Life as a New Postgraduate Student…

… by Anvita / from Allahabad, India / MSc Computational Applied Mathematics / PG

My name is Anvita and I am one of the new postgraduate blog writers for this academic year. I am doing a Masters in Computational Applied Mathematics. I did my undergraduate in engineering, more particularly Mechanical Engineering. I enjoyed the computational and mathematical aspects of it the most and that is why I opted to change my career path and go into more mathematical options.

I started deciding about what I wanted to study for my MSc during the summer of my third year at the University of Southampton. My tutor suggested I apply for the Applied Maths program at Edinburgh after having a long discussion about my career options and ambitions. I was ecstatic when I got accepted to Edinburgh. Studying at one of the most prestigious universities in the UK seemed like a dream come true.

Why Edinburgh?

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top universities, globally recognised for its research, innovation, development and discovery. Its highly renowned research facilities are the feature that first attracted me to the university.

The university has a diverse student body which plays a huge role in exposing yourself to new ways of thinking. Being part of such an environment really does promote the value of cultural diversity. It encourages you take part in celebrations from various parts of the world and grow to understand the people more. I have made so many friends from all over the world, and I think that plays a crucial role in making a city feel like your home. Plus, it’s nice to have people around who you can rely on.

Along with that, the city of Edinburgh is beautiful. It is a once in a life opportunity to live in the capital of Scotland. There are so many modern streets and cobbled avenues to explore. The city has a sense of calm and peace looming over itself. It has a perfect balance of modernity mixed with an old-world charm, contributing to its status as a World Heritage site.

Struggling through the transition phase

As excited as I was to move here, my paranoia got the best of me. I get very anxious when I go to unfamiliar places and leaving Southampton after three years was scary. But once I finally arrived and started interacting with people, it wasn’t too bad. Welcome Week provided a good introduction of the course and what we could expect from the coming year. It was also very motivating to know that my course had people coming from a variety of backgrounds, and not just mathematics. This really helped to boost my confidence and motivated me to do well.

Three months into my postgraduate study and I feel like I have learned so much in such a short span of time. I have learned multiple programming languages and learned how they are combined with mathematical models in the real world. Also, learning how the mathematical concepts that we have learned for years can be applied to real world situations is the most interesting part and something that I definitely want more insight on. I found these first few months very demanding and I did find myself falling behind on work and sleep towards the end of the semester. My anxiety did get the best of me and made me feel extremely stressed out towards the end of the semester when all the deadlines were bunched up together, along with the exams. But I got through it and am very proud.

My transition from engineering to mathematics has been difficult. There were several things I did not have a proper knowledge of compared to the rest of my classmates, but it’s good to know that when I asked for help, there are many people willing to help you. Even though my first semester wasn’t the best, I definitely have learned a great deal from my mistakes and hope to move forward with an optimistic view for the second semester and get back on track.