How to scrape a social life from your maths degree
It can be done
“Just to warn you I really might get a 2:2. I won’t fail, but I really might get a 2:2”. The shocking words I told my parents over Christmas. What do you do with a 2.2? It’s like having one eyebrow shaved off. Not bad enough to do anything about it but still not good enough for anyone to take you seriously.
The tone of my Warwick Mathematics BSc was set nicely at the first lecture: a 9am on the first Monday of Freshers’. In a soul destroying parody of itself, my degree continued with four 9am lectures, three assignments, and 23 contact hours a week.
To my surprise, I got a first in first year. Once I’d got over my mid-year meltdown, I realised that all I needed was some self confidence and a disgusting amount of hard work. And I still went to a Skepta gig the night before my first exam. Balance, lads, balance.
Say goodbye to term three
This is the key. The gold mine. The life jacket that keeps you bobbing along hungover terms one and two. Basically, do whatever you want throughout the year as long as you seriously knuckle down when it comes to exam time. Catch up on every lecture you missed because you were having a tactical in the maths block loos. Suck it up, you have to work hard.
Prioritise between your nights out
I don’t mean which assignment to do first, I mean the important thing: nights out. If there’s a sick event on in London on the weekend, give £1 jagerbombs a miss on the Thursday student night. With such precious free time, make sure you’re using it wisely. Use Facebook to look at what big nights are coming up and see which ones your friends are interested in. And my advice is always prioritise house parties over club nights – all the interesting shit goes down at house parties.
Don’t get one.*
(*unless of course you need one for financial reasons in which case you are an inspiration and deserve a first just for this)
I know planning isn’t for everyone, but for an avid list maker like myself, it is the only way I get through my week. I’m also a slight shambles of a person so it helps to write down which deadlines I have each day. Get used to being busy – enjoy it even. ‘Free time’ just isn’t really a thing for me, unless you mean ‘allocated three hour period to watch Game of Thrones’.
Make use of journeys
Whether it’s on the bus to campus or the train back home for a weekend, journeys are a time source often wasted. Even just 15 minutes spent reading through an assignment means that when you sit down and start it you know roughly what you’re doing. Give yourself a 20 minute lie in after a night out by doing your makeup on the bus.
Talk about maths
Don’t be that dick that won’t share their answers to assignments. Ask people about questions, discuss your answers and help other people because in the last-hour rush before a deadline, sometimes you do just need someone to send over a photo of question 5b that you can copy up without a clue what you’re writing.
Pick your society
It’s easy to want to get involved in loads of societies during freshers, and obviously this is great at the beginning but by term two you need to narrow it down, because there just isn’t time during your lecture-filled days.
Pick modules wisely
Is there a module more iconic than Warwick’s Logic 1:Introduction to Symbolic Logic? One lecture a week, 15 credits, no assignments, the dream. Look out for modules like these, not as an ‘easy option’ necessarily but it’s nice to have a couple of less stressful modules. Also check out the timetables – if you don’t need to do Stochastic Processes as a pre-requisite for other modules, why put yourself through those 9ams?
Take outside modules
Broaden your horizons. Trust me, when it comes to revision these modules will seem like a ‘treat’ to avoid doing actual maths.
Don’t burn yourself out
Don’t feel like you have to be a super-charged human 24/7. We are doing an unquestionably difficult degree and even if you pack it in all together, you’re clearly a highly capable person and will definitely be alright.