math · School

On the topic of titles.

When does one consider themselves a mathematician?

Is it once you’ve stuck that major to your educational goals? Do you have to earn a degree in it? Or earn a certain degree? Do only Ph.D’s in research have that title? Is there a secret committee that will come to my door one day and say, “We had a meeting, and we decided we want you in our club. You’re bringing snacks next week. Julio is allergic to nuts, so no nuts.”?

One. Of. Us. One. Of. Us.

In the spirit of lazy undergraduate answer seeking I Googled “mathematician”.

A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.

What are the parameters of:

Extensive? To the normal person when I say I got straight A’s through the Calculus cycle they think I am a math genius. To my classmates they give me the side eye and we have that soul bond in the thought that those were the days as now we’re lucky if our grading is curved to fix that 50% we got on the midterm. To my former bio major friends they hear me talk about my classes and are like, “There is a world beyond lower-div linear algebra and differential equations?!?! What math is this?!” Oh you sweet children. But then I talk to my friends in grad school math and they are like, “yeah, real analysis was required. I’m taking such and such for fun.” Is extensive when you’re taking math for fun? Cuz honestly, I’m taking topology for fun this quarter. It technically fulfills a requirement at the moment, but that would have been fulfilled with my mandatory choosing of Abstract Linear Algebra later on. I guess “extensive” is subjective. But mathematicians shouldn’t leave room for subjectivity. I need to know. My Google search also says, that the entry requirement is a master’s degree. (Are these requirements posted somewhere? Are there any other requirements? Certain GPA? Blood type? Should I have retail experience?) But what about those undergrads with rad research experience? I would consider them mathematicians.

Using math in your work? I mean, my mom used to tell me school is my job and I was required to do math in school. Is homework considered math work? I mean it has work in the title. I certainly feel like I mathematician at my paying job when someone asks me to add simple numbers and I declare, “Hold on, let me get my calculator!” I am at a point without any general-ed requirements that I am taking full terms of math and my non-math advisors always question me, “Are you sure you want to take 12 units of math?” I mean no, I am not sure of this, to be honest. But isn’t this the point of being a math major? I work at math but am I using it? Wouldn’t only applied math types, actuaries, and weirdos like that actually be using it? (Yes, I threw major shade at applied math. Only because I wish I could be in applied math.)

Typically? So the non-typical mathematicians use math to solve non-math problems? Would that make these problems by association…math problems? Is this more of a philosophy question? What are these problems? I like being in the minority, this might interest me. I feel like any world problem that we can apply math to is, in fact, a math problem. Math is life. Blood in, blood out.

I don’t know when I will officially become a mathematician. But when I do, I expect someone to present me with a sash and scepter.

life · Relationships

Familiar Taste of Poison.

I always end up at this story. My moment of revelation.

People ask why I haven’t seriously dated in a few years and my answer is usually because I am focusing on school and being badass as fuck. But it’s definitely what I did to him.

I do feel horrible about it. I wish I was bold enough to apologize, but I feel at this point it’s better that I never talk to him again. He’s in a better place without me in his life, even to apologize.

We met when I was 24 and he was 21 at a party. I fully intended for it to be one of my many drunken one night stands I had during my super-heavy drinking days, where I was rebelling against the image I created of myself in high school.

He did not intend for it to be this way. I took his virginity the first night we met and he became infatuated with me. Even though I was rebelling against that Christian teenager I used to be, I fell for the good Christian boy I always dated before. He envisioned us getting married right away. I was horrified. However, I stayed around.

And I used him.

I insisted on dating other people and would give non-answers when he asked if I thought we’d have a future. I was honest though about seeing other people, to the point where I was probably rubbing it in his face. He didn’t deserve that. He was sweet and kind.

I knew for a fact I didn’t want to be with him. I just didn’t want to tell him no because his obsession with me fueled my ego. I never had a partner so enamored by me. He had genuine affection that I fascinated me because I never fully believed him but loved the feeling. I didn’t like him, I like how he made me feel. But I led him along thinking there was a chance.

One day he stood up for himself, and we fought and he called me a slut and a whore…which he later apologized for. But I knew that his infatuation with me was tarnished and I wasn’t attracted to that. So I stopped contact with him for a few months. We talked randomly after that, but never anything came of it. He would occasionally propose to hook up again, and I knew that the spark of infatuation was still there. If I said yes, it would go back to before.

I liked the feeling that at any moment I could have him back.

And then after couple years, I said yes. He had grown up and was different, just as I was. He now had figured out to distinguish physical attraction from genuine connection, and this time it was all physical.

Until a few months later the day he gave me a taste of my own medicine and cut off contact with me. It started the week before my birthday, because I remember what really pissed me off was that I expected him to at least wish me a happy birthday. He didn’t.

So out of spite, I didn’t remind him. Or text him. Or call him. I am stubborn and prideful and refused to be the one to break this silence. Looking back I know I think that if I showed him I actually had a feeling for him it would show weakness.

We haven’t talked since.

But I do know he’s seriously dating a girl. So I stay away. He’s happy.  He deserves it. He doesn’t deserve me and my issues, my pride, my ego, my stubbornness. I just wish sometimes I could say sorry for how I treated him and thank him for what I learned.

Sorry Brian.

depression · math · School

Bouncing Back.

Or rather climbing my way out of the pit I dug for myself.

Due to my stubbornness to admit I had a really huge depression issue all last year, I now have to fight the powers that be at my school for the right to my financial aid for the coming year.

I don’t like this.

This means there will be an official document in my academic files saying I had a major bout of depression. Something I didn’t want, which is why I avoided telling anyone.

But now I have no choice. It’s admit it or move home.

Or take out an insane amount of loans, which I’m not prepared to do. So beg the financial aid people it is!

I am going into the advising office tomorrow and hope they won’t force me to meet with my faculty advisor. Or maybe I’ll convince them to let me switch faculty advisors, but I think that means at some point I will have to explain why I want to switch my faculty advisor. Which I won’t do.

God dammit.