A short one to hopefully get back into action
Oops. I was determined to post every week, wasn’t I? But things happened, as they tend to do. And to be perfectly honest, my anxieties and seasonal affective disorder or something got the better of me this time. My thoughts were all a-jumble and just wouldn’t cooperate with being put down. Things are looking up, though, in more than one regard, so here I am.
During this time, I’ve been sort of rethinking doing this PhD thing. Maybe even entertaining a notion of moving back home. I mean, as much as I enjoy Sweden and this university, perhaps it’s not worth all the anxieties and stress – and I haven’t even started the actual PhD yet! Especially, since some place along the road I suddenly realised that an academic career might not be my ultimate dream any more. The more I learn about it, the more aspects of it reveal themselves that seem quite unappealing (or worse). Of course, it’s pretty much impossible to find a job which would be all rainbows and unicorns, but at some point the negative might outweigh the positive, and you start wondering why you dreamt about it in the first place.
But despite all this, I still want to do the PhD. I figure, there are other jobs/careers where you can do science-y things of different sorts and having a PhD comes in handy. Besides, I do love doing science and I want to help humanity’s progress, however small my contribution may be. So, I think, it’s reason enough to do it. I can figure the next step out later. And who knows, I might yet change my mind about sticking with academia, I mean, it is sort of nice here, after all.
But meanwhile, I also need to investigate what lies outside the ivory tower,
First, I guess I have to say that I love Maths. Admittedly, not enough as to actually major in it, but I love the neatness of numbers and the way we can describe so many things in nature in the condensed form of equations. It’s reason, it’s logic, unencumbered by unnecessary weight of too many words. Now, don’t get me wrong, Maths doesn’t always come easy for me. Its tasks are daunting at times but so are many other tasks as well. I persevere and resulting light-bulb moments of understanding make the frustration (and sometimes tears) totally worth it. It’s like a quest for my brain.
Over the last several months I’ve been reading a lot about the fear of Maths. Folks want to give up on teaching Algebra for kids. People have done some research on the fear of Maths. They found that Maths anxiety actually causes people to feel physical pain, or something like that. It makes sense that anxiety causes physical unpleasantness, I know it only too well myself. What I don’t understand, I guess, is why Maths is singled out of all possible school subjects which may cause anxiety. Yes, after reading and writing, Maths is probably the next most important subject in our daily lives – numbers are everywhere, and all. I wonder, why reading doesn’t seem to cause much anxiety in people. Maybe it’s the actual thinking that’s always involved in Maths (reading becomes sort of automatic after you get it). I wonder if researchers asked their subjects to perform a logical thinking task that’s formed in words instead of numbers, would the outcome be different?
Also, I wonder why I don’t hear about these things in my home country. Maybe we’re still feeling the remnants of the Soviet Union repression when, it seems, it was forbidden to talk about pretty much anything of consequence. And yet, the kids go to school, study Maths and other stuff, some are better at it than others, but no one seems to make a big deal out of it when someone finds it difficult and needs to put in a lot of work to learn the Math.
I wonder why so many people succumb to the Maths anxiety so badly. Maybe it’s an actual disorder like social anxiety or something, when one can’t possibly fight it. I’m glad I don’t have it.
I’m off to battle things that make me scared and anxious because I don’t like giving up, fear cuts deeper than swords*,
*I’ve been working my way through Game of Thrones, I can feel a new obsession coming on.