During his time studying at DCU for the BSc Actuarial Mathematics Tomás combined his love of maths with an active social life through the DCU Weightlifting Club.
Tomás' time in DCU was taken up with a lot of heavy lifting - both physical and mathematical. His studies centred on his Actuarial Maths course but he was equally enthusiastic about his sporting activities with DCU’s Weightlifting Club.
Tomás, from Ratoath, Co Meath, says the course is ideal for people who are passionate about maths, with the added bonus of excellent employment opportunities for graduates. In fact, when we catch up with him, he’s just finishing his first week as a trainee actuary at Irish Life. A number of his classmates have also joined the company and he says “it's nice to have a few familiar faces around.”
The first two years of the course were “a nice balance” between pure maths modules and programming subjects. While his lecturers were great, Tomás says the step up to University-level maths can be challenging. He found that the DCU Maths Learning Centre was a great resource, which is used by students from a whole range of ‘maths heavy’ degrees. Having received the help and advice of tutors at the centre in his first two years, Tomás later went on to work in the centre himself.
Things really clicked into place for Tomás in the second half of his four-year degree, when the course focused on the “real world” applications of the subject. In particular, his 8-month work placement in the Central Bank of Ireland gave him a clear idea of what it was like to work in his sector. “That gave me a great experience of the entire insurance industry and I got a real look at the types of work you actuaries do,” he says. It confirmed that this was “something I'm really interested in getting into.”
While he enjoyed his studies, Tomás reckons getting involved in clubs and societies is a really important part of the college experience. “They're a lot of fun. You make great friends through them and it's really a break from the college course.”
Tomás joined the Weightlifting Club in first year and never looked back. He served as chair and treasurer during his time at DCU and has travelled internationally to take part in competitions in Denmark and Wales.
As well as making good friends, Tomás says that his sporting activities were great for helping him to unwind. “It wasn't all about the college stuff, even coming up close to exams. There's still that bit of a break. So I think it’s good for almost everyone to have a hobby or join a club.”
But while they might seem worlds apart, Tomás sees real similarities between his hobby and his course. He says weightlifting is “a very technical sport” where you need to keep making adjustments to get a lift right - a process similar to the one he uses in his professional life. “You know, we're doing calculations, changing little stuff, doing it over, thinking it through.”
The difference is, with weightlifting, “I can turn the brain off a little bit and relax!”