Since I have a blog, I figure I should blog once in a while. Don’t worry, I’ll be back to blogging too much about animu and politics shortly. So this term has been not quite as keikaku as I’d have liked. This has been fairly enlightening as I try to figure out just wtf I’m going to be doing and how future terms are going to be affected.
Act I: Analysis
I’d already mentioned before that Complex Analysis was a crazy roadblock that put me on to the road to proposed and much easier plan requirements. This was clearly because I was insufficiently prepared for the material. Even though the lecture material made sense as we went through it and the textbook was pretty much the same thing, it was determined that I didn’t have the adequate foundational knowledge in analysis and the intuition that comes with solving those sorts of problems.
So, this was for the best, it seemed. After all, dropping one course wouldn’t be too bad.
Act II: First-Order Logic
Now this, this is failure. This is where we learn that the Rudy 08 strategy does not work when applied to coursework. After not having gotten a passing mark on any assignment, I decided to seek the advice of the TA before the midterm. It boiled down to understanding the solutions to the problems, which I felt like I had a pretty good handle on, especially after relearning everything.
As it turns out, it wasn’t good enough and I failed the midterm. I decided that the chances of my passing were very slim at this point and decided to abandon ship.
This course was a very interesting experience for me. Unlike Complex Analysis, where I was insufficiently prepared, this course should have been cake. I did well in my first logic course and I enjoyed computability theory in the CS context. It turns out that that would be my downfall, because it seems that that was some sort of mental block that made it impossible for me to solve the problems in such a way that it would satisfy the subject in a pure mathematical context.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a course baffle me like that before. I’d go do an assignment, feeling confident that I’d solved the problems fairly competently and find that I was doing it wrong. I’d look at the solutions and try and see what went wrong, internalized the mistakes, and took a stab at the next assignment and, again, felt confident. The cycle would repeat all the way to the midterm.
I walked away from this entire debacle understanding just where my interests in mathematics lie. The things that attracted me to pure math wasn’t exactly the purity and the theory. It was exactly the things in math that I found cool (algebra and number theory) and pure math was the only way I could study those things. And as much as I might want to think otherwise, I’m still much more of a computer scientist than any other kind of mathematician.