When first the College Rolls receive his name

math-150pxGuest post by Vincent Larochelle, B.Sc. 2009, First Class Honours in Mathematics, Minor Concentration in Classics, Rhodes Scholar.
I’m a mathematician, not a blogger: the formalism of first sentences is quite tedious: I should be interesting you in what is to follow at the moment, and yet the techniques by which I may hope to do so are forever inaccessible to me. Young enthusiast I was when I first walked McGill’s campus, and so remain as I depart it with a freshly earned Bachelor’s degree. Yet, methinks I must have done not all quite wrong, for lo and behold! I was privileged with the Dean’s embrace at graduation. Let then this be the retrace of my first timid yet determined footsteps in the Faculty of Science here at McGill, not so much in the hope of autobiographical exploit, but rather to embrace the tempting Novelty of blogging.

Upon entering campus for the first time, I humbly saluted the statue of Sir James McGill. As a native French speaker, I was quite eager to discover the Anglo-Saxon academic community: the organization of the undergraduate program in Majors and Minors allows a flexibility which I found appealing, and eventually used to complement my Mathematics degree with a touch of Classical Studies.

The formalities pertaining to Sir James having been duly completed, I decide it best to get to work right away. According to me, discipline is the key to navigating through university studies without having to drink too much coffee. Be that as it may, one also needs, at least in mathematics, to be blessed with that magical moment where the subject studied, a priori resembling a fuzzy, huge, and incomprehensible blurb sharpens into something only huge and incomprehensible. That happened for me in my Analysis 3 course. I was lucky enough to get an amazing and challenging teacher for that course, who would twicefold become my summer research supervisor.

The blurb of mathematics having lost all fuzziness (except the fuzzy logic part), I managed to get some decent grades. That’s when McGill and its network of generous donors noticed me. Thinking about it again, I remain truly humbled before this demonstration of philanthropy, and also more than thankful to the Student Aid Office who intervened, more than once, in my ever so fuzzy financial situation.

Vincent Larochelle, with Dean Grant and his parents.

Vincent Larochelle, with Dean Grant and his parents.

Convocation: all good things must come to an end. I grabbed my degree and ran for Roddick gates. I was almost free, when Dean Martin Grant noticed my escape and got a hold of me for the picture which accompanies this text. The context now justifies my sheepish half-smile which you might have noticed. I then delay my long-awaited freedom some more since I notice some mimosas nearby.

Finally, I salute once more the statue of Sir James McGill, take a long look at his flourishing legacy, and head out through the Main Gates. I am embarked now on this crusade from which I shall not sway…’Till captive Science yields her last retreat!

One response to “When first the College Rolls receive his name”

  1. Becky Peirson says:

    Great blog to read thanks.

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