What’s an Actuary?

I’m here to tell you a little about my path into this wonderfully rigorous field of mathematics. Alice Jia

I had grown up with a love and an above average skill (at least I would like to think) in learning the math and sciences. Among my friends, I was known as THAT friend that was really into math, and I was proud of it.

I still specifically remember one night in the fourth grade; it was evening time, I had stayed over at a friend’s for dinner and her mom was driving me home. In the car, I asked my friend about the quiz we had earlier in the week, that I had actually helped her study for. (It was fourth grade, I can’t imagine what I was helping her with.) She said she did really well and that sparked her telling her mom that I really enjoyed math.

Her mom proceeded to tell me,

“Oh if you like math, you should look into becoming an actuary in the future.”

My 9-year-old self just stared back, like

“What? What’s an ack-too…ack-choo…. how do you say that word again?”

I would just like to take a second to question, who tells a 9-10 year old about becoming an actuary? I couldn’t even pronounce the word! However that is the first exposure I had to this thing we call actuary and boy did it make an impact on my life.

After that, it was just something that was pushed into the back of my mind, never to be thought about until about my junior year of high school came around. My interest in math never seemed to falter throughout the years and that interest led me to talking to some math teachers about a future mathematics related profession. Lo and behold, actuary was mentioned. I immediately reacted to the word because of the slight familiarity. So the reintroduction of this term actuary into my life is what got me to dig deeper.

I was introduced to a math teacher’s husband who just so happened to be an actuary at the time. He came by for one of those high school career workshops, and it’s safe to say once people read the description and heard math was involved, people turned the other direction. I took this, as a chance to learn, but there’s only so much a high school student can comprehend about insurance and analyzing data. I got a general idea of what an actuary did, day-to-day, and thought, I’ll give it a go.

And thus I began my long journey to pursue becoming an actuary!