Mathematics with the University of Bristol – Matt Spooner
Matt, 19, hails from Berkshire and having attended a high achieving school since the age of 13 he attained impressive A-Levels and was subsequently able to enrol at the University of Bristol.
What inspired you to study a Mathematics Degree?
Maths has always seized my attention the most out of all the subjects I have studied. I see the irrefutability of a sum, or the definite nature of an equation as an attractive prospect. The subjectivity of a humanities subject just does not appeal to me.
Why did you choose to study at your university?
I visited Bristol on an open day and the first thing you notice is the youthful aura created by such a strong student presence. Once you have visited and looked around it is hard to see the down sides of living there.
What do you like about the course?
It combines further material which links to aspects of maths I learnt at A-Level with brand new areas which were at first alien to me. I relished the challenge of exploring new areas of mathematics.
What are you learning about?
I did 10 modules this year. Calculus and Linear Algebra & Geometry were the only two modules that lasted the whole year. I studied Analysis 1A, Computational Maths, Probability and Foundations & Proof in the first term and then Analysis 1B, Mechanics, Statistics and Introduction to Group theory. These 10 modules are all compulsory to first year study and some carry on from A Level and others are relatively new material that most students had not seen before.
What learning methods does your department employ?
Each module is allocated 1 lecture per week, as well as problem classes which are similar to lectures but the lecturer takes problems from the homework and walks students through them. On top of this there are 3 separate tutorials for different branches of maths. Each tutor takes 2 modules and marks the homework for these modules and then corrects and teaches any areas which a student is struggling with.
What aspects of the course do you find difficult? Does your department support you well?
I found an area of maths known as Proofing very difficult. However the department is very attentive and after running through it with my tutors I was able to grasp a firm understanding of a difficult concept.
What about the social side of things at uni, does a mathematics student find much time for it?
There are a lot of modules to get through, and contact hours can be high, however I have managed to make a great set of friends in my flat. I spend most of my free time with my flat and am actually living with most of them next year. The nightlife in Bristol is a major socialising opportunity, with an unbelievable array of DJ's, bands etc...You are never bored.
What do you plan to do once you have graduated?
Once I graduate I would love to study for a Masters, as this should, in theory, boost my job prospects. The ultimate aim of my education is to get me into the investment banking business.
How has your department supported your career aspirations?
Having a personal tutor gives me a pretty much constant source of information regarding my course and even careers after graduation. In regards to careers, I feel that I could ask my tutor and they would either give me the information for starting my career, or at the very least point me in the right direction.