Profile – Sophie Ashton
I'm currently doing an honours degree in applied mathematics. Although I initially enrolled in a combined Commerce/Science degree, it soon became apparent to me that my passions lay within mathematics and statistics (the secret subject). I therefore decided to change to a Science degree and complete it appropriately, by doing honours.
I chose Sydney University not only for the factor of convenience but also because it offered the flexibility that I needed, being a lost and confused first year student! I was also swayed by the thought of being surrounded by an aesthetic and historic environment. Of course, Sydney University's leading reputation brought with it high expectations and I can honestly say that my experience here has met my expectations, both academically and socially. I feel absolutely blessed to have been involved with the School of Mathematics and Statistics. It’s easy to form strong friendships both with your peers as well as your lecturers. Although questions and comments are probably welcomed in all departments, it's a lot less daunting to put forward an idea when everyone knows you by name. On an academic level, there has always been a wide variety of fields from which to choose. This keeps students interested and allows them to discover where their expertise lies.
Next year I’ve decided to put academia momentarily on hold and seek a job. Of course, I would like to use my mathematically inclined mind but not necessarily in an explicitly mathematical area. I will probably pursue a career in the financial world but my main priority is to do something that challenges me and keeps me engaged. However, this is not to say that I won't return to do a Masters or PhD sometime in the future.
Don't begin to presume that the only passion mathematicians have is maths! I, like most of my mathematical comrades, have many interests. Briefly, (because the list goes on and on) I enjoy playing, watching or coaching all kinds of sport. I love to go to the movies and recently picked up a very addictive interest in bridge. When I get the time I'll go walking in the great outdoors or swimming in the ocean. Basically, I enjoy the doing the same things as 'normal' people. So, next time someone tells you they study maths don't dismiss them as nerds!