At no point growing up was I sure that mathematics was what I would pursue. Sure, it was something I appreciated more than most subjects at school. But maths on its own did not interest me much.
What I really enjoyed doing outside of school had nothing to do with maths, in my mind. I realised my interests and hobbies will likely have to be separate from my line of work – a fact I would have no problem with – and I started planning accordingly. Or well, think accordingly.
In Year 12 it became clear that some combination of mathematics and physics was what I should pursue. Not because I thought I had a passion for either, but because a mixture of these areas being my strengths, that I come from a science family, and honestly process of elimination, it felt like the right decision. Thankfully, it is not one I have come to regret.
As I completed more and more of my studies and the content became more advanced, I started to comprehend better how statistics and applied mathematics could make a difference in the real world. I suppose once it goes beyond calculating the mean weight of 10 oranges it becomes more real what mathematics can actually do. At the same time while I still like physics, the practical aspect has never been something I enjoyed, or was even good at. Clearly, my future lies in using numbers to analyse data.
I have always liked to analyse things. Read, learn about things as much as possible. What exactly, does not really matter. Often this meant reading and learning basic statistics about things. I never saw myself as a statistics ‘nerd’, I just wanted to know more and stats gave a different perspective.
It was then I realised I had liked maths and stats all along – I just had not looked at it in that way. There is a reason things which involve statistics stick with me, while things that cannot be analysed numerically don’t. It is not the numbers themselves that I love – but what they can, or do, mean. Perhaps I can pursue my true passions, after all.