It seems like just yesterday that I waved goodbye to my parents and unpacked my bags in my home for the year, but here I am with my first year of University drawing to a close. The year has flown by and whilst I’m excited for my year in the USA I’m also grasping on to the final weeks with my current housemates and trying to squeeze in a final ounce of fun before revision begins again. The busy period has already begun, though: this week I have two maths assignments due, an english essay deadline, a maths exam and an english oral presentation. Whilst that would have been stressful enough alone, three of these things take place on Thursday, which just happens to be my birthday. Needless to say, I’m quite looking forward to when this is all over and I can breathe a (short) sigh of relief before starting my Easter revision.
Looking back on the year, I’ve learned and experienced so much. Before I came to University, I was aware of the ‘fresher’ stereotype. They drink and party all night, have messy rooms and miss deadlines and none of it matters because they only have to get a 40% average anyway… Whilst that may be true for a small proportion of the people I have met this year, one of the more pleasant discoveries I have made (an unpleasant discovery being the existence of ‘bottom-of-the-bin juice’ for example),
is that along with the occasional night out, first year has been less about making bad choices and more about making incredible friends, discovering my inner chef and learning that maths is so much more interesting – albeit so much more time consuming and occasionally tear-inducing – than I had ever imagined.
I feel that I should probably explain the title of the post at this point, the symbol represents the number pi, and is one of the fundamentals of mathematics that I’ve learned about in both my studies and my wider reading of mathematical literature since joining University. I can remember when I was younger – around 12 or so – and my father asked me if I wanted to read “The Life of Pi”. What with him being a mathematician I automatically assumed it was a book about π so I turned it down in an instant: “Dad, why would I want to read a book about a number?”, he didn’t explain my mistake and simply smiled and said “If you ever want to read it, it’s here on the shelf”. Imagine my surprise when, four or so years later, school maths no longer fulfilled my curiosity so I crept into the office and swiped The Life of Pi from the shelf and found inside a story about a boy named Pi and his tiger.
My father has been such an amazing inspiration for my mathematical studies so far, not to mention a pretty useful personal tutor! So I’ve titled this post to honour him and the many hours he has dedicated to explaining theorems that only seem to make sense coming from him or watching endless Du Sautoy documentaries to help me to see the beauty in numbers, as he so clearly does. We all need some inspiration sometimes, and I think I’m pretty lucky to have a seemingly endless source of it coming from the best guy I know. One of my many hopes as I further my mathematical career is that I may return the inspiration that he has continuously and unconditionally provided for me.