Sinéad Nolan

“Know and believe that you are capable of success.”

Hello everybody! I hope you’re all well. I say ‘everybody’ and ‘all’ because I am praying that people will actually make use of this wonderful site that myself and my lovely colleagues have spent the summer creating…

So I suppose this is where I tell you a little about myself – feel free to skip this part and move to a different section of the website if you wish, there is plenty of good stuff to tuck in to!

Where to begin… Well, I am British and from Wiltshire, though I have a strong connection to Ireland (you can probably tell by the name) and actually lived there myself for five years from the age of 8 to 13. I loved it – we lived in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields and a private woodland perfect for exploring! At one point, believe it or not, we even had a small (fairly random) collection of animals – five ducks, two goats, two dogs, two goldfish and a baby hare. My secondary school days began here but it was really when I moved back to the UK that I developed a broader interest in sciences. At A Level, I studied Mathematics, Psychology and Human Biology. I also studied Chemistry at AS Level…but we won’t talk about that.

As I write this, I am 21 years old and about to enter my third and final year of BSc Mathematics at the University of Reading. Yikes! Where has that time gone? Did I always know I wanted to do Mathematics? No, I didn’t. In fact, it wasn’t my first choice. I actually came here to study BSc Biomedical Sciences so technically, I am a fourth year now! I know right… my time at university has been full of surprises. Don’t get me wrong – of course I had always had an interest in maths, probably influenced by my Dad who is a maths teacher, however it wasn’t until I found myself missing it that I realised I needed to make some changes to my path. Dropping out of university was certainly daunting, especially after 9 months but I know now wholeheartedly that I made the right decision. I mean who’d wanna live a life without maths, am I right?

Since making that positive change, I found my confidence grew slightly and I started to involve myself in things I never thought I would. In the last two years, whilst studying mathematics, I have volunteered as a STAR Mentor helping first years through the challenging personal and academic transition to uni, I have sat on the Student Staff Liaison Committee as a Course Rep, representing the voices of the student body and soon I will be a PAL (Peer Assisted Learning) Leader forming partnerships for facilitated learning among first years studying Real Analysis. I don’t say all this to brag, I promise! What I hope to convey – similar to the advice given by Professor Amos Lawless – is that no decision is final and it is okay to follow a path and then realise that you need to change direction. This is what life and learning is about! In the words of Alexander Grothendieck, “discovery is the privilege of the child: the child who has no fear of being once again wrong…”.

Aside from academics, my friends and family say I’m a tad eccentric. I have no idea what they’re talking about, do you? Actually, don’t answer that. I am one of the biggest dog lovers you will ever meet (Exhibit A – the feature photo of this page) and as a proud (somewhat) Irish cailín, I adore the countryside and really find my peace in nature. Obviously I’m a Disney fan, who isn’t? And yes, I also like Harry Potter, I’ll make no apologies. Besides that, I enjoy singing and dancing and perform in seasonal showcases as part of the Reading University Tap and Modern (RUTAM) and Reading University Gospel Choir (RUGC) societies. In fact, I’ll be the Treasurer of RUGC for 2017/18 so if any of you are students here and interested in joining – please come find us! We love to have fun and welcome new members and I promise we are a really relaxed, friendly group of people. — Okay, advert over. There’s one last thing!

In all seriousness, I really hope that people will utilise this site and I hope that those of you who do will find it helpful and inspiring – interesting even, if nothing else! Throughout the process of creating this web resource, I have discovered wonderful human beings with admirable accomplishments and in writing about them, I can honestly say that I – and I hope you will too – have felt enlightened and motivated. Together, we can strive to reach our potentials in whatever areas we may identify as our passions and interests. All of the people you see on this site, although individually unique in some aspects, all share the same thing as you and me – they are all human! They too experienced struggles, uncertainty, indecisiveness and yes – success. We are all capable of success! So don’t view their accomplishments as unachievable – they are perfectly achievable by anyone regardless of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity or religion. As long as you are willing to work hard at something you enjoy.

Before I sign off, I’d like to wish you the best of luck on your journey of discovery. Enjoy it! Have fun! Know and believe that you are capable of success. Go be great!