Lachlan Steele

Lachlan Steele

Lachlan Steele

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Degree type: Degree
  • Year commenced: 2018
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Major(s): Mathematics

Why did you decide to study science?
I studied Science because I loved maths and physics in high school. The prospect of studying higher level physics and maths excited me immensely.

What made you choose Monash Uni in particular?
At the time, I was trying to decide between Monash and Melbourne. I was looking forward to studying for the pure joy of it and was keen to learn from leading scientists and mathematicians. I ended up choosing Monash over Melbourne for its flexibility, as I was able to study both Commerce and Science in a double degree – something Melbourne Uni wouldn’t let me do.

What’s your favourite aspect of studying science?
My favourite subject has always been maths and studying it at Monash has blown me away. I’ve been learning about subjects I had never heard of before university and enjoying it more than I thought I could. I think the versatility and generality of maths is what I enjoy most about it.

Furthermore, from my experiences in physics there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from understanding on a more fundamental level what makes the world work – and additionally seeing how maths is able to describe these phenomena so concisely. Seeing the clear connection between maths and the physical world has got to be my favourite aspect about physics in particular.

What do you plan to do when you graduate?
As I write this, I’m looking into transferring into a double degree with computer science. I’m hoping to use skills in data science, statistics, and pure maths to find a job which I can use maths and programming to analyse data and solve problems. Whilst that’s quite broad, in the coming years I will be able to narrow down what I enjoy most about these subjects and be able to look for specific careers in that utilise those enjoyable aspects.

What has been the highlight of your science degree so far?
I’ll focus specifically on the Science degree in particular and not university life in general. As I’m writing this, studying vector calculus in maths and then using all of it when studying electrodynamics in physics was mind-blowing. However, I anticipate even more exciting things to come when studying third year maths and computer science.

What’s the biggest misconception you had about studying science before you started your course?
That studying Science (Maths and Physics) would be relatively useless in the real world. I loved maths and physics in high school, and was really keen to study it, but I forced myself into a double degree with Commerce because I thought that was the only way to get a job. I nearly didn’t study Science altogether and studied Engineering because I thought that was the only practical way to combine Science and real-world application.

After one year of studying both commerce and science, I immediately recognised that Science was far more versatile.

Firstly - with maths and physics in particular - you come out of a unit actually understanding what you have learnt. They encourage you to understand why everything is. You are better equipped to find more efficient ways of doing things and solving problems outside the exact scope of what you are learning, rather than robotically do a specific task. In maths and physics, you’re not only gaining knowledge of the specific subjects you learn, but you are also learning how to be a problem solver. You come out at the end being able to do a wide variety of tasks because you become wired to understand how everything works – scientifically. In commerce I felt as if I was being trained to do a specific task, without nearly as much versatility. So, studying physics doesn’t mean you need to be a physicist, and studying maths doesn’t mean you have to be a mathematician. You can try your hand in basically any field with an analytical component if you’re good enough.

If you were to give some advice to someone who’s thinking about studying at Monash Science, what would you say?
Assuming you enjoy Science to an extent, I couldn’t recommend it more. Whilst I can’t say I’ve personally experienced the other universities, I know my experiences with Science at Monash have been exceptional, and I struggle to imagine how the others would top it. I haven’t had a single lecturer in two and a half years of studying science that I didn’t like. Nearly every single tutor I’ve had have been engaging and great teachers. The resources are also excellent, making self-learning easy. The assessments are challenging but completely fair. I couldn’t praise the maths and physics faculties enough.

If you’re deciding between two or more different areas of study, Monash has a plethora of double degrees. If a double degree isn’t feasible (the ATAR requirements are generally higher), then if you start in Science, you will still be able to choose electives from the other area of interest. If you perform well enough all around, you will usually be able to transfer into a double degree. Trying a variety of subjects is something I’d highly recommend, and the wide range of double degrees and electives at Monash really caters for that.

If you are choosing between Science at Monash or Science at Melbourne (which frequently tends to be the case), I would again emphasise the advantage of a double degree. Even if you don’t start in a double, it is always a good idea to try a range of different units initially to try pinpoint what you like. If you eventually realise you want to study two different things, then Melbourne won’t give you the flexibility to study a Science degree with another degree. Monash will.

In any case, do yourself a huge favour and sign up for Science at Monash!

Give us a life hack or piece of advice you live by:
Always try understanding why it is you’re doing something. Don’t do anything for the sake of it, or just because somebody tells you to.