Mathochism: I’ve got to admit, it’s getting better

One woman’s attempt to revisit the math that plagued her in school. But can determination make up for 25 years of math neglect?

It’s getting better, all the time.

Well, it was a lot better Wednesday night. Perhaps the professor was just having a bad night Monday. Perhaps he adheres to the “come at them with guns blazing on the first day, or they won’t respect you” school of teaching. I have seen enough teachers use that tactic in the past, particularly when dealing with less-than-eager students.

Whatever it was, he was calmer, more grounded, and more thorough. He still doesn’t care much for questions, though I must admit a few of the questions asked that night were downright inane.

Oh dear — that is my hubris talking. We’re still on chapter one in the TRL book, and it’s all a big rehash of pre-algebra. Thanks to the dapper professor, I’ve been coasting through the homework with ease. And there is a LOT of homework.

This professor requires his students to do every fourth problem at the end of each chapter section. Chapter 1 has eight sections, and each section has about 120 problems. That means about 240 problems total.

I finished sections 1 through 6, and it’s a thick pile. I still have two sections left. Our homework for chapters 1 and 2 are due at the same time as our first test. It will be quite a tome when I’m done, and I get the feeling I will need to stock up on more paper.

In all, this feels very different. I’ve been trying to figure out why, and I think it may be a lack of fear, a strange new comfort with numbers and the language of mathematics. Whether or not I will become a native speaker is a matter of time and application.

I may even one day go from math phobe to math phile.

All text copyrighted by A.K. Whitney, and cannot be used without permission.