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Sam Townsend

Sam Townsend

  • Fourth-year undergraduate, Mathematics


Hi, my name’s Sam and I’m currently a fourth-year Mathematician, originally from Staffordshire. I was attracted to Oxford partly due to the fact that teaching is done in tutorials with only one or two other students with you for the session (which is nowhere near as terrifying as it seems on paper) but also due to the city itself and how beautiful it is.

One of the most enjoyable things about the Maths course is the variety of the content – in the first year you cover a wide range of topics, with pure content in the form of analysis and linear algebra through to the more applied side, with modules like probability and dynamics and a touch of computing thrown in for good measure. The problem sheets are interesting, with most solutions being incredibly satisfying due to how neatly everything falls into place / how bizarre a route you end up taking to get the answer.

If you are thinking about applying for Maths, I would recommend working on your problem-solving skills, old UKMT papers are great for this, and have a look at Stephen Siklos’ books if you’re about to start your final year before university – I’ve even ended up going through them whilst I’ve been here. Also, practice writing proofs if you can, not only will it allow you to understand the content you’re working on, but it will put you in good stead for university maths, a fair bit of which is proving the various theorems you’ll end up using.

The best thing about Lincoln is the close-knit nature of the College – in first year everyone is either on-site or just across the road. This, combined with how friendly everyone is, means that there are always half a dozen people around that I can just go and see for a cup of tea if ever I need one.

Outside of my course, I have taken up rowing, become the Treasurer of the Junior Common Room (JCR), and I am a member of the College’s pool team (despite having won the wooden spoon award for being the worst player in College).

Finally, as one of my teachers would frequently tell me – this is a marathon not a sprint. No matter what you plan on studying at university, chances are you’ve got at least another three or four years of studying ahead of you, so it’s important to remember why you love your subject.