Friday, May 23, 2008

If onlys

The past 36 hours have been exhausting for me. This morning I was up by 2:30am and trying to complete my revision. (I was finishing section 6 and starting section 7). Section 6 was on... I can't say it due to the reminder of the mistake I made in the exam. Anyway, this morning I decided not to revise the last section on normal subgroups etc. Well I knew about homomorphisms in groups from last semester, and I did not care much about orbits, stabilisers and conjugating things. It all looked nice on paper, but it wasn't going in my head.

I knew there was going to be a section B question on section 8 and I made the decision not to do it (all part of the dangerous plans!)

After the exam, my "hyperness" kicked in. I hadn't eaten since morning and hadn't slept as well--the perfect ingredients for me to lose the little control I can lie about having. I wish I had stayed like that (and stayed numb) and in the "ach who cares" mood. Now though, as the past days wear and tear takes its toll on me, I feel depressed. The exams depression is settling in now. It's funny, that when you let your expectations down intentionally, you lose a lot of stress and care. On hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have allowed myself to think that it is OK if I don't do as well as I can and should. I don't know which word to place the stress on: can or should?

Sigh. This depression is welcome, for perhaps it will give me the push I need. The push on my expectations. I once again expressed surprise to my Dad, that I haven't had a panic attack since my calculus exam. Perhaps falling ill straight after my calculus exam has something to do with this "absolute lack of care", but it feels weird. Not caring has a certain freedom with it, but then why do these depressing thoughts haunt me?

If onlys(?) are for losers. Losers like me, who after an exam wonder what could have been the outcome, had I revised section eight and a few other topics which I just skimmed over. I know there is no point in mulling over this now, but funnily I actually think algebra isn't too bad now. Active learning of a topic sometimes brings the "wow" side of the topic out. That being said, I can't see myself actively looking to study further algebra modules, namely because I stink at algebra. My brain seems to prefer systematic learning, and to me algebra seems about a lot of inspirational connections and random thoughts forming the pathway.

During my pathetic revision yesterday and this morning, the one thing I have accepted is that algebra is going to be my worst mark (unless discrete and logic beat it!) Come on Beans. Build the damn bridge.

OK enough about exams. I received an email the other day, which translates into the following: I need to "raise" or get £100 from somewhere but my own money. That is the way I am translating the information, and I must say that I am somewhat annoyed. The IMA has nothing to do with the blimmin Galois Group, so why should any decision to do with TGG be connected with the IMA?

I am being very stubborn, hence you have my version of the translation. My stubbornness has always got me into tight situations, and I won't give up until I can't see any solution. I will get that £100 and I will show them that .... I don't know--just some big fancy words that I can't formulate! I don't know who to vent my frustration on, but boy am I determined to get that £100. Notice the repetition (it really is an "impossible" task you see.) I haven't replied to the email yet because my frustration would then be directed at the wrong person. Hopefully I will cool down by the weekend and then reply, because I don't want to go around upsetting people!

So anyone have any bright ideas on how I can raise £100? Perhaps I should do another sponsored silence (my voice is back by the way!!) Whatever ideas you have, please do let me know, for in this battle against the silly conditions that have been given to me I can't fail. Another fierce sigh escaped me... I shouldn't let this get to me, and should rationally reply to the email and perhaps renegotiate the conditions. Yes-- that sounds like a nice plan. Once I have cooled down I am going to try to renegotiate the conditions to my terms. If that is unsuccessful, I have at least 3 months to get that £100 in the summer (which won't have any silly conditions attached to it.)

I don't think I like the IMA any more, although I have filled the form in to become a student member!

You are probably in the league with the many people who are telling/forcing me to stop thinking about things like this at the moment. However HOW do I do that? "You should constantly be thinking of revision and your exams" they tell me. Is that really possible? "You think about too many things--concentrate on your exams and stop worrying about this at the moment."

OK, they're all probably correct but this is more fun that revision. It felt like my exams were over today, given the stress this week gave me due to the three exams I had. Three exams in one week--that's a first I must admit. But I mustn't grumble, as I recall a lecturer telling me that he used to sit three hour long papers and something else which I can't remember.

No one is going to wake me up tomorrow morning. My phones are going to be dead too! All I can do now is hope for the best for the exams I have sat. I did see Prof P after the algebra exam (he's cool by the way) and thankfully he didn't get scared when I said I wasn't having pleasant thoughts towards his exam. (I was in my excited state, in chemical terms). I told him about my problem with not finishing this paper too, but that was coupled with the fact that I couldn't do the questions that I hadn't revised for and my waffly writing. Hopefully Prof P is marking the papers, for otherwise the marker might not take too kindly to my small "sorry" after half a page of monstrous scribbling out. I let Prof P go unhurt with our exam papers, but that's because he's cool. ;) (Yes, he walked right past me with the exam papers and I didn't even say boo.)

Wait--wasn't I meant to be sleeping?


Jake said...

I thought it was a good paper with interesting questions - that was the good thing about this course - IMO Prof P. is an excellent question setter and put really interesting problem questions in his notes, courseworks and some in the exam too.

After speaking to a few people - it seems everyone who made a decent attempt at the paper either didn't completely finish or at least struggled for time.

I know I had a race against time with the 8x8 multiplication table for the group of units for the factor ring. After making a shoddy attempt to draw a neat table it made the sudoku part of filling in the group table (using the Latin square property to avoid calculating all the elements) a bit more challenging!

I think that was the most interesting and 'complete'* course of the year.

*In the sense that everything made perfect sense - fit together and was understandable without appealing to concepts outside of the scope of the course cf. differential forms on manifolds in Geometry.

Beans said...

I feel that I had I attempted this paper with proper revision and understanding (as I should have), then I would be agreeing with you. The Tweenies also found it a good paper, and I can't disagree because of my lack of preparation.

Perhaps 2 hours isn't enough then? Sigh. I didn't give a post mortem of the paper in the post, but all night my dreams consisted of me doing the paper again and again, and making the same dumb mistakes.

8x8 multiplication table? Actually--don't say anything else!! (Which questions in section B did you do?) I'm guessing the second one in section B...

It was a nice course, but not my best (because of my problems with algebra!) Geometry had a lot of concepts outside of the scope, but I still found it interesting. I also think Discrete maths was quite a nice module.

Overall, I think the modules have been nice, but could have been much much better had I done the required amount of work. (If onlys eh!)

Jake said...

Ok, when I said 8x8 I can't remember if it was 8x8 or 9x9...

... either 3^2 or 2^3... something like that.

I did the two ring-theoretic questions, I think that they were the first two. The last one on the Orbit-Stabilizer looked like it had the potential to be messy.

I found the exam tight for time. I think that the problem was that there were too many section A questions and aside from the bits of book-work in them (stating definitions and results etc.) the actual interesting parts of the questions took too much time. Some of the 5 mark questions seemed fairly substantial.

Hope you feel better soon btw. I've not been too well either unfortunately - not the best time of year for it!

Beans said...

Hi Jake,

I think we should leave it at that! (I would rather not write what I got. :/)

I did the first two as well because I didn't even bother revising the bit on stabilisers etc.

Ah well, we can always complain about the length of the exam in the feedback forms! (I wasn't sure whether I was pushed for time because of my faffy style of answering exam papers, as opposed to the length of the paper. However since many people felt rushed, I can complain away)!

Thanks, I actually feel much better now. (Touch wood). I didn't drink any water during the exam today! (Which means that the cough has all but gone - hurrah!) My voice (much to certain peoples annoyance) is back too.

Hope you feel better soon too--I think it is quite common (unfortunately) that people become ill during this time of the year. (High stress levels make the immune system vulnerable; and then if you don't sleep properly, you're a dead duck!) Just think--only one left!