Statistics may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but Chinese student Zhixin Liu is fascinated by mathematics and its relevance in day-to-day life.
Her interest has helped her achieve an almost flawless university record, gaining six high distinctions out of seven subjects (she got a distinction in the seventh).
It is an impressive record for a student who speaks English as a second language and never planned to study statistics in the first place.
Zhixin began her professional career as a pediatrician in Beijing, and she expected to continue with medicine until her husband gained a place at Macquarie in 2001.
After a year in different countries, she followed him to Sydney in 2002 and began her Masters of Applied Statistics at Macquarie.
She says, “I chose applied statistics because I knew I could use my take advantage of my medical background.”
Despite her exceptional results, Zhixin says she struggled at the beginning of semester.
“The first half of the year I found mathematical subjects like statistical theory very difficult. But I talked to lecturers and they gave me a lot of help and improved my confidence.”
She believes this made the difference in her marks. “Many international students are afraid to talk to the lecturer. But the teachers were very kind. If you say you don’t understand and need help, they will help you.”
Zhixin has enjoyed her time at Macquarie. “I like the educational style here. The assignments are very practical- when I do assignments I can apply them to the real world.”
And she hasn’t finished with study yet. She hopes to begin her PhD in Statistics, and at the same time complete a diploma in Information Technology. “It’s a challenge and I will be really busy, but I enjoy it,” she says.
She says her experience as an international student has been challenging, but good. “In Beijing life was peaceful, and not much would change. Here, life can be uncertain and challenging. Sometimes I feel sad, but it’s also exciting. I am very happy I had the chance to come here and experience a different culture and type of study.”