Monday, January 28, 2008

Murder in the Back Row

Today was the first day of the second semester, and I am not surprised to report that I have already broken a "new semester resolution"! (Unfortunately I am not ashamed of doing such a thing...) I woke up this morning with a positive spring in my step, which was really just disguising how out of touch I was with the real world. Having had approximately 6 weeks off, I have lost any sense of timing that I had, and knowing when to wake up. Also, not having a 9am start meant that I became too relaxed. Yes, you have hit the nail on the head. I was late on my first day back. Was a big breakfast necessary? Did I have to post the two letters today? Yes and yes again. I only started worrying when before leaving the house, I realised that I didn't know which building my lecture was in! A lot of delays meant that I had to erm... take the bus on Oxford Road.

Actually I am ashamed to report that, considering the amount of complaining I do about the road. It was 11:56am and it would have taken me 10 minutes to walk to the AT building. Having bought my travel pass this morning, I thought I might as well break into it once and then use it sparingly! (Because I hate walking on that evil road, I always feel compelled to take buses; which is the best reason to avoid it for walking is fantastic.) Rushing into the AT building, I quietly entered the class room 5 minutes late. A burst of annoyance rushed through my body as I found somewhere to sit. I had missed the introduction. I was late.... and that for my first ever lecture. This was a big deal. My mum, when I was a child(!), used to tell me that if I whinge/cry/be a pain on new years day, I will do so for the rest of the year. If that holds true, then I guess I will have to get into practise of using my "fashionably late" excuse!

[It doesn't hold true by the way--I'm not a pain in the neck throughout the year because of one day! Pfft, give me some credit at least!]

Sadly I found myself sat next to the window and at the back. This meant two things: firstly I would have great difficulty seeing the board, and secondly the window is the worlds biggest distraction for me. Little did I know that there would be a thirdly. As I sat trying to listen to the lecturer, (whose a nice friendly guy and softly spoken), I looked up to the heavens (i.e out of the window) and screamed WHYYYYY?! WHY ME?! Why did I always end up sitting amongst the annoying pieces of flesh and bones, who could not keep their mouths shut during a lecture? That was meant to be venomous (although the feeling has now passed!)

They started with a discussion on what the lecturer had just said. I let that pass and actually tuned into the conversation for a second, because it was interesting. Then suddenly the tide changed. I found my Hattori Hanzo sword in my hand. All I had to do was raise my hand slightly for a nervous shudder to overcome everyone. And then silence. All conversations but one stopped. My sword founds itself on the floor again, and the lecturers voice could be clearly heard, and panic stricken eyes kept a look out for "the sword". I smiled to myself as the lecture continued. (Note I didn't say smiled evilly.... I'm the good guy in this story!)

Yes, that is what I was (happily) thinking about during the lecture, as the annoying so and sos talked and talked. For those who have watched G103, you might recall the lecturers carrying the sword pictured. Today I thought that to be a fantastic idea. Don't worry, no blood is every going to be spilled, but imagine everyone shutting up as soon as that sword comes out. Indeed I had a very productive lecture!

The lecture was nice and soft, which might have been the reason for people talking. But where are your manners? Why do you talk when the lecturer is talking? I am out of practise of attending lectures, and must confess to looking out of the window, but only when something moved. I can't sit still and if you're sat next to a window, it is hard not to look out when you see something move in the corner of your eye. Apart from the people behind me who were talking, I enjoyed the lecture.

After the lecture Bella and myself met up with our PASS group to arrange an appropriate time to meet in future. This so happens to be straight after my lecture on the Monday! We discussed their calculus lecture in the morning, and I advised them to keep on the lookout for when Prof. Heil offers a quid! Even though I was unsuccessful in my efforts, if one of my PASS person can do what I couldn't, it will be a great day indeed. But hush hush, don't tell any other first years about our not so great plan. (I need to look up my post again and find which "million quid" question is important). Yes, I jest, but it was nice talking to them. I think though, that I upset them:

ME: Oh, you're not having PS for Linear Algebra this semester are you?
PP (pass person): Erm... no? (Having no idea who I was talking about!)
ME: Yep, you're having Dr. D.
PP: Ah yes, we had her last semester for something.
ME: You unlucky so and sos!! You're missing out and I feel for you guys. You're not going to have PS ever unless you do his fourth year module now! He's brilliant!
PP: Thanks for making us feeling good. :(
ME: Erm... Dr. D is probably going to be great too, but PS is another league... but yeah, have fun!

Whoops, my first day seemed to have taken a turn for the worst. I was making first years cry! What kind of second year student have I turned into??! First the Honzo sword, and now these tears. Well what can I say, these exams have transformed me. (Damn, why did I just think of a lame mathematical transformation then... namely a linear transformation!)

After the PASS meeting, Bella and myself sat to discuss our first lectures and for me to jot my timetable down (with rooms!) It's funny how I posted the timetable on my blog, but didn't have a copy of it with me to carry around. Bella is doing a mechanics course, which sounds interesting, but I think propositional logic is infinitely better. (Note this only applies to the first lecture of logic). It was when I stood to get a cup of tea that I saw Professor Stöhr! It was great seeing him again and as I said to the first years, he is one of the greatest lectures at the university. Forgetting my tea I got talking to him, and on this occasion I was happy to see that Bella joined us too! (Normally whenever I discuss personal tutors etc. my friends seem content at not conversing much with theres).

Within the Tweenies we all have our own roles. I am the most gullible (person in the world), so that is taken advantage of sometimes, and we have a rotation system on embarrassing each other. (But Bella we all enjoy teasing! She left her card in the ATM machine once upon a time...) How Bella kept a straight face when claiming she didn't talk in lectures, I don't know, however the funniest thing today was when PS called me a "grass". Ha, I was thinking about that when I got a bus home and a smile had erupted on my face, only to cause people to back away from me as I sniggered to myself! Actually she is partly right in her claim, for she only talks when sat next to Arthur (or Milo) in lectures. (Hence why they sit as far away as possible from me). [For those concerned, we deliberately enjoy teasing Bella in front of her personal tutor, due a remark that was made in a Linear Algebra lecture last year! So the grassing continues. :p] Bella is more of an example class person as opposed to a lecture person, unlike me.

Thinking about today makes me feel happy. It was great being back with an agenda, and I can't wait for tomorrow. Bella and myself had an interview today, but more of that on Thursday after I get told whether or not I made it.

I kept on saying this today, to anyone who would listen, but please never lose the passion and enthusiasm that you have in what you do. If you lose it, then move on and find the passion for something else. A lot about teaching was discussed today, and whether or not the teacher is a lecturer for a 19 year old, he/she is still a teacher. A teachers job has some natural properties associated with it, and the most important being positive influences on the students education. It is important to realise that there will always be students who require such support and others who don't. As I am sat here now, I don't regret being a motivational and inspirational learner. I feel lucky to have had, honestly speaking, three personal tutors at University. They probably won't realise this, but DC and PS have been my second and third personal tutors and they have both helped me a lot along the way. (In different respects). Both have inspired me to continue studying maths, and both know that I have lost a million and one screws (which helps)! Indeed there lectures are the ones that I will probably never forget. They have the passion. If only they did a course in every semester of my degree, which I took!

This only came to me today, but I can only predict the crossroads I would be stood at now, had it not been for my three personal tutors. Maybe the fact that they don't tell me shut up when I talk continuously contributes to this! Ha, I am hoping to see my PT and DC tomorrow. My PT to have a good old chat, and DC about the Galois Group (and so I can unleash my fury about his exam questions, which I am still depressed about.)

I will probably end up loving Mondays and Tuesdays. Tomorrow I start at 11am, whereas Bella and Milo start at 9am! *cue evil laugh* Well I did try to persuade them to do logic! Nevertheless, I am going to try and get in slightly early so I don't have to walk down Oxford Road. (Wow: a return of my never-ending posts!)

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