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The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Laura Boyle BSc Mathematics 2013

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Hi, I'm Laura Boyle and I studied BSc Mathematics within Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

The University has plenty of schemes such as the Graduate Passport Scheme, careers fairs and practice interview sessions, so do take advantage of them.

Why did you choose to study at Southampton?

The city itself was quite a lure to the university; it’s very near and has some great facilities. The university has consistently been ranked highly for Maths, so when looking through the league tables its name cropped up as a prestigious university. Southampton was also the perfect distance from home for me, not too far to be inconvenient but far enough so that I was really experiencing living away from home in a different city.

Can you point out the highlights of SUMS (Southampton University Mathematics Society)?

Joining SUMS was one of the first things I did when I joined university and the first social they run is a perfect opportunity to get to meet your peers. It’s important to get stuck in straight away when meeting people, so having a social with people in the same boat as you straight from the beginning is brilliant. Throughout the year SUMS put on several socials which were always a lot of fun, and were a great opportunity to meet up with course mates. It’s also nice to mix with maths students from other years who you might not ordinarily come into contact with. They can give you a flavour of what is to come. SUMS also put on careers events in addition to the university run events, which can be tailored to maths students specifically which is more useful. Another service set up by SUMS is the Parenting Scheme, which pairs up second and third year students with a group of first year students to help guide them through the beginning of their university life and be there as support should they have any questions.

What is your opinion about the University's efforts to increase the flexibility of degree programmes and introduce more choice for personalised learning?

I think it’s a good idea to give people plenty of options when they are picking modules, as long as the focus remains on their degree option. Doing a module in a completely different area really stretches you. The style and approach you need to take with another module is entirely different and variation can be good and make you push yourself.

What is your opinion of support available for students on campus in terms of pastoral support, health services and student safety?

I’m aware of various things the university can provide, such as when there were problems with people receiving their student loans last year, the university was able to give students a quick loan to help them out until they received their loan, which could obviously be a lifesaver. The university always sends out winter reminders about walking home in the dark alone and there is a Safety Bus service which is takes you to your doorstep from campus at night; a cheap and safe way to get home.

Does the University help its students get ready for employment?

The key thing is to be proactive. The university has plenty of schemes such as the Graduate Passport Scheme, careers fairs and practice interview sessions, so do take advantage of them. The Maths Department has its own careers adviser who runs one to one sessions as well.

The University helps students find placements and internships to complement their studies, is this a good thing?

Complementary work is a great thing; it helps a student apply the knowledge they have gained. Placements give an idea of what working life can be like and can help narrow down a field of interest, and internships are great work experience too. It also gives the opportunity to pick up skills that might not be directly obtained from the course that will be beneficial for future employment, for example, networking skills.

What are the benefits of living in halls?

In my opinion halls are the only way to go in your first year. The great breadth of people you meet there is just amazing and it’s such a brilliant experience. Moving away from home can be a daunting experience but you are living with people who are going through exactly the same thing as you. Personally, I became instantly friends with my flat and from there it was easier to meet other people as I already had a few people I knew around me. What is also great about halls is that there is a bar/common room area right in the halls complex which is good for hanging out in. Halls, I would say, is an easier way to settle in to a more independent life than people are used to living at home. You can get used to things like food shopping, washing your own clothes, cooking for yourself and paying for rent first, before moving into private rented accommodation the next year where you will have to start thinking about additional things like all the different bills.

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