FUN FUN FUN

The past few weeks have been jam-packed with all sorts. From coursework and mid-terms to food fairs and meeting cool people. I am embracing the chance to wind down before the second round of courseworks appear.

A few friends and I attended a recording of Countdown – an event arranged by MathSoc –  in Media City, Salford. I really wanted to go to the same event in second year but I didn’t manage to. On the seats, there were little pads of paper and pens so we could play along. It was really good fun and I am glad I managed to get a ticket! It was so cool to see how the show is made and to see Rachel Riley in the flesh, and we even got a photo with her! I wish I could say I was a good as Rachel when it comes to Maths, but that would be lying. Maybe one day!

Lately, I have been exploring food and really looking into what I am eating. To help with this, I decided to attend a vegan food fair put on by the Vegetarian and Vegan Society at university. It was all free and they put out a variety of food for people to try. Making changes to your diet, especially as a student, isn’t always easy. But it’s so great that there are so many societies, like this one, to suit all! The food fair made it really simple to try some new foods and gain some information. There was such a range of different recipe leaflets! As a side note, I also tried the beanie pitta at Nando’s. Some people might find it odd to go to Nando’s and not eat chicken, but they have some really great alternatives!

Food fair, Countdown set, The Harry and Chris Show with Gecko, Nando’s

A few weeks ago, I went to a ‘gig’ in the Northern Quarter. I have previously blogged about my love for poetry and, mathematician/poet/cool-guy, Harry Baker. Harry Baker is part of a duo that makes ‘The Harry and Chris Show’ and they are touring with another artist who goes by the name of ‘Gecko’. It was held in a teeny tiny pub with a small audience and was a few hours long. I was absolutely in my element. They performed some poems I already knew and also some new ones. It was a great night and something a bit different, too. No one I know was really interested in going. So, it goes to show that doing your own thing can be a really good idea since it was such a greaaaat night.

Easter break is coming up! Which will, no doubt, be full of studying and a little fun. For now, I shall be hitting the books to meet my next few deadlines!

Katie

THE FINAL SEMESTER

It’s been a long time since I have blogged and so much has happened. January exams were intense, to say the least. Fortunately, I had five instead of the usual six. However, I had four exams squished into three consecutive days. I honestly felt pushed to my limits on them days but it was so rewarding to make it through.

 I have started my very last semester and it’s surreal to think that I’ll be finishing soon. Third year has really allowed to me to understand why maths degrees have a reputation for being so difficult. Don’t get me wrong, each year has had its struggles but this year it was really stepped up a notch. The amount of work has been something else. With the modules I chose, I felt as if I was constantly writing essays and reports throughout the semester; it never seemed to stop!

Before exams, a few of us decided to head to London for a few days as a nice way to begin the Christmas break before really knuckling down. One of the highlights has to be seeing The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. I have watched my fair share of musicals and this one is now ranked at number 1 on my list. I highly recommend. We also went to the well-renowned ‘Breakfast Club’. These are all over London and are super cute little cafes where you can get the greatest food and drink.

Outside Somerset House, Going for a Walk, The Breakfast Club
Outside Somerset House, Going for a Walk, The Breakfast Club

I have done my biannual visit to Ryman’s and bought all of my new stationary. I am ready to get this semester rolling with my heart-shaped post-its and multi-coloured pens. I am incredibly excited for Mathematics Education – a module which focuses on the learning of maths and is great if you are interested in teaching. If you are in a lower year and maybe considering taking this module later on in your degree then I’d recommend signing up on this as soon as you can in the summer. It fills up so quick and only has a small a number of places. Although I have barely started, I am certain and I am going to love it. It will make a nice change from the usual hard-core maths stuff. Since the rest of my modules are compulsory, this was the only one I got to choose – and I think I made a great choice.

The plan for the last few months is to keep working hard but still make the most of university life. It’s really sad to think that the experience will soon be over when it feels like just yesterday that I was a fresher. It’s going to be a tricky few months and I really hope it goes nice and slow. I’m not ready to leave!

Katie

HANNAH FRY, PUMPKINS AND TURNING 21

I am finally finding the time to sit and write a blog post. Third year is really as hard as you would expect. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had so much work to do that I feel like I haven’t had the time to stop and breathe. Just recently, I have had two 1,500 words reports to do, taken one mid-term test and submitted one piece of coursework… and I am currently in the middle of writing another report… you get the jist. As well as this, now is the time to be applying for graduate jobs. What I find most difficult is finding a decent balance between keeping up with university and writing up applications. They both need doing but it is difficult to prioritise since applications take so so long to do. But anyway, here’s a little of what I have been up to since my last post.

I had been eagerly awaiting Hannah Fry’s talk at university ever since it was announced and I immediately reserved my seat. As I have mentioned before, I absolutely adore TED talks. Hannah Fry gave a TED talk back in 2014 on ‘The Mathematics of Love’ and this is how I first found out who she was. The talk she gave in October was all about data and what we can do with it and all sorts of cool stuff. I don’t know if she intended to inspire anyone but I definitely left feeling inspired. Not only was it an engaging and interesting talk, it was so inspiring for me to see a female mathematician, who is so incredibly successful in her career, giving the talk this year. She is definietly a role model of mine. Her talk was for the annual Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw lecture. I highly recommend going to these talks as there is always an amazing guest speaker. In pursuit of getting into the festive spirit, I have just purchased Hannah’s new book: The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus, The Mathematics of Christmas. Hopefully, once I have read it I can tell you a little more. I am sure it will be amazing.

Hannah Fry talk, pumpkin picking, Heaton Park, 21st birthday
Hannah Fry talk, pumpkin picking, Heaton Park, 21st birthday

One Monday afternoon when I finished early, we decided to go pumpkin picking! I’m not sure why I’d never thought of doing this before but it was such a fun day and it ended nicely with a pub dinner. We drove pretty far to get to a really good farm called Malpas Pumpkin Farm and it was well worth it. However, if you need somewhere closer then there are nearer options to Manchester if you want to go next year.

This November I turned 21. I’m not really into celebrating my own birthdays so I pretty much spent the day eating and revising… which, I guess, is half great. Looking forward, I’ll be spending many more Saturdays living in the Learning Commons in the run up to Christmas. And just before that Christmas intense revision period arrives, I have booked a nice little trip to London to see The Lion King. I am also trying to train myself for a 10K next year while keeping up with all my work… so, let’s see how that goes.

Katie

 

THIRD AND FINAL YEAR, LET’S GO!

I am officially a third year student. I remember writing my first blog post on this site and it is crazy to think that my university experience is so near to the end. I am so proud I have made it to third year since the past two years have been unbelievably tricky in many many ways. As I write this, it’s Saturday evening and Fresher’s Week is immanent. I’ve never really been one to get into the spirit of Fresher’s but given that it’s my last year, I should make the most of it. This final year will be very demanding so it makes sense to take this opportunity to let off some steam before the real work begins.

Summer has been great and I got up to a fair bit… and also go through quite a bit of Netflix. My first little trip away was to Holland. I went to stay with my friend who was on a semester abroad in The Hague. We spent a day in Amsterdam and also a night in Rotterdam. One day we cycled all the way to the beach. The cycling paths all over Holland are incredible and make cycling around so much safer and easier than it is ever in the UK.

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Cycling, Tenerife, Rutland Water, Vogue Exhibition

My second trip was to Tenerife where I went on my first ever ‘beachy’ holiday. We spent a week there and I’m not pleased to say that somehow I didn’t obtain any sort of tan. I also tried to learn to swim… that failed as well. But, the holiday was great and we stayed in such a snazzy hotel. If you ever go to Tenerife, Siam Park is definitely worth a visit. It is a huge water park and, in my opinion, the fast track pass makes the day 100x better. Another highlight was parascending. Being flown from a boat over the ocean is an incredible experience and is something I’ll never forget.

Next, a huge group of us uni people took a visit down to Kettering and Norfolk to see a friend. This was one of my favourite parts of summer since it was so lovely to see everyone. During the summer, I also went to see the Vogue exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. If you are a huge fan of either fashion or design (or just Vogue), like me, then this will be incredible to see! I think it is open until some time in October so is still available to view.

For now, it’s time to let my hair down for one last week and then face the daunting prospect that is final year and figuring my future out.

Katie

Half Way To The Finish Line!!

The last few weeks of second semester were SO intense and second year has FLOWN by! My exam timetable was crazy! In total I had 6 exams, 4 of which were in the space of a week. Getting through that week was probably one of the most stressful yet memorable moments of second year! Ben & Jerrys cookie dough became my best friend and eating pizza became a regular thing! Comfort food was my saviour! After all, stressed spelt backwards is desserts right? (;

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If you spot us having pizza in ATB next year, don’t hesitate to join us! 😀

It was during that week that I sat the worst paper of my entire life. I’m not exaggerating, it was horrific! But despite the challenges, there were nothing but positive lessons and amazing memories to take away.

I realised there’s something special about exam season, it unites people. One individuals struggle becomes everyones struggle and it is so so beautiful to see everyone doing their best to help each other through. I can not emphasise enough just how helpful a WhatsApp group with maths students is! Whichever year you are in, make sure you form one with your maths friends! (Love you “Maths Squa”)

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Essential pre exam selfie! There’s Maya doing some last minute cramming! 😀
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Post exam selfie! 😀 Smiles all around because exam season is OVER!!

By the end of the week I was exhausted and needed an outing to keep me sane, so I hopped on the train to Lancaster and went exploring. It was one of the most relaxing, enjoyable, wind down experiences ever!

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The Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park (:

Second year has been incredible. It has been a challenge, but our Maths community have been superb. From Tracey- our receptionist, to “Maths Squa”, to our lecturers. Everyone went above and beyond to ensure the best possible outcome for ourselves.

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A moment of appreciation for our amazing lecturers please! Their passion for Mathematics is admirable! (‘:

As soon as I finished my exams, I cleared out my accommodation, and prepared to move out. Dad came to help, so we managed to get things done a little quicker! The amount of things I managed to accumulate over the year was unbelievable.

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Home sweet home with all my mess! 😀

I spent the following day unpacking and it took absolutely AGES! My favourite part was filing all my work from second semester. Giving my work a permanent home had been on my mind since exam season started, and to finally see an organised file was so satisfying! 😀

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From folders to files! Peace at last! 😀

As I’ve mentioned before, my brother is getting married in August. The preparations have started and I can tell the next few months will be extremely busy! Aside from that, I’m not much of a planner, so I haven’t really made any other plans for summer. I love spontaneous decisions, they’re most fun and you make the best memories! 😀

It’s currently Ramadan (my FAVOURITE time of the year), a month of reflection and spiritual strengthening. One in which muslims refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset, and yes that means saying goodbye to the cookie dough and pizza for just over 17 hours per day! This also means that Eid is round the corner which is always exciting! 😀

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I hope you all have a fantastic summer, embrace each moment and make it memorable!

Feroza

SUMMER

How is second year over? Really? Five exams later and that’s that… semester two is done. This exam season was as difficult as ever and I couldn’t be more relieved that it is over and to start my summer.

Just before exams started, my friend and I signed up for the Race for Life Mud Run in Warrington. The mud run is basically a regular 5K run for charity, apart from the fact there are obstacles throughout the run in which you can get VERY muddy. I was literally head-to-toe dripping with mud. It was such a great day and so much fun and made better by the fact it is all for a great cause. Next we are looking in to doing the Adrenaline Rush run!

The Mud Run, post-exams meal and night out!
The Mud Run, post-exams meal and night out!

So my last exam was on the eighth of June in the afternoon… the very last exam! Exam season seemed to drag even more so than ever. But in true student style, that didn’t stop me and I still made it out that night. We all went to Fifth Avenue, which has been named the worst nightclub in the UK! I have no idea how since the music and drinks are the best! As I sit writing this, it is technically my second day of summer so far. And so far that has involved watching eight episodes of ‘Fresh Meat’ from the comfort of my bed. The goal is to do something more productive, book a few holidays and not waste my summer away.

As you can tell, I enjoy writing! Usually people think this is a bit weird… how can you like Maths and English, right? But I am a firm believer that you should do what makes you happy and what you are passionate about. Just because most people like one or the other, doesn’t mean you have to, too. And on that note, I wanted to mention TED talks. If you don’t already know, TED talks are incredible and inspiring talks that are given and uploaded onto YouTube. These talks are my main hobby and I spend a lot of time watching them. In particular, I stumbled upon a poet/maths student named Harry Baker through these talks. (His poem on ‘lonely prime numbers’ is my personal favourite and is sure you make you giggle). Honestly, if you need inspiring, just google ‘TED talks’.

So next time I’ll be writing a blog post, I’ll hopefully be just about to start my third year of university! Between now and then I have to do a lot of research into choosing my modules, so wish me luck!

Have a great summer!

Katie

Second year ends

A lot has happened since I last wrote; I think it’s fair to say that these last few weeks of second year have been a blur.  Let me start from the beginning, over Easter I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to go to the races. It was my first time at the races and I didn’t know what to expect it was amazing! I had a fab day and it was gloriously sunny and it was ladies day at Aintree, I stayed with a friend in Wigan as we had an early start and went out there after the races for the first time. I think it’s fair to say that non-stop drinking for around twelve hours is tiring! Funnily enough even though I went with my housemate I actually bumped into my aunt and uncle there, imagine that, I knew they were going but I didn’t think I’d be able to see them because there’s so many people but it was lovely to see them too and have a quick catch up. Let me just say that I think I’m the most unluckiest person when it comes to betting, so I think in future I might just avoid making any big bets.

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After Aintree I had another event the Mathsoc Ball!! This was a few weeks ago now, but it was sooo good! It was a great way to hang out and chat with everyone especially people in different years. I haven’t really been to many of the maths socials lately and it was great to relax with my course-mates on a night out. A few went home early because they felt tired from wearing high heels, which I completely understood after some more dancing I was more than happy to take mine off.

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It was a fab last proper night out until after exams and getting down to serious revision and speaking of that yay they’re finally over! I took two coursework modules this semester so that meant that I only had four exams thankfully! The down side to the exams was that I had two exams in one day this year and let me tell you that was stressful! I definitely got that end of exams feeling after that day was over and but it didn’t last long it was back to revising since I had two more left to do.

At least now I can think about summer and what I’m going to do between now and September. Well I don’t have many plans, I’m going interrailing for all of July so I think I’m probably just going to enjoy chillaxing until then and I’ll think about August later before getting back to the grind in September.  In September I’ll be one of the new PASS coordinators, I’m so happy to have been selected, I’ll be debriefing the PASS tutors and holding sessions to discuss what to do in PASS. I can’t believe how fast second year has gone compared to first year, I’m happy to day that I’ve made some great friends and memories and I can’t wait for next year alr eady.  I’ll tell you all about it next semester enjoy your summer.

Finding The Balance

It has been a while since I last wrote a blog post and the reason behind this is because I have been busy trying to juggle the stress of midterms alongside preparing for my cousins wedding.

I come from a very tight knit family, one where cousins are more like siblings to me, so making Safvan’s big day very special for both him and his wife, was very important to us.

Being Indian has SO many perks and weddings certainly are one of them! Unlike many of my friends who speak about having attended only one wedding in their life, if that, weddings are not a rare occasion for me. I can’t keep count on how many weddings I have attended! In fact, my brother is getting married over Summer, so there’s another one to look forward to! (:

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My brother, his fiancee and I (‘:

Easter was an intense yet incredible couple of weeks off from University, but unfortunately for me, the wedding fell on the weekend after Easter, and in Asian Land, the celebrations go on for a week prior to the big day, so I missed out on quite a LOT of fun.

In addition to that, I had to prepare for two midterms during Easter which fell on the Wednesday and Thursday of my cousins wedding week, so for me, the majority of the wedding week consisted of studying in Alan Gilbert Learning Commons! Seeing family time as a reward for the effort required to get through midterms, is what kept me motivated to study. 😀

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Midterms preparation taking place in AGLC 😀

As soon as my Algebraic Structures exam was over, I was able to shoot off to Lancaster to join my whole family and get ready for the Mendhi (Henna) party.

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The Mendhi celebration takes place 2 days before the wedding. It is an evening full of colours and fun! On this day, henna is applied on the bride.
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A cake in the shape of a dholak – a robust indian percussion instrument.
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Traditional mendhi gifts for the bride

Not only did I have the best time ever with my family, I learnt many things from this experience. The greatest lesson I took from this was: It’s ALL about finding the balance between studying and socialising. Everything is good in moderation and I had honestly never been happier!

In a strange way, I was able to make the comparison between exams and weddings. I realised that it’s SUPER stressful preparing for the big day, whether that’s an exam or a wedding, but when it all comes together, nothing beats the feeling!

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The wedding day hosted by the brides family
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The Walima celebration hosted by the grooms family. The Walima tends to have a more traditional theme as opposed to the wedding which is more modern .

Being a University student can be challenging. Especially when you have deadlines to meet and you’re really feeling the pressure! Sometimes it’s difficult not to allow your studies to consume you in such circumstances, but always remember the importance of taking a break and having some “me” time, whilst keeping the end goal in mind.

I took a couple of days off from university to wind down and recover, which obviously meant that I needed to catch up at some point. That’s the amazing thing about the University of Manchester- the lecture podcasts are so easily accessible and the lecturers are so helpful that now, having caught up with everything, I feel like I never took an extra break away! 😀 I wouldn’t encourage you do that often though! I promise you, this was a one off for me!

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Back to reality

I hope you enjoyed this post, hopefully it won’t be too long before I write my next one! 😀

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Feroza

Don’t forget to relax…

Easter has been and gone and the final exams are getting closer and closer. The three-week break was a great opportunity to catch up, prepare for mid terms and take a little time out to revitalise.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I went on a little trip to Dublin. I had never been to Dublin before and this trip was amazing! We only went for a few days but it is such a beautiful and atmospheric city. We did lots of typical sight-seeing stuff (Guinness Storehouse, The Temple Bar, etc.). I think it is a great place for young people to visit with its lively nightlife and cute quaint pubs. Despite what people say about Dublin being expensive, I didn’t find it too bad at all.

Guinness Storehouse: I poured my own pint!
Guinness Storehouse: I poured my own pint!

Being from Manchester occasionally means that you can take your city for granted and forget to explore and appreciate it in the way non-Manc students do. Because of this, I like to try new restaurants from time-to-time and visit new places to see what the city has to offer and if anything has slipped under my radar. A friend and I went to a restaurant called ‘Akbar’s’ (near the Museum of Science and Industry). It is a posh little Indian restaurant and is a bit out of the way from the main shops and things. The food was incredible and the naan bread, oh my… it was honestly half the size of me. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Normally around this time of the year I will start getting into fitness, and this year is no exception. I don’t know what it is, if it’s the warmer weather or the longer days, but every single year I really get into fitness before turning back into slob around November. My preferred activity is running. I live right next to Heaton Park and it is a lovely scenic area to run around. Other than this, I am also thinking of taking up pole fitness… but we’ll see how that goes.

Another way I like to wind down from doing Maths is with poetry. Whether it be reading or writing it, poetry is something I have always enjoyed and taken an interest in. One of my personal favourite poets is Rupi Kaur… although I’m partial to the odd one from Dr. Seuss. Poetry really calms me down and allows my mind to wander, I find it so relaxing and beautiful. Getting lots of work done is all well and good but you need to make sure you take time for yourself and the other things that you enjoy.

On a final note, I would like to add that there will be a dodge ball tournament on 3rd May at the Sugden Centre. There are prizes up for grabs like Nando’s vouchers and Victoria’s Secret goodies! If you want to know more: https://www.facebook.com/events/1709386059301214/

That’s all for now!

Katie

Semester Stories

So the semester is well on its way and I have to say that so far so good! I’m enjoying this semester the most compared to others because this is the first one where we get to choose whatever we want and we choose all the subjects for the semester. I like having the freedom to choose what I want as in the past there has definitely been subjects that I didn’t enjoy at all! But even though I loved the freedom to do what I wanted, it was a bit daunting to say the least. I struggled with my Programming with Python course for the first couple of weeks but I’m getting the hang of it now, I still find it tough because it doesn’t come naturally to me but I just have to put in extra hours to catch up and make sure that I understand it completely.  I also choose to do an essay based subject ‘The Information Age’, which is different and I think its going to be a bit weird writing essays when it’s been so long.

So we’re in the middle of the Easter break and I have one week remaining to revise for two of my midterms, and my plan to finish coursework over the first two weeks didn’t quite go as planned. I’m sure you know what I mean going home for the break meant that I was indulged waaay more that at Uni, I mean it never gets old that you have food cooked for you 24/7, who doesn’t love parents?

Adele was in Manchester a few weeks ago and I’m proud to say that I was lucky enough to get tickets! Let me just say that she was incredible! I’m sure that’ll I remember it for a long time and I’ve never heard so many people singing Adele, and not only that but on the way to the concert my friend and I bumped into Gino D’acampo! I mean, seriously what are the chances of that? It was definitely a star-studded night.

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So spring is here and we had our first BBQ in the garden and I can truly say that I can’t wait for summer, we’ve had a few sunny days already (now we’ve got rid of the snow). The boys in the house managed to cobble together a makeshift BBQ in the back garden  with some bricks and charcoal, I thinks it’s fair to say we left it a bit late as by the time we were eating it was practically pitch black and we had to turn on lights in the house so we’d be able to see. Not only am I excited for summer but I can’t wait to go inter-railing with my friends in July, and now that the flights are booked and paid for. I guess that gives me an excuse to buy holiday clothes.