Mourning my minor

My husband and I are back contingency planning. We might have an opportunity to return to Japan for a few years, or we might stay in San Diego until I graduate… or neither of those might work out, of course.

Regardless, now that I’ve finally matriculated and gotten a degree audit, I have a good idea for the first time of when I’ll be able to graduate. If I work more diligently than usual, have no medical emergencies, etc., March 2017 could happen, but June is more reasonable.

Of course, that’s assuming I take the straightest route, and abandon my mathematics minor dreams. I won’t take upper division linear algebra. I won’t take classes about cryptography, mathematical reasoning, abstract algebra, or even teaching high school geometry.

To many students–students who are just starting to drink legally, who live in a dorm room, who are not married, and have never had a career–a few months is nothing. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose that’s true anyway. But graduating a few months later, for me, would mean postponing other things that are more important to me than another handful of really interesting math classes.

So I’m spending more of my free time studying math on my own, and I’m planning on building up a better library of math books at home. When K. and I have settled more permanently, and if we are not too broke or overworked, maybe I’ll take more math classes at a local college after work. Maybe I’ll be that older woman who has a family and a degree and a job already, who can take the classes she wants, for herself, with zero pressure to even do well. I don’t know.

Anyway, I learned a linear algebra application problem today; you can balance a chemical equation using matrices instead of that weird, hard-to-explain-you-just-have-to-try-it method that people are taught in general chemistry classes.

Here is one I did earlier, just for fun:

001I discovered this because I started going through my old linear algebra textbook, which just makes the statement, “Chemists can use linear algebra to balance chemical equations.” I had to use the Interwebs to find an example of the process, and jog my memory a bit to realize why this works (which is too abstract for me to attempt to explain at this time).

So no math minor for me, but at least I can glean my old books, and eventually buy new ones. And in fall I’ve got one last math course to take for my major–which I guess I’ll just do my best to savor.

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