Mini Stream of Consciousness Take 2: Calculus is in the Bag!

Today, I took my computer science and calculus final exams and I feel good about them! I don’t feel great about them, but solidly GOOD. That makes me happy.

When I started my college journey 2 years ago, I saw math as my #1 enemy. Unfortunately, CS and math go hand in hand so learning math was unavoidable. I told myself that I’d cross that bridge when I came to it. But I still felt nervous seeing that calculus on the horizon.

As I got further into my CS program, and really loved the subject, my calculus fears grew. What if math stopped me from doing what I now loved? What if I just couldn’t hack it?

Luckily, my Calc I instructor was AMAZING. I wrote about that here.

Ok, so I survived Calc I. That didn’t give me much comfort when I found myself Googling Calc II in the middle of the night and reading about really smart people failing it 1, 2, even 3 times. Was Calc II that hard? Although I’d survived my math classes so far, I feel shaky about my skills. Math is not my natural talent by a long shot. I have to put everything into getting a B and pretty much sacrifice a lamb to get an A.

So I put in the work. I showed up for every lecture, jotted down every word my instructor spoke, and spent hours completing my homework to perfection. You should see my exam notes. I have perfected the art of tiny, neat writing with perfect highlighter accents. I had a mid-B going into the final exam. I loosely calculated I could get a 50 out of 150 on that exam and still pass. I’ll likely get a B, and an A isn’t totally off the table.

When I talk to people who are interested in computer science, but fear the math – I want to say, “Look at me! Trust me, I suck at math. I’m a confused puppy when it comes to math. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you can get through it.”

And that’s what we’re all trying to do, right?



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