Mathochism: One part of the mystery solved

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

Another class, and still no test. But I’m not getting Brofessor flashbacks, at least not yet. Uchitel has promised we will get our tests Thursday, and if we’re really eager, he will e-mail us our scores beforehand.

I think I will wait until Thursday! He did say he was pleased with most of our results. I hope I am part of that group. Or, to put it in a geometric way: I hope I am in the circle of “good students” in that Venn diagram.

I am starting to feel more confident about geometry. While I’m still struggling a bit with the vocabulary of proofs, and I worry that I am either using too many steps or too few, things are making sense now. In class today, I solved all the proofs without problem or befuddlement. And even Befuddled Girl seemed less hostile and confused. (As it turns out, I was right about The Arguer last week. The reason she was quiet was that she was absent.)

We’ve moved on to polygons and triangles now. I had forgotten the names for seven- and nine-sided figures — that would be heptagons and nonagons. And I now know the difference between a convex and concave polygon.

I’m also starting to understand why I found geometry such a pain the first time, and why I failed. I failed geometry back in 19{year redacted because I feel old} because of algebra. That may sound weird, but I think it’s true. While geometry and algebra are different mathematical creatures, I find myself using algebra more than I expected, whether it’s to find missing angles or to set up equations.

The rules of equations also come in handy while writing proofs, whether I’m using substitution or distribution. Not understanding those concepts would make things very hard. So — mystery solved. Or at least, one part of the mystery solved.

Therefore, I owe the Dour Professor (and the Dapper One, too) a debt of gratitude. I have yet to run into either of these gents on campus, but if I do, I hope I have the courage to go up and thank them.

I’m bracing myself for Thursday.

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


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