Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Maths building is an airport!

I will get to the new building soon, but it is best that I leave all potentially unpleasant things till the end. Today was my first proper day back to the university, and, well it didn't feel like it. To be honest it felt like a Monday morning, straight after a lazy weekend. I don't know whether or not that's a good thing, but I saw quite a few lecturers, and it didn't feel like it had been 3.5 months! (I saw my calculus supervisor and a few other people, which was good). However, obviously I'm sure they were all looking for the nearest exits.

It was also great seeing the Tweenies again, and I used this opportunity to discuss something in detail. :( I have every reason to be negative, since being back, once again makes me feel somewhat 'lonely'. The Tweenies are with me; it's part of the 'friendship code' and I really appreciate this. However, I want them to be in for the right reasons too (but beggars can't be choosy right?) It's pointless, trying to persuade my friends, since they're already in. It's the other people that worry me.

I must confess that upon seeing all the freshers, I did wonder whether any first year students will actually care about such things. There is such a big emphasis on 'chilling out in the first year', that sometimes things get overlooked. The loneliness that I mentioned above, is that which makes blogging that much more worthwhile. It's not physical loneliness (if that makes any sense), but the mental one, which can be worse at times. I want to talk about Fermat's Last Theorem with other students. I want to talk about my stupid take on what Alan Turing said about humans as machines. But no one wants to talk to me. They dismiss me saying I'm obsessed and what not. Actually some never get a chance to dismiss me, since I try to hide this 'obsession' and just go with the flow. (Well it's not hidden in front of the tweenies, lecturers and this blog, so that's a start).

It's weird, but having just wrote about the loneliness thing, I feel sad. I know that I end up bugging people like my lecturers and some post graduate students, but it's only them who I can bug. The reason for this is, that I don't hide my obsession in front of them, and sometimes actually have a proper discussion about maths with them. The question of hiding my obsession never arises when I'm talking to my lecturers - I am beans then!! I honestly can't wait to see my personal tutor soon, and talk 'shop' with him. He's great. I was really hoping to see him today, but I hadn't sent him an email before hand and didn't know where his office was. I don't think I'll be seeing him a lot in the new building though. :( Last year, his office was near mine(!), so we always saw each other.

I know that I'm to one extreme of the scale, which is why I have been trying to gather thoughts and opinions from people on the other side. Maybe second year students might have settled after their first year, and might like it? Actually, term hasn't even officially started yet and I'm the voice of doom. Well I did say that it feels like the holiday didn't even exist... The funny thing is that in all conversations today, I kept on saying, 'Next year it's going to be tough'. I was talking about my second year when I said next year i.e. this year. I guess the whole seeing everyone again thing made me forget myself today.

If this post is long and nonsensical, then I must warn you that I only had approximately 3.5 hours sleep last night. I woke up at some early hour (read the sun had risen!) and thought that I might as well try to get into the habit of waking up early, so didn't go back to sleep. Shock horror. Hence, this is my PUBLIC apology to all the people who saw me or who I talked to today. (Especially the man near the elevator, and some other students and a few lecturers). I guess I was over joyed at being back, and my bounciness went into fifth gear!! It felt amazing.

I'm slowly going to park up for the night, but it really does feel great to be back. I know that I have been having doubts about my venture, but this will always happen until we move from A to B. I just wish that more students actually liked talking about maths. I did wonder a minute ago, about what I would have done, without this blog? I honestly can't imagine what kind of beans I would have been without it. I think the wheels had been set in motion before the blog was created, but this blog (and Blogistan) definitely helped moved things along.

I am pretty exhausted at the moment, but really wanted to dig this post out. I have also been slowly thinking about my 'New Maths Year Resolutions'; but the trick is to think in opposites. Resolutions are meant to be broken, so I have to write the resolutions such that there 'broken form' is what I intend to do. Confused? Yes, it is slightly, but hopefully they should be up on Sunday (before lectures officially start). Onto to maths building now I suppose (grudgingly!)

I speak no lies when I say airport; well that is my first impression of it anyway. The Alan Turing building, renamed the AT building is open for business. You may have noticed, that this building has yet to acquire the privilege of being written in small fonts (as the mss building), but first impressions can always change. Actually no building will get that privilege - ever. It was specially made for the mss one.

I must drift into the clouds, and speak of some sad news though. The mss building was actually open today. :( I do have an 'attachment' with that building it seems, but I resisted the temptation to pop in. I walked passed it and kept my eyes straight ahead; looking back would have been too painful. Although I was pleased to see my home, it naturally caused me to compare it with the AT building. AT vs mss, who wins you decide? Actually I will tell you anyway - the mss building (from my first impressions that is!) will wipe the floor with the
AT building. (I'm not biased about this you know!)

Hyperbole and me, is like milk is to tea. Well something like that anyway. The new building is quite good actually; I never said it was bad! Its just not my type of building if you follow me. It honestly felt like an airport terminal - now Manchester can boast two airports. I asked the Tweenies for their first impressions and 'cold, grey and stark', were their words. (I'm going to see how they will change). I can't but help go back to the airport comparison. You walk in and above, you notice 'the waiting lounge'. This I gather is the common room. You do a 360 degrees slow turn, whilst looking up and see eyes gazing back at you. Some familiar and others not so familiar. (It's good in the sense that you do get a chance to speak to more of your course mates (outside lectures), and people from the maths department. A bit like an open-plan office, where you might spot people from the top and hurry down to bug them.)

I could see my face on the floor, which gave me the heebedy jeebies indeed! Gah- I'm not saying that the building is 'bad', since it does look cool and it is impressive. Normally when you walk on your own and what not, you are in your own zone. I unfortunately do various other things without thinking (i.e. talking to myself) when in this zone. In the mss building, I could do these normally and never felt weird (because no eyes were on me). I don't think that might be the case with the AT building - I can no longer mooch around the building which is a pain! That's what I don't like. (Bearing that in mind, nothing stopped me today... )

When I get the time, I will be linking Professor's Borovik's post about the new building, since I liked the pictures of this other building that he had posted. The words hospital and plastic also bounced about today, but I think this building needs 'living in'. Tomorrow I am going to (try) and examine all the stair cases, and count how many stairs there are to the top. There is no point in jumping into a lift; the stairs are quicker. Don't worry, I know my attitude towards this building might change, but the amount of stairs might help! At the moment I am fifty fifty about it, which is quite good considering the fact that I didn't even go to the top most floor, and everywhere else. It's a new taste that I have to get used to; but once again: BEANS IT HAS ONLY BEEN A DAY! (Just reminding myself).

PS: I had my first 'formal' driving lesson yesterday (Monday), and I survived (duh). My instructor is cool, but not one who is friendly with maths! The problem: I can't multi task. Everything feels mechanical and not fluid - I didn't like that. I know I can't expect it to click straight away, but this is my theory: in computer games you play a tutorial level, or something which helps you to become fluent with the controls and the game. Then you start the game and get into the advanced stuff. With driving, why don't they take you to a large field or area of land first, and do the 'tutorial' sessions there? With no cars, it will make you more comfortable and you can mess up as long as you like. I like the idea of that, since once you have your clutch control sorted out, you can move onto the advanced stuff. I don't think I'll be liking this driving thing too much!

My instructor told me to read books about it. The reply in my head was: Sorry preoccupied trying to read maths books! I'm not really learning to pass if that makes any sense. It is just another skill that I would like to acquire, and I don't really care about 'having my own car and driving it everywhere'. (I understand that that feeling might change too - as other drivers have been telling me! ;) )


Anonymous said...

The new building is great. It is very lively with lots of interaction between the people on the higher floors and plenty of (blackboard/coffee) space to discuss mathematics. Not to mention wi-fi everywhere. I can see how it might be less attractive (at the moment) from the ground floor though. Hopefully the place will be better for students once the cafe area is set up.

beans said...

Hi, I think it can potentially be great! :p

I have tried to incorporate a reply to your comment in my latest post; but am I right in guessing that you are a post graduate student? (I come in peace BTW!)