BSc Mathematics graduate Neha shares her thoughts on transitioning from College to University, the Mathematics community, and her advice to first years…

What drew you to study Mathematics and why at Aston? 

I chose Mathematics as a degree for a multitude of reasons. For the feeling of satisfaction, I got when I focused on a complex problem and reached the solution. I loved learning about how formulas work, how to apply them, and how we use them daily. Mathematics is interesting, challenging, and exciting. Regardless of the complication of a problem, there is always a method to follow, a precise formula to use and an answer to find which captivated me, unlike any other subject. I learned so much about complex numbers, coding, and its real-life applications developing problem-solving and analytical skills as well as coding skills that I will use in my future career.

I chose to do Mathematics at Aston as it was much more industry-based than other Universities, it had real-life applications and so could be used in the professional working world when it came to the job I would get after university. I chose Aston as it was a city, campus in one of the most diverse and beautiful cities. It was always lively and busy and as a smaller university - it always felt like a community.

How did you find your transition from College to University?

I definitely found the jump from Sixth Form to University a big one. A new city, a new place to study, surrounded by new people, and studying something new. It was quite daunting at first. I soon realised though that everyone is in the same boat and to open my eyes and self-up to as many experiences as possible. I joined the Netball society, I attended lectures managing to talk to someone new each time and I put myself out there in my flat being the first to approach my flatmates for a chat.

How do you find the Mathematics community at Aston?

Everyone at Aston is so warm, kind, welcoming, and willing to give you a helping hand and assist you in any way they can. Aston is a smaller university than others, so you really get that sense of community and everyone being as one. You will always bump into someone in the main building and lecturers are easy to find in their offices if you need any guidance.

The mathematics community is so varied and diverse. The Mathletes society really helped bring people together of many year groups and as all Mathematics lecturers are based in the same area of the main building you can see them all in the same place to ask questions, to get advice, or just for a friendly chat.

What do you think of the support offered to students at Aston and how has it helped you?

The support at Aston is incredible!

The careers and placements team are great - I would never have my placement and subsequently my graduate role without them. They help you so much with CV advice, personal statements, job interviews and psychometric testing. Everyone on the team is so open and willing to help, you can tell they really love their job and are there for you at the end of an email. 

Did you undertake a placement year and how do you think that has helped you prepare for the future?

I undertook a placement at Lloyds Banking Group as a Risk Analyst in the Mortgages Department, it was such an interesting and exciting opportunity. I was in Buy-To-Let mortgages at the time and undertook my placement during Covid, so it was interesting to work at such a volatile time. I learned so much in my time, not only in technical areas like coding, spreadsheets, and financial reports but I also developed soft skills like communication, time management, and even things as important as Microsoft Teams or how to use a company’s internal website. It really helped me when it came to looking for jobs and when starting my graduate role, I was calmer and had that experience, so could really draw from them in my interviews. I would not have my current job as an Actuarial Graduate at NFU Mutual if it wasn’t for my placement year.  
What advice would you give to someone who is considering Mathematics at Aston?

My advice would be to put yourself out there! 

Attend lectures, especially those few welcome week ones to get to know people on your course. Join a society, this helps you meet people who have a similar hobby or interest to you, something you can really connect on and say ‘yes,’ have an open mind to things, you never know where it might lead you, be open to new experiences and opportunities. You will only regret the ones you do not take. Everyone is in the same boat though, and I guarantee you will have the best time!