Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Math Life

I think it's safe to say I peaked academically in my 6th year of grade school. I remember doing well without struggling very hard and schoolwork was generally quite easy. I was even in an advanced math class where, during math time, a few of us left to another classroom to study a strange new concept called "pre-algebra."

Then 7th grade rolled around and one could see a slight dip in the line graph of my academic life, mainly mathematically speaking. 8th grade was even worse, and 9th grade ticked me off. I mean, who the h*** cares about geometry. I remember constantly debating with my teacher (who i liked very much), "when am I EVER going to be walking along and say to myself, 'hmm.. i wonder what the angles are from the tip of that tree, over to the corner of that building, down to the base of the tree'??? Never!! And if I do, then I will promptly kill myself for being such a loser!!" And PROOFS?? Don't even get me started. Proofs were invented for math nerds, BY math nerds, who like to solve complicated and useless problems for the "fun" of it. Good ol' Mr. Peterson, though. We had a love/hate relationship.

Anyway, back to the story. I was generally a good student but I really didn't care about grades. I remember in 6th grade, my teacher wrote on my progress report something like, "does very well but does not perform to full potential." I was offended at the time but it's probably true. But given that i was in the ADVANCED math class, who KNOWS what kind of freak-genius i would have been if I had worked to my full potential. I had to dumb myself down, for the sake of my peers, lest they suffer insurmountable years of self-esteem and confidence problems that I just wasn't willing to be the cause of. So, consider that for a second, will you.

Now, in high school I did very well in math. All A's, really. It's a strange phenomenon. Even now I am not sure how to explain it. The only thing I can think of is that in the two years i took math in high school, I happened to be placed in classes where i had 0 friends, so instead of yapping and distracting myself with them (as was the case in past years), i was forced to listen, pay attention, and actually learn the concepts. Hmmm.

Senior year, no math. Whoop whoop! In college, it became evident that I would have to take Math 101 or whatever it is. I put this off until my junior year. So that was four years that had passed since i'd last studied an ounce of math. I took an online course, which I now see was a folly, and I totally, completely SUCKED. I was this close to not passing. True, i had stopped studying and doing the assignments but MAN it was awful. What a terrible ending to my math life.

So here I am today, post-school and happy. So what if the highest form of math I can do is long division. I challenge ANYONE to a race to completely the 1-12 multiplication table. (Back to 6th grade: We were timed doing this, and who was first every time? WHO??) Anyway, does anyone have any similar experiences? Or were you the opposite? and therefore, do i need to beat you up? Haha. Just kidding...or am I?


Brooke said...

Jen, you know I'm a complete math idiot. I mean, when someone takes 4 semesters of Spanish in college so as to avoid having to take online Math 101, you know she's serious about hating the subject.

It's embarrassing how dumb I am when it comes to numbers. I have to use big words after doing any operation in order to make myself feel better.

And, yet, I got all As in high school math too. EXCEPT, Mr. Peterson's geometry class, where I got a lousy A-. Grr. But, back to the'd I get As in high school when I didn't know jack?

Anonymous said...

Ha ha. Well, obviously you are much smarter in math than you think. But i remember that A-, oh yes I do. Funny stuff. But yeah, it's way embarrassing how lame i am. But you know, I've never had a situation arise in my life where i was like, "you know, that quadratic equation would come in pretty handy right now..." so I'm fine with it.

Anonymous said...

Every once in a while on Jeopardy! they have a math category. Then I'm glad I remember that a-squared plus b-squared equals c-squared.

I did not love math, but I loooovved my math teacher. He smoked weed in the 60's. He was on the dating game in the 70's. He does a dance to linear functions. And he wears a tuxedo t-shirt on special occasions.

Lianna said...

Jen, my favorite part of your post are your random pictures to better emphasize your point. Good work.
P.S. Math Sucks!