Friday, June 15, 2012

Portland State: achievement unlocked

Yesterday, with back-to-back finals in Calculus III and IV, I finished my most excellent first year as a math postbac at Portland State University. It is so good to be in school again.

With this first year under my belt, I am now ready to start taking what my advisor calls "real" math classes—the ones in which you do proofs rather than calculations. Although everything has been tremendous fun so far, and I have learned tons, I think I will welcome the shift in focus. One regret that I had about this most recent quarter was that we covered so much diverse material so quickly that I often ended up having to memorize algorithms without understanding their basis as thoroughly as I would have liked. I do want to know the algorithms, but I also want to know why they work at as foundational a level as possible.

Of course, it may turn out that I have absolutely no aptitude for this new kind of material, but nothing is lost in the attempt. The worst that can happen is that I learn what my own limits are.

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