Fun and Games with Calculus 119

Gather round your computer monitors if you dare and I shall share with you with the harrowing tale of my misadventures in a class known as Brief Survey of Calculus I, or MATH 119 and how I barely escaped with my GPA intact. My freshman year, before transferring to IU at the beginning of the current academic year I attended the University of Notre Dame. One of the many joys of transferring schools is finding out that exactly how many of your courses will not transfer to your new school, or are counted as something other than what you took them as. For me, I took Introduction to Statistics last year, which counted as a math credit at ND, but counts as a science credit here at IU. This means that I still need a math credit in order to fulfill my general education requirements here. Thus, the story begins.

Now, being the intelligent and mature sophomore that I am, I did not want to take a course that would be full of freshman (not that there is anything wrong with freshman), but decided that I would rather learn amongst my peers. I decided that the best way to accomplish this goal would be to take Brief Survey of Calculus I. Sadly, mathematics is most definitely not my strong suit. While there are certain words in the title of the course such as "brief" and "survey" and "I" that would suggest that the course is relatively easy, the "calculus" ensures that it is not. Very shortly after the class began (about five minutes into the first lecture), I became completely and irrevocably confused by the various charts, graphs, and strange symbols (that I assumed were sacred calculus runes designed to please the math gods), that were used in class. Through hard work and determination I was able to attain a C average on my first two quizzes. On the next four quizzes I managed the impressive feat of attaining an average score of 10 percent. Early into the year things were looking dismal. I realized that my final hope was exam one. I studied hard, read the book, and looked over the review sheets. When the time came to show what I knew, I felt prepared, and sure that I would at least pass the test. Alas, it was not so and I ended up scoring a 20 percent on the exam.

I was wallowing in the depths of despair over my failure when, suddenly, I came to an important realization. As an anthropology major, there is absolutely no reason that I need to take calculus. I could simply take pre-calculus next semester in order to fulfill the math requirement . Therefore, I promptly dropped the class before it was too late and would be counted towards my GPA and went about my merry way. The moral of this story my friends, is that if you suck at math, do not take hard math classes (I wish I could come up with a better moral, but seriously, don't take hard math classes if you are bad at math).

Until next time,

Christopher Moore

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