People seem to think Maths is an easy subject, where students sit there all day adding things up and sometimes even taking some things away. While this may be true up to A-Levels, at university, things change... All university Mathematics departments must, when setting their courses and hiring their lecturers, must obey the following rules:

University Maths shall be:

- Completely incomprehensible.
- Taught by people with absolutely no formal teaching training.
- Made up of strange symbols and meaningless Greek letters.
- Amazingly pointless.

Mathematics lecturers will be:

- Miserable, old, boring gits.
- Unable to write neatly.
- Incomprehensible.
- Good at writing strange symbols and Greek letters.
- Good at mumbling.
- Amazingly good at rubbing off or standing in front of things on the board that you haven't written down yet.

If your lecturer is foreign, they will have the world's hardest to understand accent, and a very strong one at that.

The Maths involved will be:

- Amazingly easy stuff made very hard.
- Amazingly easy stuff made very hard but with methods which enable you to turn the hard stuff back to easy stuff.
- Amazingly easy but complemented with the hardest possible homework problems that the lecturer could find.
- Amazingly hard.
- Amazingly hard, complemented with the hardest possible homework problems that the lecturer could find.
- Amazingly hard but with even harder questions.
- Completely meaningless.
- Completely pointless.
- Made up of more and more ways of making easy things hard.
- Made up of more and more ways of making easy things hard so that they can be made easy again.
- Designed to strip you of all happiness, and remove all your moral, turning you into a gibbering wreck.

Mathematics lecturers will:

- Sit there in offices, conjuring up more and more pointless mathematical ideas in order to justify their own existence and the existence of fellow mathematicians everywhere.
- Sit there in offices, conjuring up more and more pointless mathematical ideas in order to make undergraduates lives even more of a misery.
- Manage to turn an incredibly interesting topic into an incredibly boring one.
- Manage to make an incredibly hard topic sound very easy until it actually comes to doing some questions yourself...
- Delight in zapping all moral and happiness from their students.

There are, on occasions, the odd exceptions to these rules. They must be eliminated without hesitation. Swiftly and with no style whatsoever.

Hey guys, guess what I studied at university!

This was originally entitled 'The University Maths Rule Book', and later folded into The Truth About... section. It's noticeably a different format to the two other Truth articles.

This was first published on Planet Bods in 8 December 1998.