Octavia Dieng

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Early Life

Hi! I'm Octavia Dieng & I'm from the very small town of Milan, IN. I come from a family of math lovers. Many of my family members, though they don't work in mathematical fields, enjoy math and challenging each other in the subject. From the young age of 5, my family has been instilling math into my brain. I have always been really good at math though never really in love with it. It wasn't until junior year Pre-Calculus that I discovered my love of math. This was the first math class I genuinely excelled in and enjoyed. My family has always influenced me to work hard and improve in math but it wasn't until I met my junior year math teacher that I saw what it was to love math. My junior year teacher was able to challenge me in ways I never knew possible. I finally found my slight talent in the field, which led me to my current double major in math and computer science.


Throughout high school, I'd always done well in mathematics but didn't truly discover a passion until Junior year. Up until Junior year, I maintained low A's in math with little enjoyment. I would only do the bare minimum without much studying. The classes felt boring and repetitive. I spent the first two years of high school dreading math and all that it involved. But when junior year came around, a spark was ignited. A new teacher, fresh perspective, and open mind led me to love math. The first topic I loved and still love today is analyzing and creating graphs and equations based off things like asymptotes, degrees, zeroes, etc. Then came Trigonometry. This was the first topic I truly struggled with after discovering my love of math. This was the first test to my will in the field once I'd discovered that I actually enjoyed it. Though it was difficult, I worked hard and even found ways to enjoy the struggle. To this day, math can be very difficult for me but I love it and work hard to push through the difficulty.

My favorite subject currently is graphs of derivatives. Graphs are among my first mathematical loves. They are among the more calm and enjoyable parts of math for me. Analyzing a graph and creating a graph based off other graphs and tiny pieces of information has been something that has connected through multiple classes and I find to be not easy but challenging in the best way. Graphs are so complex and sometimes strange that it makes them fun to create and figure out. I most enjoy seeing the end result, especially when it's unexpected. Of all my math experiences, Graphs remain the most interesting and enjoyable part of math for me.

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Recent Experiences

I'm currently a math double major focused on actuarial sciences. I am looking into becoming an actuary. This is a career field that has become my main career focus since I declared my math major. I recently found out that my cousin is an actuary and I plan on getting to know about his job more closely. An actuary isn't the type of job I originally envisioned for myself and my future but has slowly become one I can only imagine myself pursuing with my math degree.


I have another career in mind that I would like to further think about and explore. The other career I have in mind is game development. This is actually the career I entered college with this career in mind. Gaming has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I actually began gaming at 4 years old. I have recently been into watching game developer interviews and looking into locations of gaming companies. I really want to explore this further and see what it's like to not only play the games but play a role in creating the games that I love. This career would heavily coincide with my mathematics degree. Math is a huge part of coding and will really aid me in this career path if it ends up being the one I genuinely pursue once I graduate.


I am only in my first semester in Calculus A but so far I've had a very good experience. I had 2 semesters of prior Calculus that have aided me in doing so well thus far. My class sizes have been very similar to the class sizes in high school, making it easier for me to focus on my studies and what I need to do. My classes have only further sparked my genuine interest and love of math and made me realize that I made an excellent major choice. My prior experience has made the topics easier to focus on. My teacher's obvious love of math and encouragement has made it so much easier for me to continue to explore my love of math. The only thing that could have been better so far is my focus. I haven't stayed as focused as I would have liked to but I'm going to work hard to focus harder and muster up more motivation next semester and the ones to follow. Overall, College math has been an excellent experience for me so far and I can't wait to continue studying math over the next few years.

What Comes Next?

As a whole, with COVID and online learning, semester one of college hasn't been the easiest for me but despite that, I've done the best I can with the circumstances. One thing has remained true throughout this semester, I made the best choice possible by choosing to double major in math. My love has only deepened and I hope to continue to explore this love. Next semester will hold Calculus B and further exploration into my math major. Next semester will also hold moving closer to school which will allow for more time on campus to focus on my mathematical studies.


Mathematical Spotlight

Triangles, triangles, triangles. Triangles are among the most contested portions of mathematics. For some, they are our kryptonite as for others, a safe space. Regardless of your own opinion of triangles, one thing is true across the boards. Pythagorean theorem is among one of the prettiest and most inviting equations out there. It’s one we learn way back in Algebra that sticks with us forever. Pythagorean theorem is a small part of a ‘scary’ topic, triangles that is, but is one of the simplest and prettiest equations we learn as young math students.


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