Monday, April 19, 2010

Continual Blessings

I have completed four final exams, and have two left at this point. My most recent exam was Linear Algebra. That course has been a mess so far.

It all started with enrollment. Everyone starts with Math 2030: Matrix Theory/Linear Algebra in the fall, which I did. Then there are two options for the second course in the winter. The first is the natural continuance, Math 2040: Matrix Theory/Linear Algebra 2. There is also Math 2135: Linear Algebra. I don't think it's ever explicitly stated in the course description, but it is the honors Linear Algebra. I was aware of this when I signed up for it, but I couldn't take Math 2040 because it conflicted with Cryptography, so I thought I would just suck it up and start the hike up the mountain of proofs.

I don't quite remember the situations surrounding the midterm, but I got a 48%. I was pretty miserable. I had totally skipped over one question, which automatically lost me 20%. It just wasn't a good time. Luckily, he took the grade out of 20 rather than 25, which boosted my grade to a 60%, but still... not the sort of thing a math major wants on her record.

The rest of the course was a little more application centered rather than proofs (though there were still plenty). With the final coming up, I was dreading all the studying I was going to have to do to make up for my midterm grade. Then our professor mentioned that he had an alternate grading option. Typically, the final would be worth 50% of our mark, and assignments and midterm are each worth 25%. However, if the final exam grade alone was higher than that composition, your grade would be taken as 100% final exam. Yahoo! The nasty midterm could be forgotten! But now the stress was on. I was aiming on clearing the slate, and to do that I wanted a really good final exam grade.

I spent a decent amount of time studying. My eighth grade science teacher, Mr. McHatton, was right. If you don't know how to study for university, you're toast. I think I'm still learning how to study, because I never really had to in high school, and that makes me put off studying even more! I hate the idea of it, but something I found when studying for this course was as I studied, it made sense. And suddenly, I didn't need to memorize tons of things- just the building blocks. I could come to the conclusions of the proofs myself if I just learn the basic properties. I didn't have to memorize a lot of theorems, and really, there weren't that many anyways.

Then the morning of the test day, I went to Coburg Coffee early early. I got a bowl of soup (for breakfast? I know. But it was really good soup) and pulled out the practice problems. I went through everything and then went to beautiful Becca A's room. She gave me a card with Eph 1: 18-21 on it, had me review, and sent me off.
...that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Eph 1:18-21 NKJV)
The test went wonderfully. I mean, I don't know how I did yet; it will be a couple weeks before I get the results back. But it's been quite the adventure. In the last two weeks I've discovered what wonderful friends I have and how, even though we're studying totally unrelated topics, we are there to help each other as best we can. Even though at the end I was starting to enjoy the material, I'm sort of glad that class is over. I'll update with the results when I get them.

Friday, April 09, 2010


I was cruising the library yesterday before a final exam (I call it cramming) and found Passchendaele, which is by the director and main actor of the movie Passchendaele that came out in 2008. It was sort of odd, the concept of a book made off of a movie. You could sort of tell when reading it, but it looked good, and I haven't read anything like it recently.

I was pretty pleased with it all. I mean, there were some stuff that it could have done without, but the plot was good. It was about the 10th Regiment of Canadian soldiers in WWI, and in particular, one soldier's story. He had been to the trenches once before, and after being sent home to Calgary with a diagnosis of shell-shock, he sneaks his way back in. There's two love stories woven in through there, but it's an interesting perspective. It allowed me to glimpse into the thoughts of a woman who was in a relationship with a soldier and how it changed him, which, Lord willing, I will not experience.

Historically, it reminded me a lot of All Quiet on the Western Front, which makes sense. I mean, there's really not too much to write about other than trenches. WWI is a pretty unique war, in some regaurds. It was sort of a bridge between old and new fighting technique. At least that's how it seem summed up to me, the unhistorical mathematician.

If anything, it helped me to realize that my fear of war isn't so much people dying. We all die eventually. It's people coming home completely changed, especially in they don't deal with issues that they're faced with properly. It's hard to deal once you get home because your civilian company has no concept of the experience. My grandfather, who lied about his age to fight in WWII, still doesn't talk about it. In a way, that would seem worse to me than losing someone, because they continue to remind you of the past, while never being the same.

Anyway, it was a quick read. Probably 3.5 hours.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Guilty Conscience

Guilt is an interesting phenomenon. It's beneficial because it means we recognize our sin and the tension we have with goodness, but sometimes it can pop up when we are not actually doing something wrong. I mean, we're always sinful, but sometimes we feel we should have done something when in actuality, we made a perfectly justifiable decision. Sometimes it's because of something someone else has said, but usually, it just nags.

If you ever want to make someone feel guilty, I'm a pretty easy target. This last week I've had a couple situations rolling around in my head: "I should have spent more time with her... I shouldn't be pestering him... I should have worked harder on that." Guilt is so effective because it is true in some respect. I remember a sermon once, talking about Satan's devices. One point was it works because it's [potentially twisted, manipulated] truth! Sure, I should have spent more time working on that assignment, but does pining over it help? The trick is to move on and not make the same mistake again

What I'm slowly learning each day is that Jesus died for our sins. Sounds like a Christian should know that, but I don't think we realize what that means each day. If I do something wrong, it's over. It's pointless trying to punish myself for things that He has already been punished for, if the guilt is caused by authentic sin. As Paul said, "If God is for us, who can be against us?... Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us." (Rom 8:31b, 34)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Two Year Overview

You know it's bad when your own mother, who you call every day at 10:30 sharp says "you haven't been updating your blog recently." Either I need to start calling her more, or updating.
The truth is, I've had an emotionally taxing couple of weeks, and now finals are upon me.

Something I have noticed recently, when looking at my 101 in 1001 list, is how much I've changed in the last, approximately 650 days. Sure, that's two years, but it's interesting how much my life plans have changed and new opportunities have been brought to light. The funniest, I feel, is my goal to graduate high school in 2009. Not only will I have graduated high school in the 1001 days, but will be about a month away from my bachelor's degree at the end. :)

It's looking more and more like Latin is not going to happen, but that's fine. I took a logic course instead (I wanted some classical education) and really enjoyed it. Also, I'll be taking a course on Shakespeare, and reading more Tolstoy that I can fathom next year. Overall, I've enjoyed university so far. I'm really really excited about my Number Theory and two Game Theory courses next year, but that's just the inner math nerd in me.

The photography goals have basically been shot, but I do still enjoy venturing out with my camera. I just feel awkward taking pictures of people who I don't know because I'm worried that they'll think I'm creepy, and of people I do know, because they think I'm annoying. So that restricts the pictures to general landscapes or still life, which is fine. But I have also learned to knit and really really enjoy geocaching, and those things aren't expressed on the list at all.

I also need to work on organizing, but that was obvious before this list was created. That being said though, I have coped really well with having my own place away from home, and managing my school work. I think I just try to fit my work into methods that other people use, but don't have the motivation to do so because my own twisted ways work. For example, I have my planner, and a dry erase board in my room with a running to-do list. I own more books than I need, but all of them I either really like, or haven't read yet (but plan to), or feel like I will use them in the future (think homeschooling). In any case, the shelf in Calgary is all alphabetized, and the one in Halifax is sorted by topic.

I will reveal that the personal: dsumrwm is code (hah) for "don't screw up my relationship with Matthew". Again, I have to admit that early on in our relationship, I was concerned my past track-record was dismal (and it was). I figured I would do or say something stupid or hurtful, and that would be that. I probably have said stupid and hurtful things at some point or another, but he's been gracious and we've grown so much over the last two years. We actually had our third "anniversary" (complicated reasoning there) on Sunday, and it was incredible to look back. Long distance relationships aren't easy, but in some ways, I almost thing they're better if you can't get married anytime soon. They force you to take things slower and talk through a lot more. And it's not like we never see each other. So that's been awesome. In any case, I think it's safe at this point to say that's completed. I have overcome that fear, and things are looking very interesting in the next 360 days, much less thirty years.

Bible reading is also going well. I am in Romans now, and I have found that the bus is the best time to include that reading. Most mornings (with the exception of some Tuesday and Thursday mornings, for some reason) I pull out my little pouch as soon as I manage to make my way to a vacant seat, and get a couple chapters read. If I've had an exhausting day, but it's not really late (again, not sure why, but if it's dark, I just feel like staring out the window) I read another couple chapters on the way home. It's not like I have much better to do for my daily hour commute, and it's a wonderful way to start and wrap up the day. I will likely finish Revelation by the end of May, and then it's back to Genesis. I'm really enjoying it. And I'm taking a history of ancient Israel course next fall, so that will probably include some Old Testament readings.

The memorization isn't going as well, but I found a great scripture memory list that I'm working on, and I actually got one nailed down last week. This week is Psalm 16:11.

Anyway, so much for me studying tonight. I have continued my mentality of "If God wants me here, there's no way I'll fail out, and if he doesn't, there's no way I can pass." Not that I've been slacking off. I just don't take exams too hard, and the theory has served me well so far. Everything's lined up to graduate in approximately 350 days. I should start a real countdown... I should get some sleep though... I do love my sleep. That hasn't changed in two years. :)