Thursday, April 21, 2011

Non-Zero Probability

It now appears that there is a non-zero probability that I will finish the semester. For the first time, I can actually see the end from here. We have two more weeks of classes, and then finals, but I had a big exam today and really couldn't see past it until it was over.

In some ways, the class I had the exam in was my most important one (real analysis, which I'm taking a qual in this summer), and of my four classes, it has gone the worst. There is a lot of material I really struggle to understand, and what I do understand, I have trouble holding on to from moment to moment. Studying for the exam did greatly increase my knowledge, but there were topics I couldn't study because I just couldn't face them. And yet...the qual.

I'm feeling better now, but the past couple of days I have felt pretty down on school. As happened during the stressful part of last semester, I found myself fantasizing a lot about quitting and going back to my old job (I think they would hire me back, but I could probably get a similar job in any case) and having an easier life with more money and not as much math. I think that terrible negativity might be passing now, which would be nice. Most of the time, I prefer my life here to my old life by a moderately large margin.

I actually probably did all right on the exam. Last semester, I got a 55% on the midterm and ended up (somehow) with an A in the class. I estimate that I got about a 70% on this one. If I do a good job on the final, I should be able to at least pass with a B, I think. (If I fail the class, all hope is not lost, but passing would be better, of course.)

I posted a while back about my doom-laden decision to take four courses this semester. I'm happy to report that that decision, at least, was not in fact a mistake. Reports of my impending doom turned out to have been exaggerated. The logic class has been very interesting and our professor dramatically decreased the workload relative to the first half, and the topology class has been as vital as I'd thought it might be, and I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to take it.

So, that's my life these days, anyway.


Anonymous said...

During semesters when I was taking classes, my feelings about school were all over the place depending on how much work I had to do, how much I did/didn't want to do it, and generally how doomed I felt. Next semester, I'll be back there with you (though not taking real analysis!).

Remember, soon you will regain that sense of bliss, and will feel all the more awesome for how hard things were.

It's a crazy life we've chosen.

Barefoot Doctoral said...

Second semester of my first year in grad school, I took 5 classes (one of which was a class that there to help me prepare for my quals, so I thought it didn't really count). I don't think I slept much that term, but I don't remember now.

I learned a valuable lesson, a twist of that I'd learned in college: Graduate classes require more work than undergraduate classes which require more work than highschool. I can't just take a "full load" by the numbers.

I failed a qual that year, retook it in September, and continued on with my life, shaken, but in the end, not regretting my enrollment decisions. Best of luck to you at the end of this academic year.

Tam said...

Thanks, Barefoot!