Dianzhi Yu (Lucy)

Dianzhi Yu (Lucy), Third Year at Somerville College, reading Mathematics.                           

Every day in my life is trivial, I hope. 

Let's take a close look at one of the trivial days in my life.

I get up, and attend lectures. This is my fourth lecture of a course. The lecturer is presenting definitions followed by propositions and examples, as usual. Then he pauses, and says: "OK. Everything above is trivial. Now let's look at something that will actually make things work." Trivial? Well, that’s what the lecturer says.

I go home, and do my problem sheets. This is sheet 4 of a course. One question asks us to show equality between two sets. I decide to show it by inclusion in two directions. I write down: "one direction is trivial. The other direction..." Trivial? Well, that's what I write down.

That’s mainly what I do in a trivial day. Of course I do a lot more things, but I just don’t want to mention trivial things like brushing teeth or having meals.

However, is my day actually trivial? 

First, what is trivial?

Zero solution to homogeneous system of linear equations is trivial.

{0} is a trivial ideal of a ring…

Wait! We are not talking about maths, but life as a maths undergraduate. I would say things I understand are trivial, and those I don’t are not.

I am exposed to new things everyday, namely those discovered by my mathematical predecessors. They and their work are extraordinary. It’s my great pleasure to have the opportunity to learn from them.

But…having the opportunity to learn something extraordinary doesn’t necessarily mean I can understand it…

My day is not trivial.  Every day is extraordinary.

Now is my day trivial? Well, I really hope so.

Thank you for reading my trivial essay. I hope you find your non-trivial ideal in your life.