As always, I’ve failed to keep up with blogging. This year however I am aiming to get my life together somewhat and actually progress the blog into what I originally set out to make it. Thus, let’s talk about my first semester of studying Mathematics at UEA and all that I’ve discovered so far in my life as a university student.
In my last post we were in July (oops). I had just finished my A Levels and was just over a month away from results day. Although predicted AAA, my more realistic expectation of results was ABB or ABC. I thought I’d achieve an A in maths, B in physics and the remaining B/C in sociology. When results day came, I found my actual grades were similar to my realistic predictions. I achieved an A in maths, a B in sociology and C in physics.
Despite the similarity to my predictions, I was still quite surprised about physics and sociology. Physics was really the only course I put a lot of time in for revision. I planned my sociology revision very poorly and it ended up being very much conducted on the night before; physics revision however took place for weeks prior to exam season even beginning. I was still very happy with my results, partially because I felt a sense of achievement but mostly because at around 7am on results day – after dozens of page refreshes – UCAS Track had finally updated to congratulate me on having my place confirmed on the UEA Mathematics course.
Fast forward to September 23rd and there I am – outside the wonderful en-suite campus accommodation building of Colman House – after a short 50 minute drive from Lowestoft and a very speedy check-in procedure at the SportsPark. 3 hours and a lot of cardboard boxes later, I waved goodbye to my parents and that was it; I was there. I was a student. I was laying in a clean, white room which was flooded by the aroma of an Argos store. Next task: socialise with the 11 others living in identical rooms spanning off of the same corridor.
I relocated myself to the kitchen and made my first new friend – a boy who I’d be living with for the next year. After getting to know each other for a few minutes, it was time to let the group chat know we’re here and ready to socialise. In the next few minutes, they all joined and we sat in an awkward circle for about half an hour before deciding to go on a walk around campus, and this is where we truly met each other and became friends.
Over the next week, the population of our flat became very good friends through the kitchen socialisation, nights out together, walks to the shop, meals together and much more. It even got to a point where we felt like we’d known each other for years when in reality it had been 3 days.
Enough about that though, let’s talk about the academic experience of UEA, more specifically my experience as a Mathematics undergraduate.
The first week was primarily filled with inductions. “Here’s where you hand your coursework in”, “Here’s the building you’ll have most lectures in”, “Here’s the library” and all of that stuff. The Friday of that week however we began our lectures for real and were assigned our first piece of weekly coursework which was for the Sets, Numbers and Probability module.
Summative coursework is a weekly occurrence during the first semester, ranging from 5% of the module up to 20% in one case. My advice to anyone who is going to be taking this course in the future is to get coursework done ASAP. Generally, it is set a week before its Monday due date. Whilst I only managed to on two occasions, I’d highly recommend aiming to have it done and handed in on Friday. This allows you peace of mind over the weekend, giving you more time to yourself or to write notes over. I’m ashamed to have not managed this brilliantly and am having to make up for over the Christmas break.
In terms of content in the modules, it was about 40:60 with regards to what I have and haven’t seen before, as someone who did not take further maths at A Level. I’d say about 40% of the content is stuff from A Level Mathematics (or stuff that can be easily obtained using principles and methods from it), and the majority of the remaining was further maths with some content which was new to everyone.
Overall, thus far, I am finding the content manageable and very well taught by the excellent lecturers within the School of Mathematics at UEA. There are plenty of resources provided by the lecturers such as detailed course notes, etc. which aid the creation of a well-rounded and complete course, enabling myself and my peers to become well educated. I love studying at UEA and look forward to sharing anecdotes about my UEA experience on further posts.
Ciao for now!
Mathematics Undergraduate, Kuk Sool Won Instructor and Aspiring Mathematics Teacher.