Friday February 4th

A long week

I’ve been kind of busy

  • I’m currently listening to a podcast for an assignment, which is cutting into my “evening off” time, but it will enable me to get up a bit later tomorrow.
  • What can I say besides, this week was kind of rough. For a couple days, I had to extend my day until 2am to get things done, with not much turn around. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do.
  • I made it through, though!

My week, in a nutshell

  • Each little box is a task or meeting or class or something. I think I may have blocked off sleep time, too.

Last week

  • I celebrated the week with Pure Maths friends! Honestly, I haven’t had so much fun in grad school before.
  • I came to two conclusions sometime this afternoon; I’ve done a lot more Maths at this point than all of the persons in my first year who were acting like they knew and could do more Maths than I could and put me down for it (coincidentally, who weren’t actually Pure Maths majors) and those people were just being insecure and douchy and don’t matter anymore. Looking back, I was juggling a LOT. And the culture is very different from the West Coast, so I had to get over the shock of that, adjusting to everything, struggling to make friends and get acclimated to everything. I’m mentally at the stage where I’ve gotten past that noise, and can replace it with more positive memories of this place.
  • I feel appreciative that the people in the Pure Maths department realized that it was not solely on ability, but that passion was more important, the ability to stick with a problem and a dogged desire to improve, as well as a love for the subject. People are so passionate about Pure Maths in this department that they literally will want to help you improve and work with you. I had a Maths major tell me that they thought I was “better at Algebra I than they were”, but I don’t think that was the case at all; I really just think it was because our group really went out of our way to support each other and get through it, and we went hard that semester! I had graduate Maths student friends teaching me ways to think about breaking down problems, and my Maths prof even giving me supplemental books to read. I’ve never seen a group so determined to make sure everyone who puts in the work succeeds. It’s wonderful and I feel like that’s how the love of Maths is shared!
  • I can’t complain; I was telling someone today on a Discord group (a Number Theorist and Quant Researcher) who was considering going back for a second PhD because they love Maths that I totally get it; I love my life right now and wouldn’t trade anything about it. It snowed a LOT this week, but to be honest, I couldn’t be happier. The Pure Maths group is amazing; I feel really supported here and I’m having the time of my life!
  • One of the persons in the lab told me that they appreciate me and that I’ve definitely made the lab better by my involvement with the lab. I feel so supported in this lab, included, am learning a lot and everyone is incredibly patient with me. The students are sharp, but very independently-minded in a way that’s refreshing. I love the bit of rebellious streak that seems to permeate the lab; they are incredibly witty and fun!

Amazing swag!

  • I gave a talk last year and as a thank you, received a thank you package (I chose what I wanted) from Bifties. I know I owe them a review, and I’ll do that this weekend! I am pleased beyond belief, and not only did someone personally reach out to me when it was about to be shipped, but it arrived within a day, and I’m very happy with the package! It’s also all black-owned businesses products, which is pretty cool!


  • I spent last Saturday making dumplings and splitting them up with some Maths friends for the Chinese New Year. It was such a positive experience, another cool memory that I could add to having a great time in grad school. I left really happy. I also got a massage on Sunday!

  • Some Mathematicians have hidden talents in dumpling-making, especially those who have birthdays this month! :)

Here are notes about some things I learned this week

  • In Algebra class, we learned about UFDs, PIDs and the Axiom of Choice, as well as the Chinese Remainder Theorem (Ring Theory).
  • In Random Probabilistic Graphs class we covered Tournaments, Hamiltonian Graphs / Paths, Variance and Covariance. I also generated some random graphs with isolated vertices in code for an assignment (we covered both the Gilbert and Erdos-Renyi variety of Random Graphs).
  • In Elliptic Curves, I learned about the first elliptic curve in Nature from Anton. See more here.
  • In the UCSD Number Theory seminar, I learned about Godfeld’s conjecture aka minimalist conjecture, the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture (which we also covered in class aka BSD), semler groups and rank accessibility. We also covered node vs cusp and calculating number of points (I have an assignment to try regarding these concepts).
  • I wasn’t able to make it to the Combinatorics seminar (but I will next week!) but I was able to make it to the Pure Maths grad seminar and Rick gave an awesome talk on the Homology of a Klein Bottle, and I heard about Van Kampen and Amalgamated products, which were briefly mentioned (it was an hour long talk). He also had two linked mobius strips and spoke about a mobius strip that we can imagine collapses down. I could not attend in person, but here is a screenshot I took of the mobius strip in question (below).
  • In Number Theory, I did a bit of calculating the Euclidean Algo by hand, and Backprop Algo (I’ve done this before in the Mathematical Cryptography class, but I’m not comfortable enough in it to do it naturally yet).

  • (courtesy of Rick)

Wrapping up

  • I liked this quote this week : “If you trust in yourself…and believe in your dreams…and follow your star …you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. - T.Pratchett”
  • I definitely haven’t been lazy these days, but sometimes I wish I could do more, but I’m really doing the best I can. I also don’t want to get sick or burn out; I’ve been on a roll since I got back from vacation, which is good.
  • I practiced yoga every weekday, and got my yoga mat (finally); it has definitely been worth it! It’s been a challenging week, and a challenging semester; I can’t say it’s been a walk in the park, but it’s been so worth it. I wanted to be intellectually challenged in grad school, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to have that, in a supportive environment, with people who want to help me be my best, and to be a thorough, rigorous researcher. Next week I’m giving a talk, attending 2 workshops, and more or less continuing to be focused on improving. A couple of us have started study groups; I’ve been attending a Real Analysis one, where we work on a blackboard and write proofs, and I’m working on getting one started for our Algebra class. But for now, I guess I really shouldn’t be using my “night off” to be thinking about and stressing on stuff I need to do.

So that’s it for now

Written on February 4, 2022