February 19th 2015
Today I’ve been thinking about the choice I made just over three years ago to study Maths at University.
When I immediately think about it, I think that it was a terrible decision. For a few reasons.
I don’t enjoy Maths like I once did. One reason I chose to study it is because I did, at one point, enjoy it. I liked problem solving. If given a question, I’d be able to find a solution. Everything was very black and white, unlike my other subjects. There was always a correct answer to a question. You couldn’t debate, or explain, or argue otherwise. 2+2 will always be four, but the to reflections to Soviet Russia in George Orwell’s Animal Farm are to debated. Highly.
At Uni everything faded from black and white into varying shades of grey. (Not quite 50, but a fair few)
Suddenly there weren’t right and wrong answers, everything could be interpreted in different ways. And you weren’t just finding the answer to an equation anymore. Now it’s deriving proofs and remembering definitions and learning colloraries and knowing when to use Gomory’s cutting plane and when to use the Hungarian algorithm. (I’m deliberately not making any sense, by the way)
This kind of leads me onto the next reason why I regret choosing maths.
I’m not any good at it. Not any more, at least. At school and at college I was always good. Very good. Nearing, if not topping the class. But everyone’s so much cleverer at University. I’d gone from sitting atop the class to straddling the area just below the middle.
There are some seriously clever folk about now. And I seemed to have been left behind. When once I was getting 80% in every exam, I’m now lucky to get 50%.
I don’t know if I’ve got dumber, or the tests have got harder, or everyone else just finds it easier. In reality it’s probably a mix of all three.
I know Maths is a hard degree. But it’s a good degree. Which is why I chose it. I knew that getting a Maths degree is far more impressive than getting most others. People care a lot more about Maths degrees than they do others.
The problem is that I don’t care about a Maths degree.
I don’t need it. Not for what I want to do and where I want to go at least.
Obviously the dream is to write, publish and sell novels. But is that going to provide a sustainable living? Probably not. So maybe the Maths degree is worth having so I can work in a decent job earning a decent wage whilst doing what I can with the writing.
Except I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to work for some massive corporation and spend all day in an office. But that’s where a Maths degree takes me.
I flirted with choosing a creative writing degree, but I played it safe and went for Maths because I struggled to see what a creative writing degree could offer me. Now I wish I had’ve thought about it a bit more.
I thought that you can’t really teach someone how to write, but I was probably wrong.
Criticism is what I need, and what I’m missing in my writing. I need someone that knows good writing to tell me if I am a good writer. And I need to improve, because even I can see my flaws.
Choosing creative writing would’ve offered me that. But then what? I can’t finish Uni with a creative writing degree and then suddenly get a job being a creative writer. That’s not how it works. And that’s ultimately why I went for Maths.
That and the fact I’m a coward.
Maths offers me a lot of things that creative writing never would. It opens doors for jobs, and opportunities, and all that other crap.
I do regret making the wrong choice. But I’m not one for regrets so maybe that’s the wrong way or wording it.
I do appreciate that I made the wrong decision in choosing Maths. But there’s nothing I can do about it so there’s no point whining now. (Although I’ve literally whined this entire post)
In hindsight I should’ve chosen otherwise.
Until tomorrow, make the right choice.