Day 709

Graduation day!  Woooo! It's officially over.

It was very strange... today didn't feel like anything special.  Tuesday felt like the real end of an era: cleaning out my office, turning in my key, saying good-bye to my office mates who I've gotten to know over the past two years, saying good-bye to the amazing math department staff... that's when it felt like it was really over.  Sort of a "last day" versus "retirement party" conundrum.  So today was the party, of sorts.

Mom, dad, and Jessie came over for lunch.  Kimmy and I made ham and rice.  And then we had cookie cake for dessert!  It was buckets of goodness.

Then.... commencement.  I got there about an hour early to figure out what I was doing and where I was going.  I'm glad I was so early because there were a lot of people.  I eventually did find out where to go and my friends also found me.

The "mathematical sciences" were one of the first groups to go through the ceremony, so we got the important thing out of the way and sat for the next hour.  I sat next to Tim H, so he got to listen to me talk about whatever things happened to be on my mind at the moment.  He's a trooper.

After the ceremony I got pictures with family, friends, and most likely some people I didn't know... because photobombing is awesome.  And then that awful part where I had to say good-bye to everyone.  Ick.  Thankfully, some people are moving to Louisville with me.  But there are a lot who aren't.  Whenever I have to say good bye to people, I get all these gross emotions.  Emotions are just such untidy little devils.

On an additional note: this will probably be my last daily (except I haven't written this every day for a few months...) update.  I'm going to be attempting weekly updates so that I don't get as bored writing this when everything is the same thing.  We'll see how it goes.

Anyhow, that's all for now.  Be prepared for an exciting updated for my first week of post-grad school life!


Day 708

Well, it's been a pretty exciting week.

Mostly yesterday was very exciting.  Kimmy and I made a trip down to Louisville to begin the lease at our apartment.  We left around 9:30 and got there just before 12:30.  It was pretty uneventful.  A new property manager was being trained, so the current one did a lot of extra explaining of "here's why I do this" or "at this point, I put this paper in this stack."  Then we went to our apartment and did a pretty thorough walk-through... looking for cracks, scratched, things that don't work, etc.  When we finished all of that, we moved some things into our new apartment!  It was exciting.

Then we had dinner with Lee!  We talked about our moving adventures and the exciting things going on in his world.  We've still been pretty unsuccessful in convincing him to move to Louisville.

Today was pretty good as well.  I spent the morning taking my last test (yay!) and then grading (boo!).  But it's all over now!  Except that grading isn't quite over.  Now that all the tests are graded, I need to determine all of the final grades.  That's always fun...

In celebration of being done with school, a group of people in my group went to dinner.  That was fun.  Then we finished the evening with a fire at Tim and Erin's house.

I have successfully made two very exciting and long days sounds excruciatingly dull.  I'm pretty tired.  So, I think that's all for now.


Day 705

All day today I thought it was Tuesday.  I didn't go to class or campus or anything... so it really just felt like a Tuesday (that is, a normal day on which I don't go to school).

I did have some other excitement, however.  For lunch, I went to an event for math students to commemorate graduates and scholarship recipients.  I got a cute little award thing and two nice pens!  One of the recurring announcements at this event is the recognition of students who attempt the "Putnam exam."  This is a math exam for undergraduate students and is notoriously difficult. How difficult, you ask?  Well, roughly 4000 of the nations top math students attempt it every year.  Out of 120 possible points, the median score is a 0.  That means that over half of the students (most of whom are graduating with a 4.0 or nearly a 4.0) get no partial credit on even one question.  Last year, one of the students (undoubtedly Ball State's top math undergraduate student) took it and received a point.  1 point.  It was pretty exciting.

I found a question from the Putnam exam asked in 1996.  3.6% of the students got the correct answer.
"Find the least number A such that for any two squares of combined area 1, a rectangle of area A exists such that the two squares can be packed into that rectangle (without the interiors of the squares overlapping). You may assume that the sides of the squares will be parallel to the sides of the rectangle."

After arriving home, Kimmy and I had an adventure!  There's a flea market near our house, so we decided to go.  Neither of us had been to a flea market before.  I haven't ruled them all out, but I didn't like the one we went to.  It just seemed like a bunch of people finally realized that they had way too much junk (or broken stuff) and were trying to pawn it off onto other people.  Like if people with storage units just opened the doors and let people come buy their abandoned and forgotten possessions.  It made me sad.  A little bit.  There were some pretty funny things (that we didn't get).

Specifically, we saw this shirt.  I knew dad would appreciate it.

Then we went to Wal-mar to get an oil change in Kimmy's car.  While we waited, we looked at the gardening section.  We're hoping that our apartment will get enough sunlight to grow some plants on our balcony.  That would be pretty awesome. We've picked out a few different plants that would be exciting to grow.  Neither of us really know what we're doing, but it will be fun to figure it out!

When we got back, we started making dinner.  While it was cooking, I went back to writing a test.  That was pretty much my evening... eating and writing a test.  It's finally completed!  Now I just need to look it over tomorrow morning to make sure everything makes sense.

And now it's time for bed!  Good night, world.


Day 704

The majority of today consisted of working on my final assignment for one of my classes.  And by "the majority" I mean "from about 10:30 until 3:30."  It was super intense.  A bunch of classmates and I got together to discuss what was going on and collaborate.  It was frustrating and fun at the same time.  Frustrating because it was pretty difficult and none of us were entirely sure what we were doing, but also fun because it was a challenge... and when someone did make a break through there were joyous calls of "I got a thing!  Everyone come look at this thing that I got!"

When I got home, I started making a final for my class.  I will probably end up making most of it from scratch.  Maybe I'll reuse (with different numbers) past questions, but probably most of it will be brand new.  I find it easier for me to make a good test if I make it all again.  That was test questions can replicate the lessons.  Or something.

After Kimmy came home from work, we celebrated her last day at Macy's by going to Steak 'n Shake for dinner.  It was really busy.  And the food was quite tasty.  AND we had coupons!  It was exciting.  To further celebrate Kimmy's last day at Macy's, we went to Petsmart after dinner so Kimmy could pet the kittens.

That's about it.  When we got back I talked/played games with Jared and Miles for a while.  Fun times were had.  And now I'm going to bed!  So.  Good night.


Day 702

Oh boy, this was a fun day.

Not only did I get a hair cut (which I love getting), but today Kimmy and I did one of our favorite things: we pretended to be rich people!

In preparation for our move, my new job, and the end of Kimmy's employee discount at Macy's, we did some clothing shopping.  It was pretty exciting.  Actually, no.  It was really exciting.  I got two new shirts, two new sweaters, a pair of shoes, and some new cologne!  It was pretty exciting.  AND Kimmy got some new shoes that are pretty.  Now that we've spent all of our extra money, we will return to eating Ramen noodles and hot dogs.

Kimmy and I have discussed this in great detail and determined that we get far more utility from saving up money to go on huge shopping sprees than getting one thing at a time.

After we got home, we had some dinner.  Then a super intense cleaning session.  It was pretty bad.  But now everything is clean and put away!  Yay!

Well, that's my exciting news for the day.  Now to get some sleep for a (most likely) long day of work tomorrow.  Good night!


Day 701

Well.  Here we are!  Today was yet another exciting day in the life of Joel.  

I was incredibly close to telling Tim that I wouldn't be running with him this morning.  Like... I stared at my phone for about 10 minutes trying to decide whether I should go work out or not.  Ultimately, I decided to get up.  And then I saw that it was cold and raining.

I wanted to go back to bed.

But I didn't, even though I really wanted to.  Our workout was fine.  For some reason it was super exhausting today.  I think it was just that neither of us wanted to be there.  Oh well.

I had my last meeting with the other GA instructors.  We mainly discussed final exams and end of the semester reviews.  We also talked about some of our various methods for instructing the particularly difficult topics (like conditional probability or confidence intervals).

After my meeting, I did some class preparation.  Mostly it involved making up practice problems for my students to work in preparation for the final exam next week.  Oh!  And grading.  Plenty of grading.

My research class had the last set of presentations today.  They were pretty good.  I asked lots of questions because... well, that's my thing.  But they were all able to answer my questions sufficiently.

Then I went to go teach.  Today was a review day, so... we reviewed.  I guess it was fine.  I have another review lesson on Friday, but there's no way I'm going to get through all of the remaining sections on Friday.  So hopefully my students have started studying.  That would be optimal.

When I got home, I determined that the best course of action was to be a lazy bum for a while.  So I did and it was quite nice.  Kimmy and I made ham and rice for dinner, then I got a little bit of work done... but mostly I just was a bum some more.  And it was lovely.

Ok, time for bed.  Good night.


Day 699

Today was quite exciting.

First, I went for a run with Tim.  That was invigorating, as always.  When I got home I continued preparing for my presentation today.

When I got to school, I met with one of my team members to go over the PowerPoint that I'd made and see if he had anything he wanted to add.  Then I went to go grade in my office for a while.

So I guess that my research project is officially done at this point.  The paper is turned in, the presentation is done... yeah, that's about it.  Our final conclusion was basically confirming the articles we read from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics: the average income for women is less than the average income for men, and no one is entirely sure why.  There are some very robust theories out there that do a great job of explaining most of the difference, but there has yet to be a perfect statistical explanation.

Then I got to listen to my students give their group presentations.  Most of them, anyhow.  It seemed that each presentation had some things that stood out.  Like one guy who purposefully misspelled things in honor of me (I have a terrible time with proper spelling when I teach... so I thought it was really funny).  Or the group who actually went to the Muncie mall and surveyed over 200 people to ask if they have minivans (I frequently use examples involving statistical sampling and wondering "how many people in Muncie own minivans?").  Another did a wonderful poster board of using optimal travel routes to various places on campus (often called the "Traveling Salesman Problem"... so this was a play on words).

It was all pretty impressive.  And there were a few people that were very nervous to present in front of their peers, but they got through it all and did well.  I've learned to pick up on the nuances of nervous speakers (because I've had to work so hard to overcome my nervousness when public speaking): I can hear the shaking in their voices; I notice the places they look when they talk and the way in which they shift their eyes; I see when they shift weight and get flustered when they realize they have no idea where to put their hands; I know the temptation to read through your notes at lightning speed; or the unconscious excess of "ummm," "uhhhhh," "so...." and other filler words to by your brain some more time.  But I also know how vitally important it is that people get practice talking in front of others.

After I got home, Kimmy and I went on a walk.  It was super nice outside today!  We walked through the park near our house.  Then we took the walking paths some more and went to some other areas of town.  We had fun.

We went to go see a movie tonight!  We saw "Oz: the great and powerful," which is sort of a precursor to "the Wizard of Oz."  It was good.

After the movie, we had a bit of an adventure.  We've both been getting fed up with how busy Wal-mart gets when we're grocery shopping, so we decided to do a test run and see if Target has the type of things we typically get at Wal-mart.  We determined that Target has the items we typically need and will therefore be subject to unconstrained testing on Grocery Shopping day.

I think that's about it.  Good night!