Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On to a New Year

Yesterday was my last day of official summer classes. All that remains is for me to get back my test and pack.
As far as I can remember this is one of my best and most enjoyable summers ever. This is however, not saying that it didn't have its low points because that would just be foolish to assume. The first few weeks were easily the least interesting since I had not started working at Buchholz and my linear algebra class was going over material I was already familiar with. Since I am currently not feeling very creative I think that I will just give general overviews of each aspect of this summer, and hope that I do not leave out anything important.

Started working with the pre-calculus group at Buchholz around June 4th. It was obvious from working with them and seeing their past performance at competitions that they were the strongest group. This made the job more interesting since whenever they had a question I was sure that I was going to be one of the more difficult questions on the test we were reviewing. I'll admit that there were times when we would get to a problem that I did not know how to do so we would either talk through it or look at the solutions. There would also be a questions to which I would know one method of solving, but my method would be very inefficient and banked on the hope that you had at least five minutes to dedicate to the problem. Working there was in some ways a break from the usual theorem-proof format I have grown to love. Another plus was that I got to solve problems that did not assume knowledge of calculus. So I had to rely on other tools, such as trigonometry, geometry, basic formula manipulation, and some basic knowledge of sequences. Just in case you were not aware Buchholz places first at the National Mu Alpha Theta convention in Tampa, Florida. Yes that is right, they beat Vestavia Hills. The Theta, Alpha, and Calculus teams all places first in their respective divisions, so they pretty much mopped the floor with Vestavia.
Of all the sections I feel that this is the best place to insert the information about my studying for the P/1 actuary exam. I am feeling pretty confident that I will pass. I have taken numerous practice exams and done other online problems. Of all the practice exams the lowest score I have ever gotten was a 20/30, where I usually average around 24-25/30 correct answers. There are just a few topics that I am not very familiar with but they almost never show up, this is not to say however, that I will not at least look them over before the actual exam. A few days ago I was going to watch the review DVD that I have but unfortunately the DVD player software on my computer is not working properly. It displays the images but it refuses to play any audio which is just slightly important. Well I am going to watch the DVDs during my week between summer and fall.

When I started this class I was not entirely sure how difficult it would be, since I had many conflicting reports. Some would say it was "a joke" while others would swear that it was the most difficult class that they have ever taken. I was pretty sure that I would agree with those that were saying the class was a joke because I knew the kind of mathematical background they had and knew that it was very similar to my own. However, I was not going to make any assumptions too early on because I did not want to pay the consequences if I happened to be wrong (yeah I know me being wrong, it's almost laughable). After the first few weeks I came to the conclusion that this was in fact going to be an easy class. Now just because I found it to be easy does not mean that I did not learn a lot. When I say easy I mean that the class moved at a rate that allowed me to work ahead and cover additional topics that were either glossed over or skipped entirely in class. Each person's grade in the class consisted of three exams, homework, and classwork. Homework and classwork are pretty self explanatory so I will not bother talking about them. Each of the exams had the same structure; a true/false section, 2-3 application problems, and then the rest would be recreation of proofs. Now for those of you that know me, I HATE recreation of proofs since it does not show that the student actually understands the material, but rather has a good memory. There are however, some cases where proof recreation is important, and this is when you are asked to recreate the proof an important/"classical" theorem. So I would have rather the proofs on the test have been things we had not ever seen before but would be able to tackle using what we already knew. O well I guess this is asking just a little too much for this class since even with the recreation people were still having problems.
Hopefully, the other upper level undergraduate classes will not give me this same feeling of dissatisfaction with the test. Well I only plan to take three more undergraduate math classes; the other eight or nine will be graduate classes. Needless to say I got an A in this class. Even though it was easy I didn't realize just how much I had learned until I started answering questions from other students on the Art of Problems Solving forum.
For those of you that plan to take this class (MAS 4105) pay special attention to the chapters on diagonalization, linear transformations, and inner products. Personally I found these to be the most important chapters in my understanding of linear algebra. Not to down play the importance of the other chapters, you should by no means disregard them since you need them to build the theories used in the mentioned chapters, but in comparison I found them to be more "small details" necessary for a fuller understanding.

Well I played more pool that I thought possible. Yet due to the inconsistent nature of my playing I never seemed able to get noticeably better and stay that way. Regardless playing was always fun. Then there were the seven or so weeks that Ann was here; we pretty much watched a different movie every weather we were watching legal copies or not is another thing, and shall be left for discussion in a different post. PARTIES! No more needs to be said for fair of what information might get to who. Spent a lot of time hanging out with Nancy, JP, Mike, and others who I didn't get the opportunity to hang out with as much during the regular school year. Just in case any of you out there are drinkers of that lame thing called whole milk I am sorry but your beliefs are wrong. You need to turn away from the red cap and come to the light, preferably the side of the green cap but any other color is fine. Actually any color that is not associated with skim or soy milk. Trina finally turned 19 and I still need to buy her a present so if any of you have any suggestion please let me know as soon as possible, thanks. Also I feel that under this section I should place a big WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING AT THE TIME!?! (if you have any idea what this is about then the chances are that you are correct)

1 comment:

Ann said...

most enjoyable because i was there! lol
we did watch a lot of movies. and i'm glad you admit you played a lot of pool, because when we weren't watching movies, i was playing pool with you guys. lol