Program Guide: Talking to Third Year Students
We interviewed Anna, Anthony and Malcolm, three students in their third year at Sydney University, about their experiences. Malcolm is studying Applied Mathematics and Physics 3, Anna is studying third year Pure and Applied Mathematics, and Anthony is studying Pure Mathematics 3 part-time.
Why did you choose to study mathematics in second and third year uni?
Anna: Maths here is very different from school. I study a mixture of pure and applied mathematics—in no other area can you study such a great variety of options. The wide array of options means that I can pick out the ones which I like.
Anthony: I did an Information Technology degree at another university and after working for a couple of years, I returned to uni to do a BSc because I saw the need to know more science in my job. There are no laboratory sessions in my maths subjects and so I can timetable it to fit in with my work more easily.
How is mathematics in third year different from school and first year mathematics?
Anna: At school you are forced to accept many concepts with a dodgy or incomplete explanation or no proof at all. In higher year maths at uni you actually get to see where everything comes from and even prove it.
Malcolm: In higher year maths the emphasis is a lot more on proofs and derivations and a lot less on just applying someone else's methods.
Anna: You find that things which you intuitively thought impossible actually can be done!
What have you enjoyed most this year?
Anthony: Mathematical computing is a good option because they teach you how to use Fortran as opposed to assuming that you already know how to program from other studies.
Anna: A lot of maths ties into computing. It's a lot easier to understand the algorithms involved in computing having done the maths.
Malcolm: Mathematics is the basis of a whole lot of subjects; doing maths enriches and helps virtually every area you can get into.
Anna: Maths in higher years is about independence and choice—you can go deeply into whatever you're particularly interested in. Sydney Uni in particular is wonderful. It has a unique atmosphere as well as a good reputation and international contacts. There's so much more to uni than just academic study.