Mathematical emotions

I made my first-ever B in calculus. This shocks some people, especially when they find out that I have a degree in math and when they find out just how much I like the subject. We can blame derivatives. Derivatives, it turned out, were surprisingly tricky creatures. Rates of change and applied problems involving derivatives that went beyond maxes and mins flew over my head, and for the first time I could say that I was really lost in a math class. This wasn’t supposed to happen; in my precalculus class the year before I actually understood some of the leftover scribblings from AP Calculus the hour before, and that involved derivatives, so what was going on now?

That lost feeling only turned into a mind-blowing feeling as I took more math. Maybe that mind-blowing feeling is a lost feeling in disguise as they share a lot of the same characteristics. I never did decide that. Whatever the case, you’d think feeling would go away at some point. It doesn’t. If anything, it gets worse after discovering exactly how much math is out there and how little I actually know. Every math class I took has introduced something so mind-blowing that I have to stop and let it sink it for a minute, sometimes several minutes, sometimes several days. One of my math professors actually made us stop to let theorems sink in, especially if they were particularly crazy and nonintuitive. (This happens a lot in real analysis when you can’t cling to calculus anymore.)

Yet for some reason, that feeling is exactly why I pick up a math book to read and work it for fun. Sometimes you can’t fight that feeling.

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