Mathochism: Wrapping it up

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 We’ve started the final chapter in calculus. The exam for this one is one week from tomorrow; the final in 13 days.

It’s almost over, and so is this series. Well, okay, not entirely. My calculus studies aren’t over. I’ve signed up for a second calc course in the spring. This course is online, and offered through a university. It’s 12 weeks long, and involves exams and a final. If you pass, you get a certificate. Best of all, it’s free.

It will be interesting to see how I do in this format, especially since most of the material won’t be new. Oh, and since I am not enough of a mathochist, I plan to take an AP calc practice test after that. My best friend has agreed to proctor, as long as she gets to say “Time’s up! Pencils down.”

I will not, however, blog this one. I’ve got to save something for the book!

But back to our final chapter; it may not include L’Hopital’s Rule (shakes fist at math department), but it seems cool. We’re now using integrals find volumes of solids. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that, because after all, you can use them for speeds. So why not spheres?

I’ve really enjoyed integrals so far. Hell, I’ve enjoyed learning calculus so far.

No, I have not enjoyed failing the exams. In fact, the exams really sucked, and I imagine the last two will suck. But so what? I can find the volume of a cylinder using an integral now. I know exactly how fast my car was going as I zipped past the IKEA the other day, and I didn’t look at my speedometer.

That’s pretty cool.

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


  • Yes. It. Is. Very proud of you, friend! I think it is a huge accomplishment to be able to learn calc, enjoy learning it, and in the end, realize that exams and grades have no bearing on whether you’re getting it. Because you know when you’re getting it. I really hope we can talk soon.

  • Thank you.

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