Wednesday, May 30, 2007

First year Analysis I

I'm sure none of you thought that I meant the module analysis, but in case you did then I'll clarify that I mean analysis of my first year! This post is about my thoughts on the first semester, what went wrong, right and my overall 'analysis' of it. I'm going to leave the second semester 'analysis' till after I get my results- don't want to tempt fate or anything!

It's common knowledge that I struggled to really get my head around things initially. The main problem might have been that I only was understanding Calculus from all the modules that I was taking. I really disliked stats and so my attitude towards it was unfortunately a bit like my initial reaction to sequences and series. However I didn't have my blog then, and so my hate for stats continued and I never really did find any motivation for it. We were asked to fill in a feedback form for semester one (overall feedback) and so I'm just summarising and expanding what I wrote on it. One reason for my not getting on with stats is because I didn't attend the example classes. Well I attended the first few but these had a negative effect on me. I didn't particularly find that they helped me (as opposed to the example class for the second semester) and they consisted of a lot of people. I confess to sitting there feeling 'thick' most of the times, and soon stopped going to them. My theory was that if I learnt the stuff in my own time and then attempted the questions I'd be better off. Obviously this was a theory which was never implemented!

However I do believe that the course was slightly 'disjoint' so to speak. We did about 10 distributions and I honestly think that if would have been more beneficial if we'd done, say five distributions but properly. I'm just glad that I passed the module! The questionnaire then went to ask which module we found the easiest, hardest and most rewarding. I don't think the term easy is correct, but I put down calculus mainly because up till vectors I had been ok with it and the lecturers notes were pretty good. When we got to double integrals and change of co-ordinates I slightly lost the plot, but with respect to the other modules this was 'nicer.' The hardest and the most interesting one was Numbers, Sets and Functions.

The reason being that the skills which I hopefully obtained from this module helped me with other aspects of maths. It gave me good foundations for starting my degree, and I learnt to appreciate proofs and came across maths that I liked. I actually came across a few other interesting topics but overall looking at my second semester, there were times when I felt that this module was useful and good. I also made sure that I wrote about the lecturer for the second half of this course. Especially the fact that Dr. C delivered the lectures to a high standard, making you want to explore the subject further. He made a huge effort, so you wanted to attend lectures. The main turning point in my first semester has to be when he started lecturing us. I have mentioned this before, and will say it again, he motivated me to continue with maths and stick with it. It's hard to describe how a person may motivate another, but throughout my life this motivation has been my driving force. It was there in college thanks to Mr. H (he was plain cool!) and in school obviously because of my maths teacher. Once I find this source of motivation I tend to stick with it since it's pretty crucial to me. (You could say this motivation buffers my attitude, like the chemistry pH buffers! When I'm negative etc, it puts me right and when I'm positive it just lets me be.)

I didn't have my blog in the first semester but even then I had been facing the same problem of people wanting me to change my course, but I'd say it was more horrible then since I wasn't positive about my maths. Thanks to Dr. C, I stuck with maths and he has continued to help me which I appreciate. Seriously his lecturing style is brilliant. (Oh and he's not paying me to say all this! :D) All I can conclude this paragraph with is the fact that I don't know how I would have done in my first year had Dr Coleman not taught me and further helped me in the example classes. If me and Milo are ever stuck, and have a problem with anything to do with maths or university (not always trivial problems!) we always tend to 'bug' him and he tends to help. :) Can't wait for Real Analysis.

So I've established that this module was useful and I'd say that I found the calculus one pretty 'OK' as well. (Up to the point I liked it!) The one thing I appreciated about the calculus one was the fact that we weren't allowed using a calculator (of any kind!) in our exam. Yes I appreciated this, because I was too darn dependent on my graphical calculator before university, and during the lectures when Prof. D used to sketch graphs from thin air we all used to sit back and watch in astonishment. (He's a cool lecturer as well and always has a smile!! :D I saw him the other other day, but unfortunately all I did was complain about my linear algebra exam since I'd just had it!) The only thing I use my calculator nowadays is to check that 1+1=2.... erm well not always- I just do that when I'm making sure that it's working! Although I still probably can't sketch graphs out of thin air, at least I don't tend to jump towards my calculator which is an improvement. The other positive thing about calculus was that once I revised for my exam, quite a few things made more sense. (which is always nice. )

It seems that my summary of the first semester has gone rather long and I have yet to comment on the workshop module! This module ran over two semesters and I think it has been pretty useful indeed. In the first semester I didn't fully 'appreciate' it one could say, but I didn't deny that it was interesting. It allowed us to see various areas of maths which was good, because this made me realise the areas I wouldn't mind avoiding! In the first semester I didn't particularly like the group work bit to it, since my group wasn't really a group. It just consisted of individuals with the attitude 'every bean for themselves'. I mean ultimately we had to go away and write our own reports, however when you're working with seven other people for two hours some interaction would be nice. I mean apart from 'this is *****', 'maths is *****', 'I can't believe we have to do **** reports'. Well you get what I mean. There was no positivity about that group and well it was obvious that everyone would rather be elsewhere.

One problem, which was resolved in the second semester, was the fact that we had an hour lecture on a topic (eg conics) and then the two hour group work session straight after. This didn't help us with the problems. You see I was pretty 'dumb' when it came to answering the questions (naturally) but I did used to attempt them. Well all the ones that didn't require proofs! I only never really did get the stuff we did on determinants, so I have my excuse for that. I might make my group out to be bad, but truth be told the group wasn't that bad. We were a bad group as in the concept of group work but I met quite a few good people from my course through this group. It's always nice knowing more people than say the Tweenies on a course, since the Tweenies are not always going to be around! The one who had a lot '***' in his conversations is changing course I believe. He never really wanted to be there and always used to complain about maths, so I wish him the best of luck on whatever he is transferring to. Also I think one was a student who was repeating his first year, so it's understandable that he didn't want to be there!

That's enough 'negativity' about the first semester group work! We had a cool supervisor which I suppose balanced stuff out nicely. (I'm not complaining as such, but I well ... like to talk I suppose and that's the element which I'm moaning about!) The group was hard working so thankfully we had a good group mark most of the time.

For the second semester it was pretty different. Actually very different. The previous feelings of dread associated with the group work bit were no longer apparent. My group was great. I honestly used to enjoy the two hours and not once did we finish early. We obviously all didn't like doing the problems (the ones which were really hard anyway) but none of us sat there complaining about not wanting to be there. I did get called a psycho (in the nicest way possible!) but adding the fact that our supervisor was awesome I'd say life had been good. I guess stats has to have a mention again, but even though I didn't learn much from the stats reports we did it was a welcome break from the normal routine of group problems, then report. Getting to know Matlab better was also a bonus. I mean I've probably forgotten how to use it (apart from the session diary thing!) but it is useful. Especially since it can work out the roots of a 20th order polynomial in a second!

On the whole I had a good first semester and the seed for my further interest in maths had been planted. By further I mean the stuff which we weren't doing. I think having met the Tweenies was another big positive. I shudder to think what it would have been like otherwise. You see before university started I'd convinced myself that it didn't matter if I was on my own. I have always done things which my friends and people might not do(eg further maths!), so I thought I'd be able to do the same during university. Obviously that wasn't the same case. I met Bella initially in the queue for registration, when suddenly I decided I was in the line with her! :o (It was a really long queue, and well that was the cue for our meeting!) Meeting Milo was different. We had an introductory lecture, where the head of maths and other people talked to us. (Yes I still remember bits of it!). Anyway it was in the Renold lecture theatre and I'd arrived early on my own. I happened to spot a group of people also sat there, so naturally I went in for the kill! I don't normally poke people when I initially (t=0) meet them, but I happened to 'accidentally' poke Milo as I sat behind him and promised not to do so during the lecture!

OK, I'm just amusing myself by remembering the 'good old days'. I bumped into Arthur at the end of that lecture (didn't know he was doing Maths) and so there were four of us. The next day in the stats lecture we became five when we met Fizz and then during the following week V joined us. There have been ups and downs, but they seem trivial compared to what difference having the tweenies has been. Sometimes I do try to 'suppress' my obsession for maths, but I think it's caught on now! (well they did buy me maths books for my 6.95th birthday). Well I still don't let on, but they at least know that I love maths!!! (Did I really say that loudly...).

It seems that this post has increased without a bound, but the holidays imply that I no longer have to be asleep by midnight. So that in turn means that I can start typing a post in the afternoon and finish it at sometime after midnight, which unfortunately means that I end up typing more!

During the first semester I missed two stats lectures (one due to an unfortunate problem, the other because of my stupidity). I also missed two calculus ones and it was the 9am one on both occasions! The first I overslept and the other wasn't my fault. Only missed one sets lecture and no workshop ones. (Hurrah) I think I attended all my supervisions apart from one for which I had a dentist appointment, but overall I think I didn't do too badly in terms of attendance. The thing is, in college it was drilled into us that 'attendance is related to performance and understanding', which I have to agree with now. If I'd at least attended the stats example classes it may have been different... After reading week I actually started putting the hours in as well, and found a routine which worked for me. (shame it didn't last!)

So to conclude (I'm sure I said that before!) I finished the first semester on a positive note - actually looking forward to the second semester! The general balance of good and evil was towards the good side. I met some really cool lecturers and became slightly more independent. The end of my Calculus exam signalled the 'birth' of this blog, and so I began semester two with a blog, two maths books (the beginning of my collection) and the Tweenies minus a member. (Thankfully not me). OK, I'll shut up now. Although I wouldn't mind posing the question: How many maths book do you think I have in my collection now?

Don't hold your breath about part II- results are probably going to be given in July sometime, so you have time to recover!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Ultimate Challenge

So I'm sat typing this as a 'draft email', since I'm sat downstairs. I seem to be in a different world altogether. The TV is on, and it just seems a mess of pictures, with a lot of gabbled sound. I'm the only one in this world and there is a perfectly good reason for this. My exams are finally over for this year. Finally. Truthfully, I must say this again, that I understand how Frodo felt upon reaching Mount Doom. Obviously he had to trudge ahead and destroy the ring, which I take will be my results day, but the hard work has been done!

Before I go any further, a big thank you must be said to my calculus supervisor for this semester. In our last ever supervision we had gone through the past paper questions, and like I mentioned he'd helped me devise a strategy for this exam. This played an important part, since in my other exams I've been rather 'reckless' and not really had a technique.

So I woke up at 3:30am this morning, which explains why this 'draft email' is taking me a while to type. I'm actually thinking... thinking before typing - a rarity indeed. Anyhow, I didn't actually 'properly' get started on revision till about 4:30am. In the past few days, when I haven't been posting, I was actually attempting revision. With the mechanics stuff I hadn't really bothered about 'frames of reference', and for the ODE bit I had yet to make sure that I
knew all about 'existence and uniqueness' and the graphical bits. (The bit I hate). So my plan had been to do all this in the morning and do the problem sheets which I hadn't done.

Lot's of things happened in the early hours of the day, and the panic was building. I didn't really do the mechanics which I wanted to, but at least I know the existence and uniqueness theorem! (Well I hope so anyway). I know that Dr H had told us in the riot act (which I seem to have read more than once! :o) that Maths is NOT a spectator sport, but I must be one dumb fool, since knowing this I decided to only look at the solutions for the mechanics sheets. (I'd attempted most of the ODE sheets, when they had been given, so I didn't answer them again properly, but rather 'briefly'.). The question that I was looking at the answers for were the ones to do with 'a component of angular momentum being conserved' and all the stuff of frames of reference. You see last years paper had a question on the angular momentum stuff (note how I no longer become distressed upon hearing that word!!), and I hadn't been able to 'dig it out'. Partially because of my 'dodgy' revision.

Anyway, being 'OK' with the ODE stuff was the only comforting thought for me in the morning. I got into Manchester for 8:45am, making sure that that part of my nightmare also remained a dream. The plan: revise in the Newman building until 9:30am. Bella happened to also be in the Newman building, and whilst she found our courseworks for the first Matlab coursework, I went over all the mechanics notes- one last time. It might have been more effective had I done the questions, but thankfully Bella being there helped. Upon having found our courseworks (we have turns in finding them :D) we both went through last years paper and she helped me with the angular momentum question. I was nervous about it, but I knew how to answer at least one part which was comforting. The coursework returned was for the Matlab report which I had a terrible time with, however I'm quite happy with my mark. :)

You see I was relaxed about getting to the exam hall on time, and this had rubbed onto Bella. Normally 30 minutes before she'll start getting nervous and pushing us to hurry up, but this time at 9:30am she was there with me as we hurried to the exam hall. Well Bella hurried, whilst I ate my bananas. Why am I going through the whole day? I don't know to be honest- things haven't sunk in yet I suppose. This is the first exam for which I arrived early (wasn't I eager!) for on my previous two exams I always had to stay behind at the end and fill in the front. I did comment that in my Linear Algebra and sequences exam, I had stupidly treated them as English exams, however today that wasn't the case. (Sadly I must say :( ). I'm not pleased with my 'presentation' it seems (amongst other things), my writing deteriorated quite rapidly, and I hope my 'sorry' will make the marker have some mercy on me!

So my theory was to do all the mechanics questions first and then the ODEs ones. I was initially (t=0) thrown into a panic as I flicked through the paper, since it seemed impossible! However the second flick (t=60) slightly calmed me down. The mechanics questions were not nice. There were only three darn questions, yet they took me about 1hr and 45 minutes to complete. Aha- I know why I'm giving the whole 'commentary', it's because I'm not going to perform the full post mortem of the exam. Nope. All you need to know is that this bean is very silly and stupidly 'derived' the equation for velocity in polar co-ordinate form. And then I went and derived acceleration as well. No wonder I was stumped for time! The darn equation had been given to us, but no, I didn't read the whole question.

I don't really know how I have done, which isn't reassuring. I did miss a question out and left another incomplete, but overall, I really don't know what to make of the paper. I think this is because the paper had a balance between 'good' and 'evil' i.e. mechanics and ODEs. I did spend an awful amount of time on the mechanics questions, but they were 'longish' questions (especially if you hadn't revised properly) and I'm glad of this. Sigh. I'll dismiss this paper in a few hours, but right now I think I might be feeling a hint of 'regret'.

I keep on wanting to talk about me 'exam plan' but I don't. After the exam Fizz commented that she'd started from question 1 (ODE one) and then done the next, another ODE one etc, and so towards the end when it came to do the mechanics one she ran out of time. I managed to complete everything (apart from the bits mentioned above) but I didn't check all my work properly. The big thanks to my supervisor is for the following reason. I have previously complained about the lights in the Sugden sport centre, and today yet again, after 2 hours I had a blinding headache. It was the sequence and series type, and it wasn't very 'good'. I was 'holding' my head whilst trying to write at the same time. It was hard work trying to think and towards the last hour I was on auto pilot. Cue applause to supervisor. The only reason I came out of the exam having attempted all the questions is because of him. He hit the nail on the head when he said that you have a period in the exam when you're not at 100%. I didn't actually think that his comment would be painfully true!

Anyway, my exams are over. As always when one suffers from lack of sleep, they tend to go hyper for a while, and then erm ... crash! I've got three more books for my maths collection now- thanks to Bella and Fizz (Milo has been thanked previously :D). I'm going to give my assessment of how my first and second semester went tomorrow, but I feel that I was a 'bad' student in the second semester compared to the first semester. Anyway more on that tomorrow. We didn't discuss the paper in too much detail since all of us were not sure what to make of it. Panya was surprisingly 'nice' and good today. I mean normally I don't tend to talk much with him (I have my reasons: college) but today I have officially decided that college was college, and Panya will never change some of his Panyanic habits (:D), like I'll possibly never fully grow up. Therefore he will now be known as Arthur (you know that cartoon- 'I say hey, what a wonderful kind of day....', you probably know about Buster surely! And Francine or maybe Binky... surely you've heard of Arthur!). No real reason, but erm... I didn't recently watch Hey Arthur or anything- what would give you that impression?! Arthur it is. (Sounds weird compared to Panya- but hey, I'm low on inspiration).

Milo went home today and I helped him pack. At the time adrenaline was my friend, which I long for now. Milo had a lot of stuff indeed, and well, I like doing stuff like that and helping Milo was cool. (Although tomorrow may be a different story- I'm just hoping that it's not too bad). Milo was particularly eager to get home, since he's not had the best of times with his flat mates. I have yet to form an 'opinion' as such, on them, but it feels weird that we're all probably be going to see each other again in about 3.5 months time! I like the routine of lectures etc, but I'm hoping that the time will fly since unlike previous years I have an agenda for these holidays.

One thing that I will NOT miss about term ending, is carrying a damn heavy bag. My own fault, but not having carried it for a week seemed to have taken it's toll on me. Actually I lie- I'll be going into university on 6th June. This blog isn't going anywhere, so the lots of things which I have to post can always be posted tomorrow! (Trust me I can talk for England and also type for England.)

Is it weird that I want my exam results now? As in right now. I mean the minute I step out of the exam hall, I want to know my results! Ok, I'll shut up now- I think the celebrations have got to my head. So it's been a difficult month and we always have to look forward and upwards. (Easier said then done... 3x3x3=9: BTW I've been telling that to everyone!). 'A sobering final comment' (damn me quoting my notes again):

One can grow to appreciate and maybe 'like' mechanics. I'd include the ODE bit in that as well since that had the oscillations. When I was revising, things about oscillations made sense, which is always good. All that 'mumbo jumbo' about resonance, damping, spring constant etc made sense. I began to appreciate how mechanics applies to the real world, but still struggled in the questions. My advice: keep at it. I know I'm not the 'model student' for mechanics, and never will be. I will always find mechanics difficult, but I'd follow the advice on this page seriously (well the last two paragraphs anyway!) if you want to 'like' it better. I think having understood some concepts, and how to derive them i.e. remember that you 'cross product with r here etc' was the difference today, since I didn't have to memorise much. Oops, getting carried away again, but there's more to what I want to say that'll have to wait for tomorrow.

BTW tdstephens, if you're reading this, how come your blogs disappeared?!


PS: Now I can post as much as I want, with no guilty consciouses. Muhahah- although I will try my best to be more organised!(It's either two posts tomorrow or one loooong one- you decide :D) No more having to wake up at 9ish and revise anymore -woohooo!

Friday, May 25, 2007

A 'muhahaha' moment.

It seems that no matter what I say to myself, I can't seem to 'not' post. Today I had really not intended on posting, however something happened (as always) which has resulted in this post. (In my defence my intentions were to check my emails!).

So as always, meal times are a loud affair in my house. The teletubbies have much to say, and well I don't exactly sit there quietly.

First a riddle, posed by Noddy (I have my suspicions on where this came from, but will later check and let you know!).

'I have something which weighs 'nothing', and is very small. If you put this thing into a barrel, the barrel becomes lighter. What is this thing?'

Ponder on that, and let me know whether you get far. Noddy was very smug as we all struggled, but at the same time my brother was complaining about Einstein! I don't know why, since erm.. my brother does tend to talk some nonsense at times (wonder where he gets that from!). Anyway, I rose to Einstein's defence with the comment, 'Einstein's ok- it's Newton you've got to watch out for!' (sorry Mechanista!). My Dad then rose to Newton's defence, and so I was humbled and conceded that Newton had done great things. My Dad then obviously expanded more on Newton, but it seems it was only me who was listening. (Lala and Po were still trying to solve the riddle).

My brother then once again went of another tangent and asked me formulas of chemical elements. I was slowly zoning out, and so replied monotonously. I mean, once again going on my A Levels, I'd say I'm 2/7 a chemist, so I wasn't exactly put off when asked for the formula for nitric acid, and hydrogen fluoride. Now once again it was my turn. I said, 'Newton's gravitational law isn't very nice', in the way which one does when one wants to invite the audience to ask 'why'. I waited. And waited.... and.. well no one asked why!!! As always, I'm not one to back down, so a couple of minutes later the same phrase was repeated by myself. Hoping that someone would blimmin say 'why'. No such luck again- it seems Noddy's riddle was causing every one's ears to ignore me! (They tend to do that when I mention anything to do with maths).

So I in turn decided to sit quietly and watch everyone struggle with the riddle. I didn't actually bother thinking on it for long, since it's either you know the answer or you don't! Obviously once again I opened my mouth, 'Are you all deaf- I said that the gravitational law is not nice so why are you not flippin asking why?'. Lala, is a lost cause but still no one cared. I maybe was told to shut up and no one wants to know, but things like that are so small that they're ignored by me. I didn't shut up is all you need to know, and after some time when I realised that no one was going to ask, 'why', I proceeded to tell them why. It was the whole thing about if you have two masses, M_1 and M_2, then the magnitude of the force on M_2, due to M_1 being present is proportional to (M_1xM_2) /r^2. (where r is the distance between the two.) Yes I've been revising, and things like this is pretty interesting, so I was trying to share them with everyone. :D

I didn't get a chance to finish, but they got the gist I hope! It was that darn riddle I tell you. Anyway- no one managed to get it, and the answer was 'unexpected'. I'll share it with you in a few days if no one manages to guess it. Then it was round two. We'd all finished eating by now, and my brother, well he likes to come out on top so to speak. He went 'running' (haha) to his school bag and came back with a paper. This paper:

Throwing it onto the table, he 'challenged' us to solve it. My brother was 'mocking' us. He even said to me that since I like maths it'd be darn embarrassing if I didn't find that number. Obviously, as you can imagine, that made me more determined to solve it. (In the back of my head I was thinking, if I don't solve it, I could always post it here!).So he continued taunting and mocking me, saying that we'll never solve it, and Noddy started guessing, '1, 2, 3, 4...'. My brother soon realised this and started saying no to each number. No he felt generous and told us that the clues on the paper. I just sat their, silently, as he mocked me, observing the box above.

Now I'll add my train of thought as to what I did at the end, since you might read it before having 'a go'. Obviously you might have already guessed the number, but still....! Since I'm not posting for help, one could say that I figured the number out. If only I could have taken a picture of my brothers 'shocked' face! Hahah, I can't help it. He seemed so darn smug, and well I did slightly rub it in (obviously after explaining to him how I did it, which he didn't seem to care about). That should teach him. I'm going to go downstairs in a minute, and erm... immaturely 'rub it in'. Should I grow up...maybe, but trust me, these are the times which we look out for in my family. The times when my brother embarrasses himself- he's only in year 7 btw. :D

OK, I'll stop 'gloating' but it was indeed a hilarious moment. Onto mechanics now- didn't quite finish it today, but isn't it depressing when one 'forgets' how to integrate and when one doesn't 'exponentiate' both sides of the equation! But still, things make more sense now which is good, but then again I can't answer the questions!



I first tryed to look for a pattern, but straight away my brain seemed dead bent on congruences/ modular arithmetic. It took me a while (since I'd been unsure whether it was an addition or mulitpliation table, so stupidly was asking Po what 7x12 was!) but slowly does it . This resulted in a wrong guess, but then I realised it was mod__. And then the muhahaha'ing started! I didn't realise the 'clue' but I got the answer, and well the only person who seemed to listen to me blab about modular arithmetic was Noddy. :/ Hurrah.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My mechanics nightmare.

A glance at the time and notice it’s 10 am. I don’t notice anything wrong with this, and so continue revising for my mechanics exam toady. Another glance and I realise that it is now 10:15 am. Time seems to be flying, I think to myself. However suddenly, out of no where, my exam timetable gives me a low blow to my stomach- making me keel over in pain. My exam- its toady. It’s at 9:45 am! What the heck am I doing sat here, revising nonchalantly when all my other classmates are sitting the exam. Panic overtakes me. I have to find the number for the lamb building and tell them I’m going to be late, is all that I can think of. But I dare not turn the computer on; otherwise I’ll never get up.

In my panic like state, I am able to think rationally- wow, that’s a first. I hurriedly try to locate the number from my file, but it’s useless. I’m never going to find it. Another panic falls over me- all rational thought out of the window again. I can hear my heart- my sharp, short breaths breaking the silence.

My heart continues to pound ferociously. I notice that my curtains are still closed and wonder whether this is some cruel trick that is being played on me? Is it not really 10:15 am- surely if it was my curtains would have been opened. A quick look at my phone confirms my fears. I have no idea what to do. I’m like a headless chicken- thinking of my friend, probably sat in the Sugden Sports centre rushing through the exam. I can’t even quickly get ready and run to the exam hall, since it’s not exactly round the corner.

Without thinking, I rush downstairs and try to explain the problem to my Dad. Everyone seems so calm about it- why doesn’t anyone understand! I’m supposed to be sitting in the Sugden centre, doing my mechanics exam! I ask my Dad whether he can drop me of to Manchester, and he seems to take an eternity to come to a decision. Finally he agrees and I think that in 20 odd minutes I should be there.

The next five minutes fly and I find myself in Manchester, outside the Sports centre. From the outside I see people running on the exercise bikes, and I remember that the entrance is on the other side. Suddenly, I feel calm. It’s a three hour long exam, I think to myself, I’ve still got about 2 hrs left so it’s not all that bad. I no longer know the time. I rush in through the doors and barge into the exam hall. Everyone looks up. I don’t care. My seat number has been committed to memory, so I go about locating it. My search comes to an abrupt end as I run into a mountain, and fall backwards. In my confusion the only thing I’m able to do is glare at the mountain which seems to have hands that drag me to my feet. I’m being forced outside! Damn- the panic returns. Why doesn’t this guy understand- I only have two hours left and he’s not helping!

Everyone’s eyes follow me as I’m forcefully dragged outside and told that I can’t sit the exam. The room turns upside down. Words seem beyond me. I can’t ‘not’ sit the exam! This mountain can’t do that to me! If I don’t sit the exam I fail mechanics- that means I have to re-sit it. That I don’t want to do. I pleaded with the man, but no words I said changed his decision.

However something must have happened- I call it divine intervention- because I soon found myself sat at the desk with the exam paper. With half the time remaining, I cast aside the horrible events which had happened and set about answering the paper.

[In my last supervision my supervisor had talked about exam technique, and I’d formulated a plan upon this discussion. The idea was to glance through the paper, and start with one I can do- not necessarily the first one- and then look at the remaining questions (most likely try to do a mechanics one first). Obviously since this is a three hour exam- well it would have been- one tends to ‘zone’ out or have a mini-nap in the middle of it. The idea is to leave the questions which at first glance you feel you can do, for this middle period when you’re feeling slow. This is a good plan in my opinion, since then one doesn’t later ‘freak’ out for the lost 5 or 10 minutes. (Questions like separation of variables I suppose). In this way you get the mean and nasty questions out of the way and towards the end you can be on cruise control.]

So with this in my head, I went about doing the paper. Since I’m slightly more comfortable with half of the ODE stuff (darn them oscillations) I decided to do all the mechanics ones first. I started one, did half of it and then moved onto the next one. This cycle continued- there seemed to be an infinite amount of mechanics questions!! The time was announced and my heart was in my mouth. I couldn’t even answer the mechanics questions and I still had the ODE ones to do. I had to get started on them since any hope of getting any marks was on them. What happened remains a mystery- the ODE questions remained incomplete. The mechanics questions- impossible. I’d failed was the conclusion that I came to.


Now if that actually happens next Tuesday, then I’m a dead duck. My ‘nightmare’ last night had actually been something like that. It was pretty realistic too- I felt everything, and after leaving the exam hall I even walked it to the mss building with someone and complained, groaned etc. (Much to the annoyance of this person!). I really can’t remember any of the actual questions of that paper, which maybe is a good thing after all! I must say that it’s weird how I’ve remembered most of it, maybe it’s a sign of things too come! This wasn’t one of them weird sensations which I had about subspaces- it was real.

My motivation to do start revising properly couldn’t have come at a better time! I have devised a plan- I’m going to do all the mechanics first, and then the ODE stuff. There’s so much mechanics though- central force fields, moments of inertia, motion confined in a plane etc. You see I’ve started slowly and I have yet to accelerate. I’m sure that once I’m got through mechanics I’d feel better. I’m hoping to do about four lectures a day, with the problem sheets and so should finish mechanics revision on Friday. Nine times out of ten, my plans fail. So let’s just call this a provisional plan. The one thing I’m dreading is learning about oscillations. Bella is trying to convince me that they’re not going to be examinable- but I’m pretty sure she must have been attending different lectures to me, since I never heard the lecturer say that! (But why is my head dead bent on believing her?) They’re just so ….gah! If the picture is given to me, then maybe, possibly 1% of me might stand a chance of solving it, but that doesn’t leave me filled with confidence.

All I can hope is that this nightmare doesn’t become reality.

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I have to make a big decision today- one could call it a life changing decision. I'm conflicted on this issue, since I don't know where I'm heading in life and this decision in some sort will define that. I like not knowing where I'm going one could say, so maybe that's why I'm afraid of making this decision. On one hand I could make someone extremely happy- which I want to- and on the other hand, the opposite can happen. There is a lot at stake for me in this decision, a lot. Ultimately it boils down to whether I want to make this one person happy, and in doing so do I disregard my own 'undefined' path in life? One thing I hate is when I'm indecisive over an issue. I have previously claimed to not letting other peoples opinions bother me, but in this case I fear these opinions. I don't want anyone else to know of this decision, but ultimately they will. And then how will I react? What will I say? The better thing would be to tell these 'friends' of mine the decision before hand, but I'm scared. Scared that they'll laugh- scared that they won't understand, and scared that I'll become someone else. There's a lot of conflict within me at the moment, but I have to get rid of these feelings of how others will react. Will my decision actually change anything? It might restrict me in some sense, and possible make me more maturer- which is another thing that I dread. But this persons happiness is at stake, and I can't not make them happy. For a soon to be seven year old, I do seem have a lot going on! I have to try and convince myself that I'm making the right decision, but that's not possible at the moment. I think of Bella, Ash, Asia, Bruno and I become nervous. I think of society and think of people and wonder how they'll see me.

Weirdly two weeks ago I'd made the decision and was happy, so everyone was happy. Is it exam stress that's causing me to change my mind? I don't know. Sadly. One day I'll have to enevitably make this decision so why not now? Sorry- I'm just trying to convince myself. I think I'll speak to this person and ask them what they want. Ultimately in life that's the most important thing for me- well it should be! If I make this person happy, then I believe that IA I'll be happy. Yes- it is decided, I shouldn't restrict myself to thinking of the here and now, and of how others may see me. I've always been considered 'weird' so what the heck- this isn't going to change anything! It's going to be scary, but I hope that I'm able to stick with my decision and live with it. Sometimes I do so wish that life was a smooth curve.

My kind of lottery

A mathematician organizes a lottery in which the prize is an infinite amount of money. When the winning ticket is drawn, and the jubilant winner comes to claim his prize, the mathematician explains the mode of payment: "1 dollar now, 1/2 dollar next week, 1/3 dollar the week after that..."
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I've grown to 'love' the sequence (1/n), and now this- marvellous! :o (My Dad actually laughed at this as well- and then well he did shake his head in the 'what are we going to do with you beans' way!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

'School success at your fingertips'

What do you make of this article? (It's pretty short) How does one go about measuring their fingers? If I look at my palms then my index finger and ring finger are about the same size! Then what? I mean is there any truth in the research?

Obviously the test has been performed on seven year olds, but nowadays tests and their results seem to be getting weirder and weirder. This is an unusual theory, but can you link it to the gender 'war' of why more girls don't tend to do maths ...? I mean one can research whatever they want- but until my biology teacher confirms this for me, 'Scientists reckon their findings are caused by different levels of hormones, called testosterone and oestrogen, and the effect they have on the way our brains develop and fingers grow.' I'm in serious doubt.

(I consider myself, in terms of my A levels, 1/7 of a Biologist, and since I've always liked biology I wouldn't mind hearing more!)

EDIT: I should have checked the bbc site first, before newsround that is! (a slightly longer article can be found at that link.)

*OK, you've figured it out- I can't revise. :\ Although today someone pointed out to me, that my headaches could be a result of my back pains and poor posture! Heard some good news today, which has made me happy though. :D

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Extortion.

Lot to write not enough time. Today was a brilliant day. Mechanics for breakfast- which actually tasted quite nice when understood and maths books for lunch! My supervisor is a genius. Full stop. Shame he's not teaching next year, but then again will I be taking mechanics next year?!!

I'm afraid that if I was to write about my 'mock seventh birthday' then it'd take a while! I wasn't going to post today but something else happened which has changed my mind. BTW I'm pretty sure that my personal tutor said that I'm somewhat precarious for a seven year old, (upon telling him that I am turning seven), but I'm not hundred percent sure. (I didn't really know what that word meant, and upon googling that's the closest to what I think he said, and it makes the most sense :D) I did say that I liked my personal tutor for a reason, even he's made the chaos link! (if I've understood the word correctly!)

Anyway, too business. In some other post I mentioned that I had bought a copy of 'Concepts of Modern Mathematics' by Ian Stewart, second hand. Do follow that link BTW, and note down the price. It arrived today (much to my delight!):


Now naturally I added this to my collection, however I noticed that this copy was particularly old. I didn't mind since I'd got it for £3.00, but upon further examination I realised that I had one of the first ever published editions of this book. Well I'm pretty sure that the copy I have, was published in 1975. I realised that surely there must be a new edition and obviously, having looked up the link I've added above I noticed that a new revised edition had been published in 1995. For a second I did wonder on how much the content would differ, since my copy has about 310 pages whereas the latest one has about 350. The ISBN numbers also seem to differ, but that's not something which I'll worry myself over.

Anyway, if you'd noticed- we'd have to pay £11.50 to buy the latest edition of this book. I would probably, most likely, definitely (to the dismay of my mother!) pay that much money for a book. I mean I have already done so, but that's not the questions. Even further examination of the book (I was shocked that it was still 'alive' so to speak!), I came across this on the bottom corner of the back:

Eighty flippin pence for a book! Wow, if only we rolled back the years eh? That was 30 odd years ago (you do the maths ;) ), but still from 80p to £11.50, times have moved on I suppose. Imagine how many books I can buy if they cost 80p each. I wasn't even born then! So yeah, this is just me wishing that maths book did actually cost 80p. Obviously the 'old' version shouldn't differ too much from the 'new' one, but I feel like I've acquired an ancient artifact! Thankfully it's not the only second hand book I own- so it won't feel left out with the others.

What's the cheapest maths book you've ever bought? I've got three other second hand books, all published in the 1960/70s (ish) which I got for £3.50 each, but this has to be the cheapest at £3.00. (Well the others were hardback, but if they weren't then they'd probably be cheaper). Word of advice when buying second hand: ask the buyer when the book was published and which edition they have. I mean obviously a book on Linear Algebra will still be useful now- but books from the 1960s and 70s (wow that's a while back!) don't have the same 'structure' as the recent ones like Poole's Linear Algebra one. They're more challenging to read, one could say, and most stuff is left for the reader to prove (not a bad thing now, but initially I was slightly put off!). Actually that's only one of the books (the 1960 one) but they're all pretty neat and cheap. (One could argue that I don't need them, but they add to my collection so I'm happy!).

(My book collection post must wait for the end of exams!)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Computational Science and the Ratio of Perimeter to Area

Hmm, just spotted this on the maths website whilst I was trying to do anything but revise!

Colloquia:
Distinguished lectures organized jointly by the MIMS and the School of Mathematics and addressed to a wide mathematical audience
Forthcoming Events
2:00 pm. Pariser Building, Room C016

Abstract

Computational science and Engineering is a mixture of scientific computing and applied mathematics (and more). I will describe specific topics from a basic course in this quickly growing area. I hope there will be discussion of what is essential and whether a unity of presentation is possible - or if every subject has to go its own way.

I will also present a problem in plane geometry, to find the maximum area with fixed perimeter. With no other constraints, the Greeks knew that a circle wins. If the set must lie in a square, the solution changes. this leads to a continuous form of the "Maximum Flow-Minimum Cut Theorem" and there are applications of many kind: medical imaging, landslides, traffic flow,... There are also unsolved problems: What set inside a cube gives the least ratio of surface area to volume? (We also hope for a new approach to the original isoperimetric problem).

Gilbert Strang's home page

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Don't worry, although I'm tempted to 'turn up' I realise that its not the place for me to be! I think events like these are not for undergraduates, but mainly aimed at postgraduates. So in this case, I will force myself to 'not want' to go. I mean it's about engineering and computational sciences- the two things which I hope to avoid in my maths degree! But on the other hand it does sound interesting... (I'll keep you updated on what happens. :/)

Sigh. Milo's not going to be around then, so it's all for the best. Why can I not make myself do some mechanics?! BTW I was depressed the other day because United lost in the FA Cup final. I'm over it now, because I think we didn't exactly play like we wanted to win. Matches like that have me wanting to come out of retirement! Chelsea might have played 'negatively' but in the end of the day they won the cup. Must not grumble - at least we won the league. :D

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The torture continues.

Before I break into another long post about things, I must first share this with you:

0, 0, 0, 0, 4, 9, 5, 1, 1, 0, 5

Some may see something there, but alas for me I am clueless. I have been sorting my stuff out today and on the back of some paper I found the above 'sequence'. I hadn't written '...' after it on my paper, but I'm guessing it does go on 'forever and forever'. Mr B. in further maths once made us jot that down, and he told us to ponder on it. I had written it on some chemistry work, so maybe I can be forgiven for thinking about Magnesium and the experiment which we had done on metals, upon looking at it! So does anyone have any idea what the next term could possibly be or what the heck them numbers mean? (I might have done sequences and series, but when it comes to things like this I'm pretty dumb!) Do I hazard a guess at what the next number could be? I dare not!

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Why is it that I can't seem to rid my mind of thoughts about the two exams that I've already taken? It's hard to explain my theory of why I believe that I've got to where I have in life, but the only thing I can say is that one thing was missing whilst I took these exams. One could say that it was a belief of some sort, but others may argue that if you revise then you should pass. I know that revision is important, but in my life 'revision' has always been secondary to this one other thing which I believe contributes to my doing OK in exams at times. This something wasn't present this week and I'm sad to say that this is my own fault, and I'm not sure whether this thing will return. I am ridden with guilt, but I sincerely believe that I had not been lacking in the department of which I speak of, then I would feel slightly more confident now.

You see this things relieves me of stress indirectly, and allows me to focus my energy. I can vouch for the success of this thing, since it was apparent on numerous occasions during the January exams. However on Thursday it wasn't there. I was alone in my exam so to speak. Today whilst sorting my files for linear algebra and sequences and series (I was cleaning my room!) I once again came across the exam paper. Yes it's my fault, but I couldn't help a flick through the paper. The question said one-to-one and I had thought it had said onto. In my paper I'd written about the range, and tried to remember how to do the proof to show it's not onto. It said one-to-one! I knew that if I showed that the kernel doesn't equal zero then I was 'done'. I guess I really do need to get my eyes tested! (Random: The other day in the car, my dad asked me to read a sign (after grilling me about why I haven't made an appointment to get my eyes tested!). I thought obviously it's going to say 'sold' so I said 'sold'! The damn sign said too let, which was pretty embarrassing. I'm waiting for the holidays is my lame excuse.)

I wouldn't really be that concerned about this, but the real reason I am is because in both of these exams something didn't feel right. I apologise for being vague, but why give you more reasons to show how mad I am! Now I sit and think what other silly little thing that I miss out. Did I miss a question by accident? What if they lose one of my booklets for the linear algebra exam- I mean I had three so they might lose one right? What other mistakes like the one I mentioned yesterday did I make? I'm one them weird people, who after an exam, can't get them out of my system. But this time it's worse. Normally I'd ponder over it, then this other factor would have me believing that everything will be ok. I'm lacking in that department now. Some would call this an 'invisible' force, but nevertheless it's very powerful in my opinion.

Sigh. Well I can only hope to improve, and I wish that I am able to get my act straight. I'm not feeling like a particularly 'good bean' at the moment. Not in the normal sense, but it's all my fault. Maybe university is not such a good thing after all, I mean it has been a distraction in one sense, and maybe my obsession with maths has been another reason? A lot of maybes, and I even mentioned this to Milo, but nothings going to change how I feel. I can only hope that next year things will be slightly different in this department, and the positive vibes will return.

This is going to be my last post mentioning the linear algebra and sequences exam, I hope. Am I annoyed with myself? To a small degree maybe, I mean what's done is done, but I have a lot 'gah's' going around in my head! However, disregarding exams, I think I've got to look at the positives about my roundabout in sequence and series (thanks to the example classes), rather than worry about the exam. It's the expectation thing all over again you see! Isn't it ironic, that I'm worried about how I've passed when my first year doesn't contribute anything at all to my degree!

Anyway, I think that's enough complaining and grumbling about the exams. I now have 7ish days to revise for mechanics and ODEs and funnily enough something is telling me that I should have put more effort into this during the year! It's not that I don't find mechanics 'interesting' but I guess from all the modules I took, this has to be with stats at the bottom. Namely, because I can't 'do it'. Has anyone got any books which they could possibly recommend for mechanics? (Although mechanics is definitely above stats!).

Thankfully today has been a day of doing nothing. Well somethings but not revision related things, and it's been good. If you started reading this blog from the beginning, then you may remember that in January I was faced with the same situation that I am in now. Then I had about 7 days for the stats exam but this time it's mechanics! I've not really got into exam mode, but already I'm out of it. It feels like the holidays already, and I was so tempted to 'break' into one of the books I have bought! Hmm, it's going to be difficult but I'm more positive about my revision for mechanics, because I don't mind the subject that much. Obviously I'm going to be complaining about the things I can't do, but hopefully in seven days I will be able to resolve any major problems I have. I'm going to first start on the mechanics and then do the ODE bit, since it's going to take me longer to understand mechanics. I'm not confident about my mechanics exam in the same way I felt about stats! (I hope we get our coursework back for mechanics!)

My plan: start revision tomorrow. The sooner I start the less panicky I will feel and the later I can get up in the morning of the exam! BTW I have to mention that the Sugden Sports Centre is NOT the best place to have exams, namely because the lights in the place were horrible. I really had to look up a few times and wonder whether the lights were on. It was like the lights in a hospital theatre, but a bit brighter. Maybe that's why I had a headache? (excuses but I really have to have all the lights on when revising etc).

I'm not sure whether to take all the library books which I have back to the library. I mean there are some which I don't want to take back yet, but I'm worried that they're going to be recalled during the summer holidays and we may be going on holidays! I'll gamble on the ones I think are going to be recalled and then return them ones, but who would want maths books over the summer? (apart from me that is!) I have quite a nice collection, and a wide variety of books as well. :D Is it that obvious what I'm hoping to do during the holidays!

Something depressing happened today, which I dare not mention. Maybe that explains the gloomy tone to this post? Yes, I still feel slightly under the weather, but hopefully tomorrow I'll be over it! Can't wait for Tuesday, if I may say so again. It's going to be a fun packed day with some mechanics thrown in. Hurrah.


*the waffling towards the end is because I'm trying to remember something but am failing miserably. Hmpf.

Friday, May 18, 2007

3 x 3 x 3 =9

Was the genius answer yours truly came up with today. I probably, actually most definitely would not have remembered that had I not performed a 'post mortem' of the paper. 'Did you get 1/27 for the radius of convergence?' Bella asked me. Erm... no- I got 1/9, was my reply. Then it all came back to me (3+1/n)(3+2/n)(3+3/n) tends to (3+0)(3+0)(3+0) by the algebra of the limits, and so a_n tends to 3.3.3=9 as n tends to infinity. I should get fulls marks for that! Yes, I'm pretty annoyed at this moment. Obviously I can't resist discussing the paper afterwards, since me, Milo and Bella are all like that. But I can't believe what I did. I should have written, in my world this is true- you can't mark it wrong!

Yes, I'm annoyed. You see that's the only thing I'm thinking about now, and not stupidly checking the last answer.

In my previous post I mentioned that I intended to wake up at 1am today. I'd love to sit here and type that I did wake up at that time, much to your amazement, but alas things didn't go as planned. I had decided to put reminders on my phone that went of every 10 minutes. Well my alarm would have sounded at 1am, and then every 10 minutes til 40 past, my phone would have woken me up! My phone, isn't a new model and it's pretty basic- just the way I like it, so I was confident of being up. 7pm was indeed a weird time to sleep yesterday, especially having not eaten anything, so obviously no one was considerate enough to not disturb me! (No reason why they should be, but still....).

Anyway I was woken up twice possibly before 10:30pm, but then I woke up at some time unknown to me and I think I must have still been dreaming, but was kind of awake! I turned right and I was in a subspace. I thought to myself- I have to get out of here because I have to sleep. So I turned over to my left, and then once again there I was in a subspace, but this time I saw vectors around me! I mean v's and x's were all over the place. In whatever state you want to call that, I thought to myself that how the heck am I going to get to sleep now! I can't get out of this bleeding subspace. I then lay on my back, and all was well for a while, but I can't sleep on my back so obviously I kept on moving from subspace to subspace wondering how I'm going to get any sleep and wake up to revise! I did eventually drift of but it seems that no matter what I do, Linear Algebra will always remain a part of me. I was afraid before, but I've considerably calmed down now. I mean rather Linear Algebra than stats right!

Anyway, at some other time, my mum walked into my room and said 'I thought you were going to wake up at 1am and revise beans! Are you not going to revise?'. I shot up in bed and asked her for the time. It was 5am. I was sent into a panic- '5am, no mum please tell me it's 1am. It can't be 5am- you're joking! Why am I still asleep if it's 5am. This can't be happening!' and on it went. My mum told me to relax and do as much as I can now, and not to worry. I calmed down slightly but still I was worried. Obviously one has to look at what went wrong, so I picked my phone up and interrogated it. It seems that someone had sent me a message whilst I'd been asleep but my message memory was full so an 'error' message had popped up. This I take it is the reason why my reminders failed, since as soon as I pressed the OK button, the reminders all went of shouting, 'revise'!

However, that being said I would probably have freaked out more if it had been the Linear Algebra exam today rather than sequences. You see like I said, it seems that I might have spent far too much time trying to understand sequences and hence, all I had to do was learn the proofs and do the questions. So without any breakfast I tried to memorize the proofs- well the thing is in the notes it says 'write N'(e)....' and I always don't write that. I mean I don't think that it's necessary, but I thought that it's best that I used the same epsilon and notation as the notes. Shockingly I had had roughly 10 hours of sleep- the most I've had in a long time, so I was pretty awake. Maybe that's telling me something!

Funnily I had decided not to learn the proofs for divergent sequences, I mean I knew how they went (eg a_n and b_n tends to infinity, prove a_n+b_n tends to infinity), actually I remember now, you're meant to take N(k/2) for the sequence a_n and the same for b_n, well something like that I guess! Thankfully this question was in section b so I didn't do it. I had two breakfasts this morning- weetabix, tea and toast at 6:15am, and then tea and more weetabix at 8:30am! Oh and a banana. Ok, I'm waffling and if you're reading you're probably wondering whether this bean is feeling ok.

My answer: how can I feel OK after I claim that 3x3x3=9! I have been complaining about this at home since I've got in. Po got sick of hearing, 'I can't believe I wrote three times three times three is 9!', and retorted that why can't I just say that 'three cubed is nine?'. Maybe I should have wrote 3 cubed down, since I then wouldn't have stupidly added them up! I had written it as 3x3x3 hence why I have to say it that way. Sigh again. Yes that's probably I teeny weeny mistake, but yet it's eating me up! Makes me wonder what other silly things I've written down today.

I'm not sure whether it's the 'right' thing to say that the paper was 'ok'. I mean I hate coming out of the exam and saying 'positive' things about the exam. Seems to me like I'm jinxing things and one never does know how one has done. I mean I'm glad in a sense that I realised this 'error' since now I'm not sure whether it went 'ok'. We had two hours, and I first had a quick glance through the paper making a mental note about which questions were in the paper and section B. Surprisingly I was very relaxed throughout the exam, I mean normally I rush through the paper and then chill out at the end and check my work. I think I miss doing that since doing things 'slowly' is the reason why I've been making so many darn errors recently. So one can say I was casually doing the paper, and talking to myself about random odd things at the same time. I did actually have to shake myself out of the dozing and bring myself back to earth.

It's weird but it doesn't feel like 'exam season' it's just too soon. I did that exam the way I'd do my homeworks maybe, or the way I do the questions in the example class. (without help of course!). I do feel for the person marking my exam, since it started of pretty neat, but slowly my writing deteriorated. I can't help it! I started too many sentences with 'hence' and 'so' so I edited them and wrote 'thus' instead! I did the same thing about starting the answer with a variable as well. The marker is probably going to wonder whether I sat a maths exam or an English exam! The thing with sequences and series is, that you have to write every single little, minute, small, teeny...etc! detail down. If 2/n is null, you've got to first write that 1/n is null by the 'standard list' and so by the scalar multiple rule 2/n is null. You probably don't have to do this all the time, but from the courseworks and the solution sheets I felt that 5 marks can't have been given for saying that the sequence just tends to a limit!

I also foolishly wrote too much in the answers again. It said use the limit comparison test and what did I do: The limit comparison test is blah blah blah... and then proceeded to answer the question! Once again the marker is probably going to wonder whether I was answering the exam questions or trying to 'teach' someone! Sigh again- is that the third time already. I'm not sure whether what I'm doing is a 'good thing'. I mean in assignments it's different! I think this might be a reason for why I've become more 'relaxed' and my exam technique has changed! I'm not liking this change to be honest, since it no longer feels like an exam. It does actually feel like I'm 'teaching' someone and I try to write the answers down so the 'reader' knows every single teeny step that I have done. The markers obviously going to know what say the limit comparison test and the modified integral test are, so why is there a need for me to state them?

Ah well, will just have to wait and see how I do! But seriously, I'm quite eager to actually now get a 'copy' of my scripts after it's been marked just to know what the marker makes of it. I mean if it's not liked, then for the sake of passing the exams I shouldn't do it! I answered all the questions, some as I've mentioned incorrectly, but something weird happened in the exam. Maybe it's because I was relaxed but for the last half hour or so I had a splitting head ache- like the one I got that day when the demons visited! I couldn't walk away as well. You don't know how tempted I was to get up and leave. In my head that felt the right thing to do, since the exam didn't feel like an exam. :/ Weird and weirder, my hand went all silly and I was holding my pen in the way your hand makes a fist! These two combinations didn't help.

Yes, I sit here and write about my exam and other random things- is this my way of 'celebrating' the end of the exam? To be honest, my mental fatigue seems to have been transferred to physical fatigue. Physical is worse I've got to admit, and well my darn back is at it again. I mentioned to my mum that I feel 'old', she laughed, but I couldn't walk stood up straight. I suppose my 'sequences and series' file has increased in magnitude quite drastically which is one reason for this, but I do regret not looking after my back. If someone tells you to lift a stone slab- don't do it because you want to prove that you can! Not straight away anyway! Now it's a 'trivial' thing to do, but you see we did some building work once upon a time, and as you might have gathered in my adventures with the jigsaw, I like doing stuff like that. You know Bob the Builder is great.. 'and lofty too, bob and the gang...' ahem. Well lofty was the blue one if I remember correctly, with the sad face. :(

Oops getting sidetracked again- I just like doing stuff like that, 'physical activities' I suppose and making things is always fun. (Me and my brother made this 'kennel' sort of thing for a cat. Well there was this stray cat who used to sit in our garden. I think it had ran away and it looked sick, so we first started putting water out for it. Then it kept on coming and soon we were buying cat food and leaving it for it. I think it got bullied by other cats, since once this ginger cat came and poor Gandalf ran away! That's what I named it- Gandalf since it was grey and white. It used to always run away if we went too close to it, but gradually it used to come and wait for us to feed it. It once came in the house, and my mum wasn't impressed so that was the end of that! (we'd bought new sofas you see :D). One day Gandalf never came back. I want a cat but mums eh! (I'm content with going to my aunties house and playing with her cats- they're cool.)

Now the real reason I'm typing random nonsense, well there isn't one, but you see my headache hasn't disappeared since the exam. And well being mobile is out of the question, so I type. I've realised that I should be banned from emailing people! I won't embarrass myself further by writing why, but I seem to have a knack of emailing people. I mean that's natural but I seem to 'bug' people with emails! Obviously to me, it doesn't seem that way at the time, but upon reflection I should resist! It's not that I email, but my emails at times, sometimes sound like my posts. Imagine sending a lecturer one of my posts. Never mind that- imagine sending anyone a post! They'll probably have more reasons to avoid me! Anyway I will exercise more control on that front, well... I'll try to anyway. (15 minutes before my exam, I was emailing!)

Something else weird happened in the exam, but alas I feel that it's silly writing about it. Two down one to go. Got this Tuesday to look forward to i.e. the day I turn 6.95. Not 7- that's in June sometime,but 6.95. I wonder which maths book I'll be getting. ;) Haha, I confess that I bought another one today, however relax- it was second hand! (Concepts of modern mathematics-Ian Stewart). I have buried my grudge with sequences and we have settled the argument like 'mature mathematicians'. There were tantrums, and the boat did rock but let's be glad it happened eh! :D Now I've got real analysis to look forward to next year-woohoo. (hopefully). I was going to end with 'another' lame joke, but sadly I don't think that you have the patience for that! (if you're reading that is).

Damn- one last thing.... my plan to be the next maths \sout{dictator} leader (why does that always happen!) are already in motion. Last time I mentioned that bear doesn't like maths today this is what I made him type on the keyboard on this very screen. (well I held his hand and he pressed the keys, but still it's progress I tell you!). You'd think these kids would avoid me wouldn't you, but bears great. I was particularly happy seeing him bound down the stairs as I came home.

'red is my favorite colour. i like maths. beans made me write this.' by Bear. (He knew he was writing the first two sentence but no idea of the third!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I'm a survivor..

... ahem. Well for those of you who went into a mild state of panic (i.e. no one!), I made it through alive. This post is going to be littered with spelling errors, and sentences which do not make sense. I was scared last night that I wouldn't wake up at 3am, so I quite a few alarm clocks set up. One went of at 2:45am. The weird thing is that because I had been worrying about 'not being' able to wake up, my head shot up! Alas, if only it stayed like that! That's where the other billion alarm clocks came into play. 2:55am. 3am. 3:10pm. Dammit I want to sleep-leave me alone I cried! 3:20am and I was finally up and out of bed. I organized myself and headed downstairs, since that's what I do!

My mum knew I was awake- she always does. I mean everyone in my family knows what I do on the morning of exams. I can't remember ever not waking up at some unearthly hour, to do 'last minute' revision. Would I recommend it? Well it you wake up at 4 or maybe 5am then definitely, and if you haven't got an exam the day after then go for it. See where I'm going with this? I didn't have breakfast till pretty late... I mean early for you, but late for me, since I mean I didn't have it straight away! Rattled through the problem sheets, and since I'd just woken up I was doing pretty fine. Well until my stomach starting grumbling that is. Breakfast was a quiet affair, and I debated whether to make a post saying 'BOO'! Once again I decided against, since then the computer would be on, and then I'll just generate more weird lucks. (posting at 5am what the heck!). Some call it dedication- others call it madness.

Me I call it pure madness, or just me. Anyway, I decided to do a quick recap of the the first half of the course and I'm kicking myself for not doing it properly. I had decided not to learn the proofs anymore for the second part of the course and so time was on my side. Now I have a question- some might call me mad for waking up at some random, yet planned hour! But who in the world phones your house at 7am?? I mean I was having a nice small nap as well, when the phone rang... thankfully I didn't pick it up (dad did) otherwise I might have made another enemy.

So how was I feeling in the morning- I was pretty hyper, and felt that I won't let Linear Algebra ruin my life! I mean, the sun was rising, birds were singing, I was doing the questions! And those I couldn't... erm well the solution sheet provided me an escape route. I didn't manage to attempt the questions for the first half, but the methods used for the first half of the course were used again (slightly).

At this moment my head is falling and it's feeling very heavy. I intend to sleep in the next half hour and wake up again at midnight and then do all the problem sheets for sequences and series. The main thing is that I'm not going to be learning and trying to teach myself anything new- I'm just going to do the problems, past papers and learn a few odd proofs. The other day Noddy told me that I've been 'working' throughout the year, and I objected. Noddy then asked, 'so what have you being doing'? 'Sequence and series', I replied. The module which you can't do or struggle with is the one you're meant to spend more time on. I've probably spent toooooooo much time on sequence and series, but it's been ongoing, hence why I'm slightly less panicky about the whole thing. (thankfully, compared to what I used to be like).

I've not eaten since the banana I had at 9:40am. I was walking out of the library at that time and my exam was in five minutes! It's either I was pretty relaxed about things, or once again I've demonstrated how uniquely mad I am. The equally weird thing is that I was the last one up. They had to drag me away from the table- it was quite a scene! I was kicking and screaming and refusing to let them have my paper... hmmm, maybe I should keep comments like that in my head. If you're as gullible as me and believed that then I'm sorry! But that didn't really happen- I just had an invigilator standing over my head, watching as I wrote my details, since I'd come 'late-ish' and not filled them in the beginning. I didn't deliberately take my time, but he was really off-putting! Fine- I did take me time, but he could've at least smiled back. The invigilators were like the prefects from the demon headmaster! Scary.

So I'm blabbering about everything but the exam. It's sat here right next to me as I type this- watching my every movement. I think the resit paper is going to be the exact same one! Previously or do I say 'earlier' I mentioned that maybe 3am is too early. I had my reasons! The first question required us to write the augmented matrix and hence solve the system. I wrote the augmented matrix but then got an inconsistent system!! That wasn't possible since the question asked for the general solution. I had copied the augmented matrix out incorrectly. Muttering a few well chosen words to myself and looking to the skies I continued.

I forgot to take my watch with me to the exam. I don't wear my watch anymore since whenever I used to write I had to take it off, because it was irritating. Consequently I lost it on more than a few occasions, so nowadays I tend to take it when needed. Since I was sat at the back-ish I couldn't really see the clock at the front, and this was when I wished that an automatic voice announced the end of each hour. I was far too relaxed you see, taking my time, writing proper sentences. You wouldn't believe what I did. Initially I wrote, 'v \in.....', but then I stopped and thought to myself, 'hmmm can't start a sentence with v, so what do I write before it?'. I can't believe I did that, and it wasn't only then- I spent far too long trying to 'prettify' my work! Making sure the grammar etc was correct! Unfortunately as the marker of the paper will soon realise, my writing soon started to deteriorate as the pain in my hand increased.

Normally when I row reduce things, I do it as quick as possible and don't write the row operations which are being done. This time, I had to do it in 'slow motion' and write every single little, minute, minuscule...etc detail down! That was another factor which contributed to my writing the incorrect row echelon form matrix. So twice already eh- is anyone else sensing a bad day?

Don't worry I'm not going to dissect the whole paper- although that's tempting and I'm the saddo who would do that. I'm just 'reflecting' on the 'major' incidents in the heat of the fire! Two words: Gram-Schmidt Method. I liked this method, I mean I've got it in my head as lots of projections, so it's easier to remember, but G-S don't like me. You know I'd love to get my paper back and see how it's marked. I mean how much does it actually matter, that I wrote sentences and thought to write every single small (etc) detail down. I couldn't help it. I didn't read the question and so blindly applied G-S to the three vectors and obviously I got the same three vectors since they were orthogonal! That made me smack my hand against my forehead, and so allowed me to read the question properly. I made a big cross through my work, and started again.

We had to find an orthogonal basis for R^4 containing three given vectors. After some help yesterday, I'd understood why etc. So naturally you look towards the vectors from the standard basis. Now on my question sheet I'd written e_2, but on the paper I'd written e_4. :\ So e_4 it was. I once again started fresh, 'we are now going to use the ...' etc. Wrote out the steps, but realised that I really was after v_4 this time round. I calculated v_4 and it was the zero vector. :@ I was mad. Mad as a red hatter, and smoke was coming out of my ears. I knew that I'd chosen the wrong vector to add, but why I didn't know! I did another cross but in my anger I moved on. (lesson learnt from first semester!)

There were a few questions, which I struggled with in section 1, but managed to write bits and bobs down. Once proof was in the example sheets, and once again I'm kicking myself for 'skimming' over it! The thing is the whole questions were six marks and how many marks part a, for eg, was not given. So I didn't really know how much and what to write. Obviously in these circumstances one tends to write more than necessary. Dare I go onto section B? Nah- it was silly. We had to write a long page essay, explaining the LU factorization and describing how to find it! I mean the best way to show these things is an example, and I felt like creating one so I could write, 'now we do this, then that then this ...'. It was painful since I wrote a lot of extra rubbish down which unfortuantely didn't make sense. (didn't check that part since I was 'annoyed'!). So after this whole essay on the LU factorization we had to solve a system of equations using it.

Ok, I thought- I know what to do, so let's get on with it. I slowly wrote everything out, making sure that I wrote the row operations as R_2-(-2)R_1, so I could read the multipliers of. Strike three happened, however here is when I award bonus points to Dr Coleman, for helping me in an exam which had nothing to do with! 3 hours is an awfully long time for an exam, and I did day dream and doze off one could say for a few minutes. I had actually day dreamed of sitting in the same darn place doing the sets exam and thinking how the question had been wrong. I was actually hoping that maybe of the questions which I couldn't do (G-S) was wrong! Anyway, in my day dream, I remembered that in my sets exam on every single little, minute.... question I'd written 'CHECKING' where applicable, since Dr Coleman had drilled it into us! I made it clear that I had checked my answer, so if my answer was still wrong then have some mercy mate!

Now these thoughts brought me back to reality. I had an L matrix and a U one. Obviously with thoughts about what Dr C had told us, I thought hmmm let's check whether A=LU. It didn't. Hell broke loose for 10 minutes. I panicked. I couldn't find my mistake. What had I done wrong. It was only the very last entry which was meant to be 13 but was adding up to 18! I had made 'elementary' errors in my calculations it seems, but thankfully I snuffed them out before things got serious. You see had I not checked my answer at that moment, then the my solution to the system of equations would have been wrong! If I'd checked at the end, I'd have freaked out more and probably wouldn't have been able to spot where I'd gone wrong. Phew. Bonus points power infinity indeed.

We had to choose three questions from section B, and I chose the three from which I could answer the most! Avoided transformation matrices and kernel, but got in a muddle about column space and null spaces. (the proofs of them that is!). I suppose I can't complain since I didn't exactly learn them proofs, but are we allowed drawing black boxes at the end of proofs in exams? :D I did a box with a question mark next to it, since I was really making it up and writing things for the sake of it. Ultimately I went back to attempt the questions I'd left out first time round and GS was an obvious target. I spotted the e_2 thing and this time wrote, 'We will (again!) use the GS method.' I was going to write and I hope it's third time lucky, but I'm not sure who marks the papers, so I didn't want to test anyones humor/patience! I did write an ickle sorry somewhere, but that probably won't be seen.

Anyway, no more linear algebra for a while now. Woohooo. (the way Homer does it!). My thoughts on the module will have to wait for another day, but I'd rate the exam fifty-fifty. I mean the big if surrounds everything, but I'm not sure whether I've done enough to hit my 'marker', which is what I ultimately hope for. It says 'marks will be given for the quality of mathematical writing', so it makes me wonder that maybe it wasn't time wasted trying to start a sentence with a word. But really who really will care- it's just an exam paper, not a report! Sigh. One down and two to go. Can't wait till tomorrow night. Weirdly I'm still not hungry, my heads banging but my stomach is surprisingly well behaved.

Before I head of to bed, I must say that I was most upset to find that the Tweenies (apart from Milo) had gone AWOL after the exam! Milo took his exam elsewhere, but I walked to the back to find.... no one! I did ask Dr C whether he'd sit the exam for me tomorrow (and obviously get 100%), but I think he was worried that he might get 101% so obviously declined!


This post probably doesn't make sense. I mean name one of my posts which has made sense?! I bid thee goodnight and hope that I wake up in 7 hrs time to do some sequence and series!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Final Update...

OK... just letting you guys know I'm still alive, and seeing how much I can type in 12 minutes! I spoke to Milo today, after his crazy text made no sense whatsoever. I must say that helping Milo calm down (we're both spaz heads!) helped me to feel much more calmer too. I mean, I was slightly panicky but talking to Milo helped a lot. We've got to look at the big picture as Noddy told me. We have 8 modules in total which give us the overall grade- not one.

How do I feel about the second half of the Linear algebra course? I wish I could say confident, but alas that'd be lying. I've given up learning the proofs, and have instead tried to at least know what's going on. To be honest it feels pretty great, since I understand some stuff and stuff makes more sense than it did before. But as always I can't ponder on this great feeling because as 'important' it is to understand the concepts, ultimately I have to be able to answer the questions. I think I've 'dodgily' memorized most stuff, but I'm not confident on being able to recall the stuff on linear transformations. The ultimate property of vector spaces: If we have a finite dimensional k-space V, with the basis B={v_1....., v_n}, then for any, but not necessarily distinct w_1,.....w_n \in W there exists a unique linear transformation T:V -W such that T(v_i)=w_i. (i=1.....n).

Well that's how I've remembered it anyway! Probably wrong, but I'm trying to make sure that I know the theorems with names since there's a higher chance of being asked about them. For eg, the rank theorem for a linear transformation... haha I bet you thought I was going to go of on one and try quoting it! One's enough for me I'm afraid.

What remains to be done is the problem sheets, past papers and questions from the book. Is that possible? Well I'm hoping to be up at 3am and will firstly do the problems for the second half of the course because that should drive home the message hopefully. Not going to look at any questions now, since that was the reason for my panic yesterday. After the problem sheets I'll do the past paper, and then problems for part 1 of the course. Leaving them at the end, since some of the problems are a bit 'tedious' and I've done some of them already a few million times. (not!).

Praying like mad is another option, but I'm thinking that the reason I've been panicky is that I've not entered exam mode, and hence haven't done 'concrete' revision. It's more of reading the notes and that's all. The quote Maths is not a spectator sports seems to prickle my brain- we'll soon find out what kind a player I've been. :\ Times up. D-day is upon us....aaahhhhh. (yet I'm posting! That's just so you guys know that I wasn't feeling suicidal before the exam... if something is to happen that is!) Good night i.e. time to print of question sheets!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Freak attack

I'm sorry but all I can blog about is my exams! I'm having a freaking out attack so to speak. Linear Algebra is on Thursday. I've only revised till the co-ordinate vector bit, but have to do the change of basis business. Why am I freaking- I couldn't answer the questions! I have to revise all of linear transformations tomorrow, and I'm beginning to think it's not possible. I don't know what's more important- learning the proofs or being able to answer the questions! You see when I revise I have to start from a and work my way to z. I hate missing bits out and not doing things properly. Hence why I'm slightly panicking. I might have to just miss a few letters out this time round- I mean ultimately I should be able to answer the questions! How else can I expect to sit the exam.

I think I've foolishly made the same mistake as last time and tried to learn the proofs of the Lemmas. Sigh. I've become hulk like at the moment. Sleep seems the natural thing to do, but with a racing heart that is painful. And what makes it worse is all I think about with my eyes closed is how much I have yet to revise. Maybe I haven't got a 'useful' revision technique which works, but normally doing things a to z seems to work. I guess time has beaten me this time round. My plan now is to tomorrow morning wake up early, and do the change of basis stuff ASAP. Then work through linear transformations, kernel, range, isomorphisms, matrix of a transformations, similarity etc. Yes it sounds like a mouthful- so you can understand why I'm freaking out! 'So much to do so little time...' Ha that was a song tune for the show with the twins that I sometimes watched. (ahem) Made me smile though.

Hopefully, that's all I can do now, I will have finished revising everything by tomorrow night. Then 3am on Thursday morning I will work through the past papers, problem sheets etc. The damn exam had to be in the morning. :( I do sometimes wish that I had a better memory, because the problem I'm having now is that every other minute I just randomly jot down something which I learnt yesterday- say the orthogonal decomposition theorem. That's not very handy, since it's time consuming. I'm scared that I've forgotten what I've learnt. I sit at the table eating my food slowly, but reciting the theorems in my head! I do look quite a spectacle, since today I just paused for more than 10 seconds with the fork near my mouth!

I know the best thing to do is to stay calm, but I can't. I'm ashamed to say it, but I suffer from 'anxiety attacks' but they only surface exam time. The thing which makes me freak out is the fact that I feel unprepared for this exam, and obviously the markers. I create this pressure bubble for myself, and then I expect myself to survive. Am I stressed- most definitely! I just can't wait for Friday, when I'll have at least 10 days of breathing loosely. Maybe it's my fault that I didn't do things properly first time around and didn't organise my time better? Lot's of maybes, but the prospect of failing is another thing which causes panic. I can't see myself coming through this 'alive' so to speak.

Gah- once again sorry! I was hoping that by getting things out of my 'system' here, I'd be able to feel slightly calmer and so head of to bed. Not working. The thing is that I know if I revise properly then I'd feel prepared for the exam and would be calmer. My revision is being rushed. Some things are clicking and I've had lots of 'Eureka' moments, but it's a little late now. Another gah, if I may. I'm a stress head I'm afraid- especially exam time. I guess this is normal but alas I hope I can last till Thursday and not bite every ones head off! If only everything was pushed forward a week or if indeed Bernard's watch existed. Sigh.

Get real.

I'm easily amused (well about the first one anyway!)...



The second one is an 'old school' joke, but since I found both of them today I decided to post both. I'll spare you the other joke about 7's and 9's!

So it begins again.

Yes, I have better things to do in my time than worry about politics, hence why this is a short post!

Gordon Brown the next prime minister maybe, seems to be taking an interest in maths! Are you taken in by his words? I'm not too sure myself. The words of my secondary school English teacher spring to mind, 'I can see you as Prime Minister beans'. I hope you didn't choke on whatever you were eating then! (That was after I'd done the 'I have a dream' speech by Martin Luther King, in a competition and won!). Alas, I was a young bean in year 9 and took her words to heart*. Hope you've recovered now, but seriously, at least my speeches will be more fun and 'mathsy'. However, I'll save the 'absolute convergence' line until I'm elected (don't want to scare the voters). ;)

I'm sure I'll have your vote...right? Give me a couple of days, whilst I ponder on a way in which you can answer that question which ensures that you vote for me! (I'll be a good maths \sout{dictator} ahem leader...). Since I'm being dramatic I may as well continue by saying that if you don't vote for me then be afraid...very afraid. Erm.. that's enough dramatics for a post. I'm afraid that my plotting will have to wait till the summer holidays, but I'm open to any ideas or suggestions! Bleh- have to mention Dexter's Laboratory, that little dude has just got himself a new job. (don't tell Didi!)


*to a small degree of course!

(maybe to be continued on Friday!)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Demons

My room has unwanted visitors. They sit close by when I'm sat at my desk- breathing heavily on my neck, telling me to move. I remain stubborn and don't move - they don't scare me. Yet now as I'm sat typing this post, I feel defeat. I'm made of stronger material than this, I scream to myself- I know I can beat the so and sos. At least that's what I'm telling myself now. As always with unwanted guests, they're not very pleasant. They create a sharp pressure in my forehead- forcing me to close my eyes and rest my head peacefully on my books. Satisfied they withdraw and watch me struggle with my other inner demons.

I lethargically overcome this struggle and raise my head, shaking of the loud pressure. However my movements are slow, I'm weakening. Sensing this weakness they return, but there's more of them this time round. They want me down and out for the count. Once again I look around for help-the door being the only exit route, looks encouraging. I can't help it. Quickly closing my books, putting the lid on my pen, head hung low and shoulders slumped, I leave my room to these unwanted guests. My head feels constrained. It's been clamped tightly. I struggle to focus, and will the pain to disappear.

Outside my room, suddenly I feel lighter. The pressure has decreased but nevertheless it remains. A cup of tea, I feel will do the trick. Maybe an apple and a sandwich will do nicely as well. I don't feel hungry, but what else can I do? The food doesn't help but it makes me feel at ease for a while. I slowly return to my room- head screaming in pain. I feel that someone is standing in front of the door on the other side, not letting me open it. My books sit as they did when I left. Papers scattered everywhere. Now my ear aches. The chapter on Linear transformations on the first half of the course, smiles at me- encouragingly. I strain a smile back. It's going to be ok, the page says, get through this chapter and then all you have left to recap is eigenvalues, eigenvectors and diagonalization. It encourages me and I foolishly fall in it's trap.

I'm once again sat at my desk, and obviously the evil demons return again. I glare at linear transformations- wishing I'd gone with my instincts to avoid them. If only that chapter didn't exist, I moan, then I would have already started revising the second half of the course. My eyes fall upon the exam timetable. Thursday 9:45am. I have three days to learn- not recap- the second half of the course. I can do it, I mutter to myself, but then I see that we have sequences and series on the Friday after. 'Sub sequence strategy for showing a sequence diverges' I recite to myself. *Slap* That wasn't the demons BTW. Sense knocked into me, I will myself to ignore sequence and series. It's Linear Algebra that I must now focus on.

All this time, the demons are having a drink and laughing cruelly at me. I look at the paper again and realise, that the only way I'm going to get through linear transformation is, if I read the pages as quickly as possible without trying to make sense of what they say. I do this-ignoring the pain in my head- but then I'm stopped before I can finish. The demons have a new ally- the neighbours dog. Inside I scream at it to shut up, whilst a sharp sigh escapes my mouth. I look out of the window- hoping to find the dog. Maybe if I glare at it, it will cower in fear and go inside? There are lots of reasons why I prefer cats, and this is one of them. I can't control myself. I stand up suddenly and close my window shut with a bang- hoping that it'll sense my anger. They're meant to be intelligent creatures right?

The window shut makes me feel claustrophobic once again, and the demons close in around me. My head becomes heavier and heavier and once again drops onto my books. I close my eyes, and wonder what is wrong with me? Why is it that my head hurts? Why can't I revise? I wonder what have I done differently today? I woke up slightly earlier to revise, but that normally means I become 'hyper' not dead. Is it the weather? No, it cant be. There's someone else in my room I conclude. Whenever I sit at my desk, they come and sit by me- pestering me until I can no longer revise and have to leave. I'm being kicked out of my own room by an invisible enemy, one which is deadly. I'm not scared of this enemy- I'm worried of the pain which it is causing my head. Banging my head against the wall no longer cures my headaches. In the same way that drug dosages have to be increased, I'm looking for a new cure.

I wonder, is there any point in sitting at my desk and trying to fight these demons, when I'm not learning anything. I look at my notes and the words play and hide and seek with me. Don't they understand that I'm in no mood for games? The dog has gone inside now and my window opens again. I start talking to myself. 'The composition.... blah blah blah'. It's not making sense. I can't take the pain anymore. I no longer rest my head on my books. I close the book and exit the room again. How long is this going to continue? How do I explain this weird sensation that my head is feeling, which seems alien to me! I feel someones evil eye has rested upon me. Sauron maybe, but what would he want with an ickle bean like me? Who is this someone? Maybe I can ask Sauron for help.. but then again maybe not. I don't have the time for that.

I escape to the comfort of my mum. It doesn't work this time round- she herself is not feeling well. Everything seems cold and the only warmth I get is by sitting at my desk, and that I can no longer do! I'm at a loss as to what to do. Maybe I should bite the bullet and have a nurofen? That seems the chicken thing to do, but I am no longer able to battle these demons. I will hunt that evil person down another day, but today I must hurry and finish recapping the first half of the course and get started on the second.

If you haven't managed to make sense of the above, then basically every time I sit at my desk my head starts pounding. It's strange how whenever I sit on my chair the pain seems to increase in magnitude. Who doesn't want me to revise? I was even good today and woke up earlier. I was going to be good and not post for a while as well, but alas it's a waste of time sitting at my desk forcing myself to 'revise'. The only phrase ringing through my head is 'the sky is falling, the sky is falling!', indeed that's what it feels like as well. I will now again look to food for help, but alas I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. :(