Hi, I'm a second year physics student (doing a 4-year course) at Durham university and I really want to get some relevant work experience this summer. I've looked into a fair number of placement programmes (like IAESTE UK, the Nuffield Foundation, RISE etc.) both abroad and in the UK, but there's a few things that are bugging me. Firstly, by far my biggest worry is that all of these things seem REALLY competitive. I got very good A-level results, but my first year result (although it doesn't count towards my degree thank god) was a 2:2. Now I KNOW that I could definitely have done better than that, because not only was it my first year but I spent a large part of that year miserable and demotivated as a result. Is there any point in me even bothering to apply this year, or should I just wait until next year when I (hopefully) have some much better results to show off? Also, how many of these things should I apply for? If I apply to just one then I guess the chances of me being accepted would probably be slim to none even if I got a 1st last year, but if I apply to tons then that'd just be...ridiculous surely because I'd need to get a senior academic reference for each one. And how can I get a reference if I hardly even know any senior academics? Any helpful replies at all will be much, MUCH appreciated. :D I'm interested in research by the way; I don't want to become an investment banker. Thanks!