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Dear stats students,

I was grading your time management projects with the bar graphs.  Many of you have pleasant, cushy schedules.  Some don’t.

I saw a couple of things that saddened me.  Though you seemed to recognize that the canned answer for a school time management project is always “study more,” some of the areas to cut seemed to be areas that are too vital to cut.   They included sleep, time with children and/or family, and time with friends.

Consider my caution as one who constantly over-plans time and is constantly looking for ways to establish balance again.

Sleep – many of you are 18 and 19 years old.  Sleeping sufficiently is normal.  Sleeping until your bodies are done sleeping doesn’t make you lazy; it makes you healthy.  Let me be a little clearer.  Not sleeping until your bodies are done sleeping will make you unhealthy.  Develop habits that will set you up for success in the future.  What do you want to do with your lives?  My dad used to say that it is of the utmost importance to stay healthy because not staying healthy will inhibit your ability to be who you want to be in your lives.  You can’t be as effective at work, school, play, caregiving, art—or just life if your lack of health keeps you having the energy to accomplish whatever is set before you.

 

Children and family – my children vie for my attention.  I grant it to them.  I have had to make a section in my planner where I have to check off daily that I spent time with my children and likewise a section for my husband.  I can’t screw up being a mommy or a wife.  Who cares about all of the math in the world if I don’t bond well with my family?  That requires going on walks one on one with one of four other family members.  That requires reading stories when I can think of a million other things to do if my lap would be vacated.  It requires the time to come home and retrieve a child to run errands with me instead of finishing it quickly on my own just for the chance to ask the kid how his or her day was. They are important.

 

Friends – are these good friends?  Do they inspire you to positive outcomes?  If so, don’t avoid cultivating a relationship because you feel that you need to hold your noses to the grindstone.  It is human to connect with others.  It’s a beautiful part of humanity.

 

Statistics may be a thing that gets you to where you want to go in life.  Statistics is valid.  You should aspire to understand it thoroughly and become proficient at the art of making sense of quantitative data.  Statistics, nor any other class, IS your life.  It’s a worthwhile stepping stone in your life.  Your education serves a beautiful and utilitarian purpose in your lives.  If you need to give up something to make more time to study, don’t give up your lives to do it.  What inspires you?  Don’t give that up.

 

Finally, a shout out to the many of you who are holding down jobs.  It’s hard.  I hear you.  We are all cheering for you.

When I was in high school, there was a nice young gentleman who used to talk to me about physics. We discussed at length why it was so fascinating. At this time in my life, I was destined to do something in the linguistics field and math was a beautiful and mesmerizing diversion that I thought was much too fun to warrant the laborious connotations of academic credit. Physics, naturally, was a brilliant extension of the loveliness of mathematics with all of the equations and derived units. So, I put down the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and indulged in the conversation that was intended to captivate me. As it turned out, the young mister believed that chemistry was much more appealing, but back then, I was none the wiser. In retrospect, I think it was an adorable gesture. Though this gentleman was anticipating cultivating a relationship of a dual nature, he gets innumerable brownie points for appealing to my intellect first.
Presently, I am the instructional support/creative outlet for a math department and I have been happily married for 13 years. I expect to interact with men on a daily basis. I expect that I serve an academic purpose. I expect to play a role that is full of intellect and camaraderie. I would anticipate that my long-lasting monogamy, my small litter of children, and extensive familiarity with all things algebra would deter, if not completely prevent, any men from ever acknowledging my femininity.
Now, let me dispel the myth that men comprise the more logical gender. My intellect is available for public use. My femininity is not. My womanliness is obviously inaccessible, and yet, I have been blindsided three times in the last three weeks by men who find my inaccessible femininity so distracting that they can’t make adequate use of my intellect. It’s certainly not a pragmatic approach. So much for the gender who is touted for the ability to compartmentalize.
Granted, the social ineptitude that accompanies my nerdiness and the residual poor body image from days of yore contribute to the shock factor. I don’t see it coming. I never see it coming. I find the thought of me being lauded as some sort of tartlet to be humorous. I’ve been known to say, “Ha! You must not know that I’m a geek. Allow me to enlighten you.” It seems as though many are given to exaggeration; I own a mirror and can attest to the antithesis of the accusation/exaggeration.
A couple of different male friends have observed this behavior have asked, “Aren’t you FLATTERED?” No, and let me explain why not. I have been referred to as a “that” instead of a “who” by three twenty-something students. My brain has been characterized as an adorable accessory instead of the primary feature. My message of scholarship is lost. I imagine that the men have an inner dialogue of, “Oh, you like physics? Don’t care. You’re a girl.” No, I’m not flattered. I’m disregarded for the qualities where I place my identity. I am reminded that I have no value for anything that I find to be valuable.
Then again, the flip side of that coin where I make a point to blend into the backdrop of academic things, I’m presumed to be frigid and incompetent (apparently, those two are assumed to work in tandem) and my brain never even makes it to the assessment round.
I’ve been repeatedly disappointed by mankind. I do believe that there are some wonderful exceptions. To quote Winifred Banks of Mary Poppins, “while we adore men individually…” Feel free to sing the next line. But it is certainly a man’s world and will continue to be a man’s world as long as men are bound by the persuasion that biology is the most important subject at school. Mankind will continue to be disappointing as long as they believe that monogamy is merely a suggestion. A wife’s femininity is only pragmatic to her husband and outside of that, she is unattainable.
So, gentlemen, please stop suggesting that my very existence is an accusation against me. Skirts are comfortable, not alluring. My glasses don’t make me a “naughty librarian” or a “naughty teacher;” they make me able to see. I am aware that parts of me are disproportionate, but I would rather discuss the eight different ways to write the equation of a proportion. When I discuss curve fitting, assume that I’m talking about regression. Now, if any of you would like to discuss the finer points of translating logarithmic functions, I’m available.

In order to become a hipster, one must first segway into geek to fully become a hipster.

Burr Settles applied a coordinate system to words that frequently appear in tweets with the words “nerd” and “geek.”  The x-axis represent the frequency with which a word that was used with the word “nerd” and likewise, the y-axis with “geek.”  I underlined words that I would either use to describe my interests, words I use often, or words that I frequently hear other people use to describe me.  It’s pretty heavy on the nerd side.  Hipster is nestled in with the geek side (noted in red) but just by a smidgen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a nerd.  It makes me kind of a dork.  I can’t be a dork.  It is imperative for my jobs that I am perceived as adept at being a fully functioning human being.  I have to convince myriads of students that they are, in fact, capable of performing algebraic tasks.  When left to my own nerdy devices, I give the impression that they can only become proficient mathematically if they become robots as I am a robot.  That causes self-efficacy to tank.

I have assessed that the only way to correct this is to give the impression that I am one who possesses an awareness of social norms and is proficient in understanding interpersonal interactions and therefore, can make informed choices about behavior accordingly.  I need a bridge from nerd to some form of savvy.  That bridge can be best completed by becoming a hipster.

A hipster is one who is aware of what social norms are, but chooses a unique path instead.  If I become a hipster, I can be perceived as one who is choosing a rather eccentric, nerdy path instead of one who is predestined by social awkwardness.

I think that I can pull it off because I think I’ve accurately compiled a list of achievable characteristics of hipsters.  In fact, I already exhibit many of the characteristics.  I wear big, geeky glasses half the time.  I don’t drink coffee made in regular coffee pots, but instead, I have three apparatuses for making coffee without the appliance.  I have been known to make my own laundry detergent and do other things in the realm of what I prefer to call pragmatic naturalism.  I don’t participate in a large portion of mainstream media.  I dress oddly.  If I’m correctly identifying characteristics of hipsters, I’m on the way!

The glasses.  We must begin with the glasses.  When I was 16, I determined that I never, ever look like myself when I wear glasses.  It didn’t matter which pair of frames I picked, people always stared at me in glasses as if they were trying to figure out why I looked like an inaccurate version of myself.  So, I decided to go all out.  I got the biggest, most terrible, large black frames I could find.  I wanted glasses that were so prominent that they were the obvious thing obscuring my face instead of better ones where people couldn’t figure out why I looked weird.  The reason for looking weird was unmistakable.  Fast-forward 15 years.  After using frames that were electric purple, black cat-eye, brown studious, and rimless, it was recommended to me that I get “nerd glasses” because they were very “in.”  This is as backwards as genuine hipsters saying that they wear things that are “ironic” to be cool, thus losing the irony.  My self-named “nerd mask” glasses are in?  Sweet.  That means an increase in supply.  I am back to two “hipster” or “nerd” glasses (one black, one powder blue) that are very reminiscent of ones that I had when I was in high school (the ones that my mother described as an effort for me to try to be ugly on purpose).  It’s really out of necessity that I wear glasses, but if I can get hipster cred, so be it.

Coffee.  I love a good, hot beverage.  I frequent coffee shops.  They have the beloved hot beverage and pseudo-office workspace.  I don’t like the taste of old coffee residue that comes out of household coffee makers from the second use and beyond.  I once heard of common hipster practice of being so pretentious that they only drink fresh coffee from a French press.  That’s sort of true for me.  Here’s the reasoning.  Old coffee is gross; fresh coffee is fantastic.  So, the rule is that I will use a coffee making apparatus if all of the parts can be soaked and then washed in the dishwasher.  I have a French press, a stovetop espresso maker, and a Turkish kettle.

Now, the next one confuses me.  Making pragmatically natural choices (natural childbirth, choosing herbs over medicines that I can’t pronounce, etc.) sometimes earns me the title of hippie (or neo-hippie) but it’s often associated with hipsterism.  Whatever it is, it’s a practice that I will continue to embrace.  I think that the hipster part might come in when naturalism meets craftiness, like making laundry detergent and altering thrift store clothes at home (being super cool and keeping things out of landfills and all).  Not just using a natural product, but making it.  Bonus points for a craft that has an aroma of Pinterest is made from eco-friendly, materials where I can say, “That is sooooo much better than the conventional method.  I’m never going back.”  I’m still not sure on this one, but I might qualify.

Concerning media, I don’t own a TV.  I don’t have time to watch it.  Hipsters don’t like mainstream stuff.  Check.  But they instead like indie stuff.  Hmm…gonna have to work on that.  I don’t listen to enough of a variety of music or read a variety of books (they’re mostly of the same themes).  Frankly, I’m not sure what hipsters are supposed to be into, just that they’re not interested in things that the majority of people like.

Being a professor, I thought that dressing like a librarian was very appropriate.  A couple of years ago, I was told that everyone dresses to fit his or her personality…except me.  I was much too drab for my eccentric personality.  Furthermore, I was not pulling off “librarian;” I was turning it into “dead librarian.”  The project of rebranding me began.  I asked for characteristics so that I may replicate what was being done to me.  Sometimes, there was a blessed pop quiz (I love quizzes.).  Now, I usually feel like I’m wearing a costume.  That’s okay.  I am not naked and people look me in the eye assuming that I’m conscious enough to clothe myself so weirdly on purpose instead of the dead librarian before where people treated me as though I was scary and probably devoid of compassion.  Whatever.  If one is not astute enough to be trendy, she might as well be consciously eccentric.  I typically find weird things at thrift stores and swaps (because I’m a cheapskate) that other people wisely overlooked.  Uniqueness is a characteristic that hipsters strive for, right?

Let me be clear.  I’m not saying that I fully understand all things hipster nor that I’m a card-carrying member.  I’m just saying that I have enough characteristics to give it the good ol’ college try.  Finally, this will come to fruition when I seem capable of participating in relating to the general population.

 

I started scribbling (digitally).

It really had nothing to do with January first, but the beginning of a new semester (because that’s when I clean out my planner).

The scribbles turned into sub points of four categories of resolutions.

Spiritual

  1. Listen to the (whole) Bible

 

Personal

  1. Spend more time with kids
  2. Blog more
  3. Figure out how to love work
  4. Become a hipster

 

Physical

  1. Weekly 10k
  2. Google “better booty”

 

Academic

  1. Read hunger games?
  2. Spend three weekly events learning music

Then, it took form and became a lot of words.

Spiritual

Listen to the whole Bible – I have always had success with auditory learning.  I used to listen to large chunks of the Bible (instead of read) to increase my reading comprehension and recollection.  I drive a lot, so I have more time to listen than to read anyway.  So, this isn’t as daunting of a task as it may seem.  I need an audio Bible and a reading plan to make it perfectly palatable.  I installed an audio Bible on my phone and started thinking about what reading plan I could use to accomplish this goal.  The interesting part of this resolution is that I picked up my phone (as a passenger in the minivan) to look up plans to read the Bible in a year.  My phone vibrated before I hit the search button.  My dear friend sent a message to a bunch of ladies asking us to join a group where we would read the Bible together in a year.  She had picked out a plan and spearheaded the creation of a discussion group.  She is my easy button.

Personal

Spend more time with the kids.  This one is a no-brainer.  These awesome little people aren’t getting any smaller.  This one might be described better as “more saying no to work and yes to the kids.”

Blog more.  Done.  Now, I need to continue this therapeutic practice instead of making lists of what I would blog about if I took the time.  I doubt that anyone reads this but my husband, but he thinks it’s funny and I get words out of my head.

Figure out how to love work.  Work is not what I wanted work to be.  The work that brings home bacon is time consuming and becoming more so.  It’s gotten bigger than the job that I signed on for with phrases like “We think that you would be great for this new task and we think that it should be part of your 40 hours.”  And on the flip side, “Well, we’re not going to give you more hours to use for staff (the hours that I would be now busy with all of my new tasks).”   I really appreciate that they think that I can sneeze magic rainbows and make it work, but every magic rainbow that leads to a success at work is a look of disappointment from my children or my husband treating me like I’m an outsider to the groove that they have going in my absence.

I love the other “work” though.  It brings little to no bacon, but I love it.  That’s where I’m alive.  The only problem with that is that my family can’t seem to handle me being gone for the little bit extra to do job #2.

The thing about the bringing home bacon job is that I think that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now.  My gut says that I need to be here.  Furthermore, as long as I’m there, I’m thrilled.  Every morning, I begrudge going.  Every night, I regret that I wasn’t home.  But I love my job while I’m there.  Therefore, I need to accentuate the positives and find fixes for the negatives.   I don’t like the commute?  Listen to the Bible.  I don’t like the extra time?  Leave and play with the kids instead.  But I need to be happy with the job where I’m going to be spending a large portion of my life.  Happiness is a better choice than misery.

Become a Hipster.  This one requires a longer explanation.  But I think it would be occupationally and possibly socially beneficial.  I need to learn how to do that though.

Physical – Let me preface this by saying that I read an article on New Year’s Eve that used the term skinny-fat.  This refers to one who is reasonably small and therefore appears to be skinny when fully clothed, but is much too unhealthfully flabby where it’s hidden.  I’ve lost 45 lbs.  I’m hearing, “No!  You CAN’T lose any more!”  I beg to differ.  Actually, my wads of jiggle beg to differ.  It’s not about small.  It’s about replacing jiggle with strength.  Between bellybutton and knees, major changes need to take place.

Weekly 10ks. I have run an experiment 3 different times in the last decade and a half.  Every time, I’ve reached the same conclusion.  Running makes me thicker; walking makes me slimmer.  This was a painful conclusion because outside of the experiment, walking seems like the wussy version of running.  Who wants to be a wus?  I have decided that I need to change the parameters of the experiment.  I called the distance the constant and the activity the variable.  So, a three-mile walk was compared with a three-mile run.  However, research suggests that mom metabolism doesn’t reach a fat-burning zone until 45 minutes into the cardio.  A 3 mile run takes less than half an hour.  That’s not enough time to get into a fat burning zone.  So, the new experiment is to make time the constant (well, time range) and distance the variable.  Cardio activities should take between 45 to 75 minutes.  At least two activities per week need to start with a 10k run.

I must add that for the first time in years, I have lost enough weight that if the experiment goes awry and I get thicker, it won’t crush my soul.

Google “better booty.”  I’m not really sure what that means (hence the googling), but two things are for sure.  1) No matter how small the rest of me becomes, this thing will always be large.  I should probably be a better steward.  2) I have a long list of stuff to work on already, so this one is not urgent.  So, it’s not a January goal, but maybe a June goal.

Academic

Read Hunger Games?  Let me explain the question mark.  I have a hard time calling fiction of any sort academic.  It’s still reading, so it has academic potential.  However, fiction (reading that which is not factual) seems counterproductive academically.  Now, I think (the scheme that so far resides in my head) that the path from nerd (current state) to hipster is bridged with geekiness.  That is, things that have the aroma of nerdiness, but have saturated popular culture that they warrant a fan following.  Then again, from what I understand about Hipsters, I need to read the series prior to becoming one so that I can scoff as if it was some unimportant rite of passage that was so last fad.  Therefore, it’s still a question mark.  Then again, I thought that of Harry Potter.  I was going to read it to preview it for my young son.  I was captivated.  For the first time in 25 years, I read fiction willingly and it was intended for children.

Spend three weekly events learning music.  My brother-in-law drew my name for Christmas.  He gave me a piano arrangement book and then goaded me for not sight-reading fast enough.  (FYI, I doubt that he could find 5 Facebook friends who are not professional musicians who sight-read anywhere near as well as I did.)  It’s about the level that I played when I stopped spending time learning new music (end of high school).  So, really, it’s a perfect starting point.  I need to grow that skill back to where it was.  It’s merely wasteful not to do so.  So, I want to spend three sessions (no specific time, just until I’m done) per week learning more music as opposed to playing the same things over and over by memory.  This resolution is vague (not piano specific) because I learned the viola conceptually when I was 25 and promptly put it down.  Now, I still sound terrible and I still have the tapes on it like a middle-schooler.  Also, my left hand understands guitar chords, but my right hand thinks strumming is weird.  So, there’s LOTS of room for musical improvement.

My children resist me.  They reject my maternal wisdom (insistence).  Why?  Supposedly, I’m requiring them to alter their behavior exclusively for my own benefit.  Allow me to explain some things to them.

1)      Rehearsing a spelling list while meandering through the neighborhood for an hour and forty-five minutes is not for my benefit.  I would much rather be alone and have time to process the thoughts inside my mind than to have to deal with your attitude (Yes, we’re all aware that this has much more to do with your attitude than your aptitude.).  After that alone time, I intend to sit on your father.  Furthermore, insisting that you correctly practice whatever you do not know is not for my benefit.  Really, I get no pleasure from this.  Also, it’s not too much to ask to expect you to remember WHICH word you intend to spell.  My claim that you aren’t even respecting my time by paying attention is warranted.

2)      Signing you into computer time that will lock you out after one mere hour is not for my benefit.  Frankly, the one hour that you get is heavenly for me.  It means that I have intermittent interruption instead of the normal constant interruption.  I know you’re not sneaking off into another room to destroy the property of another family member because for that one blessed hour, you glue yourself to the multimedia apparatus.  Then, the bliss ends and I have to spend the majority of my day preventing the demolition of my home.

3)      Insisting that you clean up your messes is also not for my benefit.  I can do it faster.  I have to take the time to teach you that it’s disrespectful to your space to make messes and leave them.  Here’s the scenario that would be the most to my benefit: I have a pause button for all of you (so you don’t create further destruction while I’m busy) and I can clean it myself in a fraction of the time.  I may keep you all paused for a little bit so that I can enjoy the fruit of my labor.  I’ll use the play button when it’s time to do something fun.  I don’t think you realize how much more time we would have for fun if you would agree to the cleanliness I expect of you.

Taking the time to help you develop the habits of scholarship, cleanliness, and a positive attitude (Follow my lead in the first two.  Emulate your father’s pleasant disposition.) is not doing me any favors for the time being.  Requiring these behaviors from the three of you gives me no immediate gratification.  As aforementioned, I’d rather be sitting on your father.  Comply.  When you’re older, maybe you will be better equipped to achieve your life’s calling because you are not held back by the frustrations of substandard academics, orderliness, or a negative outlook.  I will sit on your father then.  Maybe by then, you will have children who will not allow you to sit on your respective spouses.

Concerning motherhood, I have purposed to have selective memory.  I feel like Anita Renfroe’s description of motherhood (minus the cookie part…coffee or tea instead).  I also have lots of wiser women telling me that if I blink, I’ll miss the special time of having littles.

I believe these women.  They all say the same thing.  They must know what they’re talking about from the other side of that threshold.

Yesterday, I found myself in a frenzy of Don’t-do-that-but-instead-do-this.  For example, “Don’t spray milk on the keyboard.  Instead, keep your milk in the kitchen.”  “Don’t lick (?!) the dishes as you unload them from the dishwasher.  Instead, hand them directly to me.”  “Don’t cry about it.  Instead, use words to ask me a question.”  “Don’t whine about not getting your computer time.  Instead, do your chores so that you may have it.”  “Don’t get out any new toys.  Instead, pick up this book and put it away.”  As the don’t-instead game escalated, my seven-year-old said, “Mom, I’m sorry you’re so frustrated.”  I didn’t think that I was THAT frustrated.

He used his intuition.  He asked his sisters to come play with him.  He rolled a ball on the floor with them.  I had a moment to clean my kitchen without little people making new messes underfoot.  I heard such pleasant laughter.  I grabbed my phone and took a picture of them.  I intend to block out the memory of them being generally annoying and keep the sounds and sights of them playing in my mind.

If I can’t be the “I’m so thrilled that you do childish things you’re all so cute and perfect” mom, I’m at least going to be the “You’re doing something cute.  Where’s my camera?” mom.  In fact, I’ve been known to say to my children, “Just stop being annoying and do something adorable so that I can take a picture.  Give me something good to remember when I’m old.”

I VERY much intend to be the wiser, older woman telling mommies of littles how they must cherish every blessed moment that the little cherubs create.  I will believe every word of it because I will have proof in my photo albums.

When I was thirteen, I could listen to the same song on repeat for days.  Whether it was to accentuate my mood or remind me of someone, the purpose was to evoke an emotion.  More than a decade and a half later, I find myself repeating that behavior.  This time, it’s for a God whose magnitude I can’t begin to imagine.

My day (in the quietness of housework and lesson plans) has been filled with beautiful imagery.

Consume me from the inside out, Lord…Your light will shine when all else fades! 

I see His love and mercy washing over all our sin.  And the people are saved!  Heal my heart and make it clean…Show me how to love like You loved me. 

[He] loves like a hurricane I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.  If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.  Heaven meets earth like and unforeseen kiss, and my heart turns violently inside my chest. 

Sin had left a crimson stain, but He washed it white as snow.  Your power alone can melt a heart of stone.

I’m so glad that when I turn back into a thirteen year old girl and gush about the only “He” who can ever be sufficient, I have a soundtrack powerful enough to reflect my impassioned disposition.

My husband says that most people are not smacked with a deluge of thoughts.  I think that it’s rather common, but people don’t articulate them.  There’s a deep version and a shallow version.  There are new thoughts and thoughts that have almost reached the end of the thinking process.  These are just a few the shallow thoughts that smacked me in the few seconds between grabbing the computer and booting up.  I’ll dub them surface thoughts.

1)      Did someone give my children Red Bull last night right before church?  They’re usually crazy, but holy crud!  In related news, I apologize to anyone who was hugged/attacked by my daughters.

2)      My husband is amazing.  Even when he’s leaks tinges of dork, he’s still the most amazing husband in the whole wide world.  He never stops astonishing me with his awesomeness.

3)      I feel an odd satisfaction when the contractor’s paint disappears behind the latex semi-gloss.  Ha! Walls, I dare you to show evidence that I have children in these rooms by remembering every tiny fingerprint!  I can wipe the walls down in the kids’ rooms now.

4)      Luke’s room is now orange.  He has worn an orange shirt every day since his before his 4th birthday unless I vetoed it.  An orange room was fitting.  He calls it “orange heaven.”

5)      I’m watching a documentary with my husband.  I love that he’s my nerdy honey.

6)      I also love that he makes a daily practice and responsibility of playing the audio Bible.  It’s a Bible in a year plan

7)      Since school started and my 7 year old is out of the house, both toddlers began using sentences.  Communication is a beautiful thing.

8)      My friends are interesting people.  Intellect with laughter makes for great exhortation.

9)      I have an infected tear duct.  I hear that the cure is a good cry.  Apparently, I’m supposed to watch Fried Green Tomatoes.  I don’t cry during chick flicks. Oh well.  I’ll wait it out.

Is the deluge of thoughts normal?  Is it a gender thing?  My husband suggests that it’s a gender difference.

Calc III.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I mean, really, it’s beautiful.  It’s all of the intricacy of Calc I, but in 3-D.  Calc III can dance because it has the freedom of space.

I have decided to audit my undergrad classes. I’ve been teaching algebra for seven years and had three children.  Information has leaked out over the years.  Calc III is the first one that fit into my schedule.  I was encouraged to audit with a friend, but she bailed.  She had already whetted my academic appetite.

I have two observations from my first night.

1)      I have no idea what an audit student’s etiquette should be.  I knew the answers to the questions that the professor asked the class (“Riemann’s Sum!”  “Bounded!”  “Magnitude!”  “Intermediate Value Theorem!” These stayed tucked away in my head).  I didn’t answer because I’m not sure what the etiquette is for an audit student.  (Also, how often do people audit Calc III?  I know that this is odd, but why is it?  I’ve heard so many math majors say, “Oh, it’s been years since I used it.  I don’t remember that anymore.”  They often go into a more lucrative field.  What a waste.  Taking the time to learn is the reason that we owe it to our brains not to unlearn. I digress.)

2)      I made the twenty-ninth student but only the fourth girl.  The vast majority cited an engineering major.  There were three (3/28, less than 11%) females enrolled in the class.  I remembered my original Calc III class.  The professor, a woman, told all of us to bring our middle school nieces to “Girls’ Math Day.”  A male student disputed, “That’s sexist.”  The professor responded, “Look around.”  There were seven females in the class of fifty—a slightly better ratio.  She continued, “I rest my case.”  However, in 2011, women still aren’t pursuing careers that require calculus?  I understand that women who choose to get a college education are more likely to choose careers that are the bedrock careers, education and nursing (we have no society to build without those who nurture our minds and bodies).  I’m not saying that I intend to lead a revolution, but I (the pot calling the kettle black) just find it puzzling women are not naturally infiltrating these careers.

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