My First Weekend of School

So, I was in class for 20.5 hours on the weekend1:

  • Friday – 5:30 to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It was a lot of hours and it was all math and – I’m sure this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me – I quite enjoyed it. I mean, it was rather exhausting, of course, and I really didn’t like having to get up at 6 a.m. on the weekend, but the content was interesting and the professor was excellent. And it was really nice to meet some of my classmates for the first time! Since the program I’m in uses a cohort model and involves predominantly group work, I’m going to be spending *a lot* of time with these people over the next 28 months, so it was great to meet so many friendly and interesting people!

One thing I found myself telling a lot of people is something that I learned when I played hockey for 10 days straight – don’t think too far into the future! Take things one shift class at a time. Anytime someone mentioned that we were going to be spending four weekends in a row in classes – 20.5 hrs for each of the first three weekends, followed by 32 hours on the last weekend of January (Friday to Monday) – I saw this look in their eye that I recognized as showing what I felt whenever I started to think too far ahead during that game. It’s a look of overwhelm, a look that says, “I can’t do this.” And so I would say, “Don’t think of it like that. Just think of this weekend. One day at a time! We can totally do this!” And it was a really good reminder for me too! And I just typed this out, I’ve realized something else – it’s hardest at the start. The first 3 of the 10 days of hockey were the worst, and I bet the first weekends of classes are the worst too. Just like in the game, it will get better once we get used to the new routine.

Anyway, I learned a whole bunch of stuff – and get a refresher on a bunch of stuff that I knew before but didn’t remember all that much – I’m looking at you, calculus! Here’s some random things I learned this weekend2:

  • The symbol used for “profit” in business math equations is π . Dr. Dan‘s theory on why this is so is because π goes on forever, which is what you would want your profits to do. Also, π  is delicious!
  • Bill Gates and Warren Buffet started a movement to get the mega rich to give away a lot of their money. And by “a lot,” I mean at least 50% of their wealth, within their lifetime or upon their death (in case they haven’t given out the 50% before they die). In the case of Buffet, he’s giving away 99% of his wealth. To give you a sense of how much money he has, he says that even after giving away 99% of his wealth, he won’t notice any change to his lifestyle or that of his family! You can check out a list of the mega rich people who have taken this pledge at givingpledge.org.
  • Calculus is all about slope and reaching limits.

Also, as part of our course package, which costs one zillion dollars, we got a swanky business math calculator. It’s the calculator that we have to use on all of our exams so that no one has any unfair advantage of having a more advanced calculator than anyone else. The problem, of course, is that everyone in the class has the exact same calculator, so it will be quite easy to accidentally pick up someone else’s and if you lose yours, how would you ever be able to figure out which one of the 50 in the room was yours3? This is my solution to that problem:

Calculator with skulls stickers

Happy calculator is happy

  1. Hence the blog radio silence for the past few days. []
  2. This isn’t *all* that I learned, but I figured that most of it would bore the hell out of you. []
  3. This reminds me of my undergrad, where all of the thousands of students had to use the Casio fx991 calculator, and one day the Calculus prof made an announcement at the start of class in front of the 200 or so students: “Someone left a calculator in the lecture hall after class last week. It’s a Casio fx991. You can come and claim it at the end of class.” []