## Friday, 25 May 2012

### My Maths woes!!

As unconvincing as it may sound, I have friends who claim that numbers are their first love. I have always wondered how that is even possible. May be they started their affair one mundane Monday morning when they were attempting a problem of trigonometry. I gulped when I first heard it.

I am uncertain of many things in life and I am still trying to figure out my likes and dislikes but one thing is for sure….Numbers and Valentina never get along well. It took me 3 months to remember my cell number and I wasn’t too interested to memorise it anyway. I try to avoid any sort of mathematical calculations in my daily activities….except for the simple ones.

As much as I try to escape from the ghosts of numbers haunting me, I am an easy prey as I am enrolled in a programme where it is compulsory to study “Statistics” and get “S” in the subject (S meaning Satisfactory). Now that’s a tough call for me. The first day I went for class, the seemingly dashing Professor even failed to make an impression. I was lost in the world of sigma, probability, skewness, standard deviations, regression co-efficient etc…it has been one hectic semester.  The worst is “Probability”….all the tossing coins, drawing cards, hitting targets sure makes my head spin round and round. Honestly, I’ve been studying probability since my high school with no idea whatsoever.

The best part of being a student is that we are so cool until the last moment and when the final call comes all hell breaks lose. We’re on fire. And I am no different. I had assured myself in the beginning of the semester that I will work hard as I had registered the dreaded Statistics but sheer apprehension got carried away once weekend arrived and there was the movies and shoppings and girls day out and dates and birthday parties and the list goes on.

I realised my predicament a week before the exam. So my friend and I started studying together hastily and my poor brain was exhausted with all the pressure and of course the fear of repeating the course was unthinkable. Tired, drained and terrified, I went for the exam. Ask a student how she feels in the exam hall. It’s a humbling experience. There were intelligent looking girls with long braids who write so rapidly as though they were burning a hole in the answer script. There were guys who sat there turning around smiling away dumbly, biting the end of their pens. And also there was me sitting there with the question paper in hand….expressionless.

I was having the most turbulent time…it was 40 degrees outside…my table was hot. I was sweating and the damn probability was getting messier. So I assured myself that I can sail this time as well took a deep breath and started out, searching every corner of my exhausted and overused brain for any remnants of all that I imposed last week. There was this part where I had to solve the problem using a formula. I began writing the formula when I got confused…r/n-1 ..wait was it… r/n+1? ..or may be n/r-1?…I got all so confused. Finally I settled for r/n+1 which of course turn out to be wrong. And damn, just a mere -ve sign ruined everything!!

You know the best moment in a student's life is when you hit a blind shot in the exam and the moment you come out of the hall, you check it hurriedly and turns out that it was right…wow…that’s bliss and you Hi-five your friend and she responds with no clue. However, it is the other way round in most cases where you sulk coz of all the silly mistakes and blame everybody else except ourselves for all the things that went wrong during the exam. This situation is best described by a joke which I came across recently…In class, they teach you how to cook rice and in exam they ask you how to make biryani…now is that fair?

Even if I will never be able to understand the real importance of regression co-efficient and hypothesis testing and all the trigonometry in my life, I admire those girls who are good in maths…its really cool and as always it’s a field dominated by males so its great to have a charismatic woman who explains patiently the need to test the level of significance or to differentiate between parametric and nonparametric tests. If only I have the ear for all this but there’s just a white flag from my end…so all those girls who have an affinity for numbers….hats off to you…I salute you!! Keep the flag high!!

P.S. My final paper went off fairly well….fingers crossed!! :)