The Amen University Experience (Year 3)

Dear reader,

I am pleased to see that you yet continue to read, especially after the change in tone. My content warning continues to apply, and adding on to that, I must also warn that from now on, there will be 18+ content. It’s time for the third year university experience. Some time ago I started relating each semester of university to a touhou stage. First semester would be stage 1, second would be stage 2, etc. Usually, in touhou, you find a lead to the culprit of an incident at stage 4, before taking on the antagonist and the rest of her faction in stage 5 or 6. This is a very fitting analogy considering I did only introductory physics in my 2nd year (stages 3 and 4), and I’d be diving into the meat of it in my final two years. This third year would comprise of stage 5 and 6, then, and let me tell you, the ending sure was worthy of the title “last boss.”



The year began with a rough start. I applied for a dorm room, but an email managed to go unnoticed (I write in passive form as if I wasn’t responsible for this). This email was asking for a 500$ down payment, which I didn’t pay in time. So I didn’t get the room. My parents were mad, but I had no worries. My second year had taught me that I had some strange spiritual powers. I named it the 何とかなる超能力 – the “everything will work out” superpower. And, unsurprisingly to me, things worked out. I found a great room to rent that was only a 15 minute walk down the road from the university. The owners of the house were nice, they had two cute pomeranians, and everything was perfect.

Pretty lucky so far, but this year, I had a mission that would test this luck to its full extent. This mission was to become a normie. I’d like to add a reason why, but I can’t really remember. Perhaps it was loneliness. To add some background details for those who skipped the Amen Origin Story, the last time I really had friends was when I was in grade 10 of high school. After that year, I was made to move across Canada and couldn’t see them again, and was alone since. Similarly, I had a girlfriend before, but it was an online relationship. It was nice for what it was, but I always wondered what it would be like to go on a physical date and spend time close together with someone you like. “That’s alright, I just haven’t met the right person yet,” I told myself, but over the years, it started to feel worse and worse, until I accepted that I was some sort of unlikeable thing. Either way, I wanted that rose coloured campus life. In order to become a normie, I had to infiltrate their ranks. Luckily, I already had a good idea as to how to accomplish this. In my second year, I heard about an app. This app let you make anonymous posts that others in the same area could also see and respond to, and it was popular among university students. This was my main source of information. The most common advice when trying to become a normie is to go to bars or parties. I had no idea when or where to go, but with this app, I was able to acquire the spacetime coordinates of each party. So, one night, I stepped out of the house and went to one, and as soon as I walked through the door, I felt like I was slapped in the face. The smell of booze was so thick, and the temperature was so high, it was like I stepped onto an alien planet. I felt like Buzz Lightyear.



It felt bizarre, but I had come too far to turn back now. I walked into the party house. Some people said hi to me. I said hi back. I found one guy from the floor I lived on last year and said hi to him. He said hi back. I went to the bathroom and wondered “What the hell am I doing here?” I went back out, and the host of the party was like “Hey, welcome, feel free to have a drink” and I obliged. I then just stood around for a minute, not really sure what to do, before leaving. Mission failure. I tried hitting up the bar once too but, similarly, it ended in failure. Becoming a normie is going to be a bit more difficult than I thought.

Meanwhile, this was the first semester beyond basic general physics. I had fluids & thermal physics, computational mechanics, subatomic particles, and on the side, French, and microeconomics.

It’s the first day of class. Standing outside the locked door to the computational mechanics room, waiting for the professor to arrive, I met who would turn out to be my brother in arms for my final two years. We’d chat after every class and often go out for food. I thought he was a normie, as a guitar player with a girlfriend and no obscure interests, but we got along well, and he even ended up changing my picture of what a normie is. Anyway, I was the only third year student, and he was the only second year student at the time. Though we were in different years, we’d end up sharing most of our classes because I was technically a year behind. He was also in fluids & thermal physics, and subatomic particles.

I’ll begin with subatomic physics. This was a pretty easy class that I don’t think had any prerequisites. It went over the history of subatomic physics, with the discovery of each particle, radiation, nuclear power, and basic particle physics. It was rather easy, and at the end, there was no final exam. Sounds great, right? But there was a catch. In place of a final exam, we had a game of jeopardy. And the points represented our marks. Let me say this one more time. We were competing in a game of jeopardy for marks. Let how ridiculous that is sink in. But at the same time, it was very fun. Anyway, there were about 6 people in the class, and we formed two teams of three. My team? The Tauboys (a mix of tauon and cowboy). It was a close call for the most part. Towards the end, we were close to tied with the opposing team, but I boldly chose a high point question. Our team discussed it and settled on an answer, but we were all unsure. Last second before we had to submit our answer, I changed it, and that change turned out to be the right call that shot us into the lead, and we won. Aside from marks, there was a surprise prize for winning. It turned out to be chocolate bar from a store near the large hadron collider. Neat, but I’m just glad to have made it out with an A after that shadow game. Sucks for my opponents though.

Computational mechanics was probably my favourite class throughout my university career. In it, we learned mathematica and how to use it with physics. I had never recognized differential equations before, but in this class, we learned what they were and how to solve them with mathematica. It was here that the power of physics really hit me. Differential equations were what I was searching for this whole time. The ability to take into account variables dependent on other changing variables. We solved problems too difficult to do by hand, and created animations, graphs, all sorts of things. It was a good time. However, this new shikigami that I could now summon made my previous creation obsolete. Mathlord’s Servant had served me well, but it was time for him to retire.

On the other hand, fluids & thermal physics was not a good time. This was the first time we used integrals in physics as a sum. In math, they taught us about Riemann sums and integration, but it was always in the context of area under a curve. While correct, the term “area” limits your thinking to space. In reality, that “area” can be anything. It’s just glorified multiplication that accounts for non-linear functions. That took a few problems to get used to, but the real pain was the final exam. There were 4 people in the class, including me. 10 questions, 3 hours. I had done good in the course up to this point. I was fairly confident. Sounds alright, right? But man, that exam was difficult, and very long. I don’t remember if I finished it, but if I did, it was only barely. Even so, I thought I did alright. Turns out I got the highest mark in the class as usual, but this time, I had a mark of 57 on the exam. What in tarnation? That was the highest mark? That’s insane. Later on, the professor recognized that the exam was a bit unfair and gave us all a couple bonus marks. It was enough to get me the A, but I was the only one with an A. Phew, close call.

Now, onto the electives. French was a breeze. I had done well in it throughout high school, but then again, high school French was a joke. It was NOT taught well there. On the other hand, the university French classes were taught well. Take it from me. Having learned Japanese to a decent extent, I know what learning a language involves, and this class hit all the right spots, and our professor was actually from France. That class answered questions I had never known the answer to in the 13 years of French classes I had taken. The only negative part of the course was the lab, but that’s just my personal opinion. In it, we had to sit at a computer, open up a program, and speak at the computer as it recorded us. Sometimes we just had to pronounce words, sometimes we had to answer questions. It was fairly standard, but one time, one of my physics professors popped up on the screen! His first language is French, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I still was. Anyway, like I said, the class was a breeze. I knew how to learn languages at that point.

Microeconomics was similarly very easy. It dealt with supply and demand and that kind of small scale stuff that business owners would have to deal with. Now, you wouldn’t expect most university students to have experience with that kind of stuff, but I did. Through MMOs. I was very familiar with dealing with free markets. I knew conditions that could affect market prices, and I was even familiar with some macroeconomics, such as inflation, to an extent. The majority of the course was multiple choice, and the most difficult math was a system of two linear equations. For someone doing physics, that was like throwing a dog a tasty bone.

So, soon enough, the semester ended and for the first time, I had gotten all A’s. Woo. Not only that, but I got an invitation letter to study economics from someone important. I think it was the department head but I don’t remember exactly because I had no interest in studying it, but that was cool. I also got a room in the dorms, and it wasn’t just any regular room. This was a handicap room which was extra big. In the end, not getting a room early actually worked out in my favour. Sadly, I had made little progress in my normie quest. I made a friend, sure, but I wasn’t satisfied yet. After the first party and bar experiences, I hadn’t made any further attempts…

The next semester began, and with it, the winter anime season. This season was no different from the rest of them, but there was one anime I was watching at the time: Kuzu no Honkai, that captured me. No one in that show could be called a good person, but even so, I couldn’t help but admire them, and thought “I want to be in a situation like that.” They were going out, making mistakes, and living their youth to its fullest. I decided to give one final burst of effort to become a normie. After many years of solitude, I had forgotten what it felt like to feel many emotions. I was a physics machine. Furniture. Non-human. Physics was my life. That was all I lived for at this point. I had nothing else, and that was fine. It was thanks to this that I had been able to perform so well. It was a source of my magic. But somewhere deep down, I wanted to experience what it felt like to be human. I just wanted to know what human warmth felt like.

Eventually, I tried tinder, cause what else can you do when you don’t have a circle of friends, know no one, and parties don’t work. First of all, getting barely any matches felt horrible. It just validated that nobody thought I looked good, and then when I did get a match, it was so nerve-wracking. There was SO much pressure to say the right thing, because if you didn’t, god knows if anyone else would even give you a chance, and you knew that each girl had a huge line of guys waiting for her, so she could easily unmatch you and not give a shit. So you either say something, they don’t respond, and then you’re just left to wonder “what did I do wrong? What could I have said?” or you do get a conversation going and they stop midway through and you just feel completely uninteresting. You feel like you’re not even worth talking to. My self esteem has since improved and I realize I’m not bad looking by any means, but that’s not enough. It’s a cancerous place, where you have insanely heavy expectations placed upon you. You can’t be yourself. You have to put on a performance for whoever you want to talk to in an attempt to keep them entertained and interested. Otherwise, they’ll just ignore you and move on to the next guy, and there’s always another guy. All this assuming you even get matches. As a male, you’re so easily replaceable, it’s depressing. I try not to think about it, but sometimes you’re forced to face cruel reality. Supply and demand indeed. Thanks, microeconomics.

But this was my last breath. I couldn’t give up now, or I knew I’d be resigning to a fate of being alone for eternity without even knowing what it feels like to hold hands with someone. It was time to think outside the box. That app I mentioned earlier that I used as my source of party information. I could try making conversations with people on there. At least on an app not meant for dating, girls wouldn’t be looking at you like a literal piece of meat meant to dance for them. Again, I had little luck for the longest time, and it just crushed my hopes even more, but eventually, I did find someone willing to talk to me, and we did. She seemed pretty cool, she thought I was alright, some time passed, we decided to meet up in real life. We did, talked some more, and I asked if she wanted to head back to my place. She said yes, we talked some more, and then, things got lewd. It was my first time, and as easy as I thought sex would be, it wasn’t. Plus, as you’d expect, I was nervous the whole time. It wasn’t exactly the best time, but hey, it could’ve been worse. And it did get worse. Ring ring, her phone sounded. She picked up, and I heard an angry father on the other side demanding to know “Where are you?! What are you doing??!!?” Holy shit. She said she was studying, and hung up. She lied as easily as she breathed. But that really killed what little we had going. Not to mention, I had my bible lying around and she kept glancing at it. What an awkward situation. Not too long after, she went home, and through a bad excuse basically said didn’t want to talk to me anymore. Hahaha. Well, it wasn’t that great, and I felt unclean afterwards, but I got to experience something that most normal people do. My curiousity has been sated. Or at least, that’s what I told myself.

I still went on the app every now and then. At one point, not too long after my first experience, I found a girl who was into anime. Whoa, exciting. Someone I share interests with. But when I asked what anime were her favourites, she said “One Piece and Fairy Tail.” A bit basic, but she was still an anime fan. We did have some good conversations nonetheless, and I went over to her place to watch some anime together every now and then. That was pretty cool, and she was pretty cool too. And, eventually, I ended up sleeping over at her place. We didn’t put ponos to vagoo and jam it in, but there was a lot of touching and feeling and hands going places. This went on for a couple weeks, and it was nice, but eventually, she felt like cutting it off. She was nice about it though, saying she had fun, but she didn’t want to go any further until she got a boyfriend. That’s fair. I liked her as a friend, but that was about it, and we’d still hang out every now and then after to watch shows. But it was really nice cuddling and sleeping in the same bed with someone who wanted to be with you. This was the human warmth I had sought. Finally, I was truly satisfied.

Despite being satisfied, I still checked out that app. Again, I found someone to talk to, and we did, but then things got strange. She told me she had an impregnation fetish and begged me to “breed her.” Yes, those are the exact words she said. But she also said that she was on birth control and wouldn’t hold me responsible even if she did get pregnant. This was risky. Should I trust her? I couldn’t lie to myself, I wanted to redeem myself after my first time that went wrong. Not to mention I used a condom that time. This time, it was the real deal. Raw dog, as they say. So, she came over to my place. It was night, so I asked her to be quiet, since my roommate was asleep, and she agreed. Then, we went at it, and this time, things actually went well. But even though she agreed to keep quiet, she was not quiet at all. Like, holy shit. She ended up waking my roommate. In the end, I had decided that I couldn’t trust her and planned to pull out. Now, if you’ve read any ero doujinshi, you might know a famous line: “My hips are moving on their own.” I can confirm that this is a real phenomenon. Perhaps it was her erotic voice telling me to fill her up, perhaps it was because it felt so good, but I really couldn’t stop, and ended up finishing inside her after all. I may have dun goofed, but at that moment, my mind went blank. I couldn’t think. I was completely lost to the pleasure. It took a few second, but I finally came back to my senses. As I pulled out, I felt her squeeze tight around me to get every drop out. “You’re good,” she said. All I could say back was “Thanks.” My brain was still fried. So this is mindbreak. Then, she put on her clothes again and left with my goo still inside her. That was extremely hot, and I felt a deep change within me. It’s the biological imperative of all lifeforms to reproduce, and in doing so, I felt like my life had been completed. It sounds really dumb, but evolution and instincts are strong forces. Luckily, as far as I know, she didn’t get pregnant after all. Within a few months, I went from being a virgin who didn’t know what human warmth felt like, to getting with 3 girls. What the hell happened?

In exchange for these experiences, I had sacrificed a large portion of my magical power, which had a large impact on my classes that winter semester, I had elementary particles and fields, mathematical physics, thermodynamics, modern physics, and ordinary differential equations. ODEs was extremely easy, especially after using them so much in computational mechanics. I completely knew how to use them and how to set them up, so this class was just a matter of how to solve them, which wasn’t bad at all.

Thermodynamics was a continuation of the earlier fluids and thermal physics class. In this class, I met my new senpais. The two fourth year students (not to be confused with physics-senpai who graduated the previous year). As for the class itself, I don’t have much to say about it. It was fun learning about statistical mechanics, entropy, the laws of thermodynamics, and all that. No real problems there. The real issues began with mathematical physics.

In this, we learned how to use the metric tensor to set up our own curvilinear coordinate systems and do physics in them, we analyzed functions of complex variables leading up to residue calculus, and partial differential equations. The first part was fine, but holy shit residue calculus was something else. I figured out how to do it, but I did not understand what I was doing. I was merely a computer following an algorithm at that point. Even worse, PDEs. You can’t really follow an algorithm with those. Well, you can I guess, but it’s a lot less straightforward. It probably would have been fine if I had an actual PDEs class, but doing it in such a short amount of time was a bit too much. It was here, when I was completely stuck on homework for the first time, that I felt true despair. I had gotten stuck before, but I was able to figure it out eventually, but here, I could not. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that it was solvable. You must never stop thinking.

Particle physics was going fine in the beginning, until we ended up having to use Feynman calculus to solve scattering and decay problems. It’s not too bad when you take the time to learn it, but again, this stuff came at the very end of the class and we didn’t spend enough time on it for me to get the idea in time before the final exam.

All the other physics classes I took this semester were proper third year classes, but modern physics was a second year class covering introductory quantum mechanics, relativity, and probably other things that I can’t really remember. In comparison to the other classes, it was very simple. At the end, we had to give a presentation with each student presenting a unique topic. Mine was particle physics. These second year students were not ready for my knowledge from the 3rd year particle physics class. I ended up deriving the Dirac equation in it with the goal of confusing as many students as possible. That was fun.

Soon enough, the semester ended, and for the first time I had gotten through a year without anything less than an A in every class (because I didn’t have to take anything like English). I had succeeded in my normie quest, and started to learn real physics. Then it began… the 2017 bizarre summer. I had applied for a summer job doing student research with a professor and got it. It was basically a continuation of the particle physics class, and it was during this summer that I actually understood what the hell we did in that class. My 2nd year physics comrade was also there, and we’d spend every day in the lab doing our own tasks while having a good chat. Then, two girls from a different province who also got student research positions came. Then a first year physics student from our university (for a different reason), and a high school girl. In total, there were 6 of us in the lab. At the end of the day, we’d go to the university’s bar and hang out (those of us who were legal age). That summer, we’d go out on hikes, go to the beach, go shopping together, restaurants, museums, everything. It was the first time I had a group of friends (who I actually liked) in 5 years… It was sad when they left, but nothing I wasn’t used to at this point. It was a summer I’ll never forget.

And that was my 3rd year university experience. What did you all think? It was quite the eventful year, but so was the year after that. I certainly did not expect to become the star of an H-doujinshi. But unfortunately, after becoming a temporary normie I could feel my magical power weakening, and it would continue to weaken. Next time on the Amen University Experience: “I’ll be your girlfriend, but only for one week,” “I see you accused me of sexism, but that makes you the sexist,” “The Hisoka of Programming,” and “I just want to live a very quiet life.


Book Review: 放課後のゲームフレンド、君のいた季節

Do you like video games? Do you have fond memories of playing them together with friends? Do you wish those good times could last forever? And most importantly, can you read Japanese (because there is no English translation of this book)? 放課後のゲームフレンド、君のいた季節 (Afterschool Game Friend, The Season When You Were There) written by Murasaki Yukiya brings back a lot of these memories for me. It’s a single volume story about a high school aged boy nicknamed Rio who meets a sweet girl named Mizuki Yumea who happens to play the same MMORPG as him. Unlike him, however, she’s a no-life gamer who until then spent all her time alone. The story follows the highs and the lows of their school and MMORPG lives.

First thing’s first. I have to say the characters were written quite realistically. None of them really fall into any tropes except perhaps the main character’s friend, Tatsuya. He’s the popular guy in the class who’s friends with everyone and always wants to go out and party. However, he is like that for a reason, and he is only a supporting character who rarely appears anyway. The real star of the story is, of course, the heroine. She is quite eccentric, but in a charming way. I almost want to say she’s like a manic pixie dream girl, but she doesn’t really fall into that trope at all when you really think about it. If anything, the main character fills that role in relation to her. But she’s not brooding and waiting to be saved either. Both the characters need each other in different ways. What she is, is cheerful and a bit of a jokester. She’s just completely sucked into the world of games. Honestly, there’s a lot of people like that in real life. Perfectly normal people who like to joke around and have fun, but because they’re so into games, they find it difficult to connect with others. But that makes the friends you do make feel all the more precious. The heroine is great, but the main character was a bit boring. By that, I mean his choices are usually imposed on him by other characters. Rarely does he go out and decide to do something himself without an outside impetus. That also brings me to another downside. The main character is also quite repetitive in his monologues. Whenever something good or bad happens, you can expect to read how that makes him feel at least 3 times. However, I don’t find that his downsides really impact the enjoyability of the story.

You should not come into this expecting a balls to the wall romantic comedy with a zany main character like 俺を好きなのはお前だけかよ. No, this a drama. The first sentence of the book’s outline is ゲーマーな少女との楽しい日常がずっと続くと思っていた…… (Very roughly: I thought that the fun days gaming with her would last forever……). There is a lot of foreshadowing in the book, but the author handles it well. That is, he does not make it spoilery. It almost feels like he takes into account the reader figuring out what the foreshadowing means beforehand when he writes, and uses that to enhance the tension. And the drama is well done. The situations do not feel forced. You can really understand the character’s feelings behind each action. And the ending, without spoiling anything myself, is certainly fresh.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend it if you can read Japanese. Even if your Japanese isn’t all too great, this is a great book to begin with. It is pretty easy to read, and because there is only one volume, you will not need to invest as much time to get the same enjoyment as you would with a multi-novel series. Oh, and last but not least, the art is lovely. Shiromizakana did a really great job at capturing the cuteness of Mizuki and the fun she shares with Rio.

The Amen High School Experience

Dear reader,

Thank you again for reading this far. What do you think of the story so far? Though our protagonist struggled in the beginning, he somehow managed to pull through with the help of a bit of magic. However, two years still remain until the end of his degree, and the physics courses have only now just begun. I figure that at this point, after the last post about the second year of university, it would be the best time to post about high school. It’ll set the stage for the following posts. This is the Amen Origin Story, so to speak. From here on out, things are going to get serious. This is no longer a tale for the faint of heart. Consider this a warning.



High school. It all began like I imagine most high school stories begin: with a lot of confusion. Most people from North America will already know how it goes, but for anyone else reading this, I’ll explain how it works. In middle school, you were stuck with the same classmates all day for the whole year, and you usually stayed in the same room. But in high school, the students in your math class could be completely different from the ones in your English class, and you have to travel from classroom to classroom for each subject. It was similar to university in that regard. Also, my high school was big. We were given maps and we actually had to use them to find our classes. It actually was similar in size to a small university. This was a big change, so it was very difficult to adjust to in the beginning. I may have accidentally walked into the wrong classes at some point, but my memory is vague.

For me, high school began in grade 9 (shortly after I turned 14 years old). I had been living in this town for 2 years already at this point, and had a good number of friends that all shared the same interests. Or rather, we all ended up developing these interests together, creating a special bond that can’t easily be replaced. Coming from a family that moves around a lot, 2 years was pretty good for me, and life was going good too. I was never really alone in any of my classes, and we all met up during lunch and hung out at a wall next to the school’s theater room. Eventually we even put up a flag and claimed it as the land of Japanada.

Japanada Flag

Another thing: in middle school, we were bound to the schoolyard during lunch, but in high school, we could go wherever we wanted as long as we made it back in time for class again. For example, there was a convenience store just down the road from the school. It was a 5 minute walk away, so people often frequented it. The cafeteria was alright, but the pizza at that convenience store was far better. Also, there was a mall about 15 minutes away. We had a full hour lunch break, so a 30 minute round trip was no problem. Me and one of my friends would often go there, eat McDonald’s or KFC, quite literally fill our pockets with candy skulls, and eat them in English class after lunch. Also, the year was split into two semesters, so classes did not last the whole year.

Skull Candy

Now, I don’t have anything to really say about the classes themselves – they were insignificant. But back in those days, me and all my friends were hooked on a free to play MMO called Mabinogi. I played an Elf named Amen, of course. Unlike most MMOs, this one had a lot of room for socialization. People often just hung out in towns and had chats, or you’d be training a skill and find someone else doing the same thing and you’d end up making a friend while farming resources. I met a lot of friends I still talk to today on that game, and at one point, I even got… an online girlfriend. Yep. Sounds kinda dumb when said like that. We couldn’t see each other in person, and sometimes that really sucked, but overall it was a good experience. Plenty of friends at school, two of my friends lived within walking distance just up the street from my house, and playing games with my friends and girlfriend after school. It was a relaxed lifestyle. Things couldn’t be better.

My MMO Character

Fast forward to grade 10, my second year of high school. Things were still pretty good. This time, we had a strange class. I can’t remember the actual name of the class, but I called it “lecture class,” cause all that happened was we’d get lectured. It was a class designed in order to counteract rising suicide rates. The teacher would just try to give life lessons and stuff. I never paid attention in the class. “My life is fine, I don’t need this class,” I thought to myself. That year was also the year I decided to learn Japanese. I knew it would take a long time to get good, but I was ready for the commitment. I knew it would pay off eventually, and I can say now with certainty that it really has. My other friends also tried to learn it but all gave up at one point or another. Studying Japanese was a good way to pass the time during class though. Oh, and I forgot to mention. During grades 9 and 10, all students were given netbooks. These were very tiny, and very bad, so we had to disable many needless settings and features in order to increase performance, however, they were good enough to run old games. Me and my friends would all connect to each other through the school’s network and chat and play starcraft. There was one period called “achievement period” which was just a glorified name for “study hall,” where you were supposed to study or do homework for an hour. Instead, we all (each of us in different classrooms) would pull out our netbooks and wage war in starcraft. I was a Protoss player, and one of the best of the bunch. You could also play Touhou on the netbooks too, so that was nice. At some point or another, all my friends had also gotten back into Yugioh – the children’s card game. During lunch, the cards covered the floor. We’d have Japanese music going, the Japanada flag waving, and we’d be dueling. I was also at the top of my classes – as in I actually had the highest marks in all of them without even trying. I was living the dream. But you have to wake up from every dream eventually…

Things weren’t going well between me and my girlfriend, for one. We ended up breaking up. Secondly, I learned I had to move away from my beloved town. I had so many friends, and we shared so much in common, and most importantly, our personalities wee very compatible. It’s not easy to find people like that, and I had to leave all of them behind. Not to mention, I’m not exactly the most socially skilled person. Honestly, I was pretty shy, so it was already a miracle that I made so many friends in the first place. Things were looking bad.

So, we moved, and I was now in grade 11. I spent my 16th birthday all alone. What a sweet sixteen. In my first high school, we’d take 5 courses each semester, for a total of 10 per year. In this new one, it was 4 per semester, for 8 per year. A bit of a downgrade, but whatever. But wait, there’s more. I was forced to take a careers and civics class. All the content here I had already covered in what I called “lecture class” the year before. This was a complete waste of time. The class was for grade 10 students, if I recall, so I was the oldest in the class by a year. This gave me cool points, at least. Things were going smoothly in this class, but one day, I went to type something in microsoft word on my laptop and accidentally had Japanese left on. A particularly loud girl was sitting next to me, and when she saw it, she yelled out “Hey everyone, Amen knows Japanese!” The whole class stopped, and everyone swarmed around me asking questions. Even the teacher forgot what she was doing and was completely amazed. Honestly, it was really overwhelming, but I got even more cool points for that, and one girl even became interested in me. She started sitting next to me. People behind would try to throw things at her like crumpled up paper, but I’d catch it stylishly before it hit her and throw it back at them. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Way to go trying to impress her, you try hard,” but I didn’t act for that reason. I just didn’t want to see that shit going on in my classroom, no matter who it was happening to. Once, I was playing touhou in class while waiting for the teacher to arrive or something like that. Again, I gathered a crowd and everyone thought I was hardcore. This never would have happened at my old school, but the people here were easily impressed. I was also taking chemistry, which was fine, and law class, which was quite informative. Not much to say beyond that, but at one point we had a mock trial, and I was the prosecutor. Whoa. I had never played Phoenix Wright at this point, but I was dying to slam down my hands and yell “objection!” I studied hard so that I would school the defense lawyer and it paid off. I won the case and sent the defendant to jail. And most importantly, I had an opportunity to do the “Objection!” thing. That was fun. At the beginning of the semester, I was supposed to be taking French too, but unlike my previous school, where French class was an absolute joke, it was the real deal here. I couldn’t do it; I was too far behind. So I ended up taking an art class in which I was absolutely lazy and did the minimum. The worst part of it all was that in order to graduate, we had to do 30 hours of “volunteer work.” Since it was mandatory, I called it “unvolunteer work.” Every week, I went to the library to sort books for an hour. It was alright at first, but within a few sessions I had sorted everything in the library. and the rate of unsortment was low, so I was left doing next to nothing for an hour each week.

Now, you might be wondering if I made any new friends. At first, it was bad. I’d just eat lunch in the library then read Lord of the Rings. As I mentioned earlier, a certain girl from my careers class became interested in me, so we kinda became friends. I’m sure she wanted to be more than that, and I would have dated her too, but there was one problem, which I’ll get to later. In the meantime, I met a guy in my law class. He was a member of the school’s geek squad. We talked, and I started to sit with them at lunch. Now, I say they were the geek squad, but they were not close to the same level as my old friends. They were entry-level geeks. Honestly, the whole school felt like I had traveled to the past. Everyone was so easily impressed with everything. So, I asserted my dominance and became king of the geeks. Every now and then, a certain girl would come by, and man, never before have I seen such a sad sight. These geeks were her slaves. They all put her on a pedestal and fawned over her. I couldn’t stand the sight of it. The saying “bros before hoes” was very unknown to them, as they would throw each other under the bus for her. Eck. Anyway, they weren’t as great as my old friends, but it was something. The guy who introduced me to the group had many personality problems. He would brag about how he threatened to kill his parents over trivial things. I visited his house once and he said he had a Death Note. “Cool,” I thought and opened it. Inside, I saw something I was not supposed to see. He had actual students’ names written in. Spooky. Once, during lunch, he was sitting next to me on his laptop. I heard him laughing, so I looked over. He was watching gifs of animals being killed. He wasn’t forcing the laugh either – this was the most genuine laugh. At this point, I became aware that I was friends with a maniac. One day he even said he wouldn’t kill me if he ever shot up the school. Nice. At least I was safe. Believe it or not, he got a girlfriend. Remember that girl all the geeks fawned over? She had a little sister who didn’t get as much attention, and dated this guy because he asked her out instead of her older sister for once. Geez, that’s not a very good reason.

This town was a fairly common place for military families like my own to move to, so I nicknamed it “The Town of Fallen Angels” after all those who were pulled here from the places they belonged. Chuuni, I know. But one day, I met someone who had been at my old school. This guy had also been infected by the yugioh craze that started there, so I got a small taste of old times and got to duel. At my old school, my friends and I were always improving, trying to be the best, so I had an unorthodox yet fairly decent deck, so in this school I was the king of games. I never lost once, and this guy would actually bow to me whenever he passed me by in the halls. Things weren’t as good as my old school, and some days were spent in sadness that I wasn’t with my old friends, but it wasn’t too bad. I could live with this at least. And that’s when it happened. Not even halfway through the year, I learned I had to move again. Though they weren’t as great as my old friends, I still got lucky with these ones. I even had a girl interested in me, but nothing would ever come of it. Everything was in vain. All the effort I put in was futile. I’d have everything taken from me again. You ever play a game and get really far without saving, then the power goes out or the game stops working? It’s a really bad feeling, having to start all over again. Now imagine that happening twice. I’d just give up on the game, and that’s how I started feeling about life. What was the point of even trying if I’d just lose everything again and again? I only had a year and a half left of high school, so why even bother when everyone will have to leave again for university. On top of that, mysterious happenings began to occur that made me think I was targeted by some sort of conspiracy. For our law course, for example, we had a final project that was mandatory for completion of the course. We worked on it in the computer lab, and at the end of class, none of the computers were able to save. That was extremely bizarre, but not a problem. Just email the file to yourself. Except as soon as I had that thought, the internet went down too. Luckily, I had a USB and it would save to that. Another incident was during the final exam of law class. I had to take it early since I was moving, so I went in, and the people at the office guided me to a small room. Oddly, they let me bring my backpack. Never have I been allowed to have more than a pencil and eraser near me at a final exam. But, well, they wouldn’t have a hard time supervising me. But the person who guided me to the room left. What? They left me in a room alone with my personal belongings to write a final exam. On top of that, a textbook was on the table. We weren’t supposed to have that. At this point, my suspicion was through the roof, so I look around the room, and bam, everything makes sense. There was a small camera in the top corner of the room. They were trying to tempt me into cheating. On the same day that I went in early for the exam, I saw the girl who liked me one last time. I couldn’t bring myself to say that I was leaving for good. In careers class, sometimes she’d notice me feeling down and ask what’s wrong, but I couldn’t tell her the truth, so I’d just lie and say something dumb like “I’m just bored.” Perhaps I should have said the truth.

So, I moved uneventfully mid-December. What a great Christmas gift. Things were already looking bad, but I learned that things can always get worse. For one, we wouldn’t have internet for a month. This is one thing when you actually have a life, but in this situation, being unable to even message my old friends online or have any contact with the outside world was painful. At that time, I learned true loneliness. However, I was still haunted by everyone I used to know. Every time I walked through the halls of my new school, I would see old faces in the corner of my eyes. I would quickly look, but it wouldn’t be them. Even when I knew it was my brain playing tricks on me, it didn’t end. I would constantly be tormented by seeing my old friends and given false hope. When I registered with the school, I had trouble even transferring credits since my last school was being difficult with sending my transcript. A similar thing happened before. And even after they received the transcript, it didn’t make any difference. I had to take another careers class. The past 2 I took didn’t count. I had to do unvolunteer work for this school too. All the unvolunteer work I had done before didn’t count. I asked to be placed in the highest level of math they offered. They threw me in the second lowest. We were forced to go home for lunch, so I didn’t even have an opportunity to really talk to people and make friends. To make matters worse, this school wasn’t semesterized, so I came in smack in the middle of everything and wasn’t allowed to take any real courses like any of the sciences, which I was looking forward to. Instead, they did 7 courses for the duration of the entire year. I went from being the best in every class, at the very top, and taking 10 classes per year, to taking classes at the bottom of the barrel and only taking 7. I had English, basic math, cooking class, two gym classes, social justice, and careers class. Yes, two gym classes, back to back. That should never happen, and it was exhausting. I normally enjoyed gym classes, but this was painful. Once, after a couple weeks of attending cooking class, the teacher just looked at me and told me to get out. She said I don’t belong in there. I was speechless. I couldn’t say anything. I could barely even register what she just said. That’s not the kind of thing a teacher should just say to a student for no reason. Other people in the class defended me and I had to show her my schedule to prove I belonged. After all that, I was allowed to stay. Still though, what the hell was that? I didn’t ever receive an apology either. The conspiracy against me had succeeded. With my life spiraling completely out of control and looking hopeless, I soon fell into a deep depression. I’d throw up every day before going to school, I’d have panic attacks in the middle of class and have to rush to the bathroom to calm myself down. I’d sleep a ridiculous amount because dreams were the only place I could feel normal. I tried telling myself that it was all in my head, and I can just quit being like this, but I couldn’t. I wanted to do some sort of science at university, but that was looking impossible, so I had no present and no future. Nostalgia was my only glory. When I did get internet, I’d spend my few waking hours just binge watching anime without even really enjoying it. I ended up watching an average of 5-6 whole anime a week (assuming 12 episodes per anime). In class, I’d just think about the different ways to die. I was particularly inspired by Cassius’ death in the play “Julius Caesar.”

This day I breathed first: time is come round,
And where I did begin, there shall I end;
My life is run his compass.

So, I wanted to kill myself on my birthday after I went to university. It would be a sunny day, in a relaxing, green forest. I didn’t want a tragic death. I wanted something peaceful. But oftentimes, I just wished I’d die in my sleep. Once, it almost happened. I was lying in bed, when suddenly my heart felt like it was being pulled out of my chest. I couldn’t breathe. My mind went blank. Not only was my heart being pulled out, but it felt almost like it was vibrating out of control. But within moments, everything was back to normal. I wasn’t scared. I didn’t think to call a hospital. In fact, I was happy. “So this is how I get to die. Something painless and effortless.” When confronting suicidal people, one common line is “Things get better – you’ll be happy that you didn’t go through with it” but I can honestly say that even now, as things are much better, I would be fine with having died then. It was a nightmare, and my parents didn’t help either. They just made things worse. “Acting like that just makes everyone around you sad,” or “No wonder you don’t have any friends.” At some point, I tried playing MMOs again to try to find some sort of joy. It gave me something to do, at least. But soon my laptop broke, and the next one I got was too shitty to play games.

The next year came along and I was finally taking science. Grade 11 physics, grade 12 chemistry and biology, English, robotics, geography, and more shitty math since at this point I was locked out of higher levels. Some of these classes weren’t so bad and didn’t feel like a waste of time, so that was nice, but there wasn’t much to say about them, except that the physics class inspired me to major in it at university. It was around this time I had really gotten interested in Alstroemeria Records. As you could imagine, the emo lyrics (ex. End of Daylight) really resonated with me. I got more interested in touhou music, and more interested in their lyrics. Usually I’d find videos with subtitled lyrics on youtube, but every now and then there would be a song that I couldn’t find lyrics for. Since I had been learning Japanese, I decided to try translating some. Eventually, inspired by Kafkafuura, I even ended up making this site. Back then, I was admittedly pretty bad at it, but it was a learning experience. Eventually, the site started getting attention. Seeing my views grow felt really cool, and seeing comments thanking me felt so nice. “There’s actually something only I and few others can do. There are people who need me. My life isn’t pointless,” I thought. I spent nearly 2 years just wasting my time with nothing to show for it, and there was nothing I could do about it. But now, I finally had a purpose. That, and perhaps that alone, had saved me. Little by little, my depression began to lift as each post would get more views. As I would receive more kind comments. As I’d see people uploading videos with my translations. In addition, my Japanese skills were getting better and better.

By the end of the school year, I think I had mostly recovered, though a few aftereffects remained for many more years. The dream was to get back to my old friends, but I didn’t have enough money for that. I’d have to go to a local university instead of the one they were all going to. My attitude towards death was still not normal. University for me was quite literally win or die. It’s either pass university, then get back to my friends, or fail, drop out, and end everything there. This threat of imminent death may have been the source of my magic during my second year. The aftereffects of the conspiracy also remained. They had succeeded in setting me back. Though I decided I wanted to do physics, I didn’t have the math required. I would have to start at the very bottom. Just catching up on math alone took my full first year plus a spring semester, and my second year just consisted of the two basic first year physics classes. Excluding those two classes, I would basically have to do a full physics degree in 2 years. Easier said than done.

That about concludes it for my high school experience. I warned you things would get serious. The fun slice-of-life university story is over. Stay tuned for the tale of my third year, which includes stories such as “The Quest to Become a Normie”, “The Rise of the Tauboys”, “I got the best mark in the class at 57%”, “How MMOs taught me microeconomics”, “I can’t believe my life became an H-doujinshi,” and more. And then, there’s the clown fiesta that was my fourth year… Thanks for reading. You can find the next chapter here.


The Amen University Experience (Year 2)

Dear reader,

I’m glad to see you again. The first year post was quite long, so I was afraid I’d lose you. I’m here to talk about my second year of university. I was worried this post would end up even longer, but it turned out to be about the same length as my first one. This is when things start to get interesting, as I start taking more than just writing courses and other trivial electives.



I’ll begin this story from the summer after my first year, when, I got an email from student housing telling me who my roommate would be. There were still a few months left until university began, and I wanted to know what kind of person he was, so, of course, after having attained such powerful information (his name), I couldn’t help myself and had to look him up online. The internet nowadays is pretty amazing. When I was a kid, I was told to never put my personal information online, but things have really changed, haven’t they. Using your real name has become a common thing with the rise of social media. Now, it’s possible to find almost anyone and learn about what they like and dislike, who they’re going out with (if anyone), and more. It’s like a human encyclopedia. If you ask me, you should be prepared for anything you put your name on to be found. So I found my roommate, and learned some valuable information. He liked anime. Now, unfortunately, he hadn’t watched nearly as much as me, so we couldn’t talk about too much, but it was still cool, and throughout that school year we would watch some of the same shows that were airing and talk about them every week. This was a much welcomed change from the people I had before.

If you recall that I lived in a newer style of room during the spring semester, that was the same type of room I had now. The building was a lot taller than where I lived before, by about 3 stories, so I got a much better view from the lounge.

I also saw a cool looking red bird when walking to school once.

And there were once moose outside my window. They eat really strangely.

You might not know this, but physics majors are extremely rare. At the time of writing this (my fourth year), there were only 14 people majoring or minoring in physics at my university, and I was the only student in my year. As well, there was only one student in the year below me. That said, our university is doing really well in this regard. About one in one hundred students here are doing a physics minor or major, whereas at most universities the ratio is closer to one in one thousand. It’s still a small number though, and there were even less people during my second year, so I figured I would be the only physics person on my floor, but I was mistaken. This was where I met who I call physics-senpai. He was doing a double major in math and physics and it was his final year. We shared the same name, so I liked to joke that I was there to replace him. He was the smartest person I ever met, and I strove to match his grades, even asking him for his transcript so I could set goals for myself. Sometimes I did better than him, though most of the time I did a little bit worse. I did manage to impress him a few times though, despite being a rookie. One such time was when we had another trivia competition for a pizza party. This was the exact same game from my previous year. Exactly, down to each and every question being recycled. The host must not have thought anyone from before would be there, in this new building. In fact, I certainly recall him saying something along the lines that nobody would possibly remember the questions even if they were there previously. And this time, it was a free for all, for all team members. That is, any team member could answer a question at any time, and I still remembered a decent amount of answers from last year. Whereas I didn’t help at all before, this time I was the MVP and carried the team to victory. Physics-senpai would look amazed as I answered each question that had a trick answer, and I won pizza for my floor.

I was really excited for this new year, I must say. Having finished precalculus, calculus 1, linear algebra, and calculus 2 with straight As, I was excited for calculus 3. I was also taking my first real university physics course: general physics 1: mechanics. Then there was intro to programming, issues in world politics, and intro to creative writing. It all looked like a lot of fun, but it turned out to be very 必死. That is, it felt like I was walking along the border of death.

Let me start with my easiest course: calculus 3. In this, we learned about infinite series in great detail, and then multivariable calculus afterwards. This was a very easy class, though that may have been due to the professor I got, who everyone loved. He was a bald Russian guy, and all the girls in the class thought he was cute. Not to mention he gave lots of bonus questions and posted all his notes online. As easy as the course was, I’m not sure how he could have made the course material hard. Partial differentiation and double integration is very straightforward. Everything in multivariable calculus is simple as long as you understand calculus 1 and 2. The infinite series thing took a while to get used to, but it proved to be pretty simple too. Just memorize the convergence tests and when they should be used, and you’re pretty much good to go. I really enjoyed the Maclaurin Series though, where you could describe functions such as Sin(x) or Ln(x) as infinite series. Previously, I had always wondered “If sin(x) is equal to opposite over hypotenuse, how does your calculator know what it is just knowing x and without knowing side lengths? There are too many unknown variables here!” But that’s how you calculator does it. With series expansion.

Creative writing was a fun course. We basically wrote, well, whatever we wanted to during own time, read it to the class, and that was that. When other people read, we critiqued their writing. I don’t exactly have much to say about it, but it was good practice, I think. Honestly, it was the only writing course I ever enjoyed, though I kind of got lazy midway through. I had more important courses to focus on, but it was okay, and I had a writing trick up my sleeve. A perfect trick that nobody will ever be able to figure out. Of course, that means I can’t talk about it here either, haha. Sorry. A magician never reveals their secrets.

The political science course, “issues in world politics”, was also a writing course. I thought it would be about the relationships between countries and was initially excited, but instead, a lot of it was about water scarcity, governance, and security, which I thought was really boring. I barely paid attention in class and skipped quite a few classes. Once, a guy from my creative writing class, who had missed a week, asked me what happened, and I couldn’t tell him anything. He was like “Come on, you’re smart” but hell if I cared what was going on in this class. The lectures were given via powerpoint slides. Also, the professor had some slides in German. Yeah. German in Canada. I’m sure everybody is going to understand that. Some slides were also packed to the brim with text. It was honestly the worst powerpoint show I ever saw in a lecture. Even worse than what high schoolers produce for their projects during the night before they’re due. I did see some horrendous slides in my fourth year, but that’s a story for then.

Don’t do this

The first and only midterm for that class was extremely bizarre. I was expecting us to have to explain concepts and prepared accordingly, but instead, we were given 10 questions with 1 word answers. Also, we had to write in KAPITAL LETTERS. That’s not a typo on my part. He spelled it with a K. Here’s an example question: “What are the BRIC countries?” Answer: “BRAZIL, RUSSIA, INDIA, CHINA.” Nobody was expecting the exam to be like that, and we all did pretty badly. We were expecting having to write long answer questions, not this. He ended up giving everyone a bonus 10%. If I recall, I got a 60% after the bonus. Yikes. Not only did it seem like I wouldn’t get an A, or even a B, but I was at risk of failing. The professor gave us one hint though: that the final exam would be just like this one. So I memorized short facts like that. I’m not sure how many I memorized, but I was pretty sure I would be ready this time. Skip forward to the final exam, and there we go. 20 questions, just like before. Except, something was wrong. Questions from the midterm were being recycled? Wait, the entire midterm was on this! Half of the questions on the final were the exact same. Normally, during exams, you’re permitted to leave only 30 minutes after it begins, and let me tell you, everyone was ready to go after 5 minutes. Never in my life have I seen such an easy exam. It brought me up to an A+. I’m not sure if I got a single question wrong. I have a theory for this though. An important thing to note about this class is that it was mandatory for nursing students to take. Strange, I know, but most of the class was made up of 4th year nursing students because of that. I don’t think the professor wanted to prevent an entire wave of nurses from graduating just because of a random political science course, so I’m sure he made it easy on purpose, and I was lucky to be there.

Then there was intro to programming. I wasn’t so lucky with this one. I thought I understood it, and I was feeling pretty good about the first midterm, but guess what. The whole class basically got an average of 30%, including me. To this day, in all of university, high school, and anything else, that has been the lowest mark I’ve ever received on anything. I managed to make up for it to a certain extent on the next midterm, and before the final exam, I decided to make my own math program, named “Mathlord’s Servant.” It would be able to do most things from my linear algebra course. Of course, I also gave it a personality, with a multitude of lines it would say. My first shikigami. This gave me a very strong grasp of programming, and I was able to finish the final exam and get a final mark of about 75%. Not an A, but hey, for my first time ever seeing a programming language and getting a 30% on that first midterm, it could have been worse. The labs were the worst part though. In those, we had this dumb little robot that we had to program to get through certain challenges, like following paths. For example, for our final lab, we had to program it to be able to solve any maze. This thing had a lot of problems. If you told it to turn 90 degrees, it would overshoot it, so you always had to compensate, and sometimes the detectors wouldn’t work. This is because performance varies depending on battery life. Of course, we were never really explained anything either. It was just “This is what you have to make it do. Here are some functions that you might find useful that we won’t explain. Go do it.” Things never worked as they were supposed to. Programming is fun, but only when you’re doing it for yourself, not for a class. At least, that’s how I feel. I had my vengeance in my fourth year though.

I’m not gonna lie, general physics 1 made me question my choice to major in physics. We had a professor I hadn’t seen before, and to be honest, I didn’t really like him much at first. I wasn’t exactly a fan of his teaching style either, but it grew on me, and nowadays I think he’s a cool guy personally. We were given a small quiz every week, had 2 or 3 midterms, and a final exam at the end. Oh, and I almost forgot. 3 hour labs every week. The beginning of the course was relatively simple. It was aimed at first years who were able to take calculus 1 in high school, so he taught assuming people hadn’t taken linear algebra yet and introduced concepts on his own, such as vectors and the dot product or cross product. This was extremely easy to me, having taken an extensive course on it, so these kinds of questions were giveaways. But the physics wasn’t that easy. At least, at the time it wasn’t. I did really badly on most of the quizzes and labs, but somehow, through some sort of miracle, I always did great on the tests. This was the main factor keeping me going. We covered kinematics, (with projectile motion being within the first week or two of class,) dynamics, energy, and rotational motion. Now, I took a single course of physics in high school, so I already knew kinematics, dynamics, and energy to a certain extent, but my trigonometry skills were rusty and I still needed to cement what I learned from precalculus, and by no means were the professor’s questions easy. But yeah, that’s the thing about math. You can take a math course and understand the algorithm behind doing something, but it takes application to actually get a deeper understanding. At least, that’s how I see it. For example, just because you can integrate doesn’t mean you know how to use it for things other than finding area or undoing derivatives. You can only see it in a math context. Anyway, getting back on topic, I had a good time with kinematics and energy, but dynamics was killer. And I wasn’t able to tie together my knowledge of rotational motion. Soon enough, the final exam came. I did my best, and somehow, while trying to answer a torque question about Warrior Princess Xena having to close a door before a dragon reaches it, magic had occurred. After I answered it wrongly, I stared at it for a few minutes, and suddenly, as if I experienced a revelation from the heavens, everything made sense. I erased what I did and fixed everything. Suddenly, I understood rotational motion. I’m not sure how it happened. And as it turns out, I did the best in the class on the final exam, while I barely spent time practicing before it. In a class full of engineers (with two or three other physics majors) who all had much better high school educations than me, it was I who came out on top. What the hell, man. So I ended up getting an A, and considered myself worthy to be a physics major, for now.

I suppose I should reveal a secret. This semester was the beginning of my spritual awakening. Let me tell you a story from the beginning of the semester. I just finished moving in and brought my bible for some reason, which I stood up on the shelf above my computer. Weeks pass, and one day, I accidentally had my alarm set an hour late. I was asleep, and there was not much time at all until my first class of that day would begin, but at that moment, my bible fell down, landed on the keyboard, and woke me up. I woke up just in time to not be late to class. Now that’s what I call a true biblical miracle. For weeks it had been on the shelf, but it fell at that perfect moment. I could barely believe it. I still can barely believe it, but it happened. And before that physics final exam, I had channeled the spirit of Isaac Newton with that same bible in hand. I am sure he guided me from beyond the grave. Whenever I was stuck, I just had to stare at a question for long enough until an answer popped into my head.

Fast forward to the winter semester and a similar thing happened. I was taking general physics 2: oscillations, waves, and electromagnetism. I said this before, but I was only able to take one physics course in high school due to certain circumstances. That means I never took the one about electricity and god knows what else, so I was at a disadvantage here compared to everyone else, but I wouldn’t let that stop me. I made another vow that if I was to be a physics major, I must prove myself and get another A. I still wasn’t doing great on the quizzes or labs, but the tests were my saving grace again. The labs were a special kind of hell, where we had to manage electronics and circuits which I had never seen before. As for the final exam, I only reviewed for maybe half a day before. Before going in, I channeled the spirits of the physics lords, and despite not feeling like I knew what I was doing, I again got the highest mark on the final exam. Getting the highest mark once was one thing, but twice? It couldn’t have been luck at that point. Was I secretly the main character of some show? I also ended up getting an A exactly. One mark lower and it would have been a B. Phew. At that point, I knew it was my destiny to keep doing physics.

What I thought was my easiest course that semester was vector calculus. We had the same professor as we did for calculus 3, which was a good sign. The first two thirds of the course were extremely easy. I didn’t have to pay attention, and I could save the homework as something to do for fun rather than something to trouble over. The only thing is, during the last third of the course, the homework became optional, so of course I stopped doing it. This was my mistake. And of course, just my luck, the final exam was predominantly focused on that last third, which I wasn’t prepared for and thought I could go without. It was a disaster. I went from 100 in the course to a lowly 80 or so. Still an A, but wow, that was a big drop. What seemed so easy gave me the Judas Kiss and betrayed me at the last moment.

I also took a Zen Buddhism class. It was very easy, but there was a big workload, which I wasn’t a fan of. It was a writing course, of course, and we had to do a lot of it. There were a lot of essays, and we had to write meditation journals, and more. Yup, meditation journals. Sounds funny, doesn’t it. We had to meditate at home, and then write a page or two about it. I can’t remember how many we had to write, but I saved it all until the end of the semester and just made things up. The lectures were really chill though. You’d walk in to relaxing music, then once class started, we’d always meditate for five minutes or so, and from then on, it was just the professor taking his time either going through some concepts or chapters from one of the books he assigned, or talking to us. You could easily skip all the classes without missing anything. This semester was particularly strange though, in that I went off topic for a few essays and in return, did much better than I normally do. Once, in this Buddhism class, we were supposed to be explaining something, I can’t remember, but I dove right into talking about the Japanese language for a big part of it. The professor loved it. He even talked to me about it in the middle of class. Pretty cool. The other time something like that happened was in my philosophy of religion class.

Taking two religion classes at once as a science major probably seems pretty strange, but I think it’s pretty interesting stuff. At least, some of it is. Philosophy of religion was not. We looked at three or four texts. One was by or about some neo-platonist, called Plotinus. All this metaphysics stuff about the soul and forms and whatnot, I thought was really… well, how do I say it. I didn’t like it at all. “Where the hell did he come up with these ideas?” I thought. Religions like Buddhism, or Christianity originate from people and the stories surrounding them, but this Platonism stuff did not sound like it was grounded in reality at all. I apologize if I offend any Plato fans, but I wasn’t one. The most interesting part of the course was when we looked at Saint Thomas Aquinas and his thoughts. He analyzed biblical messages from a logical perspective. I thought that was pretty cool. We also looked at some Islam guy and some Christian woman (maybe a Saint, I don’t remember) and their texts, but they weren’t particularly interesting. The woman’s text was completely the opposite of Saint Aquinas, in that it wasn’t based on logic at all, but of spiritual experiences. Telling of how she went into trances and received revelations from God and stuff like that. Eh. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t, but that’s not something I was interested in reading about either way. Writing the essays for that course was extremely painful, but for the Saint Aquinas essay, where we had to explain his proofs of God’s existence, I went on an Owarimonogatari style tangent at the end, explaining how perfect Euler’s identity was. Again, like with my off-topic Japanese in Buddhism class, the professor seemed to have liked this, and I got a better mark than I normal.

The worst class that semester was by far technical writing in math with physics-senpai. I had the toughest math professor on campus for it, which I hear is the reason it was so bad. For the first project, we had to write a program in our programming language of choice that could solve a system of three or four linear equations and apply this to a linear optimization problem. Luckily, this was a problem Mathlord’s Servant was fully capable of dealing with. With a quick riposte of his sabre, he swiftly cut down the demon that challenged me. But the challenges were more to come. It was a good course for one thing though, which was that I got to learn writing in Latex, which I used every now and then later on for things like lab reports or writing presentations. In this course though, we had to write extremely detailed project reports that were to be over 10 pages each. I think the last one had to be 20 pages, maybe one or two pages more. Our second project was considerably easier, I think. We had to make a program that could integrate using whatever number of trapezoids you desired (think Riemann sums) and output the area and a graph showing the trapezoids and the function. The third project was even easier, and it was the one I did the best in that course. Each student was given a different topic to create a presentation on. Mine was compass and ruler constructions. The hardest part of this was using tikz to create pictures in latex, but overall, it was pretty cool looking, and everyone liked my presentation. It helped that I added a bit of humor, and that even inspired physics-senpai to add some for his senior physics presentation, which went really well. The final project was a monster. I can’t even describe it here, so I’ll just post a picture of it.


This was a mess to program. I couldn’t even come up with an algorithm that wasn’t trial and error, but what I had worked at least. Sadly, I only got a B in that course, but it was my only B that semester. Still, it ruined my perfect math record. At least I’m not a math major. The worst thing about that class was how long it took though. The level of work that needed to be put in was as much as 3 classes at once. This is part of what contributed to me neglecting my vector calculus and physics studies, but at least I did good in those.

So, I made it through my second year over, and it was time to go home. This time, I wasn’t taking any courses during the summer, so I had to get… a job. Very frightening. I had never had a real job before, and was not looking forward to it, but it turned out that my old high school was looking for tutors. I had done tutoring work previously, so I figured it would be easy. For the most part, it was. The way it worked was you stayed at the high school all day in your own office, and whenever somebody needed help, they would come in. And here’s the thing: you got payed whether or not anyone came in. For the first few weeks, barely anybody did. So I got to watch a lot of anime and movies and just dick around in general while getting paid. But when somebody did come in for help, I put my business face on and got to work. I think I managed to have a real positive impact. On top of this, I was doing private tutoring on the side for two students. They were both doing pretty badly, but man, once they took their final exams, they shot right up. One of their teachers said she had never seen anyone make that kind of comeback. Personally, I think textbooks and most teachers explain concepts in the most obtuse and roundabout way possible. Put things in simple terms, and most people will understand it. If they don’t, try explaining it a different way. There are always multiple ways to explain things. However, these positive experiences would eventually come back to bite me.

That about concludes my second year. While I think it was more interesting than my first year, the fun has yet to begin. I succeeded in my bet and became a true physics major, while also discovering the power of magic. While I would normally go straight into the next year, let us first take a detour. Earlier, I had mentioned that there were various circumstances in high school that caused me problems in university. As well, there’s a serious lack of character development up to this point. It’s time to change that and explore the past. Next up, the Amen High School Experience.