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A Confession

Okay, everyone, it's time for a confession. It's not exactly a confession, but it has been on my mind lately, and I just got around to writing it all out.

I really like astronomy. And by like, I mean that it's almost as cool as math. It's just so fascinating. We can be talking about something really simple in class, and I can find the math behind it quite easily, and suddenly astronomy is even cooler than it was before just because I've found a connection to math. (Not because I've found a connection from math to astronomy--there's a subtle but big difference there.) In math we think about theorems and proofs, and showing that a theorem is true for an arbitrary x. In astronomy the universe is our field of study, and we have to make a lot of educated guesses based on what we already know, but we can't prove most of it. They're quite opposite in that respect, but the same purpose is being achieved. How cool is that?

This is what made me consider an astrophysics minor. (Doesn't the name of the field just sound smart? I could be a rocket scientist for all you know!) There are a couple of practical difficulties with this, though.

1) I'll have to take physics. Okay, I wanted to do this anyway, but French got in the way of that.

2) I'm already planning majors in math and French.

Oops, this is where the confession comes in.

I haven't been enjoying French as much lately. Let me correct myself before I dig too big a hole for myself. I love French. I love the language, the grammar, the linguistics, the literature, with a passion. I just haven't been enjoying French class as much lately. I'm not talking about just this semestre. I'm talking about all my French classes since I arrived at Agnes. I'm either lost and confused or bored out of my mind because the material is so easy. This semestre it's a combination of the two. There's no "aha!" moment for me when I finish analysing a work of literature, the same moment that comes when I finish a proof or grasp a hard concept. When I finish a story or paper in there, I think, "Glad that's over!" instead of "Yay, I win!" like I do in math. (Okay, sometimes I'm glad the test is over, especially if I'm waiting for the grade, but if it took a really long time for the problem to click, it's mostly "I win!")

Now that I have that out of the way, we can talk practical matters. I want to take all the math classes I possibly can before I graduate. With my math/French major, I was going to do the minimum French major and take everything I could in the math department. This wasn't going to pose a problem, as I'm just about halfway finished with my math major now (I can take anything I want from now until graduation, which is nice). Course load-wise, I can still do a French major too; it's just one course a semester except for one semester of two French classes.

When we add the astrophysics minor, though, we have issues. The minor is five classes after the one I'm in now, meaning one class per semestre. I'll already have very few electives as it is, so I couldn't squeeze that minor in with a double major.

If I drop to a French minor, though, it's possible. I'd need just three more French classes, which is doable. Interestingly, doing the two minors and a major combination would mean more classes than two majors. Also if I chose this route, I would lose a net three math classes.

So why am I thinking about this now? It could affect my schedule for next semestre. I have two more distributional classes left, and I was planning to take both of them next semestre, along with a math class and a French class. This is why I need to decide fairly soon: I'll have to decide when to take that last distributional if I change my schedule. Also, if I go this route, I'll have zero electives left. I had very few to start with, but this leaves me with much fewer.

So...what's a girl to do?


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 15th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
Well, as an astrophysics major looking to graduate in the next year, I can easily say that the astronomy classes I have taken have been my favorite things at college. The introductory astronomy doesn't even touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to whats out there in the universe. Except for some of the upper level grad classes which I am starting to take next semester, none of the astronomy major classes at my school require anything beyond Physics 1 officially. Of course almost everybody in the class is a Physics major, so often times we get into more advanced discussions.

Does your school not offer some kind of combined Physics/Math degree? I know my school has a Math degree that has a Physics track on it, where you basically just get to pick x amount of Physics classes to take instead of x amount of Math classes. And Astronomy counts as Physics! I'm not sure what kind of career you're looking to have, but chances are very, very good that if its math related at all, you're going to need to know a lot of Physics as well.
Oct. 15th, 2006 11:19 pm (UTC)
Only problem I see associated with this, is sometimes (most times) Physics can be really, really exhausting comparatively to math. And it's not taught how it should. I'm a math/phys major at my university, and every physics course I've aced is only because of my innate ability to sit down, and derive everything (Okay, most things) that are given in class. When they give you 100 formulae a class and you're asked to remember all of them, for a mathematician it's nigh impossible.
Oct. 16th, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)
You know, I really think it depends on the person. Math is more about pure logic and doing proofs, while Physics is just problem solving. Which is why I really, realy hate when my Physics profs make us do proofs and such. And yes, memorize equations. It can be really bad with the wrong professors. I've said it before, professors make everything about a college class. Which is why the entire academic system, especially GPAs, are completely and utterly worthless and meaingless to me.

Anyway! As I said, I think it depends on the person. I originally wanted to double major in Math as well, but frankly I hated the classes and am awful at proofs. Physics may require memorizing formulas, but I struggled big time trying to memorize all the theorems and stuff. I couldn't even pass Linear Algebra. Besides, all the pure math majors I've met are arrogant psychos ^^
Oct. 16th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
Me? Psycho math major? Never!

And my school does offer a math/physics major, but it's focused more on the applied math, which I don't really enjoy as much as the pure math. Plus I don't think astronomy counts. :(

As far as the career goes (and we've had this discussion before, I know), I don't know. I was planning to take physics eventually anyway just because it is so related to math and because I might need it, but now if I do the minor I'll have to. :P
Oct. 15th, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
Seems like math and astrophysics would complement each other nicely as far as majors are concerned. And you could always study a subject on your own if it doesn't fit in with your plans. Anyways, I'm sure you'll figure it out.
Oct. 15th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
I always approve of astrophysics. :D
Oct. 16th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
I knew you lot would be slightly biased. :P
Oct. 15th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
  Darling, all I can say is follow your heart.  If French isn't doing it, 
  then don't let it bring you down.  The minute you're doing something 
  that's not the brightest, most amazing things at the conclusion, then 
  it's really not good.

  Plus, being a Physicist (Yes, Astrophysics is contained in Physics) 
  rocks.  It's beautiful to see the ugly calculus (Sorry, I think calculus 
  is possibly the ugliest part of the entire set of all fields of math) 
  turn into something beautiful.  And your calculus might go to good use.

Oct. 16th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
  Calculus isn't really ugly, though.  It's just less pretty beautiful
  blargh I must be tired than the other areas of math.  Although it is
  cool to see it turn into something gorgeous.  That's what I want.  Who
  knows, it might be useful after all.  Besides, I knew part of the flist
  would be slightly biased. :P  *love*
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )