Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Is this calculus?

So, genius idea of the year - taking an unnecessarily tough calculus class. To be fair, I wanted to take it for several reasons: the puzzled look I get when people find that I'm an environmental scientist way outta my league, to get into an engineering hydrology class (geography one would be a joke), and to learn how to model objects (subterrainian water flows) with a  function that I have created (integrated, if you will) all by myself.
A few notes about calculus class. I jumped into this course without taking its precursor, and without having taken calculus in more than 2 years. The teacher is one of the most popular profs on campus with a cult-like following. Engineers are a fun breed, it truly is like a cult, teacher says good morning and 600 people say with enthusiasm (every time!) "GOOD MORNING!" teacher says put down your pens, and you hear the clatter of everybody in the room dropping their pens. He also has his "Friday special" which is more often than not excruciatingly painful, and his jokes about math (which he has undoubtedly been using for 20+ years)
The only good Friday special

Even has his own brochure thing in the University Centre and all restuarants on campus..

Learning calculus from scratch again at the accelerated rate that I was forced to this semester would be an incredibly tough task all on my own, and that's how it was looking. My good friend (a girl who joined the bike club this year) told me that there was this guy named Brian that she knew, who is not only a wizard at math, but also wants to be a prof when he grows up, REALLY wants to be a prof apparently. She said she would ask him to help me out, of course I couldn't just let this happen, so I said no. The more she talked about Brian (and the more that the prof said anybody who hadn't taken the precursor last semester would need to study with someone who had) the better the idea seemed. I introduced myself one day, explained about my head injury (scar tissue where it is and what the doctors have told me about my newly limited math abilities), and how long it had been since I took anything like this. Basically I said that I was a far cry from where a normal student would be and I would understand if he didn't want to take on the liability of that's fine - most people wouldn't.
Aren't I glad I got into my study group! Smart kids I tell you! Multiple 100% achieving gold star students for Chris to try to keep up with! I had people to help keep me on task, and who I could ask questions to, and it made me feel pretty good to get my work done.
Quick study break with my friends, reading the writing on the wall and playing piano

One time Brian also said
"You know, you're not at all what I thought you'd be like, you're actually very smart"
This was an amazing thing to hear after what the doctors had said, and even though I'm not as good as they are at calculus, it meant a lot to me.
Today was a midterm. Yep, there are 7 days of class left (only 4 calculus classes left) and we had midterm number 3. Also this week has been known as my week from hell since I first mapped out my work for the semester (see brilliant calendar below), with a midterm, and two practical lab finals. Fun.

 I managed to allocate a good amount of time to studying for calculus. But what is studying for calculus? It drives you a little crazy after a while...
What can't a corkscrew go through? No problem with calculus notes!

But the last time I was studying for a calculus midterm I also outstandingly busy, which meant I left 2 days to study (and by 2 days I mean more like 2/3 of a day really). Midterm 2 was tough, and I didn't have my study group. After going to the review class for the midterm, I was waiting for the bus home (it was cold and I was in a hurry okay? I walk almost all of the rest of the time.) when some guy smoking a cigarette with a scraggly beard who looked like a 3rd or 4th year came up to me and started talking.
"You're in calculus right?"
"Gonna be a tough test eh?"
"Oh yeah it is"
"You ready?"
"Not at all.."
"Oh, I've been studying, I'll help you out, lets study tomorrow."
So some stranger just offered to help me in calculus. Too good to be true right? Of course I agreed to meet up.
Next day rolls around and we meet up, me and this guy who hasn't shaved in months, has long hair, and an old "Hooters" shirt on, good times. He seemed a bit rusty on the part that I had studied, so I got him up to speed, but when we got beyond what I knew, he still had no clue. I ended up teaching this guy the whole first of 3 units on the test, and not seeing the last 2 before writing it. Needless to say I got perfect on what I had studied, and bombed the rest..
So I have to get a good score on test 3. We'll see how she turns out..

To be continued! midterm in 4 minutes! wish me luck!


  1. wheee! differential equations, PDEs and fluid mechanics. great times. differential equations brought the world to life. kinda like in the wizard of oz when the movie goes from black/white to technicolour! Study hard and enjoy.

  2. Well at least you didn't get raped by that sketch bag... lol, silly Fruits.