What its like to finish third year and not be graduating yet!
To start with I should probably point out that the reason I am not graduating this year is because I am doing an integrated masters! This means that I will graduate next year with a four year degree, rather than a BSc. I chose to do this as I am considering doing a PhD after university and this seemed like a good way of learning some more cool things whilst incorporating a small research project into my undergrad degree.
My third year has undoubtedly been my favourite so far. Part of this is down to pushing myself out of my comfort zone (learning judo, becoming a Faculty Rep) and spending more time with my friends. It has been the best fun to try new things and I have learnt so much as a result. I am a big advocate of pursuing extra curricular activities alongside your degree, not least for the skills you gain from them! In addition to looking good on your CV, I think it is also really important to give your brain a break from all the hard work of a degree; for me, going and fighting people in judo was the perfect stress reliever!
Another thing that has made this year so enjoyable was my module choices. This year, I had a lot of scope with module choice, which meant I got to really tailor my degree to my interests. My favourite modules have been Mathematical Modelling with PDEs, the Weather and the Environment and Fluid Dynamics.
Mathematical Modelling was a super interesting applied maths module, which built on our pre-existing knowledge of partial differential equations (PDEs), e.g. diffusion equation, transport equation, and applied them in very practical scenarios. Part of the module I particularly enjoyed was pedestrian/vehicular dynamics, since it combined the theory of certain well-known equations to modelling how people walk in crowds and how traffic jams build up! Very often maths can seem very abstract and unimportant to everyday life, so it was refreshing to see how relevant it can be.
As a result of studying the Weather and the Environment module, I fear that I have become a bit of a weather nerd! Learning about cloud types and formation, pressure systems and the climate was fascinating. It’s now hard to look out of the window without trying to work out how the weather has formed. It has also given me a new-found interest in the climate and environment, which in turn has made me more interested in looking after the planet and acting sustainably where possible.
Finally, Fluid Dynamics was probably my favourite module, and definitely where my mathematical research interest is. I love this field since it is the perfect blend of maths and physics; there are some really hardcore mathematical proofs, equations and concepts involved, and you can use it to explain so much about the world around you! From weather systems and the flight of planes to water flow in a pipe and blood flow in capillaries, fluid dynamics covers a vast range of scales and speeds. The versatility is exciting and I love seeing different ways in which the Navier-Stokes equations (which are some of the main equations governing fluid dynamics) can be applied.
This year, I have definitely consolidated which areas of maths and physics I am most interested in – modelling and fluids. As a result, next year I am doing my fourth year project in the field of fluid dynamics! I’m super excited to start, and in the mean time I have plenty of pre-reading to keep me busy before term starts. Since this year has been such a blast, I can’t wait to see what my final year has in store…