Sunday, February 27, 2005

You'll Never Use It [explicit content]

I should not have to be re-learning the quadratic-fucking-equation! I don't want to solve for x^2+5x-14 = 0. (x = -7 and 2). They told me I'd never have to use this stuff again. I was a philosophy major for crying out-loud! I hate math. Despise it. The stuff is absolute shit with no purpose in life.

Ok, I know that's not true, (and sometimes I even take a small amount of perverse pleasure in solving problems), but seriously, I shouldn't have to do this shit! Not only did I major in philosophy before, I'm now taking the GRE so I can do more of it! Fuck Pythagoras, I want to know about Aristotle. Neitzsche, not Newton. John Forbes Nash, Jr. (the guy from A Beautiful Mind) can suck it. I haven't taken a math class for more than 5 years, and I haven't paid attention in a math class for significantly longer than that. When I was in 8th grade I made a career choice to avoid math like the plague. So why do I need it now? And would someone help me lance this boil?

And why in the hell can't I use a calculator? I made my parents spend 90 bucks on a calculator - twice - just so that I wouldn't have to learn shit like the quadratic equation. Why do we have the GRE? What does it really measure? Why can't graduate departments just take or leave people based on worth-fucking-while information? I've got no problem taking an aptitude test like the LSAT, or an IQ test, or even a friggin' Rorchsach test. But whether or not I can remember that "X equals negative B plus or minus the square root of B squared minus four times A times C, all over two A" has nothing to do with my ability to write a treatise on the nature of goodness or critique advanced models of utilitarian calculation.

And I should point out that for any of those poor fools going into a grad school program which does require math, the stuff tested on the GRE is too damn simple! There are additional GRE sections for those folks, which test the math skills that they will actually use. In short, there is NO ONE for whom the math section is appropriate, much less necessary. And yet, my admission rests on the score I get.

Abso-fucking-lutely ri-cock-ulous.

In other news, I won't be getting that same-sex marriage post up nearly as soon as promised.


btnovak said...

glad to see law school has expanded your vocabulary

Matthew B. Novak said...

Yeah, vocabulary is on the GRE too, so I figured I'd practice.

JAAndersland said...

Being a philosophy major I would've thought you could see the intrinsic good in Mathematics. It really is a different way of thinking and allows us to look at problems/world in a different light. Besides I wouldn't want to give anyone a masters let alone a Ph.D. in ANYTHING if they can't do math that was taught in High school. Besides you don't have to be an expert in math, just average to do well on the GRE. It's the way it is set up.

Matthew B. Novak said...

"Intrinsic good"? That might be a little strong... I can see the good in it, yes, because it allows us to see things in a different light. But all the real value then is in figuring out those other things we are looking at. Like, math helps us understand gravity, but the only real value is because we can then understand gravity. Anyways, being just average isn't good enough in math for the GRE. For example, in verbal you need a 600 out of 800 to be about the 85th percentile. In math you need a 720 out of 800 to be 85th percentile. (For the record, that's a difference of 20%). So really, for the GRE, you need to do much better at the math.

Nate said...

Hey Matt,
I got a real kick out of your post, as a fellow math loather I feel that you could not echo my own sentiments more clearly. As a pre-med major I was horrified and incensed when I found that I was absolutely required to take calculus. I not only hate math, but love to hate it. And I will have to face it once more when I take the MCAT, why the hell a doctor needs calculus is beyond me. I sympathize, now go out there and give it hell.

Matthew B. Novak said...

I think I did give it hell. I got about the 85th percentile in both sections - which, yes, means my math score was a 720 out of 800. Not too shabby, considering I signed up for the test a week before I took it, and then, because of my busy schedule, was only able to study for 3 days.

Kajsa said...

Oh, come on Matt, weren't you in Mr. Welciek's class with me when we not only learned the quadratic equation but we sung it to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel" so we'd remember it? Unfortunately for me, that kind of thing sticks in my head forever, along with the states in alphabetical order from "50 Nifty United States" and "a mol is a unit, or haven't you heard..." Ugh.

Congrats on being done with the GRE, which I am convinced is used purely to see if we want to get into grad school badly enough to withstand that kind of torture (math).

Anonymous said...

could u sensor a few of those words!
man! ne way i hate math also i mean when am i gonna WANT to find the slope of a stupid hill! or how often will i want to try and find the unknown angel of an object!
and how often have YOU used a box and whisker plot who cares!

Anonymous said...

nate a doctor uses math a lot, graphs temp. etc! i mean come on this is coming from a 6th grader did u not learn any thing!!

Anonymous said...

ok i take back the last comment i thought u said math nt calculus!
what the heck is calculus ne way?!?!