Mathochism: Calling the scheduling gods

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

Two years ago, while taking Algebra, I dealt with a bad attack of sciatica. Fortunately, the scheduling gods gave me a break, timing the most excruciating pain so that I wouldn’t have to miss class.

Earlier this week, however, they let me down. By the time class rolled around, I could feel the pain creeping up on me, and I knew that the drive, plus sitting in a hard plastic chair for two and a half hours, would bode no good.

I stayed home, mad at myself but also happy not to have courted excruciating pain.

I did attend the second class of the week, and discovered, to my relief, that I hadn’t missed any new material, just more stuff on logarithms. Considering I audited the logarithm portion with the summer professor, I didn’t feel particularly upset or befuddled at missing the lecture.

I fulfilled my promise to find the Youthful Professor before class, and as it turns out, the kind readers who weighed in last time were correct. That second problem dealt with the Intermediate Value Theorem. YP told me the trick was to plug in each value, then see if I got a negative and positive result. Why do simple math problems always seem so complicated?

Oh well — knowing that made me feel a bit more confident about my math skills, and I feel less worried about the next test. Of course, that confidence depends on whether I will get to take that next test.

It’s up to the scheduling gods. If it’s on an earlier date, I am out of luck, since I’ve had plans to go on a very special excursion for a very special occasion for a very long time on that date. If it’s on a later date, then I can take it (even if it means I will be studying during part of my special excursion).

If I miss the test, it’s not the end of the world. The Youthful Professor drops the lowest grade. I would feel cheated, though, since I want to tackle logs (and trigonometry, we just started that) and show them who’s boss.

Maybe it’s time to reconsider my stance on bribes. The Youthful Professor looks like he could use a nice muffin basket. Or a beer/whisky/vodka basket. Or a fistful of cash. I’m going to have to research this once I’m done with my homework.

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


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