|Tis Better to Have Mathed and Lost
||[Nov. 27th, 2006|06:58 pm]
I remember back in 4th grade, when I was learning about stuff like how to figure out the area of triangles and such. And I got it, it clicked. I made areas my bitch. You want to find out how many square yards of sod you need for your whole yard? Just ask little 10 year old Trip.|
Then in middle school, we started learning all the rules. Mrs. Smith had a problem on the board, something like 5+2x2. Everyone in the class said 14. But I thought I'd mix stuff up a little. What if I did it backwards? I said 9. And Mrs. Smith said I was right. Everyone thought I was smart. Smart? No, just an ass. IN 7th and 8th grade we started learning about equations, and FOIL and stuff like that.
I loved pre-algebra and Algebra 1. Solving equations was like clockwork, and not only did I know how to make the clock tick, I knew why it ticked just the way it did. And you know what? I loved it. I loved making shit work. The way they all worked so perfectly together, these Xs and integers. So then when did the end of this love affair begin?
Around this time, in middle school and the start of high school, we had a few SAT tests, and some other standardized tests. And always, my math score was high, and higher than my english score. Geometry with Mr. Smith was easy stuff. I knew this stuff in 5th grade, now he's just teaching me how to do it better. That was a good year. Algebra 2, Sentner. That was good too. I slept through class then aced his tests. I stll knew just enough to know how things worked.
And that's the last time I loved math. In Pre-Calc, I didn't have that anymore. I still kinda knew how things worked. But it was slipping away. I couldn't take what I knew and figure out the rest during the test. And I hated it. Why did they take away my clock? This was no longer something free and fun to play with, it was a horrible juggernaut and if you didn't know just what to do well fuck you you're not allowed to play with math anymore. And there was the flop point. Suddenly my english scores were past my math scores on all the tests. Maybe all the reading I did in Sentner's class was helpful after all.
Calculus was the worst. I almost flunked my senior year of high school because I didn't know the chain rule, and you know what? I still don't know what the hell the chain rule is. Calculus is math without a cause. Even the book had a hard time coming up with examples for the stuff we were learning. It should have been written in the front cover. "Hey, you don't really need to learn any of this, but some people went through the trouble to find it out, so maybe you should too."
And now I'm in statistics. The bastard child of mathematics. It's not real math, it's just lists of numbers and formulas with no meaning until you plug numbers into them. I don't want to know the standard deviation, but that's all I'm taught. I want to know why I need the standard deviation, and what it signifies. Numbers without meaning are just data. I don't like data. I like clocks.
So that's why I skipped Stats today. Maybe not for the purpose of writing this, but this is what has come of it. And Math, if you're reading this, it's not you. It's me.