Friday, 10 October 2014

Things Come in Time

So maybe some of you are sitting down with a page of maths exercises and feeling close to tears because you're so frustrated that you can't figure out what to do. I mean, it can't just be me, right? And when, like me, you actually like maths to the point of thinking that it's beautiful, it's even more frustrating and upsetting.

I have a couple of things to say about this.

Firstly, unless your teachers or professors are really mean (or just incompetent) those problems are solvable. Maybe not with the tools you have right now, maybe you might need to use old tools in a different way, but they're probably solvable. And getting hysterical usually doesn't help with doing maths - well, it doesn't help me with doing maths at any rate.

Secondly, take your time. I don't know how I can stress this enough, because it's important and most people (including me) forget to do this. Obviously certain things are going to be quite straightforward and you might not need to spend much time on them, but when it comes to complex calculations do not rush. Do them patiently to avoid silly mistakes (although you'll probably still make them) and try and check your work a couple of days afterwards. Work through problems carefully and methodically.

Thirdly, look at lots and lots of different sources. Surround yourself with textbooks. Open 20 tabs on your computer to do exercises. Go to the library and study quietly. It will help you find the best way to approach the material - and give you loads of practice.

Maths is a patient art. It may take you months, it may take you years - but you will develop mathematical intuition through hard work and trying to solve problems calmly. And it will pay off in one of the greatest ways possible - you will be able to appreciate the elegance and beauty of the laws that underpin our universe.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Some things I was thinking about

So I've moved into my new flat and everything's sort of okay-ish, barring the fact that it took me two weeks to get hot water coming out of the taps. That was not cool. But my flatmates are all really nice - and all girls.

To be honest, I wasn't too fussed about this at first, though given that most of the first-year boys I've met consider cooking to be a dark art and are even messier than I am I'm thankful that our kitchen is reasonably clean.

It's just that...well...some people extol the virtues of living in all-female environments because there are no yucky, gross men to cause drama (apparently flatmates getting together and breaking up is a huge source of  drama for everyone else) or prey on us vulnerable women.

This makes sense given two assumptions:
1. Everyone is straight.
2. If you are sexually attracted to someone, you will act predatory towards them.

Both assumptions are bullshit, but surprisingly few people question them. And both hurt an awful lot of people, including women who are attracted to women. Like me.

I've posted about this before, but I'm as bisexual as a...well...a thing that's blue and pink and purple all over. Now that I'm in Manchester I've joined our local LGBTQ+ Society and I feel a little bit more confident about being out. Only a little bit more confident, though, because there are still people who seem to treat not being cis and straight as a very bad thing indeed. And one of the things that annoys and upsets me is when straight people assume that I'm going to creep on them. Or when they assume that I simply don't exist.

I guess what I'm asking is for people to abandon heteronormativity (as I always am) and to abandon this stupid notion that if I like girls, I'm obviously going to violate some poor, innocent, pure straight woman with my filthy bisexuality. You may be trying to keep women safe, but when you're hurting other men and women you're doing a pretty shit job of that.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014