28 September 2009

Math Team (Rant?)

A/N: This is the result of my boredom and thinking a little about math team…

I have been a lucky math team member to have gone on all trips since frosh year (this can't be said for many people on math teams of other schools :P).  Even though I am one of the better people at math in my grade, the bigger reason is that Mr. Holbrook tries to bring everyone on trips. I remember going on my first trip, Harvard-MIT Math Tournament. I spent the evening with Hannah torrenting and watching a Naruto episode :) ahh good times…

Recently, the topic of bringing waaaaaay too many people to trips came up again as we were preparing for Duke registration. Mr. Holbrook had asked the Duke people if he could bring more teams. We all thought they were going to stick with the team limit, but it turns out that they're lifting the team limit! :O ZOEMGEE WTF ASDLKFJIOEU;ASDFJK;LSWEFIOA!@#$!@ Yeah. We were all shocked by their responses, though only Holbrook was ecstatic about it. He shared the great news with me the other day:
Holbrook: Sherry!!!! Did you know that Duke is letting us bring an UNLIMITED number of teams??? This is gonna become one of our signature trips!! You know that we're gonna bring the whole lot right?!
Me: (fml expression on face)
people near the area (Alex Zhu and his friends): lmao @ my expression
Then it occurred to me when I was talking to Alex about Duke and bringing a boatload of people to competitions. Part of the conversation went like this:

Alex: yeah
what do you think
about the team thing
  i mean like holbrook
  just does it to make math look fun
  the kids go
  omg math TRIPS are fun
 me: and fail
 Alex: but
  the TRIPS
  is the key part
 me: yeah
 Alex: which is the reason
  they're useless
 me: and they're willing to pay too
 Alex: yes
  because parents go
 me: which is sad
 Alex: must be MATH
  when they see the wrong word
  and it's not like
  bringing so many teams is inherently wrong
  it's just
 me: still people will go if they're unofficial

I really want to do something about limiting the number of people that go on trips. Contest staff and other teams won't hate us for not bringing so many people and managing the trip would be quite a bit easier. Like any other attempt to change, there are drawbacks. Because Holbrook insists that going on trips is a good experience for math team members, we should be *happy* that a lot of people are going. Yeah right >_>. Like half of the people that go don't produce much and are there just because it's a trip and trips are fun. It's OK to be on math team and be bad at math, but if you aren't willing to work to become better (which the open trips encourage), then you should not deserve to go on trips.

Well then, why are there so many lazy bums at math team? Two things: parents (1) and donuts (2).
1. Parents think that having on their kid is something special, something to be proud of. It is, if you actually work and are on the winning team. Cheering on the sidelines for the Mu A does not make you speshul (but getting an award does =]).
2. I think that math team is so large is due to the donuts. Yes donuts. Every weekend, a math team parent goes to Dunkin' Donuts to buy about twelve (maybe more) boxes of donuts. They're gone in an hour, at most. I know that some people have more than one donut, but that's still a good number of people who eat donuts. I'm sure that if the parents stop buying donuts, chips, candy, and soda, then roughly half the people from math team will drop out and we won't have to bring eight teams to ARML!

I even have proof (um, wha??!?!?!?!?) of my second point. From the Unofficial BCA wiki:
…The method of training is interesting. It varies from going to Boston Market to playing Starcraft. In order to fulfill their laziness, Mr. Holbrook, the teacher who leads the AAST Math Team, provides kids with free soda and snacks. However, it is rather used as a big trap to lure the kids into the team. Nonetheless, most kids do not recognize this fact.
[Un]surprisingly, there are quite a few people against bringing so many people on trips, including one of the math teachers. Admittedly, these people are on the flagship team. (who wants to deny themselves an overnight trip or two?!)

So. Apparently talking Holbrook doesn't do anything because he insisted that anyone who does not want AAST taking so many people simply should not go on the trips. There is no way in hell any of us would risk our trip privileges to prove our point (unless we're supersuicidal). And if we did get fired, we wouldn't have a backup team to compete with.

Meh. Whatever. I won't be there for much longer, so long live AAST Math Team!

24 September 2009

16 September 2009


I got booted from French Cuisine Q_Q This means I'll have 4 hours free on Mondays…

ZOMG New Internship

So I got an internship in August for some compsci/math research at the City College of NY, but several things just didn't work out. In short, both my mentors decided to leave, causing their math/compsci department do dissolve. wtf. One of them was leaving for Google and the other just "suddenly retired for personal reasons," according to Mr. Jaye, the BCA principal and close friend with my mentors. He said that there was an opportunity available for programming for Columbia Law School. So I thought, this is kinda random…law and computers?! wtf?! w/e, sounds interesting; i'll do it. I sent emails to the person in charge of this and blah happened and I'm in!

Conveniently, I'm working in the school under the supervision of Dr. Nevard (my math/cs teacher) in his room. There are four telecom(mies) working with me and Mark sometimes chills out with us too, since Holbrook often leaves early on Wednesdays. Anyway, each of us is working on a different segment of the AltLaw search engine (src). I'm doing stuff with Hadoop, a framework for distributed computing. I don't know what I'm gonna do with it since I just got involved with this thing, but hopefully it will be interesting and beneficial for later experiences.

Anyway I have a meeting with everyone and the guy from Columbia tomorrow. Hopefully that'll be interesting/productive.

14 September 2009

06 September 2009

2009-2010 Math Team

A new year has arrived, which means new members and new management for the math team! Wheeeeee :) This year, my colleague Mark Velednitsky and I are the captains (as a true Naruto fan, I'd rather be known as Hokage). (Would we be co-captains because there are two of us?) Originally, I thought Mark would be the captain and I would only be co-captain. However, while Mr. Holbrook was acquainting a parent with the math team, he mentioned that "this girl" was the captain of the math team (I had just walked in to print something from the computer). I was more or less ecstatic that I got an unexpected promotion ^_^ Now I get to be called Hokage-sama :D

Anyway. Yesterday (5 Sept 2009) was our first math team practice. I got there at 11:30, later than usual, because I wanted Boston Market. (after eating that for four-ish weeks straight, you would think I would get tired of spinach, corn, and potatoes, right?) I walk in, see who's here and who's not, and talk to Mr. Holbrook. Unsurprisingly, I was the first Mu A-er to get there. As usual, I check Holbrook's email and competition registration sites. Then I sat down in a chair-desk in the hallway and ate my lunch until the Mu A-ers arrived.

Sam arrived a little after twelve. Then Mark, Mike, and Alex trickled in and we worked on the BCA Math Competition stuff. Since this is supposed to be an utmost confidential project, but several people decided to be annoying and barge in -_-" Because I'm lenient, I let them stay if they did not make any noise or attempt to foil my competition. We actually got a lot done: Mike and Sam organized the solutions database; I kept writing problems; Alex wrote more solutions.

05 September 2009

First Week of School

Initially, when the 2009-2010 school calendar came out, I was disappointed that BCA was starting before Labor Day. However, it actually is a good thing because it was about time that summer ended (a.k.a. I was getting bored of staying at home every day). September rolled around, I finished my summer reading, and bam! September 2 was here. I rolled out of bed at 06:45, ate breakfast, and boarded the bus at 07:10. Then I got to school, talked with friends, and went to Holbrook's room, where I made locker assignments and distributed schedules. After homeroom, we went to classes, and boarded the busses for departure.

Some initial thoughts on classes:

AP Stats: borrrrring, so I tried to enliven the class the first day.
Teacher: So why did you choose AP Stats?
Me: Because I needed a math class…
(If you don't know, I dropped Topics in Advanced Math because I wanted to take AP Micro)

AP Micro: interesting class, not many friends in it though =[

Data Structures: Nevard is actually teaching! (a change from not teaching lol) He taught us some C++ on the first day and vector (datum structure) the day after. To my surprise, some people brought up Google Code Jam. I pretended not to know anything, but then I stupidly clarified something about the competition, so I don't know if they know that I know about it. Wow that was an awkward sentence >_>

World Lit II: Weems is interesting. He definitely has a good sense of humor and is a good explainer. However, I'm not so sure if I can easily get an A for first trimester.

French V: It's turning out like French IV. In other words, Dr. Mayers has already assigned us a multimedia project. Since anything multimedia requires computers, his class is essentially computer time :D hooray fanfiction time!!

PE: What can I say? It's just a time to watch other people fail…

Engineering: I actually want this class to be meaningful. By that I mean I want to build something that I'll like and use. My goal is to build a remote-controlled robot :D

Physics C: OMG THIS CLASS IS FREAKINGLY AWESOME. The teacher is a physics god. He's funny and knows a lot. However he yells at people for being late. He scolded me for walking through the door 15 seconds after class started D: He has a fairer method of choosing volunteers than other teachers: to select people, he rolls a 30-sided die. I, with my excellent luck, was the first victim in my class. -.-;; The good thing was that I got to choose the next victim mwahahahaha >:D

Computer Science Team: LOL my elective XDD So far we've done some practice with compsci topics, such as recursion and dynamic programming. I've discussed competition possibilities with Mr. Tyndall and Dr. Nevard. Hopefully we can go to more competitions this year (and win more plaques)!!