Monday, August 21, 2006

Necessary Evil

I summarily abhor mathematics. I managed to get a bachelor's degree in college without even taking a calculus class. (Let's just say I figured out how to work the system.)

Sixteen years ago I started my advanced mathematics journey: algebra in the 8th grade; advanced geometry and algebra II as a freshman; and trigonometry and beginning calc as a sophomore. And then, eureka, I'd taken the most advanced math class my poor low-ranked Kentucky high school had to offer. Three years later, when I started college at the University of Kentucky, you can imagine how afraid I was to enroll in calculus, given that it had been more than two years since I'd done so much as the simplest equation.

So I practiced the fine art of avoidance, thinking I'd eventually get around to it. In the meantime, I changed my major -- brace yourself -- nine times in my first two years of college. Not knowing precisely what degree I'd be getting, there seemed no point in jumping into a math class that might not be required. Pathetically, I'm not sure that didn't play a significant role in my final choice of degree: Communications. (For the record, karma came back to bite me. Comm is a very analytical/theoretical field. I wrote over 400 original pages in assignments during one semester of my junior year.)

Even within the field, in order to obtain a bachelor of science in communications, I would have to take that dreaded calculus class. But for a bachelor of arts, I needed a mere combination of statistics and logic. (Path of least resistance? Great -- sign me up.)

I enrolled in the evening logic class. I took a lot of night classes in college, mainly because the professors were always easier on the non-traditional students. (You know, real adults with jobs). Professors in morning and afternoon classes treated us like full-time students, as if we had nothing better to do than homework. How dare they.

Statistics in my senior year proved not much more of a challenge, if a little tedious. I showed up for class about once a week and for the tests -- just enough to get by with an "A." (Or maybe it was a B. I honestly can't remember. Either way, I graduated "cum laude." Again, working the system...)

And now, seven years after graduating from college and since my last math class of any denomination, (pun intended), I am once again being thrown into the stats gauntlet. In order to get my master's degree in International Affairs, I have to take a statistics class. (Technically, I believe they titled the course "Research Methods," but that's just a clever misnomer for the cold harsh reality.) Thank goodness it'll be over by Sunday night. The textbook and "convenient" CD of graded exercises have served as the bane of my existence for the last week.

So naturally, I'm avoiding it by blogging.

Please, LET IT END!