My Math Story

By Samuel Schneider, Monash University

Maths isn’t something I ever set out to study at university, it’s more something that I’ve fallen into. Growing up I liked how pure it was as a subject, how you could start with a couple of really simple facts and then derive everything you need to know from there. I especially enjoyed applying maths to solving real world problems, as in physics and chemistry.

When it came time to choose a university degree I was planning on going with engineering. In my country Victorian hometown this was the main career path for anyone good at the maths/physics/chemistry trio. It seemed like a safe option and everyone around me was telling me it was good idea.

But I wasn’t sold on it, and I felt like I needed to explore my options some more. So I did what any good Millennial would do, and I trawled the internet for advice. I spent hours searching through forums, looking what people with similar interests to me were studying. Eventually I came to a post talking about ‘computer science’. This was this first time I’d even heard that this course existed, but it sounded like the sort of thing I’d enjoy. The post mentioned how it was pretty maths intensive, so doing it together with a few extra maths units would be beneficial.

So I took the advice of an anonymous stranger on the internet and I enrolled in a Mathematics/Computer Science double degree. At the time I didn’t really even understand what computer science was, but I somehow managed to convince my mum that it was a good idea. I figured that if I hated it, I could always transfer into engineering after a semester.

As it turns out it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Maths teaches you about really powerful concepts and computer science gives you the ability to create something real from them. I’d really recommend the computer science/maths combo to anybody interested in the applied side of maths.


Samuel Schneider was one of the recipients of a 2016/17 AMSI Vacation Research Scholarship.

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