Friday, June 29, 2007

'Stop being a geek.'

It's weird how certain incidents remind me of what I had intended to blog about some time ago! An anon reader commented:

'stop being a geek and have a rest . . .or ami the only one who does no work over the ols and everybody else is still revising last years material so they are on top form in September'

My reply to that can be found somewhere at the bottom of the comments here. :)

From Google (wiki) I have some rather 'nice' definitions of such word:

' "one who is primarily motivated by passion," indicating somebody whose reasoning and decision making is always first and foremost based on his personal passions rather than things like financial reward or social acceptance. Geeks do not see the typical "geeky" interests as interesting, but as objects of passionate devotion. '

Yes, I made that bold myself. This just made me laugh:

'A person who relates academic subjects to the real world outside of academic studies — for example, using multivariate calculus to calculate the volume of a cake at a party.'

Don't worry I've never done that, but it's always good fun annoying certain people by mentioning words like calculus. :D There are many other sentences which are 'funny' but my left hand has lost some of it's mobility so I'll take it easy. I've been called a nerd a few times as well, (well mystique tends to refer to me as one) and I found this quote interesting:

"My idea is to present an image to children that it is good to be intellectual, and not to care about the peer pressures to be anti-intellectual. I want every child to turn into a nerd - where that means someone who prefers studying and learning to competing for social dominance, which can unfortunately cause the downward spiral into social rejection."

The sad thing is that when I was in college, two guys used to compete with each other to get the least mark in biology tests! That's pretty sad, since many of the people there felt it was 'uncool' to take an interest in studying. I was fascinated by biology and learning about the human body. I let that be known. I have always been a weirdo and that is what ultimately has allowed me filter out all this social acceptance mumbo jumbo. Like I've said previously, you should do what you want without worrying how others will perceive you to be. Everyone is looking at a different angle. (I told you I was lucky!) If the same guys spent less time worrying about their image of being dumb and how they looked then they could lots more. Why is it so hard for other people to understand that there is nothing wrong in learning and acquiring knowledge?

The sayings 'knowledge is power' and 'the pen is mightier than the sword' is what my Geography teacher used to always say. Why is that in todays society that people care more about their social acceptance and how others see them than what really matters? What matters is that you're happy and doing what you love. I take is a blessing in disguise that I'm doing maths- something that I enjoy. Seriously though- there will always be someone who laughs or takes the mick out of you. On my first day in college a group of people took the mick out of me- so what? There are always people out there who share the same interests as you and sometimes we get lucky and meet them. :)

Anyway this is not about me, but I have a question for all you people out there reading this. You don't have to post a comment (sniff) but you can always ask yourself this question. If you have a degree, or are studying for one why did you choose to do your degree? Is it because you wanted a degree, or because you enjoyed the subject you chose to do? Maybe it's because of career prospects?Also if you're doing post graduate studies, then why? If it is maths that you're studying or have studied, why did you choose to do a maths degree? It is maths that I'm really interested in, and really about why someone would choose to do a maths degree.

Going on them 'definitions' some may call me a geek-nerd. I don't take that to be derogatory. I am 'me', and as I always say to my brother, it's a complement. :D However, I chose to do a maths degree because I have always loved and enjoyed maths. It was something that I had a passion for from an early age and, thanks to some positive influences (teachers and the folks) I was able to realise that it is maths that I want to study. I had a wide choice of what I could apply for, but in maths is where my heart really lies. To be honest I was ignorant of what maths really was when I was applying to university. I just thought- three years of maths, maths and more maths, sounds great. (I was looking to apply to university for Maths and Chemistry at the end of my AS exams since I'd messed up further maths, however A2 further maths was much better and I then started liking chemistry less!) It's a good job that now at university - having decreased my ignorance somewhat- my love for maths has remained.

I have been researching this post for some time by asking various people why they chose to do maths. One person said that they chose it because they liked maths and another said because it was a degree. A few have said because they didn't know what else to do and they were good at maths so they chose to do a maths degree. Earning lots of money after graduating seems to be a common theme as well. I've realised that I'd probably never want to leave the whole academic path. I can't envisage myself doing any other job, although some jobs do sound cool (sales person...). If it was up to me I would probably continue doing maths forever and forever- just learning it and appreciating various forms of it that is. When asked by Milo once upon a time, I replied that learning and understanding maths was a challenge. I always like pushing myself (unfortunately at times!) and I always enjoy challenges. Winning or losing isn't important, but it's what you gain from them that is. Challenging yourself allows you to improve and always sometimes question things. It's about setting yourself goals and trying to accomplish them. I wanted to understand maths- that was the challenge. I wanted to do more of it and be able to do. In college I liked what I saw- I wanted more. University maths it was for me then!

Just now I've eaten (half way through writing this), and the 'gang' classed me as a 'Geeky Nerd' or 'Nerdy Geek', however they deduced that it should be taken as a compliment as well. :D Unfortunately many of you might not find this funny, but to enhance my freaky nature I did a 'freaky' thing. Po always starts singing a line of one song and for the rest of the day never shuts up. In the end most people have that song in their head and so Po is subject to many evil looks! Today the line Po was singing was 'it's Real Love that you don't know about'. If you know what I'm going to say next and want me to not write it then I'm sorry I have to. If you don't know and are already worried about my freakiness then it's bye bye for now! I couldn't help it and so told Po that in my head I keep on hearing, 'It's Real Analysis that you don't know about'. :o

(Have you all left the building?) It's in that silly tune as well, but I said that followed by my \sout{evil} normal laugh! Hahaha. That shut Po up though- although I was subject to that 'what the heck face'. You can come back now!

Anyway, I guess I want to hear about your motivation for studying and doing maths. I have never thought that by studying maths I'm 'studying'. When I'm doing maths it's like playing video games. It's like playing football (although I'd choose to play football any day!) It's something that I enjoy doing. Obviously when it's time to revise I become bogged down by things but on the whole, it's no longer a subject that I have to attend school and study. I don't have to do it. I chose to do it because I enjoy doing so! The 'top' thing about university maths is that it's very diverse. If you don't like one topic move on. I've not started 'learning' or doing maths yet, but I intend on doing so. Not just because of the PASS thing, but because I want to explore my subject further. Maths is cool. *draws black square* However, my 'thirst' for knowledge is not restricted to maths. :) (I also enjoy biology, chemistry, a little physics some history and.... do I have to continue? Why not is what I say.)


To my random doings now! I've been helping someone fix and repair their house. Naturally I volunteered, doing random jobs like getting rid of the carpet and helping to knock down walls! (It was a partition in the room made out of wood). Yes, I stuck my bob the builder hat on today but alas I did some stupid things. I was using the mallet to hit the wood and my foot was at a weird angle. It slipped and my hand scrapped against the wall. It started bleeding but I didn't realise it (it wasn't too bad), but I have lots of other bruises and pains to be proud off. I think I did something to my left arm (I got carried away I guess) and typing is indeed painful. Using one hand is to slow, but it'll get better. What else- well I picked pieces of wood up and a nail went into my thumb. :/ That hurt! It was good fun though and I look forward to tomorrow. (Let me introduce you to the gang: there's Bob, Wendy, Lofty, me, Rolly and Spud. :D)

Also I got the work shadowing/work experience placement at the secondary school! That's a relief but for the next two weeks I have to be up at 8am. Noooooooooooooooooooo. (That means I can't sleep at 3am!). I read something today and realised that blogging might not be a good thing after all. Actually I realised that I should be careful about what I blog about (i.e. careful about all things\{maths}). There's a huge chance that someone who I might write about may come across this blog. This is just reminding myself. :) [The post feed will go off tonight- my guilty conscious means I have to change someones name in previous posts. :o ] Initially I didn't expect my blog to be read and so probably posted a lot of silly things. If you create a blog and don't want anyone to read it, my advice is to not link anywhere! (I don't mind this being read :p but I think that I shouldn't write nasty or bad things about other people. Or things which I know if a certain person read would find offensive.) Another reason why I should be careful, is that I'd rather that someone not figure out who I am! Well not yet anyway...

To quote something I read somewhere, 'I shouldn't write anything that I wouldn't write on a postcard which could be found by any random person'. I hope that I haven't written anything as such, but one may never know! (I don't intend on reading my posts just yet, but 'control f' should help.') However, that being said, I suppose from now on I'll take care not to write anything which I wouldn't normally say to anyone. This blog has definitely helped me a lot with my maths, and as have many of the readers and commenters. :) It's inevitable that I whinge, but I'm trying to steer this ship into mathematical waters where it belongs! Don't worry I'm not going to stop blogging (if that had you worried, and if not then haha!). Just hoping to blog about the right things I hope. :)


Jake said...

'A person who relates academic subjects to the real world outside of academic studies — for example, using multivariate calculus to calculate the volume of a cake at a party.'

That made me laugh because I did once use Cavileri's slicing principle to calculate the approximate volume of a banana. ;)

beans said...

*googles Cavileri's slicing principle*

Hehe, I'll resist the temptation to do the same. ;) (namely because I've got that shrek look again!)

What I tend to do when asked to pick a number is first choose the number two.Then I pointedly ask everyone if they can guess why I chose it. They're all sick of me asking that and all tend to reply, 'because it's the smallest prime number'. :D At least they've learnt something... that is if they didn't already know. (Well some people might reckon is the smallest prime number).

Graeme said...

I took maths, further maths, chemistry and history as my a2 subjects. My teachers in each felt I could continue to university level, but it was mathematics that came most naturally.

I thought I'd do a three year Bsc then venture into the city for a stack of cash and early retirement, but somewhere along the line I got bitten by the pure maths bug and the Bsc became a masters and I started doing summer research instead of internships.

I continued to phd because I felt I'd only scratched the surface despite four years at uni. So it's very much interest in the subject rather than any career plan that motivates me now.

beans said...

Thank you for your comment.:) I know what you mean about feeling that we're only scratching the
surface! I guess that I must remind myself that only by scratching the surface can you reveal what 'lies beneath'. However, although I sometimes feel that I should seperate the want to scratch at the surface, I think I should no longer deploy my tactic of normally facing these situations.

The fear does pop up, but nowadays it's more of an eagerness to quickly scratch away.

I think our intentions are important in whatever we do, since by creating the intention we're half way there. Do you think that you were able to 'do better' during your degree, because of the change in your motivation and attitude? (if that makes sense.:o).

Once again, thank you. :)