Friday, January 21, 2011

back to school

As some of you are already aware (from my complaints on twitter, facebook, and my in-person whining), I am taking a calculus class this winter/spring. Why you ask? Well, I'm applying for a graduate program that feels that in order to take this (and some other courses):
 (which I've actually already taken an introduction to)
you must first have a "good knowledge of differential and integral calculus at the level of a CEGEP or first year undergraduate course." So what does that mean? Well, a lot of this:

and perhaps some tears of frustration for the next few months. Had I completed this class during the first year of my undergrad degree (which was in 1998-yikes) I would have forgotten it completely by now but would have the credit and would not have to take it in 2011. So I'm a little bitter, but since one of my goals this year is POSITIVITY!, I'm going to try to make the best of it.

Yesterday was the first day of classes and here are some highlights:
  • I was NOT the oldest person in class (I don't think). I'm pretty sure the lady sitting behind me was older. 
  • My teacher is the quintessential math geek and I love it. This may or may not work against me. He is clearly very knowledgeable, but I fear that he may not know what it is like not to "get" math and therefore may not know how to explain things differently.
  • Some guy in my class (who came in late) was wearing so much cologne that it burned my throat, gave me headache, and blurred my vision as he walked by. I had forgotten that some guys feel the need to stink up their entire surroundings. (which really should not have come as a shock. there used to be a guy at work that would spray cologne while in his cubicle and I could literally taste it for the next half hour)
  • Laughed to myself as the teacher read from the course outline "text messaging is not allowed in class" at the same time as the girl in front of me was sending a text message.
  • Do these notes count as highlights or lowlights?
(no, I didn't take a picture in class...not sure I could do that)

Yesterday we started reviewing algebra and polynomial functions- things that I think I understood when I was came back a bit, but my goodness am I going to need to study. It should be an interesting few months as I work full-time, try to get all my running in, try to get in some time on the bike trainer, and try to learn all about calculus. I see a lot of scheduling, meal planning, and organization in my future :)

So- have you ever had to go waaay out of your element to end up feeling like the old dog learning new tricks? (and anyone really good at calculus that can offer to tutor me?)


lu said...

i am sure i have been put in that position before, but can't think of a suitable example at the moment.

but, i do think you can do it. and being someone who doesn't 'get' math either, i love the process of solving equations. maybe it is the fact that a right answer DOES exist!

k said...

I agree- the actual solving is actually kind of "fun" as long as I can figure out how to solve said is remembering what goes with what and when and all the "rules" that gets complicated and confusing.