Monday, April 19, 2010

Continual Blessings

I have completed four final exams, and have two left at this point. My most recent exam was Linear Algebra. That course has been a mess so far.

It all started with enrollment. Everyone starts with Math 2030: Matrix Theory/Linear Algebra in the fall, which I did. Then there are two options for the second course in the winter. The first is the natural continuance, Math 2040: Matrix Theory/Linear Algebra 2. There is also Math 2135: Linear Algebra. I don't think it's ever explicitly stated in the course description, but it is the honors Linear Algebra. I was aware of this when I signed up for it, but I couldn't take Math 2040 because it conflicted with Cryptography, so I thought I would just suck it up and start the hike up the mountain of proofs.

I don't quite remember the situations surrounding the midterm, but I got a 48%. I was pretty miserable. I had totally skipped over one question, which automatically lost me 20%. It just wasn't a good time. Luckily, he took the grade out of 20 rather than 25, which boosted my grade to a 60%, but still... not the sort of thing a math major wants on her record.

The rest of the course was a little more application centered rather than proofs (though there were still plenty). With the final coming up, I was dreading all the studying I was going to have to do to make up for my midterm grade. Then our professor mentioned that he had an alternate grading option. Typically, the final would be worth 50% of our mark, and assignments and midterm are each worth 25%. However, if the final exam grade alone was higher than that composition, your grade would be taken as 100% final exam. Yahoo! The nasty midterm could be forgotten! But now the stress was on. I was aiming on clearing the slate, and to do that I wanted a really good final exam grade.

I spent a decent amount of time studying. My eighth grade science teacher, Mr. McHatton, was right. If you don't know how to study for university, you're toast. I think I'm still learning how to study, because I never really had to in high school, and that makes me put off studying even more! I hate the idea of it, but something I found when studying for this course was as I studied, it made sense. And suddenly, I didn't need to memorize tons of things- just the building blocks. I could come to the conclusions of the proofs myself if I just learn the basic properties. I didn't have to memorize a lot of theorems, and really, there weren't that many anyways.

Then the morning of the test day, I went to Coburg Coffee early early. I got a bowl of soup (for breakfast? I know. But it was really good soup) and pulled out the practice problems. I went through everything and then went to beautiful Becca A's room. She gave me a card with Eph 1: 18-21 on it, had me review, and sent me off.
...that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Eph 1:18-21 NKJV)
The test went wonderfully. I mean, I don't know how I did yet; it will be a couple weeks before I get the results back. But it's been quite the adventure. In the last two weeks I've discovered what wonderful friends I have and how, even though we're studying totally unrelated topics, we are there to help each other as best we can. Even though at the end I was starting to enjoy the material, I'm sort of glad that class is over. I'll update with the results when I get them.

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