Grad School, Tips

4.5 Ways to “Keep Calm And __[incert anything]”

How to manage grad school, a part-time job (or jobS), a relationship (or a family) and not to go crazy? If you’ve been to grad school for over 6 month you have probably figured out that it’s a rhetorical question. However, we c

an always brainstorm strategies to “Keep calm and ______”.

The next question is HOW do we keep calm?

1. Put it in perspective

We might be constantly broke, criticized for our life choices or academic performance, etc., etc., etc BUT most of us have a roof above our head, we are not starving, not terminally ill… Hence, we can’t complain TOO much.

Of course there are tons of things that we can complain about such as problems within academia, complicated family dynamics, other less-than-perfect living arrangements, and we continue this list forever. However, it’s OUR choice which list we’ll focus on: the list of complaints, or the list of blessings.

2. Focus on the list of blessings instead on the list of complaints

Of course, a good complaint session might be therapeutic once in a while, however, it’s in our best interest to focus on the list of our blessings and make it as lengthy as possible.

Think your life sucks? Watch The Theory of Everything (, or Leviath ( )

 still think your life sucks as much as the main characters’?

3. Life is more than just grad school

That’s the hardest one to keep in mind at times. We get so immersed in our research or just everyday motions and routines of reading, going to seminars, keeping up with employment, etc, that it is difficult to forget that our personalities are not confined within our theses.  Have you ever had a hobby? Who did you want to become as a kid? What did you friend and relatives think you’ll become? Where is your favorite spot in the city? When was the last time you tasted your favorite ice cream?  Our personalities are somplex and we have so many roles (students, children of our parents, partners, parents, etc).  It is true that we might have chosen the role of a ‘graduate student’ to be the main one at this time, but it is TEMPORARY.

Grad school is not a permanent state of being (although most of the time it feels like one), and if things become unbearable, it’s a great point to keep in mind.

4. Grad school is TEMPORARY, but this fact should not be a panic-trigger

Most of us are worried about employment after obtaining our degree, and we should definitely work towards obtaining experience and keeping our ears and eyes open for relevant possibilities. However, even if you are not 100% sure what kind of employment you wish to take up after graduation, it should not trigger a panic-attack while you are still working on your thesis.

Imagine that you went for a hike up a mountain. The higher you are getting, the more you can see.  Similarly, with your graduate studies: the more you know and the more experience you get, the better is your ‘view’ of other possibilities. You are NOT a horse. You don’t have to wear blinkers or follow a stricter-than-necessary route.

4.5 But really, what all of us need at times to keep calm is a nice friendly hug, so walk over to the nearest human and exchange hugs (if socially acceptable, of course 😉 )

Grad School, Research

Pedagogy -Balancing on the Border of the ‘Image’ and the ‘Body’ of Knowledge

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I notice that I work better when I have very concrete goals in mind, or when I hold myself accountable to someone. I am in the process of creating a draft of my thesis and I will be sharing some excerpts with you. Most likely they will not be direct or exact excerpts, but rather adapted snippets.

Here is the first one in which I’ll tell you about the ‘image’ and the ‘body’ of mathematics, and about pedagogy that falls exactly into the intersection of these terms.

In summary, the body of knowledge encompasses the intellectual content that a certain scientific discipline is concerned with and the image of knowledge represents the attitudes, beliefs and concerns of the scientific community about the body of knowledge  Continue reading “Pedagogy -Balancing on the Border of the ‘Image’ and the ‘Body’ of Knowledge”

Math, Outreach

Math Kangaroo March Break Camp 2014 has started!

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I am so excited to be working at the Math Kangaroo March Break Camp and Math Academy this week! The camp started out on a great note. For instance, grades 4 and 5 started their day by looking at crocodiles from a mathematical point of view! Picture can be found here:

Art, Drawings

Winter blues and whites – making the best out of them

Most lifestyle websites are buzzing about beating the winter blues, as though these blues were a plague of some kind.  To me, however, the “winter blues” expression carries quite an opposite meaning.  I was born in the winter, and most of my happy childhood memories are related to playing in the snow, putting on a fur hat, wearing warm read boots.  I remember running around on a carpet that my mom laid out on the show for cleaning, throwing the fresh snow on the carpet, stomping my feet and rolling about.  When I was 6, I would always crush my toboggan into a tree, no matter how I tried to avoid it. When I was 8, I put the skies on, stood there for a couple of minutes, took 2 steps and then took the skies off…  I tried my hand at skating when I was 16, and the entire skating rink had a good laugh – including myself.

There is a special time at the end of November when you step outside at about 4 pm, and the approaching sunset just looks different. Everything is colored in crisp blue shades! Literally! And then, at the end of every sunny day, these blue shades creep into the city streets.  These days I walk home with a huge smile on my face.  … It upsets me that many of my friends cannot notice this subtle blue shade… 1358010587373

But sometimes the sky turns into a dense but incredibly soft and fluffy collections of white pillows, cushions and blankets.  The sun just rests on the top of them, taking a deserved break from its daily duties.  Or maybe the sun and the moon engage in a pillow fight up there.  Then the snowflakes come down and paint everything in shades of white.


On the days like this one, I realize that no matter how shaky an academic career could be, and how unpredictable the job market is, there is nothing else that I want to do more than think about my work while walk about the streets of my university, or read books on history of math, and occasionally look at the snow that keeps falling and falling,  until the the library and the adjacent houses get equipped with thick white hats and mittens. 

Math, Outreach

Symbolic logic and math for teachers

For those who are planning to take a course in Modern symbolic Logic:


If you plan to take a course in pedagogy intended for the future math teachers, you might find this post helpful


Grad School, Research

“You study math and what…???” – How math and history majors merged into one

As a student of the Concurrent Teacher Education Program I knew that eventually I will need to have two teachable subjects. Despite of all difficulties I really enjoyed my math classes and I did not even think of studying anything else. By the end of the second year I had a lot of math courses under my belt but my academic adviser kept reminding me that I need to choose the second teachable. Since I was interested in history before it seemed like a natural choice. I chose to complete a double major (Major of Mathematics and Major of History). I did not choose to complete the specialist because it contained many computer science courses and computer science was not my primary interest at that time.

Having such a combination of majors made me the “laugh of the town” among my friends for some time but I was confident in my choices. Turned out that this combination of academic interests was an asset for me while applying to the History of Science graduate program later.

first posted at

Math, Outreach

Freshmen, this one is dedicated to you :)

If you happen to be going into your first year of university, I have some pointers to give you here (

first-week-of-the-first-year-of-university over here (

more on specific math classes here (

Let me know if that was helpful :):):)