Stephanie Petrescu, BSc (Hons) Mathematics graduate and PGCE Secondary student

Bringing a fresh perspective to mathematics for future generations

<p>Stephanie Petrescu - BSc (Hons) Mathematics graduate<br></p>

The beautiful thing about maths is how simple and practical it can be once understood. My high school maths teacher contributed a significant amount to that which led me to hopefully pursuing a maths-based career in the future.
I started studying BSc (Hons) Mathematics at Plymouth in September 2019. I immediately fell in love with the community and welcoming campus. The lecturers made the transition from A-level to university level material very smooth and easy to follow. 
The cryptography module in first year particularly piqued my interest as not only had I never explored it before academically, but Plymouth is one of the few universities which includes this branch of maths in their course. I thoroughly enjoyed the practical project we had to complete in that module.

I was only able to experience one term of the normal university experience before COVID-19 hit the UK in early 2020. The rest of my first year and the entirety of my second year were online or blended learning. The lecturers and the faculty handled the move to remote learning very well supporting students academically as well as providing mental and emotional support. I was able to keep on top of my studies despite the absence of normal lectures and the open-door policy that was in place before-hand was replaced by prompt answers to emails from lecturers and private zoom sessions for the bigger challenges we came across. 
The vast resources available such as the library and a variety of online links to further reading were very helpful and contributed significantly to the successful completion of my degree.

<p>Charles Seale-Hayne Library –Book shelves<br></p>

Charles Seale-Hayne Library

I found the structure of my course to be a great balance between theoretical and practical approaches, both of which are necessary in a maths degree. The interactive lectures made it easier for me to keep focused and follow on in what was being taught. The style of lectures at Plymouth also inspired me to develop my own teaching method and apply whilst doing the Peer Assisted Learning Scheme as a leader in my second year. 
Despite the interruptions with COVID-19 I was able to maintain a good relationship with the lecturers and represent the university in multiple ways including Student Ambassadors . I loved being on the other side of university applications and speaking to applicants about their journey, offering resources, support and advice when needed. 

The University is located in a beautiful place in Devon with the sea on one side and Dartmoor on the other. 
The shops and amenities available within walking distance from the University allows for a balanced lifestyle of varied academic and social activities.

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</p><div>Great Staple tor Dartmoor Devon UK</div><p></p>

Dartmoor

For my final year project, I chose to further deepen my understanding of the RSA cryptosystem, building on the maths reasoning skills learnt in first year. To do this, I was required to produce several short programming scripts alongside my project which included a few scripts I had to code myself. I found that to be thoroughly enjoyable especially since it was my own work.
Looking back on my final year project, I can confidently say that having the freedom to immerse yourself in a topic you love to produce your own findings is thoroughly satisfying. 
Having just finished my degree I am looking forward to starting the PGCE Secondary course the University offers in hopes of bringing a fresh perspective to maths to future generations.