depression · life · math

An Explanation: Part 1

A more (semi) coherent and sober explanation of recent events. With backstory. This might need to be in parts.

If this gets found, it will be obvious who I am, and at this point I give zero fucks. I’m in the mood to take everyone down and burn with me. However, one thing I do value is friendship and a promise I made to not tell anyone. By not getting him fired, this is going against everything I feel in my heart.

I never hated Dr. Dreamcrusher. I was irritated by his disorganization and how he’d give me non-help and favor helping others over me. I was endlessly frustrated and knew something was wrong. But I thought I was just overreacting because I am so insecure with my math skills and tend to ask a lot of questions. I thought I was also overreacting as I might be jealous that other people get attention towards their work and I didn’t. I am a first born child, what can I say? I love attention. But I am also self-aware enough to know that I tend to monopolize attention so I purposely back off.

As it turns out this was a nope, he was actually favoring other people over me.

My first semester with him I knew he liked my study partner, who we’ll call Kady. He would stare at her. Yes in an oogling way. He’s more obvious than he knows. She’s not the only one his eyes have wandered all over. I just figured he was completely not self-aware. She says that he’s very paranoid that he will get found out for all of this. For very good reason too, people suspect and notice this. Not just me. He’s not as slick as he wants to believe.

Also he was always happy to help her. Not so much me, but I rationalized that was okay. This guy didn’t know me or my skills, and probably come off weird. I actually started to filter my questions through her, asking Kady to ask him questions on the material instead, “since she was his favorite”. She denied that it was true but it worked every time. I got ignored, she didn’t.

Let me just say that the usual office hours with Dr. Dreamcrusher go that if there’s an assload of people there I can’t get shit done, so I just usually listen to what other people ask to see if it helps me. If he is alone, I am usually ignored for whatever is on his computer, “I’m not ignoring you,” he says. “Ask me a question.” I’d say the first sign to being ignored is having to stare at the back of someone’s head. Also, I get fucking nervous as hell asking questions. (Look at old posts explaining my early experience in 8th grade algebra.) With a genius professor, I don’t know what questions to ask that aren’t stupid as fuck. So 75% of the time I just sit there trying to figure out what to ask in a way that doesn’t make me look dumb.

Dr. Dreamcrusher was intimidating, I won’t lie. He’s smart as fuck but I know smart as fuck people. Shit, I am one. But he’s really good at math. I am not, thus the nervousness. That first semester it was all about what school he graduated from, who is parents are, where he grew up, and who he knows in math and outside of math. I didn’t give two shits about who you know, because I grew up near Berkeley. Half the teachers and professors I had went there. I was accepted there and denied them out of high school. I am just not the type of person to fawn over someone’s resume. But I wanted to know what he knew, so I put up with the egotistical shit. “It sounds like he has a touch of the Asperger’s” is what my former boss said.

I would get comments on my homework telling me my work was “awful” with no constructive criticism. I chalked it up to him being an inexperienced teacher. After a few years of grading papers I knew this shit was bad practice, but I never said anything.

He would consistently tell me my “place in the class” going so far as to show me ranked amongst both sections of his classes. No names were given out but it was pretty well implied who was better than I was.

In spite of him reassuring me I was ranked well, I did fairly mediocre. Coming off a streak of A’s this broke my heart. I thought it was him being a difficult teacher, my first year at a university and that I would have to really work harder to get an A. I wanted the challenge. I took him for the next semester for two back to back classes.

At this point I was getting sick of seeing him. Two classes meant twice as much overwhelming homework. Twice as much office hours and twice as much of him just staring me down willing the knowledge into my head or giving me the answer instead of actually guiding me to an answer. This is the semester in which he told me he was “dumbing down concepts” for me. Yes, in those words but then turns around and asks me if it’s too slow. It was perfectly at pace, but thanks for rubbing it in.

I thought it was just him being socially unaware because, after all, this man was so smart. The faculty at our school loves him and is so excited for him to be there

This semester was also when I found out I was sick and had the markers for cancer. Around midterm time I emailed him from my doctors office because I could only make one of his office hours that week before our midterm and we also had homework due. However, that office hour was about to happen and I was at the doctors learning that they wanted to give me a hysterectomy the week of my 30th birthday. I was devestated and hysterical, and had several panic attacks that day. I wasn’t going to make his office hours. I was seriously lost on the homework and I just asked if he was available outside of his usual time as I was at the doctors.. He ignored that email. And he ignored 3 other, not as important, emails that term. But after that I was upset. I felt alone. I had this man for half of my major classes and he didn’t give two shits about me.

Furious, I emailed the one person in math who I felt would help. Professor S. He responded within MINUTES. Excited to fucking help me. I mean, I had him for a semester in community college and he dealt with the same me. But was excited to help me. I felt like I was bothering Dr. Dreamcrusher.

During this term I had an incident with another classmate who blatantly cheated off me. I talked to Dr. Dreamcrusher and he said he would talk to her.

At this same time my study partners, including Kady, started distancing themselves from me. I didn’t understand why. After a comment when one asked for help that she “didn’t want to seem like they were copying off” of me, I thought I had spooked them.

I also got a random string of texts from Kady asking me if I was romantically interested in Dr. Dreamcrusher. Which was a big ole nope. I still don’t know what inspired that text exchange. But I am sure he knows the details of it at this point.

One particular visit before finals Dr. Dreamcrusher and I were discussing how nervous I get before exams and his sage advice was to take two shots of alcohol before my test. (As a side note: I will fully admit I am an alcoholic. It runs deep in my veins. And as one, we know another one even if a bottle is not to their lips. He is one. And due to several comments he’s made throughout the year, he knows I am one too.) I had that drink before my finals. And the next day for my second final he confessed he knew it. And I admitted I did.

depression · life · math

The truth…

The truth is…

I don’t think I am good at math. It’s my worst subject and I’m in it because it’s a challenge. I believe I told you this at some point. In your position you should be convincing me this is wrong. But you haven’t. Congrats. For once in your life you’re failing at something.

The truth is…

I know exactly where your attention lies. We’re the same fucking age. Grow up. I see it. I’m observant.

The truth is…

She told me you’re intimidated by me. I don’t know why. But the fact that you use my success to bring someone else down is the most heinous of acts. I feel bad for you. You’re disgusting.

The truth is…

You fool no one. With your fake blonde girlfriend who you prey on because she so desperately wants a family. Shit, she’s my advisor and told me…so I’m pretty sure the guy she’s driving home from the bar knows. Stop using her. That’s disgusting. What if someone treated your sister like that?

The truth is…

That stupid speech you gave me two nights ago WORKED. I cried my way home thinking someone actually believed in me at this school and Id been overreacting the entire time. No. You were just feeling me out to see if I in fact knew you were fucking my friend. Well I didn’t. But I do now. And I suspect you fucked that other girl in Arizona.  And Probably that chick who didn’t know the definition Of a derivative. You’re transparent as hell.

The truth is…

I knew since fall quarter you were going to fuck me over. I should never have asked you for a letter of recommendation. I’m glad you didn’t break my heart for that REU I never asked about. Remember this, my intuition is impeccable.

The truth is…

Dr. Dreamcrusher fucked my friend + classmate and violated FERPA laws by telling her how my grades were better than hers. Then told her details of several conversations I told him in confidence to intimidate her. Then after she stopped talking to him he told me he was concerned about her behavior last quarter, trying to see what I knew. At the same time while having a date with his girlfriend who is my faculty advisor. Oh yeah, I totally saw you flirting with that girl from the program right in front of her. You’re a fucking asshole.

I feel like I’m in a lifetime movie that is unreal. But this is what I learned tonight.

Welcome to a New school year Dr. Dreamcrusher. You’ve ruined my undergrad experience. Be prepared to meet actual bitch me.

Oh yeah. You’re also my research advisor. You’re fucked.

Maybe just as much as you fucked me over.

life · math

Adrift in a sea of endless opportunity…shit’s scary.

I am a directionless upper division student. It’s an interesting spot to be in, seeing parts of new ideas like topology and fields and thinking…is this it? Is this the concept that is going to get me hooked and I’ll know what to do in grad school?

As if it’s just sitting there for me twiddling it’s thumbs. Knowing I am beating myself up because I just don’t think I understand how ideals work, or that I am bored as fuck with all these epsilon proofs.

I was e-mailing with Professor S today and realized, I might actually like these evil proofs from abstract algebra. Let’s not admit this too much.

I just wish it would be like BAM here I am!!! Fall in love with me already and let’s get this mathematics on the road!!!

Also, let’s realize my current attitude towards math is how my peers feel about finding their significant others at this time in their lives. I don’t know if I am sad or nerdy.

I say both.

depression · life

Alone

I love being alone.

But I hate this so much about myself. I really wish I were the type of person who’s a social butterfly. I mean, I can be funny and joke with anyone but in general I mostly sit in the back and watch the crowd. I can also be the loud one in a group I’m used to. But the next day I’ll hide under my covers, re-thinking everything I said.

Or I’ll be so far away from the socialization I’ll be at home alone.

I feel awkward making plans with people. I assume they don’t want to be seen with me or don’t really like my company. So I don’t.

And when I am out with friends I am constantly thinking that they are wishing I weren’t there. I always think people are annoyed by me. Or once I leave they’ll call up their real friends and be like, “she’s so weird!”

It’s part of my depression, that these thoughts just overwhelm me. And I tell my therapist and we talk about what could happen if I were to ask people to do things. And I just never ask.

Then there’s me on alcohol. I know I am an alcoholic. I can’t explain how I love drunk me. It’s the me I wish I could be all the time. Before I blackout, of course, and ruin all my friendships, or damage my body, or wake up in strange places. And the great mystery of addiction is that when you’re sober, the active addicts find you to bring you back into your addiction.

It’s so much more comfortable being alone. But that isn’t a life.

math

Having a vagina in math is a slight annoyance.

In creating a blog with the fact that I am a female in math, I figured at some point I’d get to this topic. I just didn’t think it  would be so soon.

There are so many articles dedicated to how women are treated in STEM majors or anaylsis on why women don’t go into STEM majors. The idea I hear most lately is that women tend to have more anxiety towards math due to the anxiety their female teachers had towards the subject. I think it’s a little bit of that but also that you really get picked at, in the name of “I’m just joking with you”.

I’ve personally heard the following comments when struggling with my work:

“Men are just better at math. It’s how their brains work.”

“It’s okay that you don’t get math, men are just better at it.”

“You’re not a man/Asian. So you’re just not naturally good at it.”

“It’s a really hard subject. And you’re good at English/biology. So don’t worry about it.”

And then there’s the other comments when I excel at my work:

“We all know what you did to get that grade.” *insert handjob motion*

“Why do you go to ____’s office hours so much? Do you have a crush on him?”

“I think ____ helps you so much because he’s attracted to you.”

Most of the time I just roll my eyes or give an uncomfortable laugh. I really hate making enemies with people I have to work with so I just kind of take it. But this week, I am really uncomfortable.

I did really underwhelmingly on my analysis midterm. There I said it.

I fully get analysis. I just don’t enjoy it, it kind of bores me. And when something bores me I just ‘meh’ my way through it. And it always seems to backfire. And it backfired.

I don’t know what went on behind the scenes but I am gathering that my analysis professor who smells like my dad met with Dr. Dreamcrusher to figure out what kind of student I am and if this is something expected from me. There was some sort of conversation about what Dr. Dreamcrusher knows about me and my analysis professor emailed me last week for a meeting.

I guess I should also mention that I got into that program that Dr. Dreamcrusher wrote that late letter for. So he also wanted to talk about that, since the program will cover analysis.

There was a closed door (and walk to the on campus marketplace) meeting where he graciously offered to incomplete me for the quarter even though I will finish as if I am in the class so I could do the program and audit in the fall for an attempt at an A instead of a C or whatever I am getting now. It seems he’s really trying to guide me towards graduate school and explained an A in analysis is the key.

And I am grateful as fuck.

(Side note: I am a little shocked A) Dr. Dreamcrusher cared at all. 2) remembered anything about me enough to pass along information to my analysis professor. Then he just got really weird in the next office hour asking me “how I am doing in analysis.” Bitch, you already know. I know you know because my analysis professor said you fools chatted. Don’t play this game. Just tell me you know I did bad and offer whatever you’re gonna offer. Don’t beat around the bush, dude. Also, stop asking me uncomfortable questions with a bunch of people around. I am not going to give an answer or I am gonna lie. Ugh. Also, this new ‘caring’ thing is scaring me. The man is an odd bird.)

That said, the guys in my analysis class saw that I met with our professor and now there are comments about how I am doing sexual favors for a good grade as it was a private, out of office hours meeting and they saw me walking with him.

I haven’t told anyone what I have gotten on my midterm because I generally don’t share my grades good or bad. I find if they are good, all of a sudden you have several ‘new friends’ who want to copy off you, or if they are bad all of a sudden you become the butt of their jokes. So I just don’t.

So I just uncomfortably laughed and told them to fuck off. But it continued for a little while longer. Then it continued the next day. And the next. And I am already tired of it.

I don’t want to explain what the meeting was about to these guys because it’s a favor that my professor doesn’t have to do. I don’t want the entire class to find out and 1) be upset, and 2) expect the same treatment or 3) my professor get in trouble for doing tricky shit.

And this isn’t the first time I have gotten this. When I took multi-variable calculus, I had a professor straight out of Berkeley and had zero clue on how to teach. He was smart, but not good at instruction. We started the semester with about 20 students. I was 1 of 2 females in the class, and the first day of instruction the guys were joking in the hallway that I was the most likely person to drop because I was 1) female and 2) not of an “approved math ethnicity” because I am Mexican. So less than 8 people ended up at the final and 1 person had an A in the class. That was me.

They attributed it to the fact that I must have had sex with the professor. I didn’t, I actually was the only one who fully completed the massive packet of semester review he assigned. So I got an A.

(Side note: not that the A meant I mastered multi-V. I remember almost nothing. It’s sad.)

But sometimes these comments get to me. I start wondering, did a professor give me leniency because I am a female? Am I getting preferential treatment because of my gender or they think I am weaker? I didn’t even want to tell the school about being sick last quarter because I didn’t want to think I got good grades because my professors felt bad I was sick. I hate that shit. I want to get my degree because I earned my degree and that alone.

I just don’t understand why if I show up for office hours constantly, I must have a some sort of romantic feelings. It can’t possibly be that I know my weaknesses and know I need to hear the material in several different ways so show up to get help? Or in hearing what other people ask, helps me get hints? Or I genuinely want guidance about my major? Or I know I have anxiety about this subject and in order to feel more confident about it I seek affirmation from my professor? Or I work better one on one because I get incredibly nervous asking with a bunch of people listening?

Are these guys serious with what they say? Probably not. But it’s annoying and old.

math

Things I’ve done to avoid doing my Analysis test corrections:

  1. E-mail my analysis professor.
    In my defense, he e-mailed first.
  2. E-mail my algebra professor.
    I had some homework questions for Dr. Dreamcrusher.
  3. E-mail my DE professor from community college.
    We had important REU conversations.
  4. Go on a hike.
    I got a little sunburned, but I feel like more math majors need vitamin K. D. (I am annoyed I remembered that falsely.)
  5. Write a story about if I were a serial killer, what would be on my DVR and why.
    It was a prompt I had laying around. Getting the creative juices flowing.
  6. Watch Awkward.
    I am in the middle of a season!
  7. Read a different Analysis book.
    Okay, this one is legitimately helpful.
  8. Look up pastel pink decorating schemes for my living room.
    I don’t have any money, but it’s nice to dream.
  9. Color that math color book.
    De-stress!
  10. Ice cream.
    See point 9.
  11. Play SimCity on my phone.
    A lot. And I am out of simoleons, otherwise I’d be playing now.
  12. Look at houses for sale & rent on Zillow.
    I’m not in the market for a house, but see point 8.
  13. Write this post.
    Obvs.