Mathematics Graduates Advice to New Students

Mathematics Graduates Advice to New Students

October 17, 2019 11 By Stanley Isaacs


The advice I’d give to first year students
is don’t get too daunted straight away because I
remember walking into lectures and not really understanding what was going
on and it seemed to all be so difficult. But if you spend just 10 minutes extra doing what you
would have done then you eventually get there.
It gets to the point where you have to do so much then after you’ve put so much work in it will click and then it’ll all seem to make sense.
In first year I seemed to give up too easily and think it’s too hard, but if you put in just that touch more
work it always seems to click. A lot of the advice was “don’t be overwhelmed”
because doing a maths degree can be quite overwhelming. Coming here and having a lot of stuff that you
haven’t seen before even though you have done very well at A-levels or Highers. It’s really not be overwhelmed and to take the support that’s there. I think the main skill I got from this degree is
determination. Because it isn’t always easy, it’s quite tough, but you can overcome it if you work hard enough. Maths is a subject that takes a lot of time to master. You can’t do it on the quick it doesn’t really work. So I think just make time consistently throughout the four years and you’ll be fine. I think my advice to first years would to get to know as many different people on your degree as possible. Because when I was in first year I got my group of friends and we were all really close but it was only my final year I started
to talk to new people and got to know a lot more people in my year so I wish now that I’ve got to know them earlier so that we could spend more time together. I think a lot of people tend to worry about going to uni am I going to make friends or whatever but it does happen really naturally, and also just be yourself a lot of people just try to reinvent themselves when they don’t need to and also just go along to things, be enthusiastic out there that shares the same interest as you. as there is someone out there that shares the same interest as you and you’re much more likely to find them if you come out your shell. I was lucky enough to be President of the Maths Society in my fourth year and we arranged some great social nights out for instance the Maths Ball at the end of fourth year, we had a great time In particular we had a Maths pub crawl at the start of Fresher’s Week and we maybe had 120 people turn up. I’ve really enjoyed the community Being a Maths students there’s quite a lot of students and it’s one of those courses where you really
need to work with your peers to succeed. I’ve been involved with many of the
peer schemes that have been happening so I’ve really enjoyed it Ask people, talk to people your skills can only grow talking to other people. If you’re going to work by yourself and you’re stuck on a problem, then you will be stuck. But getting that outside help outside perspectives can only help your mathematics for the better. That’s the advice I can give: whenever you are tackling problems other people are the are the backbone of great
mathematics I think. I have to agree, I didn’t really ask for help until third or fourth year and then found third and fourth year so much easier
just because there’s a massive network of students who were working together
to solve each other’s problems and solve them together and I found that really. That’s the only reason I got my degree, basically! Academically get to know the staff. Don’t feel that if you fall behind in the first couple of months or something like that there’s not people to help you help you, there is people there to help you, they know everyone goes through the same situation, you come out of school and you are adjusting to a different life and there are people who definitely can help
you and will help you if you just ask for it This is such a friendly department you couldn’t ask for more help if you do go and seek it. In first year I did struggle quite a lot but I made sure because of that I made use of all the facilities that were available to help so the MathsBase in Appleton Tower, so I made sure I was there whenever we had an assignment due every week just to try to catch up
and learn things that were in the lecture notes so that I actually properly understood things
so I just completely made use of the help that was available and
I think that really helped. In the end, that’s what got me where I am today. My advice on the academic side would be if you are stuck, just ask for help like
I never really thought about doing it because I thought everybody is so much smarter and I probably shouldn’t be asking for help because it is really obvious but just ask because the more you talk to people the
more you are going to learn and that’s how you get the best results – when you work with other people. This academic year I have been involved with
a new scheme across the School of Maths which is Peer Support so it’s third
and fourth year students who are helping the first years get more acclimatised to the university situation so how to best prepare themselves for a mathematics degree course because as fourth year students we know best. We had great times, especially in the maths common room – the MathsHub, we could just sit there and just chat to people all day long. If you could be bothered, you could do some maths If you don’t want to do some maths, it’s cool, you could just be there and chat to your friends. It is a good social place. The friendships you make and the relationships you build with people
doing your course, and on the other courses as well but specifically for Maths, the long nights spent going over problems with
pals That’s great because you learn – people think that maths is something you do on your own but you can really learn together and it also deepens your
friendship as well it’s that hard work together over
nights in the library and mornings, it’s great. If I had to give advice on the best way to study maths I would say the best way is to ask questions and not just of your lecturers but of your friends and to work
collaboratively and rather than alone sometimes you think of maths as sitting in a room by yourself going through examples but the best way to do maths is as a team. I look back now and I think I worked really
hard in first year but the work that I did.. I don’t think I worked as sensibly or as efficiently as I did in fourth year so I would spend time rewriting my lectures and not learning anything not necessarily learning as much but aimlessly rewriting because I thought you work on your own now, this is the
sort of thing you should do and whereas I came to see over the four years
that sitting down and doing questions, putting yourself in more
uncomfortable situations is probably a better way to learn, even if it is more difficult.