Find out what life is really like at Durham University

DepartmentsStudent experienceUndergraduate

A day in the life of a third-year Maths student

As a Mathematics student, people often assume that my day is completely full of contact hours – and, to be fair, in the first and second year it was! But, as I’ve moved into the third year, my contact hours have really dropped, meaning I’ve had to learn how to manage my own time effectively. Here, I’m going to walk you through what an average day in my life looks like.

Most days I will wake up at 6:45am and watch some YouTube or Netflix for about half an hour – I know some people find it crazy I wake up early just for that, but I take so long to properly wake up I find watching something really helps me keep my eyes open and not fall back asleep! After that, I’ll head downstairs for breakfast, before making some lunch, packing my bag and heading out of the door at about 8:30am.

I live in Gilesgate, so it takes me around half an hour to walk in in the morning, I actually quite enjoy the walk as it wakes me up and has some really nice views. When I arrive, I generally head straight to the top floor of the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) if I don’t have a lecture. I love to work there as it’s so nice and bright and there are so many options for seating depending on how you want to work. Normally, I’ll sit at the group tables so that I can talk to my friends about work that I’m stuck on.

Plenty of seats available in the TLC early in the morning

This year my contact hours are split very unevenly over the week. On Mondays, I have 3 or 4 hours; on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, I have 2 and then on Fridays, I have 5 or 6. These contact hours consist of a mixture of lectures and problem classes. Once you’re a third-year, there are no tutorials anymore! In lectures, we are taught new material and then in problem classes, we go over questions related to recent content.

This means that how I work changes a lot each day. When I have larger chunks of free time, I will generally work on my internship applications. I’m hoping to do a three-month long Asset Management internship in London next summer. As it is very competitive, I’m applying for about 5 and for each I need to write a cover letter, prep for a video interview and learn as much about the company, and the sector in general, as I can. When I have shorter breaks between lectures, I’ll do some homework or recommended problems, as I find it easier to jump in and out of them.

I usually bring a homemade lunch, whether it’s a pasta salad, a sandwich or a pastry. This is because it really is so much cheaper than buying food at the science site each day. However, on Wednesdays, I have the habit of eating some pizza from the indoor market in town – it’s so good, I couldn’t recommend it enough!

I try to head home around 6pm, although I usually don’t make it that long! After the trek back up Gilesgate hill, I will cook some supper and then either head out for some exercise (badminton and climbing are the best!) or flump in front of the TV/play some board games with my housemates in the evening.

After our first doubles badminton match of the year

Thanks so much for giving this article a read – I hope it’s helped give a little insight into what I get up to day-to-day!

More information

You can download our prospectus here

To see more of student life at Durham follow @thedurhamstudent on Instagram and like and subscribe to our YouTube channel @durhamstudent

Masie Bott

Hey there! My name’s Maisie and I’m a third-year studying maths at John’s. I spend my free time playing badminton for college, climbing and learning piano.
Sign up to our Mailing List