Okay, so. My math class this semester is definitely my most difficult class of the semester and possibly ever, because it requires a very different type of thinking, especially compared to other math classes I’ve taken before. It has very little to do with numbers and very much to do with abstract thinking and creating intricate proofs for the abstract thoughts that we are thinking.
We took an exam last week that was incredibly tough, but I felt good about what I handed in at the end of the class. They were graded over the weekend and we got our scores back yesterday… and that was also tough. It was not fun to get a poor grade on something I felt I had worked so hard for and felt so proud of.
Side note: college curves are the bomb. I got a 32 out of 50 on that exam… Do the math and that’s a 64%. Just barely failing, right? Nope! The professor’s curve for this exam put me at about a C-, since my grade was about average for the class. So it could have been worse for sure. I’ll take a C over an F any day.
However. I looked over the test later that day, and there was one question where I just couldn’t see why I lost the points for it. I thought about it for a while and just couldn’t seem to figure out where I went astray. Eventually, I just decided to ask the professor about it (in the hopes that I could regain some crucial points if he agreed with my proof).
I was really nervous about that because it felt rather uncomfortable to go to someone in a position of power and try to justify my supposed wrongs. I showed up at his office hours today and asked him to look over my work and let me know what I messed up on or what he would have done differently in the proof that I provided (that felt like the best way to go about addressing the issue without completely avoiding it). He took a look and actually said that he was impressed with my work, that I’d taken a pretty unconventional approach to the proof, and he thought that was great because it means I can think outside the box. He continued to say that I probably lost points because the grader wasn’t expecting to see the problem addressed in the way that I addressed it (another side note: the professor doesn’t grade the exams, an anonymous graduate mathematics student, also known as “the grader,” does). Needless to say, this was quite the compliment, as was his reassurance that getting an A in the class was still within reach for me if I continued to work hard.
He boosted my grade up to reflect his acknowledgement of my answer, and then we had a lovely chat about how this semester is going and math classes I plan on taking in the future… but that’s not the point. The point is that I willingly put myself in a situation outside the boundaries of my comfort zone and stood up for myself, and it paid off.
Lots of love,
P.S. This is my 100th blog post!