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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Math is a wonderful thing!

Dewey: [singing] Math is a wonderful thing. Math is a really cool thing. So get off your 'ath, let's do some math. Math, math, math, math, math. Three minus four is...
Summer: Negative one.
Dewey: [singing] That's riiiiight. And six times a billion is...
Marco: Six billion?
Dewey: [singing] Nailed it! And 54 is 45 more than…. What is the answer Marta?
Marta: Nine.
Dewey: [singing] No it's eight.
Marta: No, it's nine.
Dewey: [singing] ...Yes, I was just testing you, it's nine. And that's a magic number.
~Jack Black on School of Rock

Math and I have a love-hate relationship. I'm not really sure if I loved Math when I was smaller, but back in high school, Math for me was such a breeze. I never dreaded quizzes or long tests in Math, sometimes, all I had to do to ace them is to study during our recess or lunch breaks. In fact, back in 2nd year, I was able to perfect 2 periodical exams in Math that drove our Math teacher to comment, "Itong si Dizon talaga, ang goal yata niya ay maka-prefect lagi sa exam!" So am I really good? Well, relative to my classmates, I guess so. But before you think this is one of those I-am-so-good-and-I-am-going-brag-it-in-the-bloggosphere type of post, let me make clear: I am no Math wizard. Well, I am 'good' at and I appreciate Math -- I survived engineering all these years, I even competed in the Math Olympiad (I didn't win, hehe!), I enjoy tallying and computing stuff -- but I ain't no quick-thinking human calculator.

I came from a decent private Catholic school but unfortunately, what they teach us does not make us academically competitive with those public science high schools. That's why my a-little-above-average skills in Math is viewed by my batchmates as something extremely superior. Whereas when placed in the company of public science high school alumni, I will definitely eat dust. So imagine my horror when I came to UP -- our first few lessons were supposed to be just a review of past high school lessons and yet it was my first time to encounter such theories and techniques.

I had a total of 24 units of Math subjects in my course (not counting the other subjects or majors that are not handled by the Math departments but nevertheless are Math-intensive) and my Math GWA is 2.48. Therefore, I am hardly your reliable Math wizard.

Nevertheless, I had fun having an impromptu tutorial to 3 freshie orgmates last Tuesday for their Math 100 exam. I never took Math 100 but its topic falls well within the scope of my Math 53 and Math 54. I found it quite ironic because back in my Calculus days, I was struggling with the same thing. But fast forward 4 years later, and mainly thanks to my extensive Math experience after 6 years in Engineering (kapag talaga paulit-ulit, mage-gets mo rin!), I was able to pay forward the help my upperclassmen friends extended to me when it was I who struggled with numbers (and their rate of change with respect to time, haha!)

Quick Thoughts