A lot of us out there dread the complex mathematics that comes hand in hand with many courses at the university.
I am now a PhD student within the Civil Engineering field, however, I have absolutely no civil engineering background. I’m on an interdisciplinary PhD, researching the impact of biofouling growth on wave energy devices for which my marine science background has set me up quite nicely. However, I have found myself needing a much higher level of maths than I am used to.
For a long time I struggled along on my own hoping to eventually have a break through moment where everything fell into place. Alas, this did not happen. But instead I have discovered many avenues for support in Mathematics which I wish I had realised sooner. I'm happy to have been given the opportunity to share them with you here!
1. Your supervisor
Everyone is issued with a supervisor or mentor and you shouldn’t be afraid to approach them and ask for assistance. The large majority of staff at the university are more than happy to sit down for an hour or so and go through whatever it is that you are specifically struggling with. This goes for most things not just maths problems. Don’t stress – just ask the right person.
If they don’t have the expertise to help you they are really well placed to refer you onto someone who does.
At university we are all going through the same thing together and we should help and support each other when we come unstuck. Of course there are lines not to be crossed and be super careful not to get into the realms of plagiarism. However, helping a friend to understand a concept is certainly acceptable. We are all better at some things and worse at others so make the most of this by playing to each other’s strengths.
How often have you found yourself sitting through a lecture completely confused because you didn’t ask the question you needed to half an hour ago!? Remember as the student we are the paying customer and the university and its staff will always offer a good service. Don’t be afraid to ask something for fear of embarrassment, someone else will be thinking the exact same thing and the lecturer would much prefer to clear up any misunderstanding sooner rather than later.
4. Library SUM:UP
In the library you will find the SUM:UP room straight ahead on the right, on the ground floor. You can go here for support on specific mathematics problems and you can sit down one to one with an expert to guide you through it. A hugely useful resource and again, you the student are the paying customer – make the most of everything available to you.
I hope this is a useful guide to you. Just don’t make my mistake and wait for too long before seeking help.