I recently used a R script from Keith McNulty to analyse my Facebook data. I was curious to know how much I had been posting for the past 10 years, but I also wanted to know much information Facebook had about me.
I was able to download over 4,000 days of data and more than 30,000 posts. These posts were mine, but also from friends that were posting on my timeline.
In the process, I learned these three points:
1. I have 1000’s of posts per year
I remember when I initially joined Facebook, my friends I would basically communicate and organise everything by posting publicly on our walls (no sense of privacy!).
One of my learning rituals is to look for online videos to better understand the concepts that I’ve covered in class.
Lectures nowadays are taught with slides. This often lead us to go through mathematical formulas and other complicated concepts at a quicker speed than our brain (at least mine) can handle. Moreover, you might still need to some ‘refresh’ on topics you’ve learned time ago. You may also need to learn from scratch topics you might had not seen before.
I started by undergraduate degree back in 2009 when MOOC courses and online learning were in their early days. Looking for information came usually in written form.
If you’re thinking about studying maths at Imperial, you might be wondering what kind of problems first year studenst are supposed to solve in the tutorials. Last term I was a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) for a course Probability and Statistics I. Let’s see an example of a question posed by the lecturer, prof. Emma McCoy.
Imagine that n people, including yourself and a friend, are seated at random in a row of n chairs. What is the probability that you sit next to your friend?
This problem is easier than you think, especially after following the lectures. I’ll explain how to tackle this problem here.
The mission of my life is to show people surprising ways of using maths. However, today I’ll make an exception: I’ll talk about an example of maths abuse.
Surely you’ve heard that tomorrow we have the Blue Monday, apparently the most depressing day of the year. Even restaurants and shops all over the UK become almost charities by offering great deals (I can’t believe I just linked you to the Mirror!) to make this day a bit brighter for us, customers – I’m sure they do it solely out of goodness of their hearts, without any profit…You might also have heard that it was scientifically proven and that this date is found using a mathematical formula.
Let’s face it: doing a PhD isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. The process can be painful and annoying, and at some point you’re probably going to get completely stuck. If you’ve ever done any research, you definitely know what I’m talking about.
There’s something you need to do, usually some task that was supposed to be easy – a toy example, an almost standard code, a “quick” experiment to check your hypothesis. And here you are, spending long hours, days, weeks, even months, not even closer to solving your problem. You’ve tried everything, used all possible sources you could find, but this devil isn’t giving up.
While for undergrads university means plenty of tests and homework, PhD students spend long hours marking their work. If you’re the one submitting solutions, these are ten ways to annoy the marker.
- Write your solutions in random places of the page. Don’t waste any space – make sure that this little gap in the middle of question 1 is filled with your answer to question 3.
- Use a pencil or, even better, a red pen. Don’t forget about correction fluid! Surely the instructions to write only in black or blue were just a joke.
- Provide a few answers to the same question, with a comment: “Choose the correct one”.
You have your undergraduate degree, you’re about to finish your masters and you aren’t sure what to do next. Get a proper job or maybe become an eternal student and apply for a PhD? I opted for the latter and so far I don’t regret (ok, I do regret sometimes, but more about it later).
Doing a PhD is something between studying and working, which surprised me. I expected a similar experience to my previous degrees. I thought I would still study, just the subjects might get harder and more detailed. I was so wrong!
If you want to pursue a PhD in order to explore your area, then I’d discourage you from this decision.
One of my highlights this year at Imperial has been the honour of holding the role of Year Representative. All in all, it has been a lot of work. But it has been immensely rewarding nonetheless.
Here’s the actual job description for a Year Representative:
- Act as a voice for your Year Group in Staff-Student Committee Meetings
- Collect feedback from your year group
- Inform your year group of the department’s response
- Liaise with lecturers about tutorials and any other matters
- Organise summer revision sessions
Your reward: Free Lunch during Staff Student Committee Meetings (Twice a Term)
Here’s what I’ve got up to, with the help of my fellow Year Rep, Anthony (AKA A Bold Ant):
- The actual roles stipulated above and…
- Setting up in an informal events committee
- Starting a Weekly Update (newsletter featuring tutorial work, exam dates, social opportunities, puns + a fun picture showing what members of our year have got up to that week)
- Obtaining content for the weekly update
- Emailing the Student Office
- Visiting lecturers officers if they haven’t replied to an email
- Messaging MatSoc Committee members to check when events will be happening
- Creating polls to help MatSoc know which events our year are interested in
- Promoting said events via the Weekly Update
The truth is, you put in as much as you get out.
I want to tell you about EIE (cause I love it) and a bit on EEE!
So you are probably asking yourself the BIG question I was asking myself a while ago.
EIE vs EEE!?!?!?
Don’t freak out! I know it can difficult to decide but I am hoping to give you some insider information that can help you make that decision. If you still can’t decide, I guess it’s good for you to know you have about 2 weeks to decide once you join and try a bit of both!
But be careful of trying both you might fall in love with the EIE spirit 😉
Now we know one thing about the two: they belong to the same department so one would relationalize surely they must be similar?
Until recently I had no troubles to explain what I was studying; I was just an average Maths student. I could predict the reaction of a person informed about this fact: “How can you do that? I’ve always been hopeless at Maths. And I think teaching is boring.” Things got much more complicated since I have started PhD studies at Mathematics of Planet Earth (just to clarify: not all mathematicians end up teaching in schools!). First reaction is usually the question used as a title to this article. After a brief explanation that I am learning how to use Maths in climate and weather predictions, I just get a reassuring statement: “I know that this whole climate change thing is very dangerous/rubbish”.