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Student Stories: Sabiha Akhtar Uddin

BSc Mathematics

Maths students stand in front of a Soma Cubes constructionFirst Year Maths student Sabiha (second left) set up Sigma Society with her classmates to show that mathematics is not just about number-crunching. Here she chats about why they set up the society and what her first year at university has been like.

Why did you set up Sigma Society?

We set up Sigma Society because Middlesex doesn't have a maths society. Maths is a fun and dynamic subject but a lot of people don't know much about it, even though they use it every day.

We wanted to set up a society which is fun and easily accessible for everyone. We're going to have lecturers coming in to talk about different things to do with maths, organising trips and activities that allow you to see maths in real life.

What sorts of events are you organising?

Our first event was a Soma Cubes problem solving showcase. Soma Cubes are these weird shapes which can be fitted together like a puzzle to make bigger shapes. It's all about developing your problem solving skills, and you have to eliminate the ways that won't work until you settle on the solution. They're really fun and allow you to see maths laid out geometrically in front of you.

What has your first year studying maths been like?

This year has been really funand our class has grown into a small community. There are only around 15 of us in the class, so if anyone is stuck on anything we can always get involved and help each other out. With a large group it's hard to get to know everyone, but it's easy for us to all put our heads together to work things out.

We also get a lot of one-to-one time with our lecturers because of our small class size. With maths if you don't understand something you have to sit and work at it, and if the lecturers are there to help you see the reasoning it is so much better.

With your end-of-year exams coming up how are you feeling?

Even though the end of the year is the most stressful time because we have all of our exams, it's challenging and I quite enjoy that. It feels refreshing after spending all of this time working to now be in the position where we have to put that learning into use.

Why did you decide to study maths at degree level?

I love that with maths you can spend days working on a problem. When you eventually get it right and realise the solution you have an amazing sense of achievement.

The course is definitely a step up from what I did at A Level. It is all about learning the methods and we're learning to think in a different way, rather than just assuming that this is right and that is wrong.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

I want to a masters in maths after I graduate, but after that I'm not sure. People tend to go in to finance with a maths degree and that is definitely something that I'm considering, but I may also do a PhD. I could also go into teaching, we'll see.

Do you think your degree is preparing you for the world of work?

It definitely feels like what we're learning is preparing us for a career. Problem solving skills are highly-sought by employers so knowing that I have those skills and am developing them is definitely something I'm enjoying about the course.

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