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My Desire to Study Mathematics at the Highest Level Possible

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I enjoy the rigorous nature of learning and advancing in mathematics. The challenge of applying logic and clarity to different patterns, structures and abstract questions, and the resilience needed to persevere when a path to the solution isn’t immediately clear is what appeals to me the most.

Outside of my maths and further maths A-levels I chose to complete an EPQ on the subject of infinity. This has allowed me to develop my researching techniques and academic writing about mathematical subjects. Aside from this project, I am inspired by the many women in the sciences who have made valuable contributions, but have gone unrecognised for a long time such as Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who was so resilient in the face of adversity and discrimination. Johnson has inspired me to stay committed regardless of any struggles. Over the summer, I took the opportunity to attend a 3 day STEP summer school that introduced me to the more demanding types of problems I will face at university. I found the course stimulating and the brief taste of university life I experienced solidified my view that I want to study mathematics at the highest level possible. I am currently participating in a weekly webinar to help develop approaches to STEP questions. From this I have learnt new ways of thinking to accommodate such questions and insights to tackle complex problems.

As part of a school scheme to support students who find maths difficult, I have volunteered to tutor eight students so far in school and also supported a young boy with learning difficulties at the request of his family to pass his statistics GCSE. I am also an independent tutor for a range of students, from year 7 to 11 and of all abilities. Between the times of them sitting their mocks and their GCSE exams, all the students I have tutored in year 11 have progressed by at least one grade. Tutoring is a rewarding experience and it is satisfying when others are able to accomplish something, in part, due to the support I gave them. I was particularly pleased to see the progress that the student with learning difficulties made, not just in maths but also the trust he eventually placed in me as our working relationship developed over a number of weeks. Outside of mathematics, I have a love of reading literature. I enjoy my third A-level subject, English Literature, as it provides a complete contrast. When I have a moment to myself, I enjoy picking up a book and reading. Kahled Hosseini’s books provide a particularly authentic insight into how tragic events such as war affect people personally. My reading has encouraged me to show more of an interest in current affairs, particularly in relation to conflicts around the world. I also enjoy reading books with a connection to mathematics such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. My English Literature course has provided me with important life skills, to communicate, both verbally and in writing, and to debate.

Away from school, I have also been involved with scouting for 9 years and have been a Cub young leader for the past 3 years. Being both part of a team and having to lead one has helped to develop my team work and leadership skills and piqued my interest in taking the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. Working with young children has helped me with a range of experiences from coaching, teaching, first aid and health and safety. I have realised that you have to build trust with young children to get the best out of them.

I find mathematics intriguing and I can see how it is central in helping to model our world, solve problems and create new fields of interest. I recognise the competitive side of myself and that it is part of what drives me to achieve and take the time to understand and master difficult skills. Studying mathematics at degree level would be a fantastic opportunity for me to continue to do this and will hopefully give me the skills necessary to go onto an interesting and gratifying career.

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