Tag Archives: math

Back to school

I’m registered for two classes this fall at the community college: trigonometry, and pre-calculus. My goal is twofold.

One, for years I’ve wanted to learn vector calculus just for fun. There’s something awesome about the idea of plotting spaceship trajectories, even though I’ll never go to space.

Two, grad school. For over a decade, ever since I took an intro to statistics class for my undergrad degree, I’ve been wanting to get a PhD in stats. I loved that class, and it was ridiculously easy for me. My two upper-level classes on experiment design also used stats, and those were equally fun. My local university has a pretty good stats program, but I need to get through calc 3 just to apply to it.

I love math. But I didn’t learn to enjoy it until I was an adult. As a kid, math was boring and I dreaded it. Which is annoying now, because it means my arithmetic skills aren’t that sharp. I rely on a calculator more than I’d like to, just because certain elementary skills aren’t ingrained.

I blame my teachers. Math classes were always dull. My high school geometry teacher, for example, had us spend half of each class period copying proofs into our notebooks, and we barely used the proofs. But the notebook was a huge part of our grade. She spent very little time teaching, and I dreaded that class all year.

So I am at a disadvantage compared to those who were taught to like math as young people. But I’m not going to let that stop me. If I suck at calculus when I take it in spring, I’ll go to grad school for something else. But I hope I’m good enough at it to get into the stats program. Because statistics are amazing.

Right now I’m doing the algebra course on Khan Academy, because it’s been ages since I took a math class and I want it all fresh in my head when the semester starts. I am enjoying it immensely. I do at least a little every day, and it’s a rush when I solve something correctly. Like, for a brief second, everything in the universe is just right.

It’s a nice feeling.

Happy things

I didn’t blog yesterday because my antibiotics are making me tired. I slept a good portion of the day, but this morning my face doesn’t hurt despite me not taking Sudafed since 13 hours ago! (And I have the short-acting stuff, which can be taken every 4 hours.) There’s definitely still some sinus pressure, but I no longer feel like there’s an icepick in my right eye. Definitely improvement.

Yesterday morning I registered for classes at the local community college. I’ve always wanted to learn calculus, and have never gotten the chance. Also, it’s on my bucket list to get a degree in statistics. (Preferably a PhD, but I’ll start with a bachelor’s in it to see if I want to commit to a doctoral program.) Getting into the local university’s stats program requires completion of Calc 3. I never got higher than College Algebra when I was getting my B.A. in psychology, so I’m going back to learn calculus. If I hate it, that’s okay. I can find other things to study. But you never know until you try, right?

So this fall I’m taking Trig and Pre-Calc, so I can take Calc 1 next spring. (I’m planning to take Chemistry then, too, simply because I’m interested in it and never got to take it in high school. When I take Calc 2 I want to take Physics as well, for the same reason.) I’m doing both classes in person, because I’m good at math but not so much at arithmetic. When a real person grades my work I tend to get good marks, because I can show my work and they can see I know the material. If a computer is grading me, all it cares about is my final answer. It’s the difference between getting an A and a C, for me. I think I have mild dyscalculia, actually…

If I get a job between now and August, I can of course put off classes for a bit, or take just one at a time after business hours (once I get used to being employed). But for now, I’m signed up for Tues/Thurs morning classes. I researched the professors and chose carefully. Hopefully that will help. I get disabled student status at school and get help on note-taking, etc., but some professors are more sympathetic than others.

Otherwise, yesterday was pretty quiet. Lots of resting, some cheesecake… I didn’t play my cello because I was honestly unsure if I could lift my instrument. That’s how tired I was all day. I’m going to take it easy today, too, although I want there to be cello. Practicing is rewarding and I don’t want to skip it.

I have so, so many things I want to be working on lately. I’m enjoying cello. I have knitting, weaving, and spinning projects in progress. I’m in a Coursera class (Data Science with Python), and want to score some points on HackerRank in JavaScript. I have a web site I want to build with Python/Django, and a Discord bot I wrote in JS that I need to repair. I have a handful of fanfics I want to finish. Oh, and I’m learning a new language. It’s not that I tend to start stuff and never finish it. I’m pretty good at completing projects. The problem is that I’ve got too many of them at the moment, and they’re all fun.

I need to prioritize them, I think. Hm. Spinning commission first — I’m almost done with it, and that makes money. Cello doesn’t take long every day, nor does half an hour of language study. And I’ll only work on one programming thing at a time, starting with fixing that Discord bot (shouldn’t take too long, and a friend is waiting on it). Okay, yeah. That’s enough per day, and if I get inspired to work on a fanfic I’ll add that in. I fell better having a plan. I can’t set a schedule for myself — those never work out for me — but I can limit how much I’m doing at one time.

I have another blog post to write, then I’ll have breakfast, and then get to work…