Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's All Coming Back To Me Now.

I'm studying for a math placement test. I have to get a certain score (470, I think) in order to pass out of remedial math and into something called Applicable Math, which, if I can get into it, will be the only required math class for my degree. If I have to take remedial math, I'll still have to take Applicable Math.

I checked out an SAT prep book from the library, and I've been studying monomials and binomials, equations, and the rest. The test is tomorrow, and I haven't even gotten to geometry yet.

The thing I hate about math is that people who like math say how beautiful and logical it is, how, unlike life, it's rational and perfect and orderly. But it's not. Granted, if you follow the rules, it all unfolds exactly like you expect. But the rules don't make sense. Like, why does a negative number multiplied by a negative number equal a positive number? Negative 3 times negative 3 should equal negative 9, not positive 9. Math is all "because I said so, that's why," and that's why I hate it.

The last math class I had was Algebra II in 1977, and I know enough math to figure that that was a very long time ago. I got good grades in math in high school, but I struggled and studied and fretted and cried. Everything else in high school was easy. Math nearly did me in. I knew I had to get A's to keep my 4.0. If I didn't have a perfect GPA and graduate as valedictorian, I wouldn't get the scholarship money I needed to get me the hell out of Greencastle, Indiana. My parents helped as much as they could, but they weren't rich. I still have my final exam from Algebra II. I was right on the border between an A and a B all the way up to the final. If I got below an A- on the exam, my final grade would be a B+. It felt like my whole life hinged on that final. In a way, it did.

I'm not going to completely re-learn algebra and geometry in three days, so I need to relax and do the best I can. If I end up in remedial math, so be it. I'd rather be in remedial math than struggle in a class that is beyond my capability. I have a hunch I'll be taking advantage of the free tutoring.

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