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.


Abg said...


Good luck with your modules. If your professors say you're capable of doing them, then why not go for it? You're worrying too much--simply relax! I do hope you'll progress on to a PhD, it seems only natural if you're interested in pure mathematics!

Perhaps the 'dark anger' is called ambition? It's usually when I become idle. I feel much better even if I can solve just one problem by myself, because it takes my mind off failure.

P.S. If you're feeling stressed from studying and you're near Central Library some time, we could meet up to discuss some easier mathematics! I'm not at university but perhaps we could discuss some interesting Calculus problems. :)

If you do want to, then I'll leave my email address in another comment (which you can hopefully not approve so it isn't revealed to everybody!)

Beans said...

Hi Abg,

Thanks for your comment. I should relax but when I panic, all reason is thrown out of the window! My professors say I'm capable of doing a lot of things, but only I know my limitations.

Aah - the PhD. Prof. S would like that very much, however I think the first step is to do the four years. :) My circumstances should change by the end of my fourth year, hence why I'm not planning the PhD just yet. (It's just something I would love to have done - like playing for Manchester United...).

The dark anger could be called ambition but it's there because of my damn ugly laziness! (And any other words you want to use to describe it). My holidays have lacked routine (not helped by working weird hours) which university provides, hence why I can't get myself to do anything constructive at all.

So you're a Mancunian then? I haven't even started studying yet, so I probably won't see you in the library for quite some time!

My email address is on my profile, so if you ever want to contact me then please feel free to drop me an email. Are you at college then? Do you want to study Mathematics at university? If so then I'm afraid you'll have to say "some trivial mathematics" from now on. :D