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Math is hard ...

I finished my Spring Semester classes at the end of May and received my grades a few days ago. I did not do nearly as well as I wanted to, although that didn't really come as a surprise.

The Trigonometry class was tough - although I worked and worked at it, I think I am coming up against the limitations of my brain, that being the fact that I am not particularly inclined towards mathematics. The Physics class, on the other hand, shouldn't have been that hard. It was just an introductory class but the teacher was not good and did not explain things well at all. In fact, with one topic in particular, I never really "got it" until we covered the same thing in Trig class with a good teacher. I have high standards for myself and I really tried to do well, but when all was said and done I was not satisfied with my grades. Yes, I passed, but I blew my 4.0 GPA.

Two days after my last final I took off for a warm sunny vacation, where I could drown my sorrows in colorful fishies and umbrella drinks, but more on that in my next post.

Next semester, well, that's going to be a doozy. I plan on taking Calculus and (real) Physics. Judging by my previous brief experience with Calculus I don't think I will understand it well at all; some people just don't think that way. I plan on getting a tutor and doing as best I can.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
the right teacher can definitely make all the difference. hope you find a great tutor for next semester!
Jun. 15th, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)
years after screwing up / never getting math, one of my math professor friends from the UK gave me some advice that really made it all sink in.

1) the US system focuses on Calculus which is really a higher math than Algebra.

2) Most people only need Algebra as an "advanced math", but Algebra can still seriously kick your ass. It's not what you learned in high school.

3) If you understand advanced Algebra, the Calculus is actually pretty easy.

I went back and did self-study for the Algebra and the Calculus, and I think he's right. Most of what the average person needs to know is covered by the Algebra and Geometry. The Calculus is very useful, but you don't understand the how/why of when to use it until after you master the Algebra.

heheh. I said "bra". A bunch of times.
Jun. 16th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
I've taken "College Algebra" but I understand that is different from Advanced Algebra. The former was pretty much an extension of what I had learned earlier, and made perfect sense. From my brief prior experience with Calculus (two weeks in an online class before I ran screaming) it doesn't make sense - they speak a crazy moon-language.

I personally don't think I need Calculus at all, however, I seem to be at odds with whomever decided the degree requirement :P
Jun. 19th, 2011 04:06 am (UTC)
I went to a tech college and tried to do engineering. I love conceptual physics and other sciences but calc rocked my world. VT had mediocre calc professors and a 68% failure rate in 5-hour calc and I was a statistic there. It ended up killing me in the end causing me to opt to join the workforce because the science classes started requiring proficiency in the calc I hadn't yet achieved which was really frustrating. If I weren't 19 and stupid I would have sought help for Calc early on. For Physics, I learned and tested out of Statics and Dynamics with pre-calc math but E&M requires calc.

I never met a calc teacher that didn't teach it like a foreign language. I need to understand how it is working and why more that "remember if you see these symbols, then apply this arbitrarily-labeled theorem to it" If you have similar math brain, finding the teacher who can explain it in a way that makes sense/deciphers the moon language is key.

Good luck!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )