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. :(


Jake said...

What modules have you chosen then?

I think I am going to do:

Topology (4th year)
Group Theory (4th year)
Coding Theory
Predicate Calculus

Career Management skills (Yes, I know but there is not much else I want to do that I don't want to save till next year and do the 15 credit version of, plus, it'll take some exam pressure off)

Beans said...

Have you spoken to Dr. E then?

Hmmm, I like your choices. So in your fourth year semester one, will you be doing: measure theory, linear analysis and calculus on manifolds?

I'm beginning to think that two fourth year modules in my third year might be better... (SILENT SCREAM!) For in my fourth year I will be doing Calculus, Model theory, and Measure theory. (Not too sure about model theory you see).

Currently I have the following four chosen (all third year):
Coding Theory
Linear Analysis
Group Theory

and I can't decide the other two from the four I mentioned.

For the reasons you mention (less exam pressure) I have seriously been considering Career Management skills. However what worries me about that is that there is no guarantee that you will do well. I mean with exams you can be sure of a good grade with a certain amount of revision, but group presentations, log books and employer studies - BAH! :/

Sigh. I can't believe how rubbish I am at making a blimmin' decision.

Beans said...

One on hand I really want to do Applied complex analysis too (even though it looks to be a stinker of a course!). :/

Jake said...

As an aside, have you enrolled on the computer system? Mine won't work - I'm going to the office tomorrow to see if they can help.

Beans said...

Yes, I managed to enrol without any problems. Did the office manage to help you?

Abg said...

Personally, if I were an employer or admissions tutor, I'd prefer any mathematical content over no mathematical content. That's just me, though.

This might be bad advice, but stop hesitating and go for it! See if you can patch up where you went wrong last year and improve.

Beans said...

Hi Abg,

That's what I was like last year but I guess you are right (as everyone else keeps on telling me!) in that I need to make a decision and stick with it.

Truth be told, I have the same problem with my driving sometimes! (Hence why I haven't taken my test yet but don't tell Prof. S!)

I don't think that's bad advice, but the hesitation and the indecisiveness is something that I've gotten used to now! :/