Let’s be honest, math is not an easy major at Lawrence. The professors are going to make you work. They are going to give you long and difficult problem sets, and they are going to be picky graders. However, they do this, because they genuinely want students to improve their thinking abilities and gain a good understanding of mathematics. While the math professors may be some of the most difficult on campus, they are also some of the best humored and most dedicated to their students. Their willingness to work with students comes across during office hours. While their lectures are thrilling, insightful, and engaging, office hours provide students with a time to learn one on one from the exceptionally qualified math faculty. I am a frequent visitor to my professor’s office hours and always have a long list of questions. Even though I am occasionally teased about my numerous questions, it is evident that they are delighted to answer each and every question. Not only are they genuinely glad to have helped a student, but they love math so much that it is fun for them to think through the questions. This love for math is infectious and inspirational.
What I love about the math major experience is that the term “busy work” does not apply–ever. Now this means that the term “work” does apply and when you’ve been working on a problem set for hours without making any progress at all this may no longer seem like a positive thing. However, anyone pursuing a math major will soon find the extraordinary relief/joy/intellectual curiosity that comes from finishing a problem set that, for me at least, makes it all worth while. And with any luck, in the processes they will get to meet the wonderful, quirky personalities that make up the faculty and students of the LU Math Department.
Also, don’t forget all the perks–studying abroad in Budapest, getting paid to do summer research in topics that interest you, math tea (free cookies), math picnic, occasional trips to the VR with the math Profs…basically all the fun stuff!