Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

September 2015 - October 2015: Physics Studies Hell and the Search for a Soulmate

September 2014. Every morning, I would wake up at quarter to six to shower, have breakfast, and then make my way to Harsum, where the train to Hannover departed. From Harsum, I would either take the bus or my mother would drop me off there on her way to work in Algermissen. If she worked at different times and couldn't take me to Harsum, I had no choice but to take the bus.

Unfortunately, my semester ticket didn't cover free travel. It was invalid for the bus ride to Harsum. Therefore, every time I took the bus, I had to spend three euros on a ticket, which fortunately I could pay for with my BAföG. Not much was left of this money, as I used it to help my mother pay bills and debts when finances got tight. I could have used my sister's bike instead of the bus to save some money, but I was too lazy for that.

All the lectures and tutorials usually lasted until the afternoon. To avoid waiting an hour for the bus in Harsum on the way back home, I worked on the four weekly problem sets in linear algebra, analysis, experimental physics, and theoretical physics until eight o'clock in the evening in the university library. I hadn't attended the introductory week for freshmen and therefore wasn't part of any of the study groups that had formed during the week.

I didn't dare to ask any of the groups if I could join. I was once again in an introverted phase, probably because the unsuccessful search for an apartment had left me feeling down. So, I worked alone most of the time, or sometimes with Niels.

My mother finished her late shift at nine o'clock and picked me up from Harsum. From early morning until late evening, I was at the university. At home, after dinner, I continued to work on the problem sets until late into the night, yet still couldn't manage to finish them. I just felt too dumb for it, and my head felt like it was about to explode. My mother would come into my room and remind me to go to sleep when it was already midnight. The lectures started again at eight the next day, which meant I had to get up at quarter to six again.

With each passing day, an unfamiliar pressure built up, which was difficult for me to cope with. While the professor was already discussing new topics, I was still stuck on the old ones, trying to understand them correctly.

The whole situation led me into hellish stressful situations that I had never experienced before, especially not in physics class. This was not how I had imagined studying physics. I wasn't alone in this - Niels was also showing up less and less at the university and soon dropped out of the physics program.

My strength was slowly fading, and the enjoyment of physics was waning. I started skipping the problem sets and lectures and preferred to stay at home. Instead, I played ranked games in League of Legends, trying to climb to the Diamond rank to be among the top 1.5% of players worldwide. Or I watched Let's Plays of the best players.

This way, I isolated myself from the outside world, just like before. Every time I started the game or a Let's Play, I felt noticeably more introverted as if on cue. Thinking back to the last social interactions, like approaching a girl on the street, brought a sense of embarrassment, and I thought I should have avoided those interactions.

However, there were also phases where I hit roadblocks in League of Legends. On those days, I tried to work on ideas that had occurred to me during lectures where I wasn't fully engaged anyway. For example, I noticed during a mathematics lecture that multiple synonyms and notations were used for the same thing. This led me to believe that I didn't fully understand something, even though I did. I just lacked knowledge about that specific synonym or notation.

This had often been the case in school without me noticing. This prompted me to develop a unified notation on days when I couldn't progress in League of Legends, aiming to make communication in physics and mathematics more understandable and unambiguous. So, I started to clearly define all the terms and notations I encountered at university to avoid unnecessary variation for the same concept.

Thus, I ventured into something no mathematician in the world would dare, and devised a completely new notation for the summation and product symbols that had existed for centuries. This summation symbol became ubiquitous in my videos and on my website since then.

I also modernized the periodic table of elements, something probably no chemist would ever dare. I standardized all the element designations to match the element symbol and no longer require translation into English. For example, Hydrogen (H) became Hydrogenium (H). Boron (B) became Borium (B). Carbon (C) became Carbonium (C). Nitrogen (N) became Nitrogenium (N). Neon (Ne) became Neonium (Ne). Titanium (Ti) became Titanium (Ti), and so on. Aluminum (Al) naturally remained Aliminium (Al).

I felt very lonely during this time. Whether at home, in university, or in the cafeteria, I spent most of my time alone. I longed for someone who would make me feel safe, someone who would embrace me and encourage me with motivating words not to give up. Someone with whom I could fall asleep or just do something to distract myself. The more desperate the physics studies made me, the more I felt the urge to find that one person. A brightly painted note hung on the wall above my desk in my room, stating: "Goal: find my soulmate."

At that time, I held the view that the universe was entirely deterministic. Everything was predetermined. My actions were seemingly self-determined. Everything I supposedly did by free will was merely a consequence of the previous state of the universe. So, my future was already set and could possibly be revealed in the present through a horoscope.

Therefore, when skipping university, I would look at various horoscopes and examine which had the best predictive power. Every day, I compared the daily horoscope statement with my experiences. Erika Berger's horoscope seemed to be the best, especially because I could enter my date of birth there. To confirm my suspicion, I looked for volunteers on Facebook to find out if this horoscope worked as well for other people.

Only four out of twenty people who participated had their experiences accurately predicted by the horoscope. I was one of those four people. And although there was no rational reason to trust the predictions after this experiment, I still got into the habit of checking Erika Berger's horoscope daily to find out if I would meet my soulmate today. And one day, it finally happened... September 2014. It was midnight. I lay in my warm bed, gazing at the ceiling tinted blue by the moonlight. Outside my window, the moon emerged from behind the white clouds. All was quiet. The only sound I could hear was my breath. I wondered why it was so darn hard to find my soulmate, even though I easily got women's numbers. On instinct, I rose and moved to the window, opening it and gazing up at the full moon. After a short while, I felt the autumnal cold seeping in, causing me to shiver, strangely reminiscent of the highly emotional end of Titanic. My mouth was slightly open, forming small clouds in the night air with my breath. I stared at the moon and whispered, "God, if you exist, please let me finally find my love. I want to meet someone with whom I'll be together until the end of days. Please... God... I've been waiting for so long! I want to experience true love at last." I took deep breaths and then closed the window. The room had cooled. I crawled back into bed, wrapped myself in the blanket, and tucked my hands under the pillow. "I'm really curious if you exist," I whispered with a smile. Then I closed my eyes and fell asleep. The next day, the alarm clock woke me up. It was a Thursday. Even before getting up, I reached for my phone to turn off the alarm and then checked my messages. First, I checked my favorite horoscope. Five out of five stars in the "Love and Partnership" category and then a surprising description stating that I would meet a new person today and start a new phase in my life. I had to digest this prediction. The horoscope lifted my mood incredibly, even though I briefly doubted it while brushing my teeth. Still, I could hardly have started the day better. Even though I skipped the shower that morning due to time constraints, the dopamine pushed away my tiredness. I was wide awake. If the horoscope didn't predict anything special, I would doze off on the train or gaze thoughtfully out the window. But today, I was open and sociable. I could barely contain my positive energy, smiling at the passengers getting on and off the train, hoping to discover my true love among them. It was a feeling of curiosity and positive anticipation that accompanied me on this day. In the first lectures, which lasted until noon, I could hardly concentrate on the content. During the lunch break, on the way to the cafeteria, I randomly ran into Niels. He joined me, and we went to eat together. I opted for a currywurst with fries; as usual when there was nothing else tasty. We sat down at two free seats and ate. Two guys next to us had already finished eating and left the table. Shortly after, two girls arrived and took the newly vacated seats. But I only noticed who had sat down when I lifted my gaze from the plate and spotted the blonde girl sitting across the table. I couldn't see the other girl because she was on my side of the table, behind Niels. But I didn't care; honestly, everything was indifferent to me in that moment—I only had eyes for this young woman. She didn't seem happy. Her head hung over the plate—apparently, she had little appetite. Sometimes she lifted her head slightly to look left and right—as if she were expecting something in vain—and then lowered her head again when it didn't happen. She barely spoke more than a few words with her friend. And when something did come out of her mouth, it was soft and unhurried—with a slight sadness. She briefly took her phone out of her light brown bag, looked at it with an empty gaze, and put it back. All her movements, her entire demeanor, were incomparable to anyone else around. Another person probably wouldn't recognize the specialness in her ordinariness, but her unique nature fascinated me. All the chatter and clattering cutlery at the tables around me suddenly sounded muffled in my ears. With brief, unobtrusive glances, I felt her presence in my imagination. After pushing a cut piece of currywurst into my mouth and starting to chew, I slowly set down the cutlery and placed my hands on my lap, trying to put myself in her shoes and feel her presence. I imagined our souls detaching from our bodies, hesitantly moving toward each other, touching, and then playfully dancing together. It was a new, strange feeling; but also a beautiful feeling. To feel how safe my soul was in that moment.

As my plate emptied, I felt afraid. Afraid of letting her go. So, I told Niels, who had already finished eating, that I would like to stay a bit longer to digest the food – and to take a chance...

The girls finished eating and also sat at the table for a while. When the time came and they stood up to leave the cafeteria, I gave Niels a signal that we could go now. After returning the dirty dishes, our paths diverged at two different exits. But I couldn't bring myself to push the door open because time seemed to stand still for a moment. Many questions arose: How could I just let her go? We were meant for each other! God had granted my long-awaited wish last night, but why did he let us go different ways? Did I have to intervene in my fate myself? How far was she already from me? Could I still find her?

I knew I was facing a decision; a decision that could change my life. No! I wouldn't go through that door. I quickly turned around and ran in another direction - towards her. Niels followed me. Fortunately, she wasn't too far away yet, so I could spot her in the crowd.

“Wait!” I called out to her as I caught up with her.

“Oh my God!” she reacted, surprised.

I was very excited. Interestingly, it was a new kind of excitement. An excitement that had nothing to do with approaching a young stranger woman to ask if we could get to know each other. No, no, this excitement existed because I firmly believed that the woman standing in front of me was the one I would spend my life with.

“Alexander is my name!” I said kindly and reached out my hand.

“Julia,” she replied with the friendliest smile in the universe and shook my hand, which I held for a few seconds and discreetly stroked with my thumb. While doing so, I looked into her beautiful blue eyes and noticed how they sparkled.

We left the cafeteria together through the main exit and got to know each other a little. She asked me many questions, and everything I answered seemed to trigger joyful interest in her. When we arrived at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, we exchanged phone numbers and said goodbye. Behind Julia, two guys were sitting, grinning at me. One of them gave me a thumbs up. Apparently, he really enjoyed my conversation with her. I couldn't handle so much dopamine at once, but I tried to continue behaving normally. I was speechless at the thought of meeting such a wonderful girl, especially after the horoscope prediction and my prayer to God. It became clear to me in that moment: It didn't feel like a coincidence. It felt like a real intervention from God in my life. Full of joy, I took Gogi's cross out of my sweater and kissed it.

In the subsequent lectures, I was more focused than ever! After all, I was firmly convinced that I had achieved one of my life goals. This gave me the impetus to pursue my studies with renewed zeal. My motivation diverged positively on the timeline.

At the end of the day, on the way home on the train, I sent my first WhatsApp message to her. Her joy, expressed through countless emojis, was unmistakable. When I arrived home, she shared something with me that further intensified my happiness, and shortly afterwards, her mother wrote to me and expressed her excitement to meet me soon.

It all happened so quickly that I felt like we were already in a relationship in no time – meant for each other – even though neither of us had ever been in a relationship before.

On a Monday, we met at the main train station and made our way to the university together. We talked about various things, and neither of us looked at our phones even once. Honestly, I hadn't experienced that before; in turn, it showed a lot of respect and interest. In the S-Bahn, just before getting off, I lightly touched her hand, which she held onto one of the seats, and left the train, letting it continue.

After the two-hour lecture, I was on my way to the library to work on an assignment that was due by twelve o'clock. But – perhaps by apparent coincidence – I saw Julia coming towards me. Immediately, the assignment was forgotten. I suggested we take a walk through the park together. She agreed but made sure to ask if I could really skip my assignment for this.

“I have everything under control,” I replied with a slightly ironic tone, and we set off for the park.

It was a wonderful, warm, and sunny day in October. She was a person with whom you could talk about things that were not everyday. We didn't just talk, no, we philosophized about God and the world; about love and death. Her depth and melancholy fascinated me greatly. She was a person from whom I could learn a lot. Her words were wise, and her gentle voice sounded like a beautiful melody in my ears.

Occasionally, we sat down on a bench without interrupting the conversation. In brief moments, we simply remained silent and enjoyed the vegetation and the sun, which cast its warm rays through the leaves of the trees onto us. I asked Julia if she could give me her hand. Without hesitation, she placed her hand in mine, which I then firmly held with my second hand and directed my gaze towards the sun. After a long time, my ice-cold hands felt warmth again. I wished I could freeze this moment forever. But the hours passed like a breeze – and she had to leave.

With my emotional and direct sexual desire for her, I drove her away forever. She didn't want to hear from me anymore and also blocked my phone number.

Weeks of sadness and lovesickness lay ahead of me. I wanted to win Julia back. But since I couldn't write to her anymore, I asked her mother if she would help me in any way. She comforted me briefly and said that Julia now had a new boyfriend. The lovesickness would pass, she assured me.

Future Learnings from this Phase of Life:
  • The desperate search for a relationship does not help me find a partner faster and affects my other activities. This also applies to all other conceivable desperate attempts to achieve something.
  • If I want to be more social, I should avoid video games and Let's Plays, especially at the beginning of my studies, as social interaction with fellow students is crucial for the success of my studies.
  • When I do something completely new or develop something (like a new summation symbol), I will always encounter a lot of skepticism and criticism. Therefore, I should not immediately discard the new.
  • I need to learn not to rely on the horoscope or other external circumstances.
  • I should be more patient. I should give my new partner time. Similar to a flower, love also needs time to flourish. That probably won't happen overnight!