Friday, January 4, 2013

A little background for all this

Learning Calculus has been my goal for a very long time. When I arrived to the University of Puerto Rico in 1996, I held a medal for Mathematics, among other subjects, and an aced AP advanced math test that propelled me for classes ahead of other first-years. I was very excited to take my Pre-Calculus course. It was nerve-racking because I was selected to take a condensed section of Pre-Calculus, that was supposed to be two semesters, in one term.
Then, about a third into that semester, my life changed dramatically. My father, who was my math mentor when I thought no one could get me out of the woods of polynomials, died in a car accident. That left me and my younger brother parent-less. We had lost our mom 3 years earlier.
I read somewhere that Calculus is the study of change...well no calculations could have helped me cope with what I had gone through that day. I battled on for the rest of the semester but it was hard. I just couldn't concentrate on my classes. I got a C in that Pre-Calculus class. I was in such denial of what had happened in my family that I credited the grade to my lack of ability to understand calculus.
After that my life took me away from mathematics. Whenever I face problems that involved math beyond algebra, I shunned them. Still, a part of me knew I was just shortchanging myself.
So little by little, I have come back to the world of math. Actually my favorite tool for exploring it has been excel. Once you get me started with equations, its hard to quit them. Now after 17 years I made myself a promise. I would learn and master Calculus because I owe it to myself. I owe myself to know if I truly have a limitation in learning it, which will put me at par with most of the wonderful people I know, or if it was something that I can do after being ready to.
That is the question this journey will answer.
Please fell free to comment. I don't want to take this journey alone.

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