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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Happy birthday, Harry

It will officially be my birthday in about two hours or so. It merits a blog post if I didn't bake a cake for myself, right?

Well, here goes.

I had an exam this morning. Asking aunt A to drop me off early (I was in no mood to have a bus failure make me late for the exam) was a bit of a pain but the trip was pleasantly silent. The exam was ... well, I can't say it was all that hard. I won't say I didn't study either, I did. I just didn't work on a lot of exercises and it took me too long to go through the ones in the exam because I second guessed myself a lot (though I shouldn't have, it turns out). I'm hoping I'll do decently, I'm afraid I might not and this is a huge chunk of my final grade in the subject. I wish I could say I'll study harder and make sure I get a good grade. I wish I could say I'll get it right from now on and will really take the bull by the horns. I'm not doing that for the other exam I've got coming up on Friday. Even though it turned out I had no homework assignments due in on Thursday. Today I took the afternoon and night off to roam the internet. During class I was just as distracted. Walking out of the exam, glaring mistakes I made slowly dawning upon me, it occurred to me that I won't even be all that mortified if I don't ace the exam (I'll be mortified if I fail the class, for a host of other reasons). 

As it turns out, I'm profoundly bored by engineering. Writing that stupid statement, lying through my teeth, made me realise it. Maths may be abstract, and it just might be that you'll be stuck trying to understand a bogus entity that no one knows any uses of for years, but it somehow feels more satisfying than studying "just the one thing." The way I see it, working in math helps work in plenty of other areas. Working in engineering.... well, it solves the one problem (if that). I'll grant that if it weren't for engineers physicists wouldn't have a lot to feed their theory twitches on and that interesting math problems come from physics, but I can't say that I find engineering to be a fascinating choice of career. I know I'm no brilliant mathematician, I also know I'm no great engineer but the limitations are different. In maths I'm frustrated by the challenge and feel instant gratification when I get a glimpse of a solution I came up with on my own. With engineering problems I wonder if I'm remembering the formulas correctly, trying to recall the explanations behind them I read in books and no professor bothers mentioning. I'll stick with it because it's supposed to lead to money, and if I can I'll do everything possible for my sister (who is actually very good at what she wants to do for a living) to continue her education.

Aunt A asked the genuinely considerate question: "How are you liking engineering?" and I lied to her. I told her it was all right and that I wouldn't really know just yet because we haven't really covered a lot of theory. That would be stretching the truth quite a bit. The problem with that statement is that we've covered a lot of material, but its applications seem so limited and the background so vague that it hardly feels like a proper theory is behind it. Overhearing the conversations out of an engineering exam you'll hear people discussing missing a sign, forgetting a formula, fucking up a direction or a reference frame. In an engineering class you'll hear the professor telling students to at least be smart about cheating when copying out solutions from the manual. Out of a maths exam you'll hear people discussing alternate solutions (and you'll find me in awe of the more elegant ones). Cheating to do math homework will require understanding the solutions well enough to adapt them and complete them. I may not ever understand what SmTn is working on, but I'll continue to find it fascinating. I could know everything there is to know to get a PhD in engineering and wonder about the dynamics of drying paint. I walked around campus numb to my core with these thoughts in mind.

Today during class we watched a video of a machine that tested metals for tensile strength. The man explaining the process sounded excited and all I could think of is "Really? This is your idea of fun?"

Speaking of fun... it's now 40min to my birthday. I was talking to A and my sister, but they're now both off to sleep and I decided to appear offline some 20min ago. EBF appears online and I'm in no mood to wonder whether or not he'll send me a message (he won't) if he sees me online, leave alone worry about the interaction itself. I'm a little sad not to have heard from SmTn in quite a while. I didn't even get to know if he liked his Christmas present... I can't say I look forward to talking to anyone at all, I suppose.

My mission for tomorrow will be getting a bottle of Baileys to toast via Skype with aunt MT and my parents. Even though I don't drink. It's mostly for aunt MT, to be honest. Early morning tomorrow awaits me, and fun in the form of filing taxes (Look at that! I do have to file taxes even if I don't have to pay for them! Was it so hard to let me go to the meeting?).

I can't think of a good reason to stay up, even for another 30min... In case I'm not awake, Happy birthday, me.

Unrelated, but also in my head all day: LesMisGuy. I worry that I mis-represented myself so I can turn the blame back on me, somehow. Don't ever let me be my own manager or publicist.

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