October 7, 2009

Pedal to the Mathematical Metal

[Post by Trevor Middleton, MS-Mathematical Finance Candidate]

My first week in Boston was great. The math finance orientation program started and was comprised of barbeques, dinners, other social events… with some important information sessions thrown in. There were no problem sets, no weekly quizzes, and no pressure. The weather was great and I had plenty of time explore Boston and move in. I looked forward to classes starting and the challenge of learning new material after a brief but lazy summer.

After spending last night struggling with Mathematica syntax, I can only reminisce about how simple life was back then. Classes started out at a modest pace, but are at full throttle now. We have almost covered a semesters worth of material in one class that meets six hours a week, while our two other courses are paced slower and meet for three hours a week. It’s as if one part of our lives is set on fast forward, while the rest is at normal pace.

I haven’t quite reached a routine yet, since each week has been so different. Whether due to a mid-term exam, overlapping homeworks, or trying to get around New England without a car, every week has its own challenges. On top of this, I have been tutoring undergraduates in economics and trying to stay in shape by running 60-70 miles a week. For better or worse, running is the first thing to go when work piles up. I try to make up for it on the weekends, particularly by going for long runs on Sundays.

Luckily the math finance program does not meet on Fridays. This gives us all chance to catch our breaths while we start any problem sets that are due during the next week. Even though our official week may end on Thursdays, Fridays haven’t been as carefree as they initially sounded. All in all, it has been challenging but manageable by staying on top of my schedule. The older I get, the more I realize how important time management is and that despite how many times I heard that growing up, it still seems surprising.

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