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!

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