in a parallel sea what would i be?

The summer break’s drawing to a close, and whilst I wouldn’t say that it’s flown by, it always comes as a bit of a surprise how suddenly the end of summer is on top of you. I guess I’ve grown accustomed to the pleasant routine and relaxing pace of the holidays, and now it’s like, wow, this time next week I’ll be getting ready to go back to Sheffield.

It has kinda shocked me into being a bit more productive, though, which can only end well. At the start of the summer I had a bit of an overly optimistic plan to do lots of studying over summer, and it didn’t really happen. I’ve been reading a few popularisations and biographies over the summer, so I’m not completely gone off the mathematical boil, but I am slightly nervous that I’ll get back to Sheffield and going to lectures will be like trying to run a marathon without any training, y’know? It’s never been an issue in the past, but I’m just a bit leery because fourth year courses will be a lot more challenging (or at least they’d better be, for my own sanity – at times, last semester was deadly dull and straightforward), and I’m worried I’ll have forgotten all the prereq stuff and get sorta mired in them. I guess if that happens, I’ll just have to put in a lot of manhours in the first few weeks catching up.

I’m fairly confident that I can do that for most of the modules, but I’m worried about PMA447 Commutative Algebra. The prereq course, Rings and Modules, wasn’t the worst taught class I’ve taken at uni, but it was certainly the worst organised. I’m not sure how I passed that exam, never mind with 84%, but it certainly wasn’t by dint of actually understanding the breadth of the subject matter. Scaling marks is a wonderful thing, but it really does sort of misrepresent how good your grasp is on the subject. I mean, I can’t remember much of, say, the Metric Spaces or the Complex Analysis courses I took before Christmas, but I felt that I really got them the first time round, and it’d just take a few hours delving back into my old notes before things’d start to click again. Not so much with Rings and Modules – I really do need to learn it from scratch.

It was my plan to do so this summer – I really don’t want to be starting 447 with only a hazy grasp on what went on in the prereq module –  but like a lot of things did this summer, that plan just of got lost somewhere along the way. But yeah, it’s now like “holy wow, lectures start in two weeks!”, so I’ve suddenly regained a lot of motivation and have been working my way through the first few chapters of Dr. K’s notes. Having a good (and legible!) set of notes makes such a difference – who would’ve thought? Still not comfortable diving into his very scary looking “Warm Up” problems – I think that’s where I want to be, though, before lectures start.

(I think that was a really, really long way of saying “I’m slightly worried because I’ve forgotten quite a lot since last year, but I’m sure I’ll be fine as long as I work hard”. I think conciseness is something I’ve always struggled with.)

I think Police Sweater Blood Vow might be my fave Fiery Furnaces song – it’s a hard call, because they have so many fantastic ones, and PSBV isn’t one that immediately stands out. I love how earnest the vocals are, though, and also the stripped down sound. Anyway, check out this adorable acoustic version! (I think Anders already found this a while back, but I just came across it again.)

Anyway, back to studying! Y’know, on reflection I’m not entirely sure this burst of productivity has anything to do with term starting in a week or so. I think it has much more to do with the fact that I’ve got to wait like.. five weeks for the next season of How I Met Your Mother to finish downloading. The line between “good work ethic” and “nothing else to do” becomes steadily blurred.

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