I had my first actual discussion section that was actually a discussion section since my first quarter here yesterday. It was for game theory, and it was a complete waste of time. We spent the first half the class playing a game that takes a maximum of three seconds to analyze completely as far as game theory goes and is simply not well-modeled by game-theoretic techniques and standard assumptions. Then he spent the rest of the class explaining obvious stuff that the professor already explained perfectly clearly during the lecture. I think it’s terrible that we have discussion sections for graduate classes. Probability theory has a discussion section as well, but we haven’t had it yet since the professor made a deal with the TA to switch a few sections because of high holidays. If the probability theory discussion is to be anything like the game theory one, I’m very glad to have a good excuse to miss a few of them.

I have finally started to get some homework. Probability theory and differential geometry have assigned some problems. I haven’t looked at the differential geometry yet, but I’ve done six of the eight problems for probability theory so far. The ones I have done so far haven’t been difficult, but some of them involve particularly ugly computations that I keep messing up.

A few days ago I tried to get someone in the economics department to sign my form to take game theory, so I went to North Hall in search of the economics department office. Well, there are three offices there (administrative office, graduate office, and undergraduate office), so I decided to try the administrative office first. (I thought any one of them could be logical, so I just had to guess.) They pointed me to the graduate office. Unfortunately, there was a long line, so I left.

The next day, I went to the graduate office, and they pointed me to the undergraduate office. The people at the undergraduate office took my form and showed it to everyone in sight, none of whom knew what to do with it. Finally, they pointed me back to the administrative office. They told me that the head of the department was just preparing for a meeting and that I would have to leave the form there and pick it up later. Fortunately, at that moment he came out of his office and quickly signed it. Bureaucracy at its finest! The math department really has this procedure down much better, to the point that they pay someone to forge the head of the department’s signature because they expect so many undergraduates will be taking graduate classes.


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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