Sessions build community - a community of support, encouragement, positivity, passion, and curiosity. As a space not only welcoming to, but lead by women, it is fierce in its support of all minority students perusing physics. The community, time, and space of these study sessions allows for important peer to peer mentorship to happen. Through building friendships with upperclassmen, first years especially have a chance to learn about research opportunities, areas of study they have never heard of, and useful problem-solving techniques. The environment encourages honesty and intellectual vulnerability where no question is stupid or trivial. Often actual consideration of these fundamental questions is what results in undergrads and grad students standing around a computer and a blackboard, learning something new together. WIP Study Sessions spawn friendships, papers, reading groups, research directions, and the hope for future collaborations.
The Yale Women In Physics Study Sessions welcome everyone, and especially encourages first years to come work on your psets together with us on Tuesday nights. For weekly updates about events, sign up for the WIP panlist or follow our facebook page.