# WTF, mate?

EXPLAIN THIS TO ME: how in the hell did I get a 103% on that probability test?

Seriously, how?

Instead of making like two dozen incredibly stupid mistakes, I only made one incredibly stupid mistake, and then got one of the bonus questions right.
I think the universe is broken. I certainly didn’t deserve a 103%, that’s for sure.
Next week we’ll see how the Proofs test went.

NOW IT’S TIME FOR A NICE LONG WALK!

(Unrelated side note: every single one of my Amazon “based on your browsing history” suggestions is a book about Leibniz. I have trained you well, Amazon.)

# CLASSES!

Classesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclasses
classesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclasses
classesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclassesclasses!!

*Deep breath*

I’m back, bitches! Here’s the rundown:

Probability (STAT 451): This is the class I’ve been waiting for. I think this will be the one where calculus and stats will finally mate in a glorious orgy of bell curves and integrals.

Linear Algebra (MATH 330): I really think I’ll get more out of it this time, especially since Dr. Abo is awesome and I like the way he teaches. Plus there were three of us who got there early and we kind of bonded into a “let’s study together” group, so that’s cool.

Advanced Fiction (ENGL 492): After writing non-fic almost exclusively for quite some time now, it’s going to be interesting to switch back. But I’m excited! I love writing and I love reading others’ stories.

Numerical Linear Algebra (MATH 432): Hmm…not sure about this one. Today we just talked about some of the problems we were going to solve, including ones involving least squares methods and singular value decomposition. I’ve used both of those things in the context of multivariate stats, but never in depth. Though our professor did ask us what were some characteristics of a non-singular matrix and we all kind of hesitated before answering, so hopefully that means that we’re all at least on the same page as far as our familiarity with (or memory of) linear algebra goes.

Intro to Higher Math (MATH 215): Why are 200-level classes the most difficult ones? I’ve never understood that. Anyway, I foresee this being similar to Symbolic Logic (that’s code for insane amounts of work). I’m excited, though. And if I can make it through, I can take advanced calculus (Math…471? I think?) next spring! *flailing*

END!

# Alrighty!

Alright y’all, my “for fun” class has been decided!

*drumroll*

It’s LINEAR ALGEBRA!

But Claudia, you say, you already have taken Linear Algebra!

Indeed! But here are some reasons why I want to take it again:

1. It’s IMPORTANT. And I’m about 99% sure I could get a lot more out of it now than when I took it back in 2009. Now that I know I want to go study multivariate statistics—probably SEM specifically—I need to know my linear algebra. I need to know it very well. I knew it decently when I took multivariate stats and SEM, but now that I know how it’s used in those types of analyses, if I go back and take Linear again, I think I’ll be able to better pick out the really important stuff. At least to a greater degree than I did before.

2. I’m also taking Numerical Linear Algebra this semester as well, which (surprise, surprise) has Linear Algebra as a prereq. Since it’s been so long since I’ve had the prereq, I figured a little in-semester refresher could only be a good thing.

3. Calculus, trigonometry, and geometry are my friends. Algebra and I still spread dirty rumors about one another and glare hatefully at each other whenever we pass. This needs to change.

4. It’s being taught by Dr. Abo, the professor I had for Discrete Math last semester. Dr. Abo is very intelligent, very awesome, and very good at teaching. He’s also hilarious at times.

Yeah so anyway.

# Alright, it’s rant time

So I’m on Tumblr a lot. I like Tumblr because I can find fellow AH fanatics and not feel so weird about quoting Gavin Free to myself all the time I like to watch trends. I like to watch how certain things work their way around Tumblr and how quickly/slowly they do so.

There’s been one or two posts that have been going around lately that I would like to comment on, if y’all don’t mind.

(If you do mind, just skip this blog, ‘cause I’m gonna rant here anyway.)
(AGH TUMBLR IS DOWN WHY DO YOU FAIL ME WHEN I NEED YOU?!)

So I actually can’t pull up the posts at the moment like I wanted to (see above sentence), but the gist of them is this: people who do well under the implementation of our current educational methods (sit down and be lectured to, then take tests) aren’t actually learning and don’t actually know anything about the material they’re being taught. They’re just good at working the system. This whole thing links in with the opinion that GPA is just a measure of how well someone can work said system.

‘Kay, let’s pause for a moment.

I think most people who make this argument against the current most common delivery of information in our schools don’t think that people who just don’t do well in school are stupid and are incapable of learning. They just can’t work the system. They’re perfectly intelligent individuals who are fully capable of learning and retaining new info; they just don’t learn well when they’re forced to sit and listen to a teacher prattle on about something. Maybe they’d do better in a situation where they were able to watch active demonstrations of whatever material’s being taught (like a chemistry teacher throwing potassium in water rather than just talking about how/why doing so causes an explosion) or doing activities involving the material being taught (like actually throwing the K into the H2O themselves).

In fact, this is the whole idea behind different learning styles, is it not? Some people learn better one way, some people learn better another. It’s a perfectly reasonable assumption to make—not everyone gathers information in the same way.

So think about this for a second. If people all have different learning styles and we accept that a good number of people don’t learn best when sitting in a classroom and taking notes as a prof lectures, shouldn’t we also accept that there are likely people who do learn best in that environment? I mean, I know that schools across the globe don’t all follow this “students sit and listen to teacher talk” template, but you’ve got to think that such template wasn’t dreamt up by a bunch of people who sat around snickering “haha, let’s force students to follow this method even though it doesn’t work for anyone!” It was probably, at least in part, originally conceptualized by people who either learned best this way themselves or thought others did.

And it does work best for some people. I know that for a fact because I am one of those people. I learn best when I’m “forced” to listen to someone talk about the material. I have a very good aural memory. And like quite a lot of people, I remember stuff better when I’m exposed to it multiple times. That’s why I write stuff down during lecture. I hear the material, I write down the material, and the written stuff is there later if I need to refer to it. That works for me. I learn things that way. I’m the type of person for whom “they system” just works because it just so happens to match my learning style.

I know a lot of people for whom lectures aren’t very beneficial but labs really help them learn. I don’t usually retain stuff that’s taught in lab-like settings because when I get “hands on” with material, I like to do it alone and on my own time. Labs are stressful and they don’t help me learn. If our current educational system was all hands-on lab-based, I’d have to work extra super hard to retain anything ‘cause that’s just not the way my brain works.

So I guess what this meandering rant boils down to is this: for a lot of people, the current system may not be their ideal way to learn, and therefore some have probably developed ways to “work the system” and look like they’re doing well even if they’re not retaining anything past what’s necessary to earn them an A in a semester-long class. But for some people, maybe they’re not working the system at all—for them, the system just…works.

So please think of that next time you have the urge to assume that people who do well in school nowadays are just good at faking their way through.

[rant over; commencing Achievement Hunter video binge]

# Noooooooooooooooo

Calc III is over. :(

It’s a sad day! It was one of my favorite math classes.

I just seriously hope that the answers to the 10-question final were 4, 1, 4, 6, 6, 1, 6, 55/23, 4, and 1, because that’s what my answers were. We’ll see. I gave myself a 60-point leeway to get an A with my homework and midterm scores and I don’t THINK I made 60 points worth of mistakes, but who knows. I’m fantastic at screwing up. I missed one point on the midterm because I completely abandoned a negative sign like two steps into a cross product. FAIL!

Also, migraines suck.

# WHAT

Holy hell, I got an A in Computer Science?

Holy hell, I got A’s in everything this semester??

(This is totally a Tumblr post disguised as a legit blog entry. I apologize.)

# Everyone’s cranky today.

I think Christmas Carnage is probably one of the most underrated Rage Quits Michael’s done.

Anyway.

I’ve got my last two finals of the year tomorrow: calc II at 7 AM and then computer science at 7 PM. I honestly don’t know which one I’m more worried about. If this semester screws over my GPA I’m going to be pissed. I already screwed it over with Linear Algebra in 2009, though, so I don’t know what I’m complaining about.

Juuuuuuuuuuuust complaining.

Bye.

So I think my calculus II test scores are the first few terms of an infinite alternating series that converges to 95.

Those of you who remember your tests grades: did yours ever follow a particular pattern? Depending on how many tests are scheduled for a class in a semester, I get the following patterns:

Two tests:
Test 1: High A
Test 2: High A

Three tests:
Test 1: Moderate A
Test 2: Low A
Test 3: High A

Four tests:
Test 1: Moderate A
Test 2: High A
Test 3: Low A
Test 4: High A
(and if there’s a fifth test as a final, then I usually do okay on that one)

Linear Algebra was the exception to this…I just had all Bs in place of the As and that’s why that’s been the ONE CLASS in which I haven’t gotten an A.

It’s the world “algebra,” man. We still don’t get along.

END!