Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Instructions to calm down

Yesterday I mentioned that I was very tired and when I came out of my midday slump, my energy reserves were overflowing. Today they continued to overflow. Although I was very tired again, today they had to be there and help me through the day.

I probably do come across as slightly mad when I am hungry and tired at the same time, but I always talk to myself on normal days and generally try to be at two places at once (the Physicists might want to explain this phenomenon) . My body reacts quite weirdly (when I'm tired and hungry) and I end up getting an adrenaline rush, when all my conditions actually want to me collapse and recover. I would say that I'm normally energetic, so you can only imagine what this rush does to me!

Anyway, I did need to calm down today and my instructions came at the right time - when I was getting angry at 4pm! Today was a TGG day you see. My first 'clench of the jaw' moment was when and I rushed about trying to a mock posters printed only to have to wait 10 minutes for the computer to log me in. I had to ditch the plan and head to my lecture instead, and work on TGG again in the afternoon.

I still haven't seen George and I can't stick the posters up until I do so. This was the cause of my growing anger at 4pm. All the posters should have gone up today but they haven't and I wasted 1.5 hours in the process. I crazily decided to walk to the third floor on more than five occasions to meet George, but he was playing hide and seek and I ended up making the lonely journey down more than I would have liked. After the fifth time, my energy reserves were depleted and I had use the the lift up! (Weirdly I still didn't slump - perhaps because I had an agenda?)

Yes - after my lectures and a 'break', I finally found a computer which worked and only took five minutes logging me in; but I had to be terribly patient before this as two computers had refused to work after making me wait for 15 minutes. The nerve of them! I played a little cheeky game once I had occupied my computer, but I will post on that when I can be bothered to log into my p-drive. (I want to finish this post so I can sleep!)

Emails were sent, a lot of running around happened, more emails were sent and then I unfortunately ended up bugging Dr. C again. (My plan is to not to bug him as frequently as last year, for just because I have no students on my team I can't expect him to be the staff and student coordinator!) I had no excuse today, whereas yesterday was our "official TGG meeting". But there's always tomorrow to learn and improve. I say this with a certain sadness for a third year student who I know asked me whether I believed that TGG would continue floating after I left. Sadly I had to reply that it probably wouldn't. My aim is to get Dr. W to take charge again but where are the students?

Today I talked to more lecturers about TGG than students! (Not that I mind of course, but it's the lecturers who I am more concerned about. When diving to avoid me they might injure themselves... :p) And I guess it's no longer enough to hear that "I've done a good job". It's no longer about doing the job any more, although that has to be done. My Steinbeck foreshadowing techniques warn me of difficult times!

Sigh. I am very calm now. I have been evicted to planet zero (i.e. the non-existing planet).

I'm also calm for I have realised why I was instructed to be calm. Today I did what I used to do last year: I firstly went crazy about TGG but then my plan didn't work, so I tried something else but I kept on trying and still only half the job was done. When the plan didn't work the first time round I should have left the posters in Dr. C's office and packed my bags for the day. This would have ensured I went home in good time and avoided being crushed by the rain! It also would have meant that I could work from home, which is where most of my work is now. (Well Infinite Descent is on my computer and so is the dodgy homepage). I need to stop trying something else and stop "hanging around the maths building". It may be healthy for The Galois Group, but not for my Maths.

[Seriously speaking I would love to be given an office! Well a room at least which I could utilise for storing the posters/refreshments (instead of Dr. C's office) and which also has a computer at my disposal for whenever I need it to update the homepage, make the magazine or make the posters! Well the mathsoc have their own cosy little office and what good do they get up to? Meh. I already have my own little office which no one knows about, but it has no computer or storage space and can be accessed by the whole world (and animal kingdom!). I'm not telling you where in the AT building it is though!]

Moving on, I might actually drop combinatorics now for I have just scarred myself for life by having a glimpse at last years exam paper and the problems sheets! I know they're obviously going to be impossible, but these are just evil!

Yes - I'm slumping now.

Wednesday - today - should be a fantastic day I. I won't be doing any work whatsoever, but if I'm unlucky I might do certain TGG things*. I sometimes wonder whether I would actually discourage other students from doing something like TGG!

* It really should read "if I'm lucky I'll do TGG things", but didn't for then I will get into trouble for I promised not to.

Wow two very contrasting days. A fantastically tired Monday and an erratic Tuesday, which caused some calming measures to be introduced.

Monday, September 29, 2008

How to avoid 9am lectures.

After much thought and head scratching, we have come to the conclusion that to avoid suffering through a 9am lecture on Monday, you simply choose a different module.

Perhaps it is just my luck, for the Combinatorics and Graph Theory course has become full and I can't enrol onto it! (This means no 9am lecture, but I had decided to suffer on Monday mornings!)

Well I shan't be too hasty just yet, for some students might decide not to do the course (come on you all - enrol of that course now)! Anyway, I will be waiting to pounce if the course becomes available, and if it doesn't, the two remaining options are Mathematical Programming and Matrix Analysis. The latter course seems to have been receiving a very positive review from past and current students, so I don't know what to do.

Having attended an applied complex analysis lecture, I have decided to stick with the course. My complex analysis stinks but this course should help me to get to grips with it before I do courses like hyperbolic geometry. I just really hate the complex logarithm at the moment, because it is multivalued and involves cut planes which I didn't get last year and still don't. From today's lecture, a hazy recap was going in my head and hopefully second time round things will make more sense.

I hadn't intended to start backwards on my day, but now I have only one module which needs deciding. I realise that it was quite silly of me to panic about studying certain modules, for whichever I decide to do, none of them are going to be easy. Some I might get quicker than others but I will be starting on square one for all of them. My problem had been that I was expecting myself NOT to work this year, like my second semester last year! I was honestly trying to choose my modules with a potential disaster in mind.

BUT this bean doesn't want any disasters this year, and I hope like crazy that I complete my problem sheets weekly rather than the day before the exam! *shudders* Well I am going to try and attack all my modules in the proper way, but starting from next week!

Today was a one of them brilliant nightmares that you experience, and which you wouldn't mind repeating! Recently my sleeping patterns have been horrible, but that problem will soon be solved so I'm not too worried about my "tired day" today. I ended up going to University with four hours of very broken sleep, and ended up attending about six hours of maths lectures. Ouch.

Combinatorics at 9am was cool and I actually thought - "hey, why the heck was I scared of this course for", only to realise that the lecture was an introduction. Pfft. Understandably many people came late... many not including me of course (ahem - I was just on time!!) but still I think it was slightly cheeky of the lecturer to use the example class slot to continue his lecture! I complained of this to another lecturer, but it seems that all lecturers have a plan to make us suffer, hence no sympathy was shown. [I was mostly complaining because I had actually planned to have a nap during the hour of the example class!]

I confess to being the first out of that lecture theatre but that was because I was honestly finding it difficult to stay awake. I also had two hours of Topology to look forward to, which meant another chance of a nap went flying out of the window.

Dr. E later commented that I was unusually quiet in his Topology lecture but I think I did quite well to pay attention until the final third. Some things made sense and other things were loads of codswallop. I'm taking Tuesday and Wednesday off (annual holiday leave or whatever you want to call it), so I won't be looking over any notes just yet. Homomorphisms are nice pictorially but I hate it when it comes to formulating them. (But let's not be hasty young hobbits, for I haven't had a look over my notes yet).

I was very apologetic to a downhearted Dr. E (I speak no lies and my nose has grown no bigger*), and I expect my nuisance self to return in his next lecture! *(Well perhaps he wasn't downhearted, but he wasn't ecstatic...)!

The Topology class was seriously oversubscribed and boy am I glad to have enrolled for that module. One student even sat on the floor for some time. You see it's the first two weeks so students are attending as many lectures as they can, to help them choose which modules to study. The numbers will drop by next week I expect, but I luckily got a nice seat.

By the way, don't tell Dr. E (and all of my other lecturers) but I might zone out in their lectures for a few minutes jotting something "humorous"* they say in the margin. Thanks to Steve, I have had a little idea about something but it's still developing and might come out to nothing yet. *(it's all relative).

For those struggling through my waffles, let me assure you that I did manage to have a 20 minute or so nap, and was rudely woken up for the Group Theory lecture by someone's umbrella. I ended up leaving planet earth whilst sat with The Tweenies in the cafe of our building, but fragments of their conversation are with me. I tried to converse with my head down and was bluntly told to shut up and sleep!

Group Theory was basically a recall and don't tell Prof. S this, but for one second only (!) I had forgotten the subgroup criterion. Honestly - my frowning face must have only been there for 0.5 of a second. (Or was it 0.25? Maybe it was for some sequence which converges to zero?!)

The stinky thing in Group Theory is that we now do permutation composition "the European way". So what the heck have I been doing in my previous two years (and college)? The non-European way? BAH. I like f o g (x) = f(g(x)) that is, first g then f; but we now have to write that as : (x)f o g = ((f(x))g) (?) i.e. first f then g. (Well something like that.) Apart from that, I liked the recall for it made me feel happy about knowing at least some things in algebra. *shudders*.

Finally it was complex analysis and this was when my slump vanished and slowly my madness started seeping back. But it was the end of the day, you comment, feeling relieved that no accidents could happen. Ah - have I mentioned TGG yet, I reply?! No sir. I still had unfinished business before I went home. However before you all pull you hair out in dismay, I don't think I was the only one in a funnymood this Monday. Honestly speaking I think Dr. C was in a funny (=cool) mood too (he probably had a 9am start too before you all get started! And I don't want to hear any comments along the lines that I induce changes of moods in people!)

Well I'll query his funny (=cool) mood when I next see him, but I didn't mind for it meant that my tired self didn't have to rush through my to do list and forget things. (Although it did mean that the number of tangents I went of on were more frequent and perhaps ridiculous.) I seem to have made a slight blunder in something I was doing and I'm hoping that if the situation isn't resolved, Dr. C will step in and sort it out. (It's to do with the stupid mugs!)

I've finally got the poster for the next lecture ready, and I'm now waiting for the speaker to give me his approval to send it to the printers. (We decided to give the posters a new look, for otherwise they might become part of the furniture). I cannee believe it - from all people who I saw today, George wasn't one of them! I need to get into his good books again, in the interest of my posters of course; but George is always a good guy to have a chat with.

Sigh. I'm not really looking forward to this poster sticking and advertising lectures business. The emailing list for the new first years hasn't been set up yet, so I'll hold my horses before emailing everyone. I have to "remember" everything I used to do last year, and it is very easy for me to forget. If you're interested in advertising the lectures in your University, please leave a comment or send me an email. The Galois Group is growing bigger!

My agenda for the magazine also got further defined today, and I intend to knick Dr. C's LaTeX book again when he no longer "desperately" needs it. (He's currently "pimping" his notes up for the courses he will be teaching this semester).

I honestly can't remember a lot at the moment, hence why I'm writing snippets of little things hoping to remember something important. I bumped into another lecturer before heading home, and I think the holidays might have slowed lecturers reaction times upon seeing me. (Prof. S' wasn't quick enough, so had to endure my inane babble). Oh aye, I think I offended my stats lecturer, but he later told me he was only kidding so I'm in the all clear.

If anyone has any quotes/comments that students have made which you "laughed at" or discussed with your colleagues, then please let me know! For example, one lecturer found it particularly amusing that a student "asked for a definition "in English"." Proper English might I add... ahem. Anyway - it could be something like what I saw the other day: sin(x -60) = sin x - sin60. (Not amusing, but a shocked expression engulfed my face!) Whatever you have, send me an email or leave a comment.

I best sleep now for tomorrow is another marathon of day with potentially seven hours of maths, starting from 9am-5pm! But still I've taken the day off tomorrow, so won't be doing anything but attending lectures which means I should live.

PS: If someone's talking about you and you walk into the room, apart from saying "good things I hope" when they tell you they were just talking about you, what are you meant to do? Is it touch wood, or pull your ear? Just curious for I have completely forgotten this somewhat silly 'tradition' (or whatever you want to call it), that's done.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Reason for NOT creating a Maths magazine:


LaTeX!


Hopefully that hurt your eyes as much as it has been hurting my head (in the nicest way possible of course)!

Times like these I wish I had Scientific Writer/Author* (a WYSIWYG LaTeX editor), which Dr. C uses and that I desperately am in need of myself, or something similar. *(I can't remember which of the two he has!)

The only thing that has been causing me to "not work" on Infinite blimmin' Descent is LaTeX. If I was using Microsoft Absurd I would probably still be cursing, but at least I could then see what I was unleashing my anger at and I could also "move objects" with my mouse. Yes - it seems like one can't do such a thing in TeXnic blimmin' Centre.

Oh why do I get myself into things like this! (Rhetorical question alert...)

A review of what I've received so far (before I continue my rant!):
- an article
-another article
-two book reviews

The problems I'm having are to do with "an article" (not the 'another' one). If I was to receive another book review then that would be spiffing (!) for I have now created a template for them. However if your review was less than one page in length, then that would be another drama altogether. (But I suppose I could resolve such issues by being cheeky after paragraphs and writing: \bigskip or \medskip!)

This 'an article' is quite a nice read but I need it in two columns. I managed to successfully do that (by using \documentclass[twocolumn]{article} as opposed to \usepackage{multicols}) but then another silly problem appears from somewhere. (Note: If I was to say "from nowhere" then that would imply I am making all of this up and need to be locked away... again!)

The cycle of problems is partly down to me - I wanted to "humourise*" the magazine. That is, add a joke or xkcd image here or there, but namely after where 'an article' finishes and there's some white space left. I also wouldn't mind utilising such space for an advert or two asking for more submissions... *(new word alert)

"But then I wonder - to heck with this humour. This is a Maths magazine - it's not being read for fun or jokes.
But... jokes do tend to lighten the darkest of days, and well maths does have a certain dark side to it.
The debate continues.
Perhaps I could just put jokes on a certain page, for example the one with the questions on them? Ah - but what if nothing else is read?
That's absurd! No ones to know that you're only going to have the humour on one page...
But I want them at the end of every article if there's space. "

There's no colour to this magazine as well, in case you were wondering. (The above debate is still going strong!) That might add a certain dullness to it, but I have limited resources so I have to make do. Colour would have been nice but the content should be what I am more concerned about. Actually I have to be concerned about the content, the colour, the jokes, the layout, the front cover, the back cover, the publishing and well everything.

Gosh - I hate it when other people are right about me not being able to do something, which is why I'm even more determined to get this one copy out!

An email will be sent to the department (including to those who gets offended) on Tuesday, reminding them about submitting something. In the mean time though, I'm waiting for:

- my editorial and the contents page
- the questions page which I'm again waiting for from myself
- hopefully Dr. C's article if he manages to complete it
- hopefully an article from a postgrad student on Alan Turing (I'm desperate for this)!
-an article perhaps from P of the IMA
- have I missed anything?

Ach - I have just remembered that I was thinking of interviewing a lecturer for the magazine. What say you - should I go ahead with this? I have Prof. Dold down for the interview and he agreed last year, but I haven't done anything apart from that. Maybe I should wait for all the other content to come in and be "processed" before doing this.

Initially the magazine was only going to be eight pages long (such a silly thing that seems now), but now the length is uncapped. That's a good job too, for according to my calculations we already have eight pages (woohoo, let's all go home now and get this thing printed! Meh.)

I'm thinking (as one sometimes tends to do), it would make my life much easier if the University gave me a budget of £200 (for example) which Dr. C as the staff coordinator monitored. This would then mean that I would not have to worry about petty things like how much it might cost to get this magazine published now. I mean life's okay at the moment and the Univeristy have said that they'll pay for the magazine, but sometimes figures that I requested in emails change etc. And this way I won't have to go back and forth between things and people. This is not really a very important issue, but one that I feel like bringing to the table in my very sour mood.

We should consider making another advert for LaTeX: "Feeling unnaturally happy and you don't know why? Looking for a cure? Well why not try LaTeX... it'll never fail you!" \lame

Yes - this is a one man rant from a very tired and frustrated beans. But before I do shut up, I would just like to thank Steve for his patience and immense help. :) [Help which has kept me sane for the past few days!] Today though is an exception: I need to stop fidgeting with these articles and accept that I can't be too fancy with them, and should be happy with what I have. Can't I just employ a magazine company to do this for me?

When I grow up I'm going to invent the following: you type your articles using LaTeX and then build them as a pdf document. However the pdf document will be an interactive haven, where you can select things and drag them about everywhere. If I'm even clever I'll make it so you can have a magazine template where you can import LaTeX text for the articles, and then images can be placed anywhere.

I do think up of some weird ideas at times (which of course I'll never grow up to do), but they make me feel better so I'm not complaining! (I can't even use WordArt by the way - the pain!).

This is not the last you will be hearing about this unfortunately, for I foresee a great many more battles between LaTeX and myself.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Buying Books? Something you should know...

A comment left on an old post of mine by Nick, might be relevant to anyone looking to buy books (well someone like me!):

"Book buying can be very therapeutic. Warron Zevon once said that 'when we buy books we imagine we are buying the time to read them.' "

I am guilty as charged your honour! I am also finding out what it feels like to buy too many books and then not find the time to read them. (My imagination missed out this part you see.)

Calling all Maths students: Workshop on Philosophy of Mathematics

My fellow mathematicians, young and old, firstly please forgive me for taking my sweet time in posting this, but please find below a post of Professor Borovik's blog which I have "discreetly" copied... (The idea being that you might not have seen it there, as unlikely as that is!)

Anyway, hopefully I will get my lazy self outta bed on that Saturday but that will depend on events that may take place then. At the moment myself and a friend should be attending the workshop, and other students are also welcome to join us. :) [I say at the moment for I am honestly unable to put this in my diary first and then fit other things around it, for something might get booked next week.] Well we'll find out for certain next week but if you do wish to attend, please send an email to Professor Borovik as his message below will direct.

"MIMS Workshop on New Directions in Philosophy of Mathematics
Manchester
Saturday 4 October 2008

This workshop is part of the MIMS (Manchester Institute for Mathematical Sciences) New Directions series of workshops taking place in MIMS throughout 2008.

Mathematics and philosophy have a long history of involvement with each other. Profound changes to both disciplines have occurred through this interaction from the Greek exploration of the foundations of geometry, through the early modern philosopher-mathematicians, such as Descartes (analytic geometry) and Leibniz (calculus), to Frege and the beginnings of analytic philosophy under Russell. In recent times, however, this involvement has largely dwindled. For the most part philosophy’s interest in mathematics over the past half century has been of no interest to mathematicians. There has been a growing unrest with this state of affairs, and we are beginning to see encouraging signs of efforts to bridge the gulf between these great disciplines.

These new approaches range from studies which pay close attention to the cognitive, historical, or sociological aspects of mathematical practice, through to those which see developments within recent mathematics as being of philosophical importance, whether model theory, category theory, or the current intense interaction between mathematics and physics. The workshop will explore these themes, and will allow philosophers and mathematicians the chance to hear each other’s views on the direction forward for the philosophy of mathematics.

Organisers: Alexandre Borovik (School of Mathematics, University of Manchester), David Corfield (Department of Philosophy, University of Kent).

Programme, Saturday 4 October 2008:

10:00 Coffee

10:30 Mary Leng (Liverpool) Creation and discovery in mathematics

11:30 George Joseph (Manchester) History of Non-Western Mathematics: New Perspectives

12:30-13:00 Lunch, to be served on premises

13:00 Marcus Giaquinto (UCL) Curves in Proofs

14:00 Angus Macintyre (QMUL) The Impact of Incompleteness on Pure Mathematics

15:00 David Corfield (Kent) The Reality of Mathematics

16:00 Panel discussion, with some wine being served.

17:00 End

Venue: All talks will take place in Frank Adams Room in MIMS in the Alan Turing Building at the University of Manchester. The building is 20 minutes walk from the city centre and 15 minutes walk from Piccadilly or Oxford Road train stations. Directions to MIMS are available.

Night before, Friday 3 October: for those particiapants, who come on Friday to stay overnight, or who are local, we suggest an informal get-together at 19:00 at Lass O’Gowrie with the aim of having dinner at 20:00 at East Z East Ibis Hotel on Princess street. Since an advanced booking for East Z East is needed, please notify me in advance that you are coming for dinner.

If you wish to attend, please, send an e-mail to

."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tired Beginnings

Today was unofficially my first day back at University for the PASS first year lunch. I didn't eat anything and I didn't get to scare that many first years. In the end, Milo and Dr. Coleman ended up being first year students who I then went on to "aggressively" ask: "So are you enjoying it in Manchester", "Do you like Manchester?" and so on. Yes - Dr. C got slightly scared which was encouraging to see, for that meant first years had no chance. Although I must remark that Dr. C didn't make a very good first year, for upon being asked which halls he was staying at, he went on to reply "the furthest from my home town". (I think I need a word with the Mayor of my ickle "Shire" to not allow a certain "first year" in!) Milo though was slightly better behaved, until something about Maths was said.* (The "what have you done so far" questions come later if anyone's wondering...)

Nevertheless, we third years (GOSH!) blended in quite well.... if I erm... may say so myself! I blame Dr. Coleman for blowing our cover! (I think he was also trying to play the same game we were, but Dr. W spotted us all and that was the end of it!) I did talk to one first year on his own, and he asked me for tips on surviving three years at Manchester, and three years of a Maths degree. Tough questions indeed, especially considering I was still trying to be a "fresher".

To answer, I stressed that it was vital "not to mess around" in ones first year, for un/fortunately your second year builds up on it and relies on it. If you just float through your first year superficially, then you might find your second year (which is already a PAIN!) even more difficult. This is the reason why I am worried about my third (read first) year, for my second year knowledge allowed me to pass exams, but will it let me understand topics to a deeper level? Time will let me know of course. (The simpler answer of course would have been to avoid me!)

To survive in Manchester and make friends I said to erm.. join societies. "So which societies are you a member of then?" Whoops this was a trick question I think! In my first year I had joined a number of societies and made one nice friend from them, but since then as I replied, I have actually created my own Maths society... *dang* The guy wasn't very impressed. Now that's another thing I'm crossing off on my "how to impress people instantaneously list". Pft. So all that work has been for nothing! (Word of advice if you had the same misconception as myself - think of something more cooler to impress people with when the time arises.)

I actually called upon Fizz to continue discussing societies, for unlike myself she had continued her commitment to them in the second year. Another two first years who I spoke to did get slightly taken aback, but since they didn't know each other I relented and let them talk to one another instead of with me. (I can be quite nice when I want to be...).

Our disguise gone, we decided that it was best to get out of the lunch in one piece so we vamooshed! Dr. Coleman even nearly decided to blow my blogs cover, but don't worry your little hearts over this for I think the Tweenies might not have realised the exchange that took place. *touch wood* (I very very very quickly changed the subject!) If this blog does disappear into thin air (and me too) you now know whose responsible *cue evil laugh*.

A quick mention here (to remind me for future), I have invented my own "Naughtiness scale". Not like the pH scale, but better. It is an easy reference point for me to see whose been the most naughtiest/sarcastic/took advantage of my gullibility/those who nod and say yes to everything I say without actually listening to me/etc towards me. (I can't detect sarcasm and irony unless it is very obvious). Perhaps this is why certain people like talking to me! Pft - well now I have my own Nut scale so beware. (More details to be published later!)

Now moving on from the madness that took place during the lunch! I actually was perhaps the most qualified fake fresher from the lot of us, for numerous reasons. Firstly I completely messed up my times in the morning, and got delayed. Then the bus driver decided to ask me if I had change, when I clearly would have used it if I had some. More delays resulted when I got of at the wrong flippin' bus stop, and had to walk an extra 3 minutes to get to the AT building.

The Tweenies and myself discussed our module choices and I am beginning to lose heart again. Both Bella and Milo have gone for the Career Management module, because they feel it is an easy module for which they have to sit no exam. Fair enough, they may be right, but I want to do an easy module too (in a manner of speaking). I have fixed four modules, but need to choose two from the following four:

Applied complex analysis
Matrix Analysis / Combinatorics and Graph Theory (Same slot)
Mathematical Programming

The first thing everyone has been saying is "Complex Analysis - WHY? Didn't you dislike that last year and struggle with it? That's going to be a very hard module Beans, are you sure you want to do it (considering you don't know anyone else doing it)?" Now my main reaction was: I'll need complex analysis for hyperbolic geometry, so if I find it hard now, I might like it later and it will help me. My weakness and undoing is that none of the Tweenies will be doing it, but this is ridiculous of me. The Tweenies won't be there for my fourth year, (which is slightly saddening) so I just have to get used to things. The torture continues.

I seriously don't want to study Combinatorics..., for a variety of reasons. Namely because I absolutely can't do discrete maths. Dr. C can't understand my complete dislike for this module, but I just see myself being very thick at it and not being able to do anything. On the other hand I am very keen to do Matrix Analysis due to Milo and Bella enrolling on it. Bella keeps on telling me to choose modules with fellow Tweenies, and rightly so. But Matrix analysis won't help me in anything to do with pure maths, and I hate numerical analysis. GAH. Do I do what everyone else seems to be doing and go for the "easy options"? Do I do Matrix Analysis?

But then what about Mathematical Programming?which is a popular course and I like the sound of it.

Since I seem to be a more 'pure-maths' based person (as opposed to applied/stats and maybe algebra!), Combinatorics and applied complex analysis might be my best bet. Both are going to be extremely difficult for both will require me to be mentally 'happy' about the subject, but they might help me in any project I do in my fourth year. Bella and Milo might do Galois Theory next semester, and this seems to be a sign to me, that perhaps I too will be doing it! (Let us hope not...) Anyway, I am tiring on this topic for it is very frustrating. I will consult my PTs about this dilemma, although they can't understand why I can't just choose my damn modules like every other sane person. I will be attending lectures on all four courses (alternate between the clash) which should hopefully help me come to a decision.

PS: I just published my post and saw how short it was so decided to add what I had previously cut out!

Now I'm not going to say that Mathematics is my whole life because it's not. Yes - I love maths and enjoy learning it, but there's obviously more to life than Maths. I will argue fiercely on this topic, for this is perhaps the only thing that I'm holding against Erdos at the moment (as I'm reading The Man Who Only Loved Numbers). I will dwell on Erdos's life in another post, but things like family are more important than maths. Small things like that make a big difference, and shouldn't be tossed aside carelessly due to numbers. Thoughts like this make me think that further maths study is not for me, however I do enjoy the subject. One can love a subject without it overtaking their whole life.

However I believe that if you enjoy maths you shouldn't hide this fact. It would be nice if people who studied for a maths degree enjoyed the subject, but that can always be possible. All I then ask is to please leave us bozo's who like talking about maths alone. I don't mind being laughed at, but being laughed at because I enjoy maths whilst studying it seems rather... well ridiculous! I don't want people who love maths to jump on tables and act crazily trying to "convert the masses", but there's nothing wrong with showing enthusiasm in small crowds. Meh. [Sometimes I realise unintentional digs being made at me a long time later, hence such delayed reactions!] My outburst is not at what was said. It was just at the way things are. (I'm too tired to continue this post, so this should hopefully continue in another post).

Welcome to the world of being a third year. :(

Friday, September 19, 2008

Evil me

Yesterday I said some very hurtful things and they affected me in a bad way. I might have on occasions mentioned how I very rarely lose my temper, and that I'm most dangerous when upset. However yesterday it was a mixture of everything.

I have since apologised, but I can only imagine how the other person might have felt after my outburst for it was simply not nice. My anger wasn't directed at the person but instead the conversation we were having. My listening skills disappeared. I heard nothing. Only felt the silence afterwards. Some advice to anyone whose interested: outbursts over the phone are much worse and should be avoided. The other person can't "swing" at you (if they want to) so it leaves things in a very tense way!

Well thankfully I have cleared the air today and I'm glad of it too. These things eat me up you see for I have no right to lose my cool on anyone. And this wasn't just a "snap".

These summer holidays have been very weird. I bring stress upon myself (sadly) and I need to get out of that horrible habit. My stress conversion unit has not been operating effectively and is in need of desperate repairs.

I'm going to let certain things out now: last year I ran away from The Tweenies (I believe) for something non-trivial (in my opinion at the time) and non-university related . I didn't really run away but I threw myself into The Galois Group, which naturally caused me to work in isolation. I purposefully sometimes did this too, and once again my reasoning felt justified (but non-blog material!) I didn't realise what I was doing until things became quite "edgy". This was resolved towards the very end of the second semester, but the damage might have been irreparable.

You see I have a natural silly response to situations which render me uncomfortable: my flight hormone kicks in and all I can do is fly! If I find myself put into a tight corner, I naturally try to get myself to safe grounds to get to grips with matters so they can be dealt with. My flight wasn't from the whole of the Tweenies though and this became apparent to more than one person. Sigh. I have to get this offa my chest you see (and a few other things).

My second year without the Tweenies "all together" was slightly dodgy. We were all stressed about our studies on one hand (some more than others) and we were all finding it difficult to cope with the transition to the second year. (Well I definitely underestimated the difference no-supervisions was going to have on me!) In my first semester I only enjoyed Algebra and Real analysis. I didn't do too well in Algebra, but having also not done brilliantly in algebra II, I conclude that algebra does not fit in my "active site"! Nevertheless I'm going to do group theory and Galois theory and try to induce some positive activation. \{sad me - bringing biology into this debate!}

I'm always looking for "excuses" which leave me the innocent party but on this occasion I won't. My complete dedication to TGG meant I annoyed a lot of people and lecturers too; not that I'm saying that lectures aren't people of course (!) -but I'm just trying to emphasise this!

The Tweenies noticed that I did this too but I was not one to listen. This year everyone is more wary around me you see, which means the element of surprise is no longer on my side. :D Hence why I'm going to try and not bug Dr. Coleman, and any other lecturer that much about TGG. They have teaching responsibilties and other responsibilties such as "Director of such a such a thing", and just because no students are on my team doesn't mean that I cause others inconvenience. This is definitely going to be hard, for the only reason I managed to stay sane was due to the support of my teachers. Gah. Alternatively I might automatically bug them less this year for a system has been set up, which I should be able to work within on my own. (Last year the system was being put into place, thus the reason why I needed more support from people).

I need help with TGG. That's what it comes down to. Next year I'm not going to oblige the Tweenies to attend any lecture, however I will ask them whether they are still willing to help out with the refreshments. I would have been lost without their help for I am absolutely useless at things like this. All I can do is eat the Jaffa Cakes. Actually I very rarely eat on a TGG Wednesday! Hey - that has a certain ring to it like "Orange Wednesdays"! Do you think I could make my own funny (or not so funny!) commercials about GG Wednesdays?! It would be quite fun but I'll leave that for another intake of students perhaps?

This is going to be a very messy post and... just very messy. This blog has deviated a lot from my original thoughts about it, but that doesn't bother me for I like chaos. You just don't know what to expect next! One second I'm over the moon and the next I'm down in the dumps. And for anyone concerned, my flippin face can be quite easy too read! For this reason I'm going to leave my blogging desires and thoughts for the coming year to myself. (Namely to decrease the pressure I put on myself!) The word Maths though, should hopefully make a reappearance...

I know that I frequently mention my Mum, but without her I would be very lost. Today she had gone "missing" for some time, and all of us ended up ringing her at different times enquiring about her! It was my mum who said that we'd all be lost without her (and not in a particularly pleased tone, might I add!). She's the voice of reason and when she tells me that I should perhaps "not do four years", I first listen to her. I then argue back and try to show her my reasoning: a house I will buy one day, a stable life I hope to build for myself but these things don't happen suddenly. My mother wants us all to be successful and happy.

That's understandable for all mothers worry. Doing a fourth year means more debt on my head and it also means I won't be earning, so where's the house going to come from then? (she argues back). She worries the most about me though, for I don't really have the desire to "work". I'm also the laziest and weirdest who would probably survive on tea just to avoid making proper food! Education vs. work, earning money and building a stable life for yourself? Which sounds more appealing? For my mum I can do a lot. But I hope that I am able to bring her onto my side of thinking, so then I won't have to give it up. She'll never tell me "not to do it", but just give her side of the argument which can be enough.

Yes - I'm getting everything out now for tomorrow is a new day for me. It signifies the end of my summer holidays. It could potentially also signal the start to my final year of studying Maths at university! That thought itself frightens me. I can't not do four years. But as I said in September, whatever is going to happen will happen. I just to have to take each at a time and prepare myself for a possible fourth year. If I want it that badly, I might just get it.

By the way - I passed my Theory test! That's the other reason of my stresses and absence. My mother (who I love very much, but apart from when she makes me do certain things!) took it upon herself to make sure I actually booked the damn exam and was ready for it. My driving instructor and possibly the whole world have been on my case to get on with my theory and pass my practical test. This doesn't work too well with me. My cousin visited over the summer and he is younger than my by three years. He's passed his theory too. He did it as soon as he turned seventeen and started getting driving lessons. "I've stayed behind" though.

"You're studying for a maths degree and you can't pass your blimmin theory." Oh - how they ruthlessly mocked me. I would take the equations any day, was my weak retaliation.

Naturally this made me very stubborn and I did squat. My driving lessons became disastrous as I lost interest, for I was sick of everyone being on my case. (This was a daily thing - especially whilst my cousin stayed over!) If people keep on telling me to do something, I don't do it. However when I am up for something and really into it, I do it. I was pushed away from driving and my sprained ankle hadn't helped either (I didn't have a lesson for five weeks you see.)

Three weeks ago my instructor went on holiday and I erm.. "promised" that I would pass my theory test before my next lesson. My instructor came back last week and my theory test had originally been scheduled for 11th September. It was postponed as a "commitment" popped into my diary and could not be avoided.... It was rescheduled for today - the 18th - my first time.

Some drivers out there might be wondering what on the earth the big fuss is about! How hard can it be to answer 43 out of 50 questions correctly, and get 44 out of 75 on the hazard perception part? If I had revised for the questions I would have felt ready, but nothing was going to prepare me for the hazard perception. *shudders*

Through this experience I've realised that I can't really revise anything at all on the computer screen. We even have the CD but I could never get myself to practise. The hazard perception was always going to be hard for I sometimes "zone out", and lose attention. I also clicked too soon or too late on occasions. (I'm not a very good driver - dang! I fear for the pedestrians if I ever do pass....) Anyway - I ended up getting a book with all possible questions and then I was ready. Revising from the book was better for all the questions were in front of me and not picked at random. My mum could also make sure I was actually revising too... :p

I'm not going to think too much about the length of this post for I've been emptying a lot onto here. I've got the darn cold again too - which is going to get much worse. Rather than getting the wisdom teeth removed, I should work on my tonsils!

So in all this drudge, is there anything positive? Well I feel much much lighter for a start! And hopefully I can carry this lightness to help me in my goals for the next few days.

Finally (I'm hungry you see!) if there are any to be first years Maths students at Manchester working through this drudge, then please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. You'll probably see me "looming" in the maths building anyway, so if I can be of any help just drop me an email. Now do I really have to "proof read" this post?!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spam

" Is it really neccesary to spam the whole of the maths dept with a 'high priority' email."


Ouch.

I have a lot of explaining to do about my absence, and apologise for not replying to emails, but everything will make sense tomorrow (and the replies should start coming then too!). The only emails I have been able to check are my university ones, hence the above peach of an email I just read now. I haven't replied to it today, for as Dr. T once advised me, you should only send emails at a reasonable time otherwise you might write unreasonable things.

I would probably agree that initially an unreasonable response had formed in my head, but then I added a little "humour" and it suddenly became reasonable. Nevertheless I will send it tomorrow. [However, I welcome any suggestions of humourless and reasonable emails].

Perhaps I was a little "cheeky" when sending the following as "high priority", but at this time of the year I wanted my email to "stand out" (perhaps?)

"Hi everyone,

This is just a reminder of the deadline for any submissions of articles that you are writing for Infinite Descent (the maths magazine).

Here's some information for you to keep in mind:
1) Article guidelines are at most 1500 words, and pictures can be included. Also at most 500 words for book reviews.
2) The deadline for any submissions is Friday 24th October 2008.

If anyone is also interested in giving a 25 minute lecture on a topic of their choice, then please email me.

Best wishes, Me!"
Am I right in assuming that if I continue sending such reminders but they are not "high priority", it won't affect people? This is just one email I know, but it has been a very bad day today and tomorrow is going to be much worse.

This Galois Group stuff might just be beginning to tick me off. It's not an easy job and some peoples attitudes are not very pleasant. Meh. I shouldn't let this get me down, but with such things I sometimes feel like saying that this is the "last but one straw". Yes. I'm not out of this fight just yet.

At Manchester we have email lists for all staff, postgrads, first year students, etc. I did have a discussion with Dr. Coleman (once upon a time) whether it was possible to write an email like: "toeveryone\{beans}@manchester.ac.uk" but we came to the conclusion that it's not possible. Believe me - if I could "not send emails" to certain people I would. They could always black list my names if it offends them? Sigh again. As you might have guessed, I'm quite used to such emails but I'm getting to the end of my tether. I wish University wasn't starting soon.

I'm waiting for a student to reply to my email about his lecture, but I've suddenly become invisible. The magazine doesn't seem to be materialising. I'm not getting a go ahead for rooms being booked, so no posters are being made. I've decided to scrap the website for now, due to the fact that it's too time consuming. I've still not chosen my modules. University starts in 1.5 weeks. How the heck can I do this all? But then I will do it. That I know I. The question is when, but we don't really want to know everything do we?

After tomorrow I'm going to put my head straight down and work on the magazine and the posters. (Thought I've never experienced straight down, I will let you know how I get on!)

A little part of me feels very tired though, and it's taking me a lot of effort to want to do anything at all next year. I just want to do the Maths. Is that too much to ask for? Isn't that what I went to University for? Three years or four years, what I want is for me to enjoy the maths again. My first year was brilliant, but am I only destined for one brilliant year at University?

I don't blame that email for one main reason: everyone is on the verge of sending me such email, lecturers and postgrads included. The small sighs and the "tsks" are not missed by me - which might be connected to the fact that I have zero consideration for timing, but I can't help it!! It's a shame that Prof. S is going to be away. He's always a massive supporter of TGG and he helps me too.

Fragile. That's how I would describe myself today. And perhaps "confused".

PS: I have drafted a humourless email, with a similar tone, and I will let you know if I end up emailing it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Professor Dold on the BBC

Prof. Dold is our first year lecturer for the Calculus and Vectors course. He's a pretty cool lecturer and a very friendly and nice guy. I always enjoy a good chat with him, when on chance I bump into him, and now you can see him in his office talking about fires.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7532024.stm


I love what that man (Brain Cox?) said at the sight of them equations - "even I remember from Maths that these can be tricky". I wondered about what level of maths he was talking about you see...

Anyway. Prof Dold has a unique mathematical super power: he can conjure graphs out of thin air! So as you are sat in his lecturers, be amazed! I'm hoping to interview him too, for Infinite Descent, so if anyone has any "tricky" and not so tricky questions you might want to ask him, then comment away. (Someone suggested I ask him if he's ever been to prison, in case you were wondering how absurd your suggestions can be!) Or if there are any generic questions that you think I should know about, please let me know.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What I have done in three months

FINALLY - I can cross one thing of my damn "to do list"! This calls for a celebration. So what are the chances of me completing the rest of the things mentioned on my list? (Do I hear an impossible somewhere?)

What exactly have I done, you ask? Well, take a deep breath now for I have finally been to the dentist and to the optician too!

Meh - can I stop pretending to be overjoyed now? They want to take my wisdom teeth! I declined this ridiculous offer and chose a silent life of suffering. My bottom two teeth have come out nicely however the top two are still growing. I was told that it would be better if I took one of them out and waited for the other to "drop" before assessing the situation.

Well I'm going to wait six months before I make a decision, and they can't do anything about it.

Actually I might have done one more thing. I did get a book on photography but erm... never read it!

With regards to my third year modules, I have made the following revised plan for my first semester (but it needs checking with the powers that be). I'm sacrificing calculus on manifolds and measure theory for my fourth year, so if I don't do four years then I am going to be quite upset for I was really looking forward to measure theory. (Bella might be studying it though).

I will (definitely) be doing Linear Analysis, Intro. to Topology, Coding Theory and Group theory. This leaves me with two other empty options. Dr. C suggested applied complex analysis and graph theory and combinatorics, and Prof. S also went for the graph theory one.

However upon discussions with Bella, who has chosen matrix analysis, I'm not sure whether it is wise of me to choose matrix analysis too, instead of graph theory. The only reason I would do matrix analysis is because Bella will be doing it. The reason for not doing graph theory is that I struggled with discrete maths in my second year, and combinatorics has always been something I've not understood. Having said that, my inability to do that module is making me want to do it! I need to have a look at the syllabus of matrix analysis but I sense a lot of numerical analysis, which I'm not particularly friendly with.

Sigh. I will have two weeks after term starts to change my mind, but I would rather my decision was made now. I am much calmer now, for I have come to terms about my chances of doing four years. Whatever I was meant to do in life up till now, I have done. Whatever the future holds for me, I will do as I have to. There is no sense in panicking needlessly over something which is yet to happen. I just need to believe that it will happen. I also need to keep reminding myself of this, especially when I start panicking again. Dang.

Lately I have been desperate to go back to college again. College was by no means easy, however compared to university it seems much more appealing and less stressful. College maths was so... straightforward? Yes - I'm a big hypocrite, for I struggled like anything in further maths, but normal pure maths was very nice! In my "big baby" mood, I want to do that maths all over again. Or do I?

Previously I mentioned that a friend wanted me to tutor her niece, as she needed help with AS level maths. The student had told me that she was going to drop Maths at the end of her AS so we had gone our separate ways. However I got a text of her recently asking if I could do an hour with her on partial fractions! I was astonished to read this and even more so because this is a C4 topic. I queried this much to her and she wanted me to start from scratch.

So one Sunday I lazily woke up and prepared her lesson. I didn't really want to do any tutoring for the coming year, but I thought I would wait to hear the full story from the student herself.

It so happens that she had dropped Maths in May (straight after her exam) however due to her results she ended up continuing with it this September! Due to dropping it in May she has basically missed quite a few topics in C3, for colleges continue teaching till July. It is my job to teach her all that she has missed. I am no longer helping her or supporting her, but actually teaching! This was quite daunting at first, for this is a big responsibility and much MORE work for me.

That being said, she seems more positive about maths and is looking more confident too, which I will take to be a good thing. However I must say that this job really requires patience! I have already taught her the chain and product rules, as well as partial fractions. I have to be careful not to teach her too much for it will confuse her; but then again, as this is the first time she is doing the chain rule, I can't expect her to do it in her head!

I felt a bit mean for increasing my price to £18 an hour, but she didn't seem to mind. As a result of tutoring her, I now have a second customer. A GCSE mathematics customer - her sister! I've already had one hour with her but I'm dreading this weekend. College maths is exciting (in a manner of speaking). GCSE maths isn't. Well that would have been a lie if I was 16, but at 20 I can't get enthusiastic about it. The student has a high B and wants an A. How far do I push her? It's not that it seems easy to me, but I don't know how/what level to pitch things at.

What a stressful business I'm in! By the way, I hope it's okay to talk about "my students" (HA!) on here... We didn't exactly sign a contract! Anyway, it's funny how earning money from something you enjoy doing makes a big difference. My friends keep on encouraging me to take on more students and make a serious go of this (eg. advertise in colleges and schools), however I would rather not! If I didn't have to prepare anything and just helped a student with his/her questions and problems, that would be different. I also have a tonne of my own problems to solve as well!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Prof. S to the resuce!

I went into University with the wrong attitude. It was clear from when I stepped into the AT Building - shoulders hunched, eyes darting to and fro - that today wasn't going to be a pleasant day.

Perhaps I should have made more of an effort to be "hunky dory", but today that wasn't to happen. Even if I wanted to, my eyes couldn't disguise the uncertainty and panic behind them. Or perhaps I should have gone to see Professor Stöhr first, for after speaking to him I felt my normal self crawling back inside of me.

When I am not my normal self, I can't keep tabs on things. I had a mini-agenda to discuss with DC but the panic inside me didn't allow my speech to make any sense. My inane rabble confused him even more today than before, and when he finally realised that I was asking if I could do more than one fourth year course in my third year, he became stuck too. Now I realise that I needed someone to tell me what to do, but DC wasn't to know that. My frustration nearly showed when he told me that I was better of speaking to Dr. Thomas, for she wasn't in today.

I don't think he understood how low I was feeling and how serious I am about taking a year out. It seems that he's going to be in charge of giving approval for interrupting studies, and he made his views pretty clear. My main concern is that some people see me as "mathematically able" however I disagree. He enquired about my "third year project" and I answered that due to TGG I have decided not to do one in my third year. My confidence is at an all time low. I recognise that I'm being stupid but it can't be helped.

The discussion continued as Dr. C pointed Applied Complex Analysis (10) and Combinatorics and Graph Theory (10) to me, resulting in an internal shudder through my body. I was quick to mention my reluctance to study Graph Theory (Second year scars!) and my uneasiness towards Complex Analysis. (Aren't I a fussy get!) My other excuse would be that none of the Tweenies are going to be studying these modules so I shouldn't too! Yes - I'm singing to a different tune now, but the Tweenies helped me a lot last year, and I realise that it is important to choose as many similar modules as we can.

It was my turn now to say that I will do the Career Management Skills module if need be. Even though, from what I have read, it is a cack module to do, I might have to do it to make up the credits. Dang. It has no exam but: Completion of module logs: weighting 40%; Job study: weighting 30%; Group presentation: weighting 30%. Ideally I would not study this module, but I'm not crossing it off my list just yet.

Supposedly the modules available weren't really designed for a "pure person". That brought a smile out of me!

I was once told that you either get logic or you don't. There is no in-between. I don't get it so Predicate Calculus, Set Theory and Model Theory had all been crossed of my list. (I can be brutal when I have to be!!) However I have now added Model Theory, perhaps reluctantly, back to my list for a possible fourth year module.

Now you might all understand why lecturers stop smiling when they see me stood at their doors! I like to think of myself as Grim. :D A rather late perhaps, but it might have been nicer on the cold temperature of the room, had I actually broke proceedings with talk of The Galois Group! (It might have lightened me up slightly?) Sadly by the time we finished discussing my modules dilemma, TGG seemed a figment of ones imagination. Read: My to do list went AWOL.

I fear that I'm going to do really badly in my fourth year and end up with the result I don't want. However I was told that if that was the case, they might be able to give me a BSc instead with my third year result? (I'll have to find out about this - for that would be very reassuring).

By the way, we have our first confirmed lecturer of the year and he will be lecturing in week 3. *drum roll* It is non other than Professor Ray (Craig's supervisor). He did volunteer to give a lecture but the timing was an issue; however I saw him today and he's made a note of it in his diary now! (I was pretty stressed as I went to see him...)

Next year is going to be a very quiet year indeed (not in a bad way). Selfishly I would rather Prof. S did not go to Australia for his sabbatical, but unselfishly this is great news for him. I forgot to tell him to take a camera, but then again he finds photos without people boring! Now I have to decide whether or not I'm a selfish person...

I went to see Prof S today and he's really one cool guy. I spoke to him about my module options and he gave me his thoughts too. (I shouldn't cross of Model Theory and Graphs just yet). He seemed pleased because he thinks I'm going to do four years due to the way I was speaking about my module choices. I don't want to disappoint him but if I don't do four years it will be me whose going to end up disappointed. Namely because I am "sacrificing" modules like measure theory (?) for my fourth year and I want to study them.

I can't believe that we conversed for about an hour! Well that was the last time I will see him before he goes, away so hopefully his sore back will forgive me. The only thing missing was a cup of tea. ;) We talked about all sort of things and even Max Newman and Brian Hartley. (Note to self - I must bug Dr. Eccles about his lookalike!) It was great catching up and the "chubb" I caught also got a mention.

Most importantly I left his office with a spring in my step. Well who wouldn't have a spring in their step after they were told that a certain office would be theirs after approximately nine years. Hehe, well the office is just a bonus but Prof. S is a good guy (and he also thinks that I can study the maths, but I won't knock points of for that!). I don't think he will ever send me the slides for a lecture of his which I attended, but I'll keep waiting.

My day back actually did feel this long, if not longer for I then went and bugged Dr. Walker. It was meant to be TGG business but we got into an interesting conversation about an unrelated topic, which was a good distraction for her. (She was doing some marking!) As I spoke to Dr. Walker, I realised that when things kick off again I might come out of my darkness. I should stop trying to be adventurous with TGG and go with what I have. (Many people are echoing this).

I don't know how I'm feeling at the moment, for nothing has been solved yet. There is this dark anger inside of me that needs disposing of, but I don't know how to channel it out. That's to do with my personal mess because of which this whole problem seems even more uglier. I hate being backed into a corner with no way out - no escape shaft or space to breathe. Even worse is some peoples misconception that I am "weak" and can't function on my own. Ha, little do they know of how I function - I just need my mum's food!

I am going to speak with the Tweenies next, to see what they are studying so I can have an idea on what not to choose. After this I will have to speak with the senior tutor if things look messy. My mum calls me fussy but I like to think myself as a creature of habit (which isn't always a good thing I admit). Honestly speaking, blogging has also helped calm me down slightly, as has my visit to the AT building.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A cry for help.

At this moment in time, I have to inform you that I have been seriously contemplating taking a year out. A lot has happened for me to be wanting to make this decision.

For the first time in my life I don't want to start school/college/university. Previously you would have been found me annoyed at the length of the holidays and itching to get back. However today I'm singing to a different tune. The main reason for this is that I don't think I can do third year maths. There is this expectation of me and I let myself down in my second year (hence no review!). I just haven't been able to shrug my second year madness you see. My mathematical struggles had been overwhelming, but that was I believe, due the The Galois Group (TGG) too.

Here we come to our second problem. My heart has been crippling towards TGG. In my heart I know that I cannot cope with both my studies and TGG, but I also know that TGG is coming first in every battle that's been happening. That's the reason why I had an anguished second year. My priorities were wrong and they still are. Most people have been telling me to drop TGG and concentrate on my third and final year.

Wow - we're getting through this post pretty quickly, for that's another dilemma I'm in. I have to choose my next year modules by the end of this week (preferably) and I don't want to choose any module. I want to do second year maths all over again, but this time properly and with my maths head on.

I completed my first year "in control" and apart from stats, I gave it my all. Come my second year, I am no longer in control but running after my studies. Chasing deadlines and then falling apart when I can't make them - giving second rate coursework in and then fluking exams. (Well I passed them all but in my opinion I'm lucky to have got what I did).

Do I still want to do a fourth year? Or was TGG the only reason why I was pushing myself to do four years? My head is a mess at the moment and I have no idea as to what I want to do. Teaching is ultimately my goal. I truly enjoy it and it feels great.

My current reasoning had been (to convince everyone else...): do four years and then do the Graduate Teacher training course. This means that I won't have to do the PGCE but I will be working at a school to get my teacher qualifications. Even that I'm not so sure about... (A PGCE is better in my opinion, but I think money was the issue in this discussion).

At this moment I am having a heart ache because of the fourth year, because if I do it then I have to choose different modules in my third year. Do I choose my third year modules, with a fourth year in mind? Or do I just do three years? I have until December 2008 to make my final decision about doing four years. Technically speaking I should transfer onto it and then tell the Student Loan company, and if I don't do it, transfer of it. (The route out is easier...)

I bet you have never met anyone with this many questions and problems? No wonder I find it difficult to sleep at night!

If I choose my modules with a fourth year in mind, then in my third year I am thinking of studying:
1) Coding Theory (10)
1) Intro to Topology (15)
1) Linear Analysis (15)
1) Group Theory (15)

2)Number Theory (15)
2)Hyperbolic Geometry (15)
2)Commutative Algebra (10)

4th Year
1) Measure Theory (15)
1) Towards Toric Toplogy (15)

2) Galois Theory (15)
2) Egrodic Theory (15)
2) Differentiable Geometry (15)
and
Project (20).

The numbers in the brackets denote the credits of the course and I will end up doing fourth year courses in my third year. I feel that I can't handle that. Honestly speaking, I don't feel up to any of the course above which is another reason for opting out of four years. I am not "mathematically able" to study four years.

You might have gathered that my module credits do not add up. I need to study 240 credits in my third and fourth year, from the following list. I don't know which to study and how to choose them, so there's no problem in my timetable for my remaining years. All the darn options seem to be related to Algebra! (Well apart from Galois Theory which I'm choosing because of PS!)

I can't really explain what is wrong with me, but for the past four weeks I have been feeling quite "unhappy". Sleep evades me at night for thoughts of university and maths give rise to panic attacks. My holidays should not be spent like this. And then there is this whole other mess not related to university, but about that I can do nothing.

As I said - people sometimes expect too much of me. Do this and do that and then do this and then do this. Oh have you done this yet? But I want it done now. GAH. I don't mind helping people but it's when people put a burden of stress on my head which then causes me to mess up. What if I don't want to do a certain something? What if I think that you should do your own laundry? I am lazy (a fact I no longer deny) however my laziness only ever affects my mother (I think). So why should this concern anyone else? How I survive in four years time is my concern. If anyone else is concerned for me, then by continuously having a go at me about my future, you are NOT HELPING.

This is a very unhappy beans writing this post. I don't want to go back to university. I don't want to study some silly impossible modules. What bothers me is that I have failed in some sense. I can't see a way out of this mess because there is no end to this long and dark tunnel.

Nuno had his first day at secondary school today. I wish that had been me. The youthful innocence. Not a care in the world. The exciting prospect of discovering a new world with new people. Being unable to sleep with nerves. Ah.

I won't ever say that "had I done such a such differently, I wouldn't be in this mess". That would be futile. Decisions that were made were always going to be made. Now I have to hack my way out of this predicament. I should start by halving the load on my plate, but there is a reason as to why some people call me the human dustbin.... Instead what I do is take photographs and avoid the issues - allowing them to build up.

Will I go back next year, even though taking a year out is the most ridiculous thing I can suggest in terms of my education? Well TGG is the only thing that I'm thinking of going back to next year, but tomorrow will decide everything. Why? Well tomorrow I'm going back to home base. Unsurprisingly, my previous enthusiasm is no longer present.

To end, I found a quote by John Nash which will amuse me to the end of my days:

"I consider myself to be well-rounded person because I have a chip on both shoulders."

PS: I'm not quite well rounded at the moment, hence this post...