Preparing for “the Real World”

By Morgan DeHart – MA in Mathematics, American University

College, be it undergraduate or graduate level, is a time for self discovery and exploration. They create a nice little “bubble” for people in the early and mid twenties to learn academically and socially. Students are tested in their chosen majors at great length, but the true test comes post graduation when they enter “the real world”.

After growing up in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and attending a small liberal arts college in rural Maryland I knew I wanted to attend a graduate school in the city. I applied to schools in cities up and down the easy coast, as far north as Boston to as far south as Atlanta. After receiving both acceptance and rejection letters I began looking more closely at each school to find which one was the best fit.

Coming from a smaller undergraduate college it was important to me to have a similar atmosphere for graduate school. The Mathematics and Statistics department at American University has everything I was looking for. Their small size encourages a great community of faculty and students. Every professor knows every student by name and they are extremely friendly. They are all excited about teaching, the research they are doing, and encourage students to get involved with them. Within my first year of study I joined two research teams on campus and by the end of this semester will have presented work for both at two nationally recognized conferences, both giving me great experience and helping to develop my resumé.

The professors do an amazing job preparing you to start your career. They all have varying backgrounds and talking with them can help steer your career path. I had no clue what type of career I wanted and what type of jobs would best fit my skill set and interests, but after talking with my adviser and other members of the department I know I should pursue Analytics.

The classes I am taking are preparing me to dive right into the workforce. While each class thoroughly develops the mathematical theory required, they each also have a strong application component. Bridging the gap between theory and application can sometimes be the hardest thing, but the professors at American University do a great job helping students overcome this obstacle.

Choosing to attend American University has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, both academically and personally. As my graduation date looms closer I know that with the help of the professors at American University I have both the technical training and the mental preparation to start life in “the real world” post college.