Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Maths Are Killing Me

I'm a newly enrolled NCSU non-degree student and will start taking classes later this month.

The program that I'm going to start working requires a calculus class. I know there's no way that I could take a calc course right off the bat: it's been 20 years since I've set foot in a math classroom. I assumed that I could enroll in the precalc course and take calc next spring, but it turns out that I first have to go over to the math dept and take a placement test before enrolling in any math classes.

OK, fine. That's a minor inconvenience, but I wasn't all that worried about it: I felt confident that with a few days to brush up on some concepts, I could score well enough to get into that precalc class.

Or not.

I've spent about an hour this evening going over some basic materials and am wondering exactly how many brain cells those long nights at Murphy's Pub and Galaxy Hut cost me back in the '90s. I'm beginning to envision myself not in a precalc course but in the bonehead class with a roomful of my fellow drooling morons as some long-suffering grad student pleads with us to please stop eating the damn paste.

What's the least common multiple of 18, 45, and 81? Jesus man, I don't even remember the concept coming up 20-25 years ago. I remember working with least common denominators, but LCM expects me to recall the LCD concept and reverse engineer it. You might as well ask me to close my eyes, stand on one foot, and recite the alphabet backwards for the effect this has on me.

I'm nowhere close to starting a review of geometry and algebra but already feel as if my head might just asplode.

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