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My Story: Alice, PhD in Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Alice, and I love rock climbing, reading and watching movies.

Why did you decide to apply for a PhD at Cambridge?

I knew I wanted to do a PhD, and Cambridge is one of the best places in the world to study maths or physics! I also knew a lot of people in the city already, and had been told that the department was very sociable and friendly with lots of exciting seminar series and teaching opportunities.

How does applying for a postgraduate degree differ from applying for undergraduate?

Usually in maths the process is quite similar as applying for undergraduate degrees – you don’t have to submit a research proposal because you’re unlikely to have the required expertise! You do often have to find and contact a supervisor beforehand, and they will normally give you some kind of interview. This varies immensely, with some just wanting an informal chat and others making you stand at a blackboard doing calculations for a couple of hours!

How are you finding your experience at Cambridge so far?

I am enjoying it a lot! Although it has been difficult to adapt to the PhD lifestyle, I am around many likeminded people who are going through the same experience as me. I am getting the opportunity to learn lots of interesting maths that I have never seen before, so that’s very exciting, and I am beginning to work on my own project as well.

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

I just wanted to help people realise that PhD students and researchers in maths are just normal people, and that they can pursue a career in academia whoever they are and whatever their background.

Alice is from the UK and studying for a PhD in Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.

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