Sunday, March 02, 2008

once again ...

a little trouble...
I've first written this thing on a beer coaster, so bear with me...
Right now I'm sitting on my friend's balcony with the (almost invisible) rest of a bottle of wine and just feel doomed (actually, I'm not really doomed, I'm more like C3po who says he's doomed and then theres still the other humans or chewies or r2d2 who will rescue him).

There's more to this, but right now I'm just too tired...
I'll update this soon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It's like every hope I ever had for any future is crumbling to pieces...

Or, that's just what I thought. After completing major step #3 of the AwesomeCrazyStuffProceedure, I felt like I had totally screwed up. Fortunately, it appears I did reasonably well and there's nothing to complain about. Yay!!!
Now on to final step #4... Stay tuned for more panicy business.

Friday, February 22, 2008

new perspectives

So, I kind of want to write about advising.
In general I'd say that you can give best advice on things you've experienced youself, but of course, there's more to that: more than just giving an opinion, but engaging in a matter and figuring out different solutions or at least ways of proceeding.

Today I had a 2 hour phonecall from someone who I don't really know that much. I have been told before that I give the impression to know what I'm doing and also being approachable and willing to help, but there's not too many people that would call me on this (maybe mainly because most of my surrounding tends to be male), except for some really close friends... So today I felt like an adviser of some kind.

The issue is probably some mixture of the Imposter Syndrome and having failed before which I can absolutely relate to (sadly enough). Some time ago after reading this post by sciencemama, I found some other things on the web, and decided for myself that I would stop this pathological mal-thinking. What really helped me in the end was that I discovered that I am not the only one. I still have these feelings but they're put in perspective, I finally feel like I belong - at least to my specific "scientific age group".

But back to topic - It took us quite a while to figure out what the real problem was, especially because this person mistrusts people in general and second guesses every word or action, and while discussing we figured out how that person could work on the issue in general in a hopefully less selfdestructive way.
Honestly, I never had that before concerning personal matters: The same feeling I sometimes have when discussing a scientific problem. It was not about finding a solution or 5, but more about understanding the matter itself - nail the problem.
I wouldn't go as far as one of my professors who used to say that nontriviality is always in the problem, that's a definition issue, I guess every mathematician and physicist would protest (since the most intuitive theorem often is the hardest to prove), but in PsychoCrapLand the solution is often in finding the underlying cause.

Uh, this is a really horrible post. Not very insightful - as I said before, I don't really like PsychoCrap, but whatever.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

just like a little vacation!

Semester has started again, I've passed all exams, and it looks like all the courses I take have something to do with my favourite subject (MFS) which I can now finally rename: My FUTURE Subject (MFS)!!! Isn't this brilliant?
There's just one more immediate task I'll have to fulfill for AwesomeCrazyStuff next week and then I'll be a real student again with real studentlife!!! (well, till april, maybe... oh, it's almost march... oh, shit...)

So, I've just "moved in" to a friend's place that I'll be sitting for the next 2 weeks, and it's really a little bit like vacation... I've been here before a lot, but now it's really like ... I can just sit here, take a deep breath, and think about the last couple of months (ok, this might be due to a certain, very good bottle of wine that I've recently purchased). I'm not at the point of reflecting over the last two years yet (eventhough that would be what I expect of a REAL vacation), but at least I feel at ease, and a little confident, and just like that: happy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Wow, actually I wanted to write about something entirely different, but since I've recently decided to write less of the usual self-absorbed crap (although this is still my blog) you will now read the following:

I have always had this very naive view on academia (am I still naive if I know that I'm naive?), and this article (wonderfully criticized here and here and here and of course here and here and other places) ... speechless. It's about clothes.

Short summary in my words: Professors have to wear suits, otherwise they're not respected, blah, blah, students don't take them seriously, blah, blah...

My first thought went along Dave Bacon's post: Should I dress down now?!? (As I said, I wear skirts, heels AND mascara)

But seriously: Academia is supposed to be a place of knowledge, freedom of speech, and sans dresscode. The article in question also somehow implies that students pay for a serious lecturer seriously lecturing seriously interesting stuff. Do I need a professor to wear a tie when he explains how a cube slides down an inclined plane to believe him? And would I believe a professor with a tie telling me that it's a yellow god named Gigi that makes string theory work because he sometimes picks on them?
Of course we're taught facts mostly, but even in an undergraduate course you can easily reach the point where things aren't sorted out yet and a professor might state his personal opinion on the matter.
In less mathematical sciences this might always be the case.
So really, I thought studying means being taught the models that work, getting equipped with the tools to verify them myself and enough "knowledge" to decide in what I can believe. And if someone's really really good at all this and his peers think: Oh, that person's really smart and says mostly correct stuff, then that's how you become a professor.
I can't imagine someone saying: Uh, I love that guy's jacket, does anyone know how many papers he's published?

(yours, the nine year old idealistic me)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

how could they know that ?!?

Your time of day has a split personality -- sometimes it's sweat-streaked and loud, and you're on the dance floor, getting your third wind, and shouting lyrics like you'll never run out of energy. You are the time of night that carves itself into your memory forever, because you'll never forget how much you love these people and this moment and this song. It's not always about unforgettable parties, though. Sometimes your late night (err… early morning) burst of energy happens when you're home alone. Those are the times when you say, "I flat out refuse to go to sleep until I finish reading this book, or typing this page, or reorganizing my entire closet." In either case, you are the time of night when it feels sort of forbidden to be awake, but you love accomplishing something special long after everyone else went to bed.

SEEN ON Playing School

Saturday, February 09, 2008

scary stuff

If you're a student: read with caution.
If you're one of my special students: READ!!!

For the rest of the universe these are probably just great fun.

A Gentleman's C
Playing School, Irreverently
Learning Curves

And here comes the place professors meet to hate us:
Rate Your Students

Have fun or run,
yet another snowflake

totally overwhelmed

So many decisions to be made, so much studying to do, so much sleep to catch up.
Can't someone just organize me an extra week?
At least funky music keeps me awake today/night/whatever.
Didn't I say I didn't want to complain? Yeah, I did.

Also, I'm constantly thinking about retaking this exam. I wasn't as well prepared as I wanted to be a couple of days before it, but then in the end I felt ok about the stuff. The first minutes went well until I became really nervous and couldn't answer the easiest questions (as in questions I could have answered even before taking the course). I'm still really embarrassed (even though I not "only" passed). Especially because I want to take part II. I don't really want extras like another exam, and I don't even have time for anything like that, I'm just scared that they'll start laughing when they see me again next semester. It's not that they didn't notice that I was nervous, they were even really nice about it...
Uh, what the fuck is wrong with me?

Also, one really nice professor of mine agreed to do something for me, but then apparently forgot for a couple of weeks. I was too scared to ask him again. In the end he noticed and did it, but how do I look in this? I just don't want to disturb professors more than I have to, but then they also might think I lack commitment...
And there's a couple of other things I'll have to take care of - just: everytime I stand in front of that office I turn around again and leave. And I was even asked to stop by! (right now learning a lot though nights is a good excuse, but then again: writing selfabsorbed bullshit like this isn't really productive...)

AGAIN: What the fuck is wrong with me?!?

So, I've decided to publish the following linklist. I'd put them on a blogroll, but as I said I'm scared of professors...
Still, these are some of the blogs I read. During semester when I do the lab teaching I love it, but sometimes they all give me the creeps