One of the first things that our mentor, Keith, told us was that the first few weeks we would feel like we are trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. Boy, was he right. As our part of the project involves a lot of differential equations, and I had taken no differential equations, the first week or two, for me, has been essentially trying to understand roughly a semester's worth of material via an intense crash course. By necessity, I will be learning a lot of new math this summer and new ways of using and understanding old math.
I will also learn in depth and detail how to go about the process of creating a mathematical model. I've done this before in small doses, but it involved about equal parts knowledge and making it up on the fly- I'm hoping by the end of the summer that ratio will be much more in favor of knowledge. For the purposes of this project, we're hoping to create a model that will help us predict blooms, which can be used by later groups to see the positive or negative effects of possible programs and solutions. Currently, we are diving into practice models, of a sort, that should give us a better understanding of models and the modeling process that we can use in creating our model.
Though it is exciting to be learning new math and programming skills, I am truly hoping that this program will ultimately help me learn a bit more about myself and my interests, so that I can make more informed decisions regarding my future plans. If I feel time is moving quickly now- I can't believe we're almost done with our second week!-, I can only imagine how quickly my final year at college will fly by.