You make a stupid mistake in every exam I suppose; today mine was forgetting that a matrix over a complex inner product space is Hermitian exactly when it induces a self-adjoint linear transformation, duh, but it wasn’t as bad as a fellow Balliol Math/Phil who answered three Algebra questions when a maximum of two from each section of the paper count; he came out really happy with how well he’d answered those questions too. The exam was a good end to core for me as there was a great Rings question, lots of Algebra bookwork (== proofs from memory) but there wasn’t any classic Analysis bookwork. We reckon this is because the questions were set by our college tutor who is hardcore.

It’s quite something that I’ve now finished what has been the mainstay of my degree for the past two years: Analysis and Linear Algebra. I’m sad to be leaving Analysis behind because I like the proofs, and it was just starting to get interesting with things like Contour Integration (again, Cauchy’s Residue Theorem, wth), but third year analysis is apparently pretty tough so I’m avoiding it. I’m not at all sad to be leaving Linear Algebra. You define something fairly simple, that doesn’t do anything exciting and for which most of your intuitions are correct, and then you laboriously churn out all those consequences. Sure it’s easy marks to prove something is linearly independent or that something is a linear map (did one of those today and the other yesterday) but it’s so dull to study.

Instead I have Abstract Algebra open before me. I know so little of this, interestingly I seem to know so much less than my friend just finishing his first year at Cambridge. Presumably he’s done less Analysis and Linear Algebra than me, I don’t know; it feels like I’m almost starting afresh, though, because of how much I am now leaving behind, only to be used for the occasional example.

No more flippin’ matrices!