I turned into an octopus one morning when I was six to avoid going to school. The kind that screams.

Will I ever finally get rid of the first-grader who was convinced she couldn’t do math?  (I’m referring to the one in my head, not, like, a neighbor kid or anything.  That would be cruel.  And possibly illegal, depending on how I got rid of her.) I used to fake stomach-aches so I could skip that part of the day.  Obviously I got past a lot of that; I love math.  I like to do it and I’m fairly good at it, but last night I read the first chapter of my differential equations book and SO much of it went over my head.  I had the same oh-no-I don’t-understand-this-is-hard-what-if-I-can’t-do-it? feeling I used to get.  The biggest difference between me-then and me-now (in terms of math, I should say – there are other – way bigger – differences, like I’m no longer four feet tall and I have a job) is that I’m not afraid to ask my professor for help.  I’m able to work through the examples, but I don’t understand why.  (Why is that equation a solution of the other?  What’s the relationship exactly?  What makes that one linear and that one non-linear, and what does the order have to do with anything?)  I’m fairly certain my questions have short answers (I could be wrong), so I just need to send an email, but this is one of those times the online format is not an advantage.  I wouldn’t still have this question if I’d gone over that chapter in a classroom.  On the other hand, I can request an e-meeting and get one-0n-one time that’s almost face to face, and then I can ask questions ’til the cows come home (which is CRAZY late – cows are party animals).  One way or the other, I’ll ask the questions and hopefully understand the material.  Then I’ll go hang out with the cows.  We go way back.

7 Comments

  1. Zannah

    I liked it all through school, once I got past those first panicky weeks (days? months? I really have no idea how long that lasted). But I wouldn’t say it never made my brain hurt. 🙂

  2. Brian

    I loved absolutely everything about math right up until DiffEq. DiffEq is the devil. This is coming from an engineer turned helicopter pilot. DiffEq was created by Satan.

  3. momma betty

    I remember the octopus. But I’m not sure everyone will understand the octopus reference. I know that it means you had somehow grown extra limbs and wrapped all of them around me. Horrible memory: the principal prying all eight appendages loose and taking you to class anyway. Who was crying harder?

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