Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Eleven hours of Maths in two days.

Two days. Two nine am starts. Eleven hours. Rushed lunch. No breakfast. Food?! Pain. Aahh.

The above paragraph very nicely describes the words I am able to splutter to anyone asking.

Now I'm going to write a lot of mumbo jumbo, and make a big deal out of trivial things. I don't believe that you would expect any different from me, but don't say that you weren't warned.

When one says "I'm tired", one is being very vague. There are three types of tiredness one experiences: mental, physical and lastly tiredness due to lack of sleep. A person is truly tired if they satisfy all three conditions.

I cheated today and made it seem like that I was tired due to lack of sleep, when indeed it was mental tiredness due to the strain of eleven hours of maths lectures. Physical tiredness overtook me a lot later (when I was walking to my half way destination home), but I actually welcome aching joints for it has been too long that I have not felt the blood rushing through my veins, energising me!

You might argue that all these "tirednessess" are linked, and "if you're lacking sleep then you are automatically going to feel mentally and physically tired". My naive padawans. Free your minds. Surely this has to be an if and only if statement! Well the mysteries of this area of research are still being worked on, and your two pence of thought are very much welcomed. (But you must forgive a fellow human if he does not entertain your notions, once in a state of "tiredness"!)

Now that probably didn't make much sense to you. Don't worry though, for if at first real analysis didn't make sense, what did you do?

I was perhaps lacking sleep, but not enough to make others speech slurred and my head look for an appropriate resting ground so I could have a nap. Nopety nope. Today I was truly mentally tired.

Monday was four hours in a row, then an hour for lunch (and TGG stuff), after which it was another two hours in a row. Today another disgusting four hours greeted me in the morning, and after an hour for lunch we had another hour. Another hour of Measure Theory to be precise. This is going to change to six hours in a ROW on a Tuesday from week five, and no matter how many times I'm told that the timetables are arranged so that this does not happen, I always fall foul. (My second semester last year was somewhat dodgy as well).

Typically my week should have 18 hours of timetabled lessons. How do you think the other seven hours have been arranged? I suppose you can be forgiven in assuming that I have seven hours in a row on Friday, but that is not so. I have a mere four hours on a Friday (three in a row); two hours on a Thursday and currently one on Wednesday. But Wednesday is least important for it's a half day and The Galois Group lectures take place in the second half of it.

Grumble is all I can do at the moment, but I will stop soon. Once this mental fatigue has vanished I will be back. Tiredness due to lack of sleep is quite nice at certain times, for I know that I will oscillate between the high peaks and the low points, and I will be mostly shell-shocked throughout the day, trying to survive (but jolly nonetheless).

Mental tiredness is harmful for people in your epsilon neighbourhood. In the coding theory lecture I couldn't hear the lecturer for most parts of the hour. When I spoke to the lecturer afterwards he mentioned that although the subject is okay, students find it hard to get and it takes them a while to understand the material. It's no wonder that it takes us ages to understand it for we can't hear a word that's being said during lectures!

I'm very ticked off as I recall the inconsiderate people who talk during lectures. I have given up trying to do anything about this, and my Honzo sword remains unused (gathering dust). It's just a sad affair that those who KNOW that they won't benefit from attending lectures, still attend them but don't pay attention. Instead they continue the conversations that should take place in a cafe. Is it my fault that I have very sensitive hearing? Is it my fault that if I don't hear what the lecturers saying I won't properly understand what's being said?

In a certain lecture today (one where I could hear the lecturer), but where due to my mental state I was using a lot of brain power to stay on Earth, I nearly snapped. I was at the stage where if the lecturer had said one more word, the point would click in my head. That click which you would stop drinking tea for! That click never happened though, but it was due to an unfortunate thing on this occasion even though I didn't see it like that at the time. Not any one's fault, but missing the click made me more frustrated and my frown grew. (As I said - I was quite pleased with myself for being alive for the last lecture of the day). I think I should sit on my own in lectures. I should also sit on my own in example classes. In lectures I won't be distracted, and in example classes others won't be distracted by myself.

My epsilon neighbourhood, when I'm wanting to listen to a maths lecture, does not allow the luxury of non-trivial questions or indeed trivial conversations. Well if the lecturer is quiet for a minute or so (cleaning the board etc), then I don't mind non-trivial questions or to answer why the b suddenly became an a. But if the lecturer is talking then such questions can always wait till the end right? I mean, my lecture notes have question marks all over them because I have realised that it is sometimes foolish to ponder over a point for too long, and then lose track of the remaining lecture. Instead the question marks can be dealt with at the end.

Sigh. Mental fatigue means to leave me be (for a finite amount of time). Imagine I'm not there for twenty minutes. That's why when I'm mentally down, to control my own natural instincts to attack anything that I disagree with, I put my head down and blame lack of sleep. Though I must say, that I have to be very very frustrated and restless for me to be wanting to disagree with someone for the sake of debate.

I can't string two proper sentences today, and I don't really know how much I took in from my lectures!

Nothing is going right with anything at the moment. TGG lecture is next week, but then the student ones in week five have a major clash (which I only found out now). I'm like the sea - raging against a cliff in frustration. There's this stupid stupid careers event in the maths building in week 5 from 1-4pm. Well it's not really stupid but raging waves feel that way! I don't know what to do apart from forging on ahead.

With The Galois Group I grow tired of the maths department sometimes. Why would I expect them to make my life any easier?

A post grad student whose quite cool and who was my workshop supervisor bumped into me today. She was concerned about me not having found anyone to help me with TGG and then wasn't pleased to hear about Infinite Descent. I was touched by her concern as she would rather "I pass with flying colours" then do TGG. This was the concern where I'm not "told off" for doing TGG but instead told to get my priorities sorted.

Now this puts me into a slight situation. Passing with flying colours without doing as much work as is required is a dream of mine. I would love to pass with flying colours! However come now and be realistic for a second! Passing is what's ultimately important for me, but I know in the little place in your heart which no one can ever predict, that hard work will escape me again. It's like knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow. You don't plan these things - they just happen.

Today I missed Prof. S a lot. There's a certain emptiness in the AT building with him not around, and I don't enjoy not being able to bug him any more. He's one person who always managed to cheer me up, even if it was when he was trying to convince me to do a fourth year! There's certain things that I would like to discuss with him now but I can't.

It's going to be a tough week and my bloody wisdom teeth aren't helping! It's scary being a third year. Today I bumped into a third year whose had to repeat their second year. Once upon a time I had wanted to repeat a year (for trivial reasons which I will write again some other time), but it makes sense to do the MMath instead to get my four year fix! The only thing a second year would be good for is that Dr. C would be lecturing, but then Prof. S wouldn't, so I had it great anyway!

I made a blubbering fool of myself in front of second year students during an example class they had. Just before they had started, I decided to speak to them about TGG without any thoughts whatsoever on what I was going to say. I ended up asking them "is that all then?" and speaking too fast of course!! (Well it was only after I was leaving my 9am lecture at 9:50am that the thought came to me, so I was improvising...).

Had enough yet? (Please say yes!) By the way - a last comment - I have my suspicions that a certain someone at University knows about my blog! I got my inkling due to something that was said to me in a conversation, which could only have been read from my blog. Dang. I worry now, have I written anything I shouldn't have? Hmmm. I had made the connection a while later, so didn't get to ask "how do you know such a such thing", but I will leave this to an unsaid thing. (It's like cat and mouse!)

Here's hoping that at least one thing will go right for me tomorrow.

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