Good Stress.

We learned in health class just last week that there are two kinds of stress- the good kind and the bad kind. I knew this from middle school health class, (and people wonder why I spend that class time working on other homework…) but it was still interesting that it came up on the same day that my new Vis Comm assignment did. And also very near the date of my Calculus test. It should be fairly unsurprising to you by now that math and I don’t get along too terribly well. However, as in many areas of my life- I’m special (special, in this case, not necessarily being a positive thing). I moved from Ohio to Illinois during the summer after third grade- and in my Ohio school district, algebra was taught in fourth grade. However, when I started fourth grade in Illinois, I was expected to already know algebra. This would have been an easily fixed problem, except that nobody realized it until I was a senior in high school. I’ve managed to do well enough-and it’s not like if I had learned algebra when I should have, that I would be a mathematician or anything-but for the years of fourth grade through senior year in high school, I just thought I wasn’t smart enough to understand math. For a very academically conscious child, that wasn’t very good for me. The result? I’m afraid of math the way some people are afraid of heights, or spiders, or snakes. Except geometry. There’s a positively astounding amount of fairly complex geometry involved in pretty much all of my hobbies. Knitting, sewing, design, all of it. I’m fine at anything as long as there are pictures to go with my numbers, but if you start putting x, y, and theta into those numbers, I freeze up like a frightened clam.

Back to present day- If I successfully complete the math class that I’m in now, I’ll never have to take another math class again-ever. It’s nice because it’s half history and half calculus, but since it’s still taught by a math professor, who is pretty positive that math is beautiful, there are still a lot of x s, y s, and thetas. It’s scary, man… Anyways, I had my first test on Friday, and I turned it in hoping at best for a C-thinking to myself that I really only needed to pass it anyways. I was in such a state, that when I got to work right after the test, my boss felt so bad for me that he got me one of those huge boxes of gummy bears…We got our tests back on Monday, and I was probably just as nervous to get it back as I was when I was actually taking it-and he called my name first, which means he organized the tests when he was finished grading them (I know this because I turned my test in neither first nor last)-but the real question was, had he organized them by highest grade first, or, more likely, lowest grade first? My heart was pounding. This is not like a suspense novel where the author says ‘her heart was pounding, she had a flashlight in one hand and a baseball bat in the other’- no. There was literal heart pounding involved. He reached towards me, my test in his hand…I reached out to grab it. It was face down, so I couldn’t see the grade right away. I looked at the back. Several small red check marks, and a five point deduction wondering why I hadn’t finished the last problem (stupid short classes….). I thought, I’m going to have to look at the other side eventually- I flipped it over and scanned up to the top, stopped, and looked again. I got a 90 percent! I checked the test and counted points to make sure the number wasn’t lying to me. It wasn’t. I hope you understand how difficult it was for me to contain my internal happy dance. I’ve probably never been closer to exploding, ever. Exploding. I patiently sat through class while other people asked questions about their mistakes, and I wrote down information about the few things that I’d lost points on. Grinning. Like the Cheshire cat. A lot. I felt bad, because based on the other people’s faces-not everyone had experienced the miracle that I had. I couldn’t stop smiling though. I went back to my room afterwords, and shared the wonderful news with my roommate-waving it around like the first aced spelling test of first grade. Congratulations received, I ran off to show it to my boy-(ran, here, is not a figure of speech.) He is a physics major, and he has been there for three years of my pathological math-fears, so he was nearly as excited as I was about it. It’s wonderful to share that kind of excitement with someone who understands. After that, I called my mom- who told my dad, and all involved were very happy. The test is tacked up on the wall next to my bed. I’m sorry if that all seems like a crazy overreaction- but it’s kind of a big deal…

I learned recently that it’s not how long you think about something, so much as it is what you think about it. so I tried to think differently than usual for this assignment:

I’m sorry that’s tiny. It’s actually bigger in real life. I’ve actually found, though, that it sometimes helps to look at those things real small, and to look at small things real big. As long as you don’t forget the actual size, it can be quite effective. Rusty said we could use images, or illustrate or whatever, and I intended to-but given the length of the article and the amount of space that we had, I couldn’t find a way to work anything in. The only thing I came up with was stick figures battling each other with boxing gloves for the title of ‘most stressed’…but they would have to be stick figures, since the space I have to work with is…not plentiful…We’ll see if Rusty deems it acceptable to go down a point size…I’m already at 10 point though, so I kind of doubt it….

Stick figures. bah.

Since we seem to be on the general topics of stress and math- I have a word problem to leave you with. It goes like this:

Kat is making a prom dress for her little sister. The dress itself still needs approximately 3 hours of work-given there are no hiccups in the process. After finishing the dress, Kat needs to make leaves, vines, and flowers to put on the dress. there will be at least 20 flowers, each flower with three leaves, and vines running between all the flowers and leaves. each section of vine, petal of flower, and leaf takes 40 minutes to complete. there are five petals in each flower. Estimate how long Kat will spend on this dress.

part b: Kat has 25 days to finish this dress. How many hours per day will she have to work in order to finish the dress? Is it more than 24 hours?

part c: If so, how much money and time would it cost to buy or genetically engineer a minion? ten minions?

I do not wish to know the answer to parts a or b. Part c, I’d be curious.

ps- I’ll have pics of the first completed flower for tomorrow. I’m going to do some independent study work, and then bead like the end of the world is coming. Because if I don’t the end of the world will come…sooner than expected.


One thought on “Good Stress.

  1. Josh says:

    Depends on what country you’re in (for c), I think it breaks most international conventions to genetically engineer minions.
    If you ever need a hand with math (although, you seem to have gotten it), you may want to check out my blog. (:

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