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The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Layna Dennett BSc Mathematics with Actuarial Science

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Hi, I'm Layna Charlie Dennett and I am studying BSc Mathematics with Actuarial Science.

The support of everyone including lecturers is what I enjoy most about my course, especially in these unprecedented times, lecturers and tutors have worked so hard to create the best experience and high quality teaching possible.

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

One of the main reasons why I chose the University of Southampton was because of the courses it offers. BSc Mathematics with Actuarial Science is accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA). This is why Southampton was my first choice, as you are able to gain exemptions from specific actuarial exams allowing you to hit the ground running.

What are you enjoying most about your course?

The support of everyone including lecturers is what I enjoy most about my course, especially in these unprecedented times, lecturers and tutors have worked so hard to create the best experience and high quality teaching possible.

Two modules which I have taken that particularly stand out are Statistical Modelling in second year and Survival Models in third year. These are both named actuarial modules which count towards gaining exemptions, but they are the modules which I have loved the most, and encouraged me to apply for an iPhD in Statistics. They have taught valuable skills, the lecturers are so clear and helpful and the modules are very enjoyable. Within these modules, we have been exposed to coding in R, and while in previous modules over the degree you will use this programming language, it was in Statistical Modelling which I really gained the understanding and knowledge of the language and made a real impact.

What is it like studying here?

Studying at the University of Southampton is great for so many reasons. Being a woman in a big city, safety was very important for me, and with 24/7 security on campus and halls, I have never had any issues and never felt unsafe. There are also many great places where you are able to study, from the library on campus to the areas specifically designed for maths students at the university including the Maths Centre and the Global Lounge. These areas are incredibly useful especially during exam periods to revise with friends and have a proper student community with everyone helping each other. The support by faculty staff and Enabling Services has been invaluable to my time here at Southampton so far.

What has it been like to study online at the University?

Studying online at the University has been a big adjustment for everybody, but the lecturers have done incredibly to ensure students are getting the same quality of teaching as they would have done in person. With live tutorials and drop-in sessions for each module weekly, you are still getting ample opportunity to ask any questions you may have, and with prerecorded lectures it is useful being able to rewind if you need to hear something again!
How do you rate the study facilities at the University?

I would rate the facilities very highly at the University. Jubilee gym has plenty of sports facilities and societies to suit everybody’s wants and needs. There are places to study all over campus from study spaces and rooms in each building to Hartley Library, which has different levels for different types of study from group work to silent study. Many of these areas you have access to daily and on the weekends, which make it much easier to manage deadlines when you have a place to focus.

Did you or do you stay in University accommodation? What has your experience been like?

I have stayed in both Mayflower, in city centre, and Glen Eyre, just up the road from campus. Both halls have great facilities from the study spaces and cinema room in Glen Eyre, to the common room and gym underneath Mayflower. It was very easy to settle into halls, especially with plenty of seating areas in the kitchen encouraging people to eat together and get to know the people you live with. You also never have to worry about security or things going wrong with the 24 hour security and student life on site.
What is the city of Southampton like to live in?

Southampton as a city is relatively small which suits a lot of people. There is both the busy city centre, which is great for shopping and entertainment, and Portswood, ideal for meeting friends and grabbing a coffee. While it is a city that is on the smaller side, there is also a lot of greenery within the common, which is very central to all areas making it an ideal place to go on walks and make sure that you get fresh air while studying.
Have you undertaken any work placements, collaborations with industry, internships, studying abroad or volunteering? How have these enhanced your experience?

In my final year, I am working as one of the workshop helpers for first year students. This means that twice a week I am helping them with any questions about their modules and their coursework’s they may have. These have enhanced my experience as I found these invaluable whilst in first year myself, and I wanted to pass on my positive experience to others.
What are you most proud of from your time at Southampton so far? (This could be social or academic)

Academically, my proudest achievement was receiving the Dean’s List Award in first year for my grades. Socially, I have met lifelong friends who have enabled me to grow as a person.

What do you think you have gained from your studies that you wouldn’t have developed without them?

Confidence and self-esteem is something which I have gained from my studies greatly. Through hard work and determination, I have proven to myself that anything is possible. Being a part of the Southampton University Actuarial Society has allowed me to grow my network and guided me to the path I want to take through regular networking events.

How have the people you have met at Southampton changed your life?

The people I have met have helped me see things from a different prospective, and through believing in me, have given me direction and courage to achieve my goals.

Have you undertaken any extracurricular activities? How have they enhanced your experience?

I have volunteered in the local community which has made me feel more connected to the city in which I live in.

What will you do with your degree/research after you have finished your studies?

Once I have finished my undergraduate degree, I intend on doing a masters in Statistics with an emphasis in medical sciences. This degree has enabled me to reevaluate my future career path and broaden my scope of actuarial applications.

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