## Thursday, December 04, 2008

### The Empty Set

As I have previously mentioned, I am now allowed to use the computers in the Brian Hartley (BH) room for “Galois Group” business (i.e. to make and print posters, and to use TeXnic centre). However, on the door to the Brian Hartley room, in big massive writing, it says: “Only for Staff and Postgraduate Students”.

Yesterday as I conversed with Dr. Coleman, he, as always, commented “that I wasn’t allowed inside the BH room”. I once again explained how I am now “allowed” to use the room (which isn’t “all that” if I may say so myself!) but then I had a better idea.

Previously I have, perhaps naively, defined myself as infinity (amongst many other names!), but yesterday I did something radical. I boldly stated to Dr. Coleman that I now define myself as the empty set!

If I remember correctly, from the epsilon mathematical knowledge that I have, the empty set is contained in every set. Hence the “problem” of me being allowed in the Brian Hartley room is no longer a problem! Yes – I feel that at this stage (in my small moment of glory!) someone is going to come along and say “but…”. Well to any “butters” out there, please go easy on me…

Now being the empty set means that I have certain “cool” properties, which I won’t make a big hoohaa out of. (Don’t want to upset the locals…)! But the main thing is that I don’t have to justify why I should be using a certain room.

Sadly though, one property of the empty set which I am currently feeling is “being empty”. Hollow.

This is one of them weird coincidences in life, so don’t think that ever since I became the empty set I actually lost all matter inside of me! (Although that would be interesting as where would the things inside of me have then gone?)

Inevitably with change there is a lot of friction. However I am now stressed beyond belief and I’m not able to deal with this friction appropriately. I just keep on losing my cool. I do feel like I’m going to topple over the edge soon, and it’s a damn lucky thing that I can’t remember much about toppling objects from Mechanics 2 (college), otherwise who knows what rubbish I would have forced down your throats!

My studies are my biggest stress because I am not studying. For this I obviously blame the Galois Group and then I stop caring about it, and not giving it 100%. Now this means I have two parts of me which are falling apart – hence the emptiness. Professor Dold said to me on the postgraduate open day, that he can see me being anything in life (if you follow me). That is a very sad thing for it reminds me that I perhaps won’t ever get to do what I want, but I can do anything else.

The third year is full of different pressures. You want the best degree that you are capable of and you also want to know what to do next. What to do after you graduate. I’m failing at both instances, for although I want a lot of things they are sadly out of reach at the moment. The scary thing is that I can no longer say “I hope to do a fourth year” for I am not a second year student anymore, with such luxuries. The distance factor which was the reason for the bubble I lived in, has now popped.

I should be making the next batch of posters now, but my hearts not in it so I’m not. Instead, here I am trying to do the impossible – organise my internal chaos.

The way things stand I am failing in all departments. I feel empty. Alone. Don’t get your tissues out just now, but there is no one who will ever be able to understand what makes me tick in the way I do. No one knows why I want to do four years, and do a PhD. And on the other hand, no one understands why I want to accomplish something bigger and better in life, which I haven’t blogged about.

I am very naïve – I confess. And I have a very unrealistic idea about life and indeed I have always had unrealistic aspirations of things, people and myself. I sometimes used to tease my ickle cousins with sweets. To get them to come to me I would wave a packet of sweets in front of them (which they obviously couldn’t eat) and then once I had them in my clutches, the sweets swiftly went out of sight! If the child was a persistent one, he would start whinging for the sweets and I would have to do something. If however it wasn’t persistent, I would distract it by perhaps making funny faces and changing the scenery. (Yes – I have a big bag of tricks I’m afraid!)

The same thing is happening to me now. The possibilities that lie ahead of me are cruelly waving at me to come forward. But which sweets do I prefer? And most importantly, which sweets will actually be given to me, and not quickly hidden? Yes – I do over think this perhaps, but as I said, there is much that I can’t make you understand. (I can’t claim to understanding everything properly myself).

Can I juggle a PhD/four years and “this other thing”? Some people say yes and others say no. Gah. In this emptiness all I do is fall. It reminds me of a Doctor Who episode where there is this big dark pit which the Doctor is attempting to enter. He ends up just letting go and surprisingly has a soft landing. I have landed yet so I wouldn’t know.

Since I have started my third year, my vocabulary of mathematical terms has increased. I can no longer say “measure” in a normal sentence (!) and indeed now the gluing lemma in Topology came to mind! I desperately hope that the gluing lemma can be applied to the empty set…

Anyway, enough of this mumbo jumbo now. A part of me knows that I shouldn’t be sacrificing my studies, but I have become too overwhelmed with how much work I have got to do now. It is this sense of been overwhelmed that causes me to panic. The maths is quite hard as well, and four weeks over the Christmas holidays will not be enough to “learn and understand” the maths. Then the likes of me want to do a PhD…