I can’t figure out what’s wrong. Why am I not happy? I have very knowledgeable professors, and I’m learning a lot from them. Except for Music 15 (which is essentially a high school class), my classes are very challenging, and I’m enjoying them. I’m even doing work for my classes. I’m probably taking more notes each in Agboola’s algebra class than I did most years in high school (literally). We’re playing great music in the orchestra. Some of the people at the synagogue are very friendly, and they seem genuinely interested in helping me and making me fit in here. I think I do fit in here, at least into the microcosm of CCS math majors. I don’t even think all the other CCS math majors are several quanta ahead of me. And so what if I can’t solve the group theory problems that Ryavec gives us, whereas the other people who have had a few years of it can? I shouldn’t be able to. These problems are hard. Do I feel unhappy because Ryavec keeps telling me about CCS math majors of the past who got 20th or 30th on the Putnam when they were freshmen? Maybe, but in the past that sort of thing hasn’t made me unhappy. Those sorts of things usually stimulate me to achieve as much as I possibly can. I can solve so many more problems now than I could a month ago. Why am I not satisfied?

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About Simon

Hi. I'm Simon Rubinstein-Salzedo. I'm a mathematics postdoc at Dartmouth College. I'm also a musician; I play piano and cello, and I also sometimes compose music and study musicology. I also like to play chess and write calligraphy. This blog is a catalogue of some of my thoughts. I write them down so that I understand them better. But sometimes other people find them interesting as well, so I happily share them with my small corner of the world.
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7 Responses to

  1. rippledance says:

    The pursuit of happiness usually results in greater dissatisfaction than ever. Don’t worry too much about it.

  2. aknoln says:

    Because Ryavec would have us believe that we’re basically in the best of the best, the same echelon as his freak stories, rather than a couple math students that studied math contests all through high school and so did well on some test.

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