And so it begins. It’s the beginning of the end. And I really do not want to think about it, but the fact of the matter is that these are my last few months at Warwick as an undergraduate physics and mathematics student. “Petrified” does not come anywhere near to how I am feeling right now.
This time last year, I was still shell-shocked by the traumas of first year mathematics, simultaneously trying to fumble my way through Analysis III, Vector Analysis and the odd Fourier transform. This time next year, I will be a smelly old Postgrad in an entirely new institution, if things go to plan! It makes me happy, in a peculiar sort of way, that I will soon be able to leave this all behind and buckle down on a more specific field of science. But it feels all grown up and real and the teenager inside me screams out to hold on to the carefree, at times reckless, cheesy midweek nights out with a 9am lecture to follow the next morning; finding yourself on a couch that doesn’t quite resemble the one in your house – heck, finding yourself on a friend’s bedroom floor in a town where you don’t even live! – or perhaps hitch-hiking 200 miles, dressed as the Powerpuff Girls for charity. Is this really the end? Do I really have to grow up and be responsible for serious things like bills and research grants and a real job and HMRC and taxes and and a husband and babies and a family and a house and and and…
I’m sort of excited though, if that’s the best word choice I can cook up. I’m super excited to finally let go of the constant negativity spurred on by my perfectionist, inner critic every time my C code fails to compile or screams out “segmentation fault” and I’ve no clue what the hell it wants me to do, or every time I try to calculate the magnetic field flux through a current-carrying wire and get it hopelessly wrong, or when I read and re-read and re-x10-read some proof in Partial Differential Equations and don’t unerstand what the hell phi and omega are supposed to represent. Constant failures are degrading to the mind, when one is constantly surrounded by people who can cook up a 2:1 seemingly effortlessly. Maths is hard. Physics is hard. I love a challenge, but my brain’s computing power has declined somewhat over the past couple of years.
But I want to end on a positive note! I am a positive person, I get overexcited a lot and I feel like this year will be different from the previous two. The only direction from here is z – depending on your choice of axes. But I’m ready to kick some butt. Bring it on, year three!