Name: Kitty Sparrowhawk
Where are you from?: Buckinghamshire
Best thing about Merton?
Merton is absolutely gorgeous – on a daily basis, I find myself wandering through the gardens, amazed that I get to live and work in such a beautiful place.
Best thing about your course?
The variety of topics covered – maths is such a broad subject and the huge range of topics you study definitely reflects that. In my first term alone, I had lectures on analysis, calculus, probability and geometry.
Most important thing you’ve learnt?
Take advantage of all the opportunities you can – there are so many different things going on that there’s almost always going to be something you’re interested in doing.
Also, don’t forget your toothbrush – it’s kind of important.
How has Oxford changed you?
I would definitely say I’m more confident now, especially when it comes to meeting new people. I was really nervous going into my first week because I was going to have to talk to so many new people but, by the end of the week, I not only felt more comfortable around the people I had met, but also about meeting more new people in the future.
What were you worried about before you arrived?
I’m fairly certain I managed to worry about everything you possibly could worry about. However, whether it was worrying about making friends or not being good enough or simply not being able to find my way around Oxford, over the past year I gradually managed to overcome my worries (even if I do still have to use Google Maps to get around sometimes).
What’s the work like?
It’s difficult but rewarding. For maths, the work in first year is all problem sheet based – you’re given a sheet with about 5 questions on it based on the lectures you’ve had in the past week. Sometimes the questions can be incredibly frustrating but it’s always an amazing feeling to finally work out the right answer.
Favourite spot to relax?
Definitely the bar – it has such a friendly atmosphere and, even if you’re not going out that night, it’s still a really nice place to hang out with friends after a long day of lectures, tutorials and problem sheets/essays.
Favourite place to eat?
For lunch? Definitely the Hall – Merton offers so many choices for your main meal as well as a salad bar and multiple dessert options. It’s incredible and I miss it every day I’m not in college
What are tutorials like?
They definitely start off quite intimidating since it’s a new format of teaching for a lot of people but, after your first couple of tutorials, the scariness wears off and they become way more fun. In maths tutorials, you tend to just go through the questions on your problem sheets but often tutors will take the opportunity to touch on relevant material that isn’t covered in lectures.