This week started off really poorly. I flunked an important presentation, disappointed my peers to the point of completely avoiding me in person. It really took me several years to figure out that I am not good at impromptu presentation, much less on subjects not fully digested. Research proposal is perhaps quite different from public talks, but in essence one always needs good organization, writing a lot of meaningful formulas on the blackboard, and not leave too much blank out moments standing next to the podium.
So I tried to shy away from my habitual verbosity, and instead focus on talking in mathematical language. It is difficult: after so many years of media exposure, I have acquired a taste for wordplay rather than precision. But I am still investing myself in the hard science business because I believe the older I get, the less I will be able to stomach it. So as a colleague’s name suggests, I would do the hard things first. (His name is Li xiannan, and I always thought it stands for fairy man).
Now this weekend I have to devote myself to tackling down a problem set, known to be much harder than the previous one by some really smart dude in my class (also a first year from Canada). But maybe the right approach is to look at each problem for only 15 minutes max, and not dwell on any one for too long, since a lot of times I am simply dozing off and end up not even remembering the statement. Just a trivial thought. I might also start keeping a separate blog on all the stuff I learned during the day, since classes are getting a bit overwhelming these days due to the large amount of information we are expected to absorb. Still I don’t want to go back to the semester system, in which I have to endure endless lecturing in the long run.