Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Quick Lecture Run-Down

Before I came to university, I had a notion that lectures were going to be awkward to get through. You'd have to take notes all the time while following the lecturer and I thought it would be impossible to keep up at all.

My mind was as wrong as your everyday internet troll. It hadn't even taken into account the existence of whiteboards - it only thought about projector screens which didn't have anything on them to aid understanding, and having to write all the undecipherable equations down, making it difficult to listen. (And in fairness to past me, my ears do tend to turn off when I'm copying off of the whiteboard, but whiteboard writing stays up longer and needs rubbing off sometimes. And I can actually understand what I'm writing too)

Real lectures are hardly like that at all. In fact, plenty of lecturers just hand you the flipping notes. You just have to keep up with what's going on and maybe annotate bits of information as you go through it all. Maybe you'll end up going right back to the beginning and learn where techniques come from in the first place, maybe you're picking up on all this new stuff with new symbols and methods, or maybe your lecturer will try and bribe a graph of x² (with money) to give a value for x where y = -1 to demonstrate that there is no real answer for it. It's good to have a sense of humor when half of what you're covering is known by half the lecture hall.

Even the more 'note'-worthy lecturers are pretty cool. (And I have noted that pun as one of the worst puns I have ever made up. I apologize for this and the notation around the word 'note'. A Minim sure likes a pun about 'notes.' It's terrible) And at least one of them puts all of his notes online where you can find them. Taking notes is a good thing that you can do with your hands, and copying stuff can be a good way to learn things, too. Maybe you're revisiting the definition of an angle (proper angles work in radians here, because if you draw a circle of radius 1 around the point, the angle between the two lines would just be the length of the arc between them). Maybe you're playing around with new terms.

Of course, the most on-hands module has the most on-hands approach, with the lectures just being used to tackle some of the most common problems that people were coming up with, while much of the learning is done by going through and doing stuff and just simply asking about it. Maybe simply asking about things isn't in a Minim's nature, but doing the work and using the resources available is, and so this means that a Minim is very satisfied.

Thursday, 23 October 2014


There is something that is bugging me about notation in Maths.

You see, these are all fine:

But I really don't get this:
Maybe integers made the mathematicians sleep?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Getting Lost

One of the most important items I carry around with me is my phone.

See, before all the university stuff happened, I was pretty happy with my phone. By then, it was just an old pink lump of metal that worked as an alarm clock, and worked at texting mostly, but that's all I needed. I didn't care that everyone else was playing flappy birds or quizzes or what-have-you, because I was enjoying my life by then and didn't feel the need.

Now, though, I'm glad to have a smartphone. A shiny black one. So sorry old phone, but you're fired.

Old Phone: You fired me?!
Minim: Yes.
Old Phone: But whyyyyyy??? *sadface*
Minim: You don't have a face for it to be sad.
Minim: And this new smartphone does more and is a harder worker.
Old Phone: How long did it take you to choose that pillock? I bet it was absolutely ages...
Minim: Less than it took the guys in the Apprentice to choose cheese.
Minim: I just went for what the guy in the shop recommended.
Old Phone: Oh yeah?!
Minim: Yeah.
Old Phone: And what does that old lump of black metal do that I can't?
Minim: Nags me when I've got email.
Old Phone: You have a computer.
Minim: Has a browser.
Old Phone: You have a computer.
Minim: Has Google Maps.
Old Phone: You have a computer.
Minim: I can move the map with the touchscreen and can use it when my frankly awful sense of direction completely fails me.
Old Phone: You're no good with maps anyway.
Minim: Shows me where I am, too, so I can work out which way to go by moving about.
Old Phone: *speechless*

It is so easy to get lost in a new town (did it on the way to the shops twice, even having gone there twice from my halls of residence not getting the route to sink in!) My phone is often the hero in such situations because of its maps. Yes, I know that computer maps are definitely not perfect, but they are pretty functional for use and I know where to aim myself to get back into known territory. I've had more problems with looking where to go prior to going, and that has happened twice - each time due to my misinterpretations.

I've got a good handle on where I need to be, anyway, and most of the shops I may use. (still have no handle on certain places I need like the post office but apart from that...) I like it.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

I've Got It

The one thing I hate in a lecture is whispering around me. It's annoying and distracting and makes me want to bite people's heads off because I actually want to focus (and especially when the lecturer has a soft voice) and I'm getting burst out of the concentration bubble every five seconds.

The one thing I love in a lecture is a lecturer who occasionally makes a funny comment. Or being around people (mainly guys) who don't really whisper at all. Or finding out something interesting and new.

The one thing I love about my timetable is that it's got lots of maths on it. And that Wednesday afternoon is very much clear.

The one thing I hate about my timetable is that my earliest starts (same time Monday and Friday) are both further away than my regular lecture hall. And that Fridays are my busiest day with all lectures being in different halls (not to mention tutorial).

The one thing I love about independent living is the ability to eat a bacon butty whenever I feel like it.

The one thing I hate about independent living is my non-ability to get things done. Or having to carry shopping up three flights of stairs (and making my arm hurt wildly in the process).

Thursday, 2 October 2014


It's the first proper week of Uni and doing Maths and stuff, and already I'm learning stuff:

1. Always be ready for the Fire Alarm to go off.

This means, keep your shoes on except in bed, and make sure to have some sort of jacket easy to hand at night. Keys and glasses can go in its pockets.

2. Lectures are easier to follow if you sit at the front.

If you're near the back, people will be whispering and they will be glued to their phones too. Which is seriously distracting and makes it difficult to follow.

3. When in doubt, the name's Hannah.

No, seriously, across all of the first year Maths students, you've got about a 10% prevalence of the name Hannah among the girls. (It's a lovely name, mind you.)

4. Most people are just nice people who would like to get along with you.

Seriously, most people are happy to chat and be friendly and they do like to see that you're happy. Nobody minds if you quickly ask them something or whatever.

5. What I do is completely within my own hands.

I could stay in my room all day. Or I could go out every night. I could skip all my lectures - no-one's taking track. But lectures are awesome so I intend to go to all of them cos they're just so cool.

Most of this uni stuff is brilliant even if there are a few downsides. I'm just hoping I never forget my key. That would be £10 and I really don't want to lose that amount for a sheer moment of forgetfulness.