Grabbing a degree with both hands...or something.
Posted on Wednesday May 07 2014 in lifeAs some of you may know, I'm just finishing up second year of my degree. Nearly halfway! Just two exams to go...
I'm now having to make decisions over what to do next year. In second year everyone on the straight maths degree (as opposed to Maths & Physics, Maths & CompSci, etc) did the same six 20-credit classes, on the same timetable, which was pretty good as it meant that I was always with my 3 good friends while I was in uni. The only exception was the small tutorial classes where we were never together because my surname initial isn't near theirs in the alphabet, but I have lots of friends so that was never an issue for 2-3 hours a week.
Now, however, we all have three compulsory 20-credit classes next year and then have some options. Options are scary, decisions are scary. My friend Lyndsay, who is also doing straight maths, and I have five choices from which we must pick three. Kelsey and Rachel (yes, I know, a year of about 150 people and I end up friends with someone with the same name) are both switching to the Maths with Teaching degree, so only have to choose one class from the five options, and the rest of their timetable is education classes.
I think the four of us are all taking Applicable Analysis, one of the optional classes. Lyndsay and I are doing it because we really liked the class this year, Kelsey and Rachel seem to be doing it more because it's the best of a bad lot to them. :P
My other choices (simplified rather) are Mechanics (fancy physics), Stats 1 (normal statistics I've done at a basic level before), Stats 2 (financial stats, sort of), and Numerical Analysis (basically solving really complex things by coding on computers).
I already know that hell will have to freeze over before I go within 10 feet of a mechanics class. Just, no.
I'm definitely taking Stats 1, because I really enjoy stats and I'm bloody good at it (my marks in my last 3 stats exams have been 88%, 98% and 100%, though admittedly the 100% wasn't in the same kind of thing as Stats 1 so much).
I've recently been trying to work out whether I'd like a career in statistics. The answer, basically, is that I don't really know but I want to keep the option, definitely. Keeping the option means also taking Stats 2, as without both my degree won't have had enough stats in it to qualify me for a huge amount in that field. My issue there is not knowing whether I'd like Numerical Analysis. What if I end up hating Stats 2?
I've been dithering for ages, and I think I've come to a decision. Basically, if I don't take Stats 2 I'm definitely closing a door (ie, I will almost definitely never work in statistics). If I don't take Numerical Analysis, I don't see that affecting too many doors in the fields I'm interested in. Taking both stats classes allows me to graduate with a Maths & Stats degree rather than a Maths one if I want, which could be a good option if I do want to work in stats, though it's only the name that changes, I could do every stats class there is and still graduate with a Maths degree if I wanted.
My other quandary was whether to continue with an extra-curricular research project I got involved with at uni this year, helping with an actual real-life project doing actual real-life stuff. I was worried that it would take up too much time next year, but honestly, I'm not going to get this opportunity again. A girl that's graduating this year who has been involved with the project has just got a PhD place, and a huge part of that was this project. It'll look amazing on a CV, and I don't think I have the luxury of being able to throw that away. I'm at uni to spend four years trying to make myself as employable as I can, in the long term: I can't afford to throw away something that would really make me stand out.
Anyway, enough rambling. I think I just had to get that down. I'm sorry that it probably made no sense, and if you read it all, then holy shit you deserve a medal.
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