Mathematical Witterings

Posted: 21.02.08 in Blogging

It has been a pretty bad week to be honest. It feels like it has just been a succession of kicks in the teeth. It started last Friday with my exam results.

I got a 52 and a 66 for the two modules I sat exams for in January. I wasn’t too happy about the 66 in Modern Bayesian Inference, but that wasn’t so much of a disaster. The 52 however I was quite annoyed with. No-one felt confident leaving the exam room, and after having asked a couple of people the results they achieved, I thought it might have been worthwhile talking it over with my personal tutor. However, since he was inaccessible for much of the early part of this week, I didn’t. That perhaps was no bad thing, since having spoken to others it seems it was just my performance in the exam that was to blame for the poor mark.

As a note, it isn’t just exam performance that earns you a good mark for a module. It also depends on the performance of the rest of the class. The intended result is that if an exam is "too hard" or "too easy" the marks are adjusted to suit. However, this lends itself in turn to create a competitive environment in the leading weeks to the exam. For the most part, they are your friends and colleagues (and arguably victims), but come the exam period they are the nemesis, for their performance has a bearing on your results.

That was just the first knock to my confidence. I had been waiting for results from GCHQ to arrive this week, and yesterday I received the dreaded email informing me that I had been unsuccessful in achieving an interview. That was a real shame, because that was my dream job. I would be playing about with computers and codes, doing some analysis and using some maths in my job. Furthermore, work stays at work: due to the sensitive and secretive nature of the work, I couldn’t take things home and I couldn’t discuss it. That would have been ideal.

When I told Mum she immediately came and hugged me. It wasn’t really what I wanted to be honest — I didn’t really want a reminder that I should be disappointed. But she could clearly see how important it was for me. It’s left me a bit stumped to be honest. I had really pinned my hopes on it and hadn’t considered any other career direction, so I am at a loss. I also feel I have no real direction now and feel a little disillusioned.

And they say they come in threes. And they do. I also found out today that I have not been accepted onto the Great North Run. That was a substantial knock too. This additional setback means I am not going to achieve any of my goals this year. It’s only February.

I don’t even know what it is now I need. A direction would help; a goal even better. But right now I feel that everything I have been working for was in vain. Bugger.

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