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A Day in the Life of an Oxford Maths Student

By Christian Marriot

Our routines have changed somewhat in the last few weeks but what would a typical day for a maths student at Oxford Uni look like?

I’ve now been a student of Mathematics at Mansfield College for half a year now, and I’ve settled into the routine of my second term very well, with 10 lectures and 5 problem sheets every week to complete.

However, before I came to Oxford, I wish I knew how a Maths student actually found time to do all this work and still socialise. So, I’ve decided to show you all a day in the life of a Mathematics student, with my typical Thursday!

(Note: All Maths students will have around 10 lectures per week in year one, however, the number of tutorials ranges from college to college, for Mansfield this term, it’s 3-4 tutorials a week, but it will vary from 2-5 for other colleges)


07:30 – 08:15 – Slowly wake up and have breakfast (this is something that I’ll never miss!)

08:15 – 08:40 – Relax and get ready for the day ahead, I usually listen to music and check my emails at this time

08:40 – Hand in my Analysis II problem sheet at the Porter’s Lodge

08:40 – 09:00 – Walk to the Mathematical Institute with my friends and find seats in the lecture theatre ready for the two lectures (my favourite seats are in the middle of a row, close to the back!)

09:05 – 09:55 – Fourier Series & PDEs Lecture; currently my most favourite module, and the first few lectures involved trying to take any function and rewrite it as an infinite sum of sin and cos terms (it’s really cool!)

10:05 – 10:55 – Dynamics Lecture; this module is sort of similar to Mechanics in A Level Maths, so I initially thought I wouldn’t enjoy it, but its also one of my more preferred modules, as the lecturer explains everything really precisely and well!

11:00 – 11:20 – Walk back to college, stopping by at Tesco to buy lunch as it means I can eat it whenever I wish

Lunch and afternoon:

11:20 – 12:45 – Go over the notes from the lectures earlier, whilst eating lunch at the same time

12:45 – 14:00 – Start work on my Linear Algebra II problem sheet due the next day. It’s not the most exciting module, but a lot of it relates back to Further Maths at school and expands on the stuff done with matrices!

14:00 – 15:00 – Fourier Series & PDEs and Dynamics Tutorial; this again is something I enjoy, as it combines two of my better modules with a really enthusiastic tutor, each module takes about half an hour in this tutorial and covers one problem sheet for each.

15:00 – 18:00 – Relax, and carry on with the problem sheet from previously, usually I’ll listen to music, message friends, browse the internet, and attempt questions if an idea pops into my head, but I don’t try finishing the sheet in this time, as I have more later.


18:00 – 18:30 – Dinner (or Tea as I call it). Mansfield has a great range of affordable food and it tastes fantastic! 

18:30 – 19:30 – Continue with the problem sheet from previously, trying to identify what questions are causing me to get stuck, so that I can then get help from friends.

19:30 – 21:00 – My favourite part of the day; going to my friends’ room and having a hot chocolate. A chance to relax a bit and informally discuss the questions which I got stuck on, and then attempting those questions.

20:30 – late(ish) – Finishing the problem sheet and more relaxing, usually there’s one (possibly two) questions unanswered, but that’s alright, as the tutorial on the sheet will help! After this, its off to bed, and I always try getting to sleep for 23:30 (although this sometimes doesn’t happen)

I hope this helps any incoming maths student, or potential applicant see that it’s possible to keep up with all the work and still socialise, and not get too stressed about any of the work!


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