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Posts tagged ‘exams’

Shame

So I usually find myself writing/rambling when my feelings are all over the place. I guess this is one of those times.

I got the results from my second sitting of the actuarial exams yesterday. I passed one and I failed one. Let me clarify that; I, Aliya Khalid, who has never really failed anything before, failed an exam. So this whole thing has been a rather novel experience.

I’m fairly accepting that I failed this exam. I knew it was borderline and I have a hundred excuses to justify it but the honest truth is, I should have prepared more. No, the part I was worried about was how my parents would react. I must have asked them a dozen times:

‘How would you react if I failed an exam?’

‘Yeah but you didn’t.’

‘But what if I did?’

And now, this was my great opportunity to find out.

I thought it was my mum I should worry about and that my dad would take it on my chin. I couldn’t be more wrong if I tried (I must be really off my game).

My mum was perfect; the poster ad for supportive parent. It’ll be fine; you were busy at work; we went to the wedding in Scotland days before your exam; you can sit it later; this won’t hold you back; it’ll be fine. And I thought great- what was I worrying about- now I just need to tell my dad.

Do you know what he said?

‘I’m so disappointed.’

It was like being doused with cold water.

Disappointed? I haven’t put a foot wrong (academically) like ever and the ONE TIME that I mess up a little bit, I’m a disappointment. That’s fucking great.

He topped it off with ‘so all your other friends passed that exam? What went wrong with you? Why did you sit the exam if you weren’t ready? Oh so over 50% of the people who took the exam passed- that makes it
worse.’

I feel furious and hurt and more than a little betrayed. It is easy to be on someone’s side when things are going well but it is a mark of character to stay on their side when things aren’t.

I never expected that from my dad in a million years.

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149. Done and Dusted.

I am officially exam free- can I get a HELL YEAH?! Do I have my life back yet though? HELL NO.

Basicallyy I still have my fourth year project to finish off which is kinda like a dissertation but with maths instead of words. This project (and an accompanying presentation on said project) is worth quarter of the year which is A LOT. Additionally if you’re borderline between degree classes like I am, they look at your project marks to help decide which side of the boundary you should be on.

Now I’ve been working on this project on and off from November so I’ve done a fair bit. However I’m not sure if it’s utter bollocks or actually relevant. Mine’s not the most ‘mathematical’ of projects either; it’s more statistical analysis focused. Before you start thinking oooh analysis, let me clarify that it’s more like ‘errrm this mean is higher…oh look low variance’ and other mindless insights rather than meaningful inference.  I kinda feel sorry for my supervisor who has to read this drivel.

As for the exams… I did six of them which is two less than what I did in 1st and 2nd year but it still felt overwhelming. Must be the insane content. How did they go?

The Mastery Paper

This bastard of a paper is reserved for us lucky fourth years to try and distinguish us from the third years. They made us sit an exam where we were given one question from each of the modules we took. Note that even though I study maths which is ‘one subject’, individual modules are vastly different. It was like a five in one exam or more accurately THE MOTHER OF ALL EXAMS. Even worse it was the very first exam. I had zero hope that it would go well- I just wanted to not fail. In the end I had one very good question, two average questions and one piss poor one so I’d say it all averages out to meh.

Algebraic Combinatorics

This is a pure Maths module and by definition, that makes it HARD. You’ve actually got to think in the exam *shock* *horror*. I was terrified going into it because the past papers from the last few years were foul and there were bits of the course that I just didn’t get. However it turned out better than expected. That’s not to say I smacked it. I just had low expectations and it exceeded those.

Time Series

Preparing for this exam felt like preparing for an A-Level Mathematics exam ie. you hit the past papers and you do as many practice questions as possible rather than examine the lecture notes. I had a terrible journey getting into uni that day and although I wasn’t late, it messed up my mental preparation. I was all over the place at the beginning of the exam but luckily I managed to pull myself together and I hope I salvaged it. I *hope*.

Applied Probability

I really liked this course mainly because I really like the lecturer but my god was this module a bitch to revise for. You have to know the lecture notes INSIDE OUT. Every minute detail is examinable and there are so many proofs and methods which you’re expected to know. I felt like I understood the content but I wasn’t sure I could convert that into a good exam mark. Before the exam I did a quick revision session with a dude from my course and I explained some stuff to him and he explained some stuff to me. Both things came up. I could have hugged him.

Statistical Theory

The name of this course is Statistical theory but we knew the exam was all about applying the theory. Due to my timetable I sort of only had 6 days to revise for it properly. The lecture notes were waffle so I just did the papers and hoped for the best. I even learnt definitions on the train on the exam day. It was all very last minute dot com. The exam itself was HARD but I honestly tried so I’m not disappointed. I did everything I could.

Stochastic Simulation

We all got royally screwed over. It was nothing like the past papers. I can’t say it was ‘unfair’ but it was just weird and I didn’t feel like the questions were direct. I could see everyone’s faces in the hall as they flicked through the questions all unanimously thinking ‘what the hell is this?’. It was a pretty bad exam to end on. My only consolation is that I think everyone found it bad so hopefully they’ll sort out the boundaries…

But yeah. That’s that. All done and dusted. I thought I’d have some closure after this or feel like a great burden had been lifted off my shoulders. Instead I felt..nothing and my attention immediately switched to my project. Maybe I’ll feel like celebrating when that’s done?

At least I hope so.

Over and Out!

 

147. Welcome to Student Life

Best use of opera music ever.

Of course this is only for the week before the exams. The rest of the year we do fuck all. But still. That week.

Over and Out!

144. Basically the entire student population right now.

*sweeps away books*

*rips up notes*

*runs out into the sun arms outstretched*

135. A Snapshot Of My Year

I had my 21st birthday in January and my friends bought me a onesie.

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Does it look like they’re struggling with my weight? 😛 

We had snow and everyone realised that I have terrible aim.

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Asking for mercy.

James had a big birthday bash and I had a blast.

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Sh-Shake it like a polaroid picture!

I completed numerous puzzles weekly with James and Shakira. This is one of my favourites.

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HAIII SONIC

The whiteboard in the Maths Common Room at Imperial is always full of interesting doodles. One week someone decided to write out some Maths terms phonetically. 10 Cool Points for anyone who tries to decipher these (Shakira and James are excluded).

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You don’t need to be a mathematician to get some of these.

Ahhh revision time for third year exams. Can’t say I enjoyed this but it turned out okay.

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RIP my beloved headphones. You served me well.

Celebrating the end of exams in style.

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Magic.

Driving to Gatwick at 5am and I saw a rainbow as the sun rose. A moment of peace.

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This picture really doesn’t do it justice. God dammit bad quality Blackberry camera!

A serene afternoon.

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Dad meets swan. Hi Dad, I’m swan.

I rarely go to arcades but one day me and my cousins literally spent all evening there. I have a weakness for car racing games!

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I lost badly every time.

I completed an internship with Towers Watson and they decided to hire me. That’s been huge for me.

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Outside the office.

I might be 21 but that says nothing about my maturity. Me and James in Canary Wharf.

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SWAG.

Learnt how addictive Roulette is at Towers Watson boat party. We floated down the Thames and whatever its faults, there really is something special about London.

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I attended my cousin’s wedding in Paris. I took the Eurostar for the first time.

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The world is getting smaller.

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I swear every photo, it looks like I have one foot.

Eid with my family (this is just a handful of us).

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I got these for Eid- can’t think of a better present for a Harry Potter fan girl!

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LOVED Tales of Beedle the Bard. Even his name is epic. BEEDLE.

We went to Ruislip Lido in the Summer. Clearly we weren’t the only ones who had that idea.

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You’d think it was a beach.

I went to Go Ape which is basically an adventure playground for adults. Kinda perfect for me! The Tarzan leap was my favourite- that rush of adrenaline you feel when you jump of the edge!

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Treetop adventure 🙂

Fresher’s Fair marked the return of university for my final year after an eventful Summer.

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The Christmas lights on Oxford street.

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The pretty lights make you forget how cold it is.

Attending my final Imperial’s Math Soc Christmas Dinner. The highlight was dancing like a complete idiot to some god awful songs with James. Boy! What a workout.

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Shame about the food though.

And there you have it. Here’s to a bright 2014.

Merry Christmas y’all.

Over and Out!

123. The Annual Student Pledge

Like every other student I promise myself year on year that I will do better, that I will work harder and be more organised. Every year I end up short of my expectations. Nonetheless today I make my annual student pledge to improve on last year (and trust me there’s a lot to improve on).

To really drill it home I’ve decided to publish my pledge here on my blog, immortalised on the internet so that I can look back in shame when if I fail.

I Aliya, hereby promise the following:

  • To read over lecture notes throughout the term rather than in a blind panic before exams
  • To tackle problem sheets with the same perseverance I usually reserve for coursework
  • To really think about problem sheet questions rather than jumping for the solutions
  • To make good revision notes and not get bored of the module after the second chapter
  • To not assume something won’t turn up in the exam… because it usually does (just to spite me!)

I really want to do well and leave university on a good note. Hopefully the fact that this is my final year might be the kick up the arse I need. 

Over and Out!

92. Life After Exams

I realise I’ve been quiet for a while. I’d like to say it was because I’ve been partying like a mofo but the boring truth is that I’ve been stuck writing up a project. I thought your exams were finished I hear you say?! Well they are, but this is some left over stuff I have to do as consolation for doing one less exam than my peers.

This project is basically about how mathematics is taught at the secondary school I visited every week last term. It was (mostly) fun visiting the school and working with the kids but writing about it is hella boring. I feel like I’m doing sooo much bullshitting and for someone who likes to be concise, I find this painful. I find myself saying things like ‘oh the teacher put up the learning objectives right at the beginning of the lesson so the pupils knew what to expect’. Please someone gimme a gold medal for this invaluable insight.

We’re also supposed to sing our praises and I always find this uncomfortable even when I’m proud of what I’ve done. I feel like I either go two ways; totally understating my achievements or sounding really cocky. So I’ll either end up writing ‘I think the students quite enjoyed the lesson’ or ‘Hell Yeah I was born to teach. These kids are gonna remember this lesson for the rest of their lives yo’. I need to find a happy medium.

On the plus side, the weather has been totally gorgeous. I’m currently sitting outside in the garden lying on the grass, basking in the rays and trying to avoid a tan (because I’m brown).

Oh yeah, I’m also in the process of trying to find a supervisor for my fourth year project. I’m currently trying to decide between three lecturers. This is a really important decision for me because my supervisor will be the one to write my reference and they’ll also be guiding me through my project which is a worth a substantial proportion of my final year. It’s also heavily influential in determining degree classes if you’re borderline, which I am. I’m currently on the wrong side between a 2:1 and a First. Sad times.

Additionally I’m trying to decide whether it’ll be a good idea to do a project on group theory which is very ‘pure’ but the mathematics is beautiful. It’ll probably be the last time I get to really appreciate the intricacies within proofs…or I could do a project more statistics related which would be more relevant considering my career aspirations (and it’ll pimp my CV). Same old story. Follow the heart or the brain? My gut is siding with brain right now.

In other news:

  • Today I hit 15 million on Neopets. Awww Yeah. I see y’all looking at me enviously wishing you had my virtual money.
  • I watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones yesterday and I had to sit there for five minutes rocking backwards and forwards with my head in my hands to deal with the trauma from the Red Wedding. I am still devastated.
  • I was crushed against some random guy’s butt for the duration of my journey on the Bakerloo line today. Unwanted contact. Highly unpleasant experience.

Over and Out!