Tag Archive | Math

The 5 Stages of Finals

impendingdoomAfter a certain amount of studying, you start to look decrepit, with dull eyes, terribly close to bursting into a fireball before ending up as a sad little pile of ashes. But once that last final is over, the last “TIME!” called by a bored, grumpy teacher, you rise from those ashes.

To those who got the Harry Potter reference to Fawkes, my supreme geekness commends you (yup, we’re back to making up words), although I’m not saying that I look like a half-plucked turkey or… um… whatever. I realize that I’m just digging a hole for myself but once you start it’s awfully hard to stop *sigh of resignation*

Having spent the last month on an TV, movie and blog hiatus; I am fully aware of the apocalyptic consequences that too much work can bring upon a person. In fact, now that I have a New Perspective (Panic! At the Disco reference! My, two references already, what is happening?) I can safely conclude that finals, or indeed any big test or series of tests resemble quite astonishingly the 5 stages of grief. I hereby elaborate.

STAGE #1: DENIAL AND ISOLATION

Finals? What finals? Oh those test things that we have soon? Those are still two weeks away though.. I have loads of time! Anyway they aren’t that important right? I mean who cares! Gosh, I do wish everyone would stop talking about them, it’s getting to be overbearing and stressful. I say implement the ‘zen-attitude’: [takes voice of a stoner] Life man… that’s what’s important… not some numbers on the top of a page that has been marked with the red blood of a teacher thirsty for revenge on innocent students because he/she failed to get their dream job of mixing cocktails in Tahiti. Chill dude, chill. Everything will be fine.

STAGE #2: ANGER

You know what? F*ck them. They have no right to come in like the monsters that they are and ruin our lives, especially around Christmas! We’re teenagers for crap’s sake, we should be out enjoying life, not studying in a crammed little space for hours on end only to end up with a shit*y grade anyway. And who on this planet wants to spend 4 non-stop hours trying to force yourself through math finals in a room underground with no artificial light and a heat so hot (please ignore the sentence structure, anger doesn’t bring out grammar skills) that you’re in a comatose state and come out looking like you’ve just served your 3rd tour in a war ridden country? You know what we should do? We should boycott finals. You heard me! If no one is there to take them then nothing will happen! They can’t fail us all, the school’s reputation is too important. Who’s with me? COME ON PEOPLE, RISE UP AGAINST THE ENEMY! No? No one? Oh fine. Chickens.

STAGE #3: BARGAINING

I’ve been at this for too long, my eyes are watering and my muscles are about to atrophy from lack of movement. I’ll just take a five minute break OK? Only five minutes… please, I’m on my knees here! *five minutes later* Oh dear apricot, what have I done? I needed those five minutes didn’t I. And now that I’ve wasted them doing completely irrelevant things like hydrating and breathing fresh air, I’m going to fail. Well, time to pray. O Great Cookie, please help me ace this final! You see it’s indispensable for my future and junk like that. If you can’t help me ace it, can you at least make sure that I don’t fail? I’ll give you anything if you do! That sounded so wrong. Let’s say, I’ll give you one of my most prized possessions: my signed David Wright baseball. AAAAH nope sorry can’t do it.

STAGE #4: DEPRESSION

What’s the point, I’m going to fail anyway. From there it’s just a simple chain reaction: once I’ve failed finals, that will inhibit my graduation and I’ll end up flunking out of high school. Goodbye sweet college dreams, goodbye nice house and comfortable salary. Hello winter, hello alcoholism and bridge that is my new home. I might as well just hunker down under my covers and watch the Patriots get beat by the frickin’ Dolphins. So close to #1 seed… The pain, oh the pain…

STAGE #5: ACCEPTANCE

I guess that at a certain point, whatever happens will happen. It is best, when presented with such a series of events, to go about things with an approach close to the philosophy of stoicism. Just purge yourself from all emotions and become a robot for a month. Nothing must affect you, you are a rock. Nope, not even the video of the cute kitten playing hide-and-seek. No, not the guy getting hit in the nuts by a little kid playing baseball. Oh man that is classic. NO, CT. ROBOT.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to The Mostly Confused Teenager.

Live long and prosper \V/
Yours sincerely,
The Mostly Confused Teenager.

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Music and Me

musicThe setting… CT’s horribly long and difficult math test:
“The distance in between two points in a plane is V(X2-X1)+(Y2-PRINCE ALI, MIGHTY IS HE-Y1). Crap, what’s the question again?”
The result of my best friend putting Prince Ali in my head right before a math exam… An F.
Ok so maybe I would have still gotten an F without having a extraordinarily repetitive song playing over and over again, turning  my cognitive functions (aaaaah, functions! They’re following me everywhere!) to mush, but the idea is there! Thanks Washington, love you tons. And no, I’m not criticizing the government (although I risked not getting my passport on time to go do a college tour in the States on Wednesday because you couldn’t get your shit together about Obamacare), I call my best friend Washington. Deal with it.

I started listening to music when I was a little girl and my parents would put on CDs of classical music during dinner. Yes, CDs! I feel so old. On special days we would get to listen to a jazz record, at which point my brother and I always got super excited and would run around the house as if we were on drugs. The unfortunate corollary of this jazz disk was the fact that we couldn’t actually sit still while we ate; we were obliged to dance around in our chairs, shouting the words to Ella Fitzgerald’s “Let’s do it” (um..) at the top of our lungs.

For a long time, jazz and classical were the only kinds of music that I knew. The only other novelty came from the numerous musicals that we watched after dinners on weekends (I know Annie’s Tomorrow by heart. HA. You don’t feel bad that I do and you don’t? Oh, well, I stand corrected). Then came the era of the boom box. When we got it for Christmas one year, it was like a gift from a higher power. It could play CDs, tapes and the radio. We were over the moon. and that’s how I got my introduction to pop music. Actually, the first song that we ever heard on the radio was a Lady Gaga song. Harmless, say you? Think again. It was one of her more… um… ribald pieces. I’ll let you imagine my mom’s face when we ran up to her, two little kids, and yelled “I WANNA TAKE A RIDE ON YOUR DISCO STICK”. Yeah, it was that bad. From then to basically today I have avoided talking about music with my parents.

Since that awkward time, I’ve branched out into other types of music. For a while I listened to only music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s because I had to supply it for my mom to sing to in the car. I have over three hours of Queen, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles (among others) on my phone, and I still listen to them fairly regularly. I’ve discovered the genius of Tom Lehrer, the awesomeness of Imagine Dragons and the Artic Monkeys, the catchiness (made up word alert!) of Coldplay and Green Day… And I can only hope that my horizons will keep expanding. Isn’t that a weird turn of phrase?

Music is something that lets me escape, transfer my thoughts to the song and/or melody instead of concentrating on the depressing details of my teenage life. This being said, I oftentimes find that a song is directly applicable to something that I’m going through. Ah yes, the “I am the centre of the Universe and everything is about me” syndrome. But nonetheless, if I’m feeling sad I may be unable to listen to a happy song and vice versa, it really all depends on my mood.
I sense that I’m hitting a writer’s wall here so I’ll stop while whatever shred of dignity I have left is still intact.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

It’s Just That Time of Year

Unfortunately I’m not talking about the holiday season (although the pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks!! It costs a third of my weekly allowance but it tastes so good. Oh dear I just went fangirly over a drink. I really need a boyfriend). I’m talking about the beginning of October, when the days are getting shorter, the weather getting rainier and the teachers getting crankier. This, associated with football season and the start of the MLB postseason results in students experiencing what I call the kangaroo syndrome. To explain briefly, the kangaroo syndrome chooses it’s victims by degree of addiction to movies and TV shows: once you have been chosen you will experience periods of nothingness (quite literally) before going into full blown hyperactive mode. It’s a familiar feeling, occuring every year since we realized that we actually had to study for tests (boy, what a shock that was huh?).

So today my morning consisted of an hour and a half math test immediately followed by an hour and a half french test. SO MUCH FUN RIGHT? No. My guess is that teachers, having been on a no grading hiatus for two months, are extremely thirsty to inflict pain on their students (penpal xx). So because of this grueling schedule I haven’t had much/hardly any/any time for myself and thus for the Mostly Confused Teenager to stop being confused about 4th degree functions and start being confused about other important things such as why her cookies are disappearing at such an alarming rate.

But do not fear, adoring fans of whom I have none, I am not forgetting about you guys! You people are my sunshine, my life, my soul… Oh dear I went rather too far with that didn’t I? Isn’t “moist” a weird word?

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

Maths and Me

Maths and I have never exactly been best friends. How can I put this…  I am to math as Tim Tebow is to the position of QB (another example: I am to math like Taylor Swift is to relationships.)

Yeah, it’s that rough. I mean I’ve never had a problem with it in in of itself until the 8th grade. My parents always made me learn the notions in advance so that I wouldn’t then have any problems in class; it’s sort of as if they predicted my future math problems 😉 In 8th grade I missed several months of school and when I came back I realized that math no longer came easily to me and that I actually had to work, hard, to understand the notions. And of course, as a naturally lazy person, I didn’t like having to work to achieve my goals.

Last year I changed schools to come to the EABJM, where I am now. I quickly realized (through miserably failing my first test) that the level of my supposedly good school was nothing compared to what I was encountering here. In France we have 3 sections, S, ES and L and quite basically the people who have an average of 8/20 in math are not supposed to do the scientific program. Unfortunately it’s the only way to become a doctor so I’m forcing myself through it. I am the reason why there are too many people in my section and class. Am I making any sense at all? Ugh, I’m soooo tired.

So now I’m taking private lessons with a teacher from the school and while I silently curse my old junior high for screwing up my mathematics education I nod and repeat what she tells me. Then, on Tuesday, I saw math in a whole new light thanks to her. I’ve always seen it as a very concrete thing: the numbers on the board, the formulas to follow religiously. Suddenly it dawned on me: all of this was invented! In Ancient Whatever some dude sat down and said “I decree that 2+2=4. Also, because I’m too bored to think of anything else, 2×2 also equals 4. Bam, mathematicianed.” They say you don’t have a lot of imagination if you practice math as a living (do they? Really CT?) but that’s in reality excrements of an uncircumsized male cow! Suddenly the numbers were jumping off the board in front of my eyes, dancing in perfect unison. It was magical. Of course when I recounted this to my best friend she asked if I was high, at which point I responded that I couldn’t remember, which probably wasn’t the best thing to answer.

I’m still struggling past the domain of algorithms but I hope that now it’ll get a little bit easier. [My inner voice is telling me to prepare myself for disappointment]. But hey, if math is hard, so is life. I’ll just have to deal accordingly.

I can’t help but think of how ironic this whole situation is, seeing as how my dad is a mathematician who’s official title is “director of numerical algorithms”. Huh, didn’t see that one coming did you? You did? Oh, well then.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

PS: I haven’t posted in two days! Aaaaaaaaaah the daily blogging ritual is broken!