Thursday, April 15, 2010

End of Term

Hi Everyone.

We have reached the end of term. Next week is dead week and then final exams. I feel overwhelmed and cranky. I need peace. When I was finishing my PhD I took at job at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame Indiana. SMC is a small liberal arts college for women. It was interesting year there I must admit. The mathematics department there was very supportive and they allowed me to keep my office while I finished writing up my thesis. Anyway during my stay I met a wonderful young women named Kelly McGannon. She was a graduate of SMC and had just finished up a Masters at Yale University. She was there at SMC as an instructor in the Humanistic Studies department. During the year I got to know her. When I left to work at UDM I eventually lost contact with her. This term I found her blog and I must admit that she has given me alot of food for thought. Her blog is very inspiring and very playful She gives lots of interesting ways of thinking. I have often wondered what it means to be an intellectual. Does being a college math professor make you an intellectual? I have come to the conclusion that it does not necessarily follow. Being an intellectual in my mind means that you have not only expert knowledge of your own field but you have a broad interest in things outside your field. That you have an appreciation for knowledge and love to ponder about all sorts of things. You bring your experiences and your knowledge to problems that and questions that are difficult but nice to think about. Kelly has taught me that. I enjoy her blog and that is why I read it on a regular basis. She has taught some interesting things about how to approach life. When I was a student I did not want to end up as somebody that hates there job. I do not hate my job. I love my job. But part of my job has become routine and I feel stale. I want to find that peace again. That joy. Richard Feynman said that thinking is his favorite activity. I want to find that again. I want to find the playful side of mathematics again.

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