Grades/Graduation

My disillusioned post a week or so ago about not doing so well on my last finals probably deserves an update.

Well, I graduated! I am officially a bachelor of science in Mathematics. I can’t believe it. I’ve read some journal postings of myself as a sophomore taking Electricity and Magnetism (physics 212), and I don’t feel like a different person from the one who wrote those words. I remember writing them vividly, in fact. However, I have learned so much since then. Mathematics, in particular, has taught me so much about how to stretch my imagination and how to adapt to new ideas quickly and critically. The fact that I have spent the last two years writing 6-25 pages of Mathematical proofs every week has even shaped my writing. I have picked up all sorts of bad habits, such as using the word “we” too much. Mathematical writing resembles a guidebook of sorts, and so saying phrases like, “We expand the left-hand side of equation (3) to obtain…” is common. On the other hand, mathematical writing has helped me write more clearly, logically, and briefly. Clarity tends to trump brevity in my mathematical writing, though. I will take the space to explain exactly how one claim follows from some definition rather than saying “obviously” or “clearly” as many lazy mathematicians are wont. Wow, that was an interesting tangent.

My grades are in. Even with my poor final performances, I was able to keep the A’s I had going in. That makes me happy, since grades are sort of symbolic of the effort I put into my education. I feel like a hypocrite saying that, because the education literature shows just how awful grades are for learning. Having developed the self discipline to value my own learning, though, I find it hard to call myself out for being happy about my grades.

In fact, I’ve spent the last few hours reading and thinking, which makes me feel good about being a liberal arts graduate. I had to allow myself several days after graduation for shamelessly picking up Pokemon Emerald, raising awesome pokemon to beat the Elite 4, and capturing all kinds of rare Pokemon. Now, though, I need to devote some good portion of my time left before my USC program starts on June 18 (my anniversary) to tackling a reading list that I have been in the process of creating. The book that I start with will probably have to do with what I can find in the iBookstore. Yes, ereading is the future and I discriminate against books not available on my iPad. I thought of starting or continuing one of the many physics or math texts that I have on GoodReader, but after spending pretty much every day of the last two years reading textbooks and perusing Wikipedia to think about math, I think I need to focus on a good book that has nothing to do with Mathematics. I’m tentatively choosing to read “Lies My Teacher Told Me.” I heard it was good.

It’s Caroline’s B-Day party tomorrow. I’m excited to see some friends. I suppose I’ll stop here.

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