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.

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