My Maths History

By Sarah Gazelle, RMIT University 

As a child I never had an interest to learn mathematics and I never particularly enjoyed it. I was shocked on my first day of Year 6 when my teacher told me and the rest of my class “we are going to do maths everyday”. No matter how much we complained about it my teacher would always persist and make us go through addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, BODMAS and fractions for at least one hour every day. I never realised how important this was and what a great opportunity I had until I got to high school and started to see the beauty of mathematics. This was when I realised maths is more than just simple operations.

Learning maths in high school completely changed my perspective of the topic and I quickly came to love numbers. It was in high school that I learned how important mathematics is in everyday life, even if others in my class did not see it. I realised maths is used to model so many systems in the world and without it we would not be where we are today. However, for me it was just a hobby and something I was good at, I had no intent to pursue a career in mathematics despite how much I loved it. In fact, what I wanted to do for a career was quite different, I wanted to be a graphic designer. For years I always had my heart set on designing and did as much as I could in my spare time. In Year 11 I changed my mind, I realised that my talent in mathematics should not be left behind at the high school level and that I enjoyed it too much to let it go, so I decided I wanted to be an engineer. At this time in my life I didn’t really know what an engineer did but I knew they did maths as a part of their job so I went to an RMIT Open Day to see what it was all about. To my disappointment engineering didn’t seem like my type of thing. I did, however, have one last hope, the Mathematics degree at RMIT. I thought while I was there I may as well go have a look at what a career in mathematics can be like, and I fell in love. This was my passion, this is what I was meant to do.

Completing an undergraduate degree in mathematics was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Since starting in 2013 I have learned so many new and interesting mathematical concepts and really have an understanding of how maths controls the world. I look forward to whatever mathematical journeys await me in my future.


Sarah Gazelle was one of the recipients of a 2015/16 AMSI Vacation Research Scholarship.

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