Monday, August 17, 2009

What next?

This question has been looming over my shoulders since I graduated - what next? However I have been doing a very good job at avoiding any attempts at answering this question by reading a lot of fiction. Well without the Internet to distract me, and the fact that my controller for the PS3 got "misplaced" (according to my mum!) during the building work, I needed something to do. And so in approximately three weeks I managed to reread all seven Harry Potter books again! They were a jolly good distraction I must say, and I still can't believe the lame ending of book seven. I will refrain from mentioning any other comments on them books as that will probably take over the whole post! (And this is meant to be me finally answering the question above.)

I considered taking a year out to do nothing, but that was roughly pushed aside by the powers that be. Taking a year out would just make me an even more lazier git, and thus I shouldn't postpone anything that I want to do. (You can tell that's my mum speaking again!). So teaching it hopefully will be for the immediate future, during which I hope to "self study" Maths.

There I have said it. I haven't deliberately done any maths for a long time, and now my brain is trying to pull me towards the books. (By the way - my glorious shelf, stacked with Maths book broke during the time I have been away!) I realise that in my third year, a lot of the modules I took weren't properly understood by me. I'm not going to study them again, but I'm going to try and get rid of my Algebra bug. I'm hoping to actually read the fourth year modules that I would have taken and other random bits of Maths that I enjoy.

You see there are some things which I have avoided mentioning in this post, and that is sadly due to the fact that I haven't spent time working on them. My desk should be with me soon and it is then that I hope to sort some unfinished business! (I use a laptop, and for some weird reason, I only ever work productively in front of it when I'm seated at my desk or some table. When I'm lying/sat in bed I don't really do much...).

Sometimes things happen and we wonder what would we have done had we gone back in time. I always believe that if something happened, then no matter how many times I go back in the Tardis, the same thing would occur again and again. This in one sense gives me some consolation, and indeed tells me to stop dwelling on what has happened. Now I'm keeping this post short as I don't want to ponder on the above question for much longer. You see I once posted about "karma" aka one of Newton's laws (!) and mentioned whether it was worth knowing someone's reality? You see would people think differently of the decisions that I made, if I told them the whole story? A few people do know my reasons, and Dr. Eccles knows everything hence why they are all somewhat understanding.

However my reasons are not any form of excuse. I could have still done four years for example, but I decided not to. I'm going to miss not going back to the Maths department next year, but if the Ollernshaw lectures show an appearance I might just drop by...

Sigh. Money has never motivated me. I just like having enough to get by. But somehow money seems very important to everyone else in my whole generation. You see tinky winky graduated too and will be earning more money than me. I'm happy for TW but all I hear is "you shouldn't have done Maths" from everyone else. Thankfully they don't know how I did, otherwise they would probably bury me alive.... They don't see teaching as a good money making career and are suggesting all sorts of silly jobs I should do. The reason I did a maths degree is because I knew that although I love to teach, it is never going to be a permanent career choice. Lets leave the future where it is!

I can't think of a mathematical way to end this post, so back to some quote it is:

Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.
- Walter Lippmann


mohit said...

dude don't ever try to cross ur limits .don't dare to peak about Aryabhatta he is the 1 and the best mathematician of all the times in the world

maxymoo said...

hi beans

i've read your blog since you started! (i was in third year when you were in first). i'm really sorry to read that you're feeling down about your maths :( but all is not lost.

i was feeling pretty bummed when i finished third year, and i dropped out of fourth year after 3 weeks. so i got this job as a bicycle courier, with no real plans for the future, and i spent the year making all these new great friends and making cash! and not thinking about maths AT ALL. (i found it impossible to motivate myself to do maths when i was working full time).

then the next year i decided that i badly needed some brain stimulation, so i went back and did my fourth year. i was still being a courier 3 days a week, for the cash and cus i found it gave me head space. it was challenging balancing study and work but it gave me great focus. then i won the prize for the best honours thesis!

then i had another year off and now i'm 6 months into my phd and let me tell you it's the sweet life. you get paid to do maths and tutor first years and there's no exams or assignments or pressure or timetables, it's really great.

so my advice is do something crazy non-maths related that you would never try otherwise, and don't stress it. i promise you haven't disadvantaged yourself by taking a break. some head space and some perspective will only be an advantage when you decide to come back!

anyway, best of luck mate, don't despair, i know you'll end up doing something rad whether it's maths or not -- but i DO think it will be maths ;-)


Beans said...

Hi Max,

Thanks a lot for your message - it was very reassuring as it's nice to hear that what I'm hoping to do is not impossible. :)

I'm kinda glad that I actually didn't do the four years too, for although I am missing going back to the Maths department, I'm not really missing the Maths! (Just the hustle and bustle of student life and TGG).

Although I'm doing the PGCE (which is Maths related) I'm actually enjoying it (at the moment anyway!), and I have got something crazy non-maths related thing lined up too!

What topic are you doing your PhD in? Although a PhD is obviously hard, the fact that it's all about how you structure yourself does make it sound appealing! Good luck with it and I do hope that I end up doing the Maths too! :D


PS: Mohit - I don't agree that Aryabhatta is the best mathematician of all times in the world.