Mathochism: Not my finest hour

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

Under the compass of Damocles Well, it’s official: I have as much chance of passing this class as Mitt Romney has of becoming the editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine.

We got our third exam back, and I scored a 40.

Sigh. I am pleased to report, though, that I did get the graph right on the derivative question. I would say it’s a miracle, but it’s actually proof that I did understand something.

Okay, I’m not going to do a postmortem on this one. I will say that I really didn’t enjoy this chapter very much. Newton’s method? Meh. Painstaking graphing, taking 20 minutes or more, when software can do the job 10 times more accurately and beautifully? Urrgh.

The mean value and Rolle theorems were pretty cool. So was some of the optimization.

Doing all this in intermittent sciatica/sinus pain? Misery.

And yes, my ego is bruised, but I feel worse about letting down the professor. Even though in some ways she has let me down too. So has the department. So has the book.

Oh well, onward. We’ve covered Riemann sums and sequences, and areas under a curve. I’ve been looking forward to the area under the curve part since geometry with Uchitel. I can’t help but see all those little rectangles as a city skyline, especially when the partitions are different sizes.

I’m hoping we get to cover the fundamental theorem of calculus next, but I get the feeling we’ve got a quiz tomorrow.

The final is in a month. I’ll try and learn as much as I can until then. It’s not exactly been my finest semester.

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

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