Is Applied Mathematics sustainable? Sure it is! Mathematical solutions are perfectly reusable!
After a well-considered decision and an enjoyable matching experience, Dieuwertje opted for the Applied Mathematics Bachelor’s. A broad programme that offers you plenty of opportunities. Of course a lot of mathematical skills pass by, but there is also cooperation with other disciplines. Dieuwertje: "The beauty of mathematics is that solutions are not just used for the problem they were designed for they can be applied to multiple societal issues."
Dieuwertje: "When it was time to choose what to do after my high school graduation, I was still hesitating between Technical Medicine and Applied Mathematics. After visiting the Open Days, I already knew that I wanted to study at the University of Twente. The atmosphere here was great, it was not so far away from home either, because I was living in Goor at the time (30km from Enschede) and the small-scale setting was attractive to me as well. So I applied for both programmes at the UT. The matching day following the initial application was the deciding factor for me to study Applied Mathematics: I noticed that I liked the mathematics programme very much, and that the people really appealed to me.
"In secondary school you study calculus, but with no examples at all on how to apply it in practice. Here you learn to apply mathematics to societal problems which fascinates me and is completely in contrast with my secondary school experience. I discovered that in Applied Mathematics you come up with mathematical solutions to societal problems, which are not just applicable to a single problem, but rather to several problems. A great example is the first year model Signals and Transformations . At the time, we were working on a project to be able to predict water levels. The mathematics we used for this can also be applied in radios and telephone networks. That's nice, isn't it?" says Dieuwertje.
Anyone who makes the step from secondary school to university has ideas about what it could be like. You may have visited open days to get a first impression, but is it what you imagined it to be? Of course, that always remains the question. "At the start of my programme, I was a bit anxious because in the first week you enter an intensive maths week. Often only with maths subjects to prepare you for the next period. You learn a completely different way of thinking than you were used to at secondary school. I really had to get used to that, but before you know it, you had that way of thinking in mind and it became really fun! Besides studying, you make new friends, become a member of a study association and get to know more students who are already following mathematics, or another programme. During the first semester I still lived at home, but halfway through my first year I chose to live on campus. I ended up in a house with 7 others. Great times!" explains Dieuwertje.
Of course, the life of a student does not consist solely of studying. There are a lot of possibilities to have fun yourself besides your programme. As a freshman, Dieuwertje already became a member of the Applied Mathematics study association Abacus. Dieuwertje: "During the first year I took it easy. You switch from secondary school to university and that has quite an impact. Everything is new, challenging and I had to study seriously. In my second year I lived on campus. I became more active within my study association and I was a member of various committees. The nicest committee I've been on is the TWick. Together with a group of fellow students you arrange the introduction for new bachelor’s students. You teach them the ropes of student life and the introductory programme always ends with a camp. Really such great fun! I has just as much fun organising a study trip to the United States (New York and Boston) and I also like to reminisce about organising the sustainability symposium. The membership of the study association is very important to me. It is not only a very nice and fun association, I have also made friends for life. Through my committee work I have contributed to the organisation of a number of interesting activities. Obviously the board can't do that all by itself! ”
The bachelor's at the University of Twente are divided into three years with four modules each. At the end of each module, a project assignment is carried out by using courses taught during the module. Dieuwertje: "In module 8 - together with Civil Engineering and Industrial Engineering and Management - we worked on a consultancy assignment for a hospital. We had to take into account different aspects such as parking space capacity (typical CE), waiting times for patients (typical AM) and appointment strategies to see if waiting times are improving via a computer system (typical IEM). Because some aspects fit in well with certain programmes, we were able to create a nice division of work. Of course, it is also great fun to carry out an assignment with different disciplines, even if you choose the components that best fit your own programme. But, of course, you do have to tie everything together in the presentation and you do that together as a group."
The third year ends with a bachelor's assignment. "During my bachelor's thesis, I worked on the implementation of an algorithm in Python, a programming language, together with a few peers. Now you may think this is very boring, but it certainly wasn't. We tested this algorithm on a picture of blood vessels in order to follow the route of a blood vessel. We also checked whether this algorithm could make a calculation on our road network: what is the shortest route from Enschede to Maastricht? The result turned out to be the same as in GoogleMaps. That was really great! So you can see, once again, that one mathematical solution can be applied to several mathematical problems. To me, this is the elegance of mathematics," says Dieuwertje.
Dieuwertje: "I have chosen to deepen my knowledge in mathematics. The Applied Analysis specialisation appealed to me a lot and now that I'm in the middle of it, I'm very happy that I've chosen this research area. At the moment I am working on Imaging. With this you can improve pictures, or you can track objects in a video. That sounds very easy, but technically it's still a puzzle to solve. A challenge to tackle with passion. Because different aspects of mathematics come together, such as analysis, optimisation, statistics and of course programming, you will find the solution to your problem. Great! Soon I'll be doing an internship at TNO in the Intelligent Imaging department. We're still trying to figure out exactly what my assignment will be, but I'm already looking forward to it."
"I would really recommend that anyone looking for a study programme after graduation should visit open days. You will learn whether a programme - or university - suits you, or does not offer what you are looking for. Of course, you can also choose to take part in a Student for a Day visit. I have participated in both Technical Medicine and Applied Mathematics. I really enjoyed them! Especially the day at Applied Mathematics was surprisingly fun. You get a better idea of what 'real life' at the UT looks like compared to what you experience during open days. The matching activity really helped me to make the decision, so be sure to join in. And once you're a student, join the study association and organise something fun. It's not only fun to organise an activity, you also learn a lot from it. In addition to the fun activities, there are also a lot of serious activities that are related to your programme. For instance a lunch lecture held by a maths alumnus, a symposium or a study trip. The opportunities come by, you only have to grab them," Dieuwertje laughs.