Tropic of Calculus


Nods to Sofiya for the brilliant title.

I have a problem, and that problem is calculus.

See, it's like this: I am approximately 2/3 of the way through my Master's degree, or will be after this semester. I presently have no reason to think that this semester isn't going just fine and won't end with my having 6 more hours of credit on my transcript. My plan is to continue taking 2 classes/semester for three more semesters, while continuing to work, and then be ready to graduate in Spring 2007. Brilliantly easy, right?

Not so much. See, my requirements are done and I can take whatever I want for those remaining credits, except...

except for my quantitive requirement. I have to take two quantative classes to get away with my degree. And in order to enroll for the first of those to classes, I have to have either:
A. taken a college course each in statistics and calculus
B. pass a validation exam each in statistics and calculus

I suffered through a statistics course while I was in Portland (in between Reed and here), but I have never, ever taken calculus.

Well, that's not strictly true, either. I've enrolled in and then dropped an online calculus course, because it made no fucking sense. But I've never completed a course in caclulus.

My math education ended in the 11th grade, with a not-particularly-impressive Algebra II course. Not only have I not taken calculus, I've never learned, or at the very least forgot, several steps leading up to calculus. I'm at somewhere around calculus-minus-3.

But the fact remains that I need to either take a course in calculus (business calc counts), or learn enough to pass a validation test. And, in order to graduate in time with my plan, I need to do it no later than this summer, so that I can take my first quantitive course in Fall 06 and my second in Spring 07 and then graduate.

I am so, so fucked.

I've explored my options. Self study? Hardly going to work, both for lack of discipline and because I truly have no knowledge base. Similar story with the online course. So I need to either find a tutor (horror of horrors), or enroll in a class and hope I can magically catch up with everything in between where my math knowledge ends and where calculus begins.

Or I could blow off the rest of this degree. But I really don't want to do that, since I'm 2/3 done and working and going to school simultaneously seems to be working out alright.



you could audit it, learn everything, and retake it for credit if you have the time/inclination. i took calc in high school. i enjoyed it. i'm a nerd.

Personally I'd say a tutor is the way to go, if you can find one that knows what they are doing. That may be the most challenging part, because its more important that they know how to tutor than that they are aces at the material.

Take business calculus this summer at ACC, and use their tutoring/student services or we can find someone to help you if you have problems as you're getting started. As I recall, what you would have taken post-Albegra II, like trig or whatever, wouldn't have done a damn thing to get you ready for calculus. So I don't think you'll be that far behind anyone else taking the course.

If you need a tutor, you could ask my long-suffering former roommate. He was an engineer before ditching it to become a violinist, and is a total whiz at calculus and physics and all that stuff. Just scream at me if you'd like me to ask him.

How badly would it bring down your grade average to do this? Probably not enough to quit the degree for. I agree, though, that having to do that sort of thing sucks if you went into a field where it isn't obviously necessary.

The title is by Tom Lehrer, not a Sofiya =)

Did you complete the calculus or the degree? This is an old message and there's no point in my reply if you're done or past it somehow. Please reply if you are blocked or have problems.

Thank you,


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