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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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kistaro
So I completely fucked up my Calculus III exam. I left over 50% of the questions blank.

It's frustrating. On question after question, I'd work through it, to come to an answer that wasn't one of the options. I'd search for my mistake, I'd redo the whole problem from the start with a different strategy- and I'd still make the same damn error, to get to the same damn answer that still isn't an option.

I went for the strategy of "do only the easy ones first" and didn't even get through all of those. I wasn't sure how to begin the others.

I can't pass the C- line now; I'll have no option but to retake the course. It is mathematically impossible for me to do better than a D, and improbable to not get an F.

Oh, and if I fail the retake, too, I'll be expelled. Failing the same class twice, if you need it for your major, gets you kicked out of Washington University, because they want to save you time and money- after all, you're clearly not going to pass it the third or fourth time.

What really sucks is that the only class Calculus III is a prereq for is the Stats class also specifically required for every Engineering School degree. And that one? Not a prereq for a single fucking thing I care about. I don't need Calc III or Stats for a single class I want, and I don't percieve it as being likely that I'll use a single fucking thing I learn in either class in my actual career.

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For good or for bad, statistics really is a prerequisite for much of science... particularly all experiment design. I'm studying statistics now, and I'm surprised how useful it is.

If I can do anything to help, just ask. I'm studying Statistics now, and I might be able to answer questions from afar...

I suppose the only question I have right now is this: How much Calculus III (mutiple integrals, partial derivatives, vector calculus) does it actually use? I've got it lined up to take next semester, but I'll have to make some last-minute changes if it requires actual proficiency with math. I understand the calculus just fine, but I can't do it.

I haven't come across any partial derivatives or vector calculus in my Statistics class yet... however, multiple integrals and multiple derivatives, unfortunately, do show up with "moment generating functions". I'm sorry.

And I understand that more Calculus shows up, the more one studies Statistics...

Expelled? Weird. That doesn't make any sense. I guess it's just another of the hidden ways one can get themselves expelled here...

Perhaps you should deign to get a tutor or something?

From Information for Undergraduates from the Engineering School:
Probation and Suspension:
An undergraduate student is placed on probation if he/she has a semester GPA below 2.0, or has a cumulative GPA below 2.0, or has three incomplete("I") grades at the end of a semester, or was enrolled in credit courses and receives no degree credit at the end of a semester. Academic suspension occurs the third time a student becomes eligible for academic probation, orfails the same course twice. (Italics added, bold and underline original.)

Yes, it worries me.

I'll be heading to Cornerstone on Monday.

And yes, it says in that document that "suspension" is a euphemism for "dismissal", which is a euphemism for "expulsion."

Ah! That is rough. Sorry it had to happen... Honestly, oneof my suite mates took Calc III and got a D- the first time after studying very much, then he retook it this summer. A+! Taking it a second time really helps, and taking a course over the summer automatically makes it easier... I know it's scary, but seriously, I think you will be fine. I'm here if you need anything, and so are my suitemates if you need help.

Vector calculus sucks. I got zero out of that class and never used it again, and like you it wasn't a prereq for any other class I ever took again, but was part of the core math requirements.

Good luck.

Correction: it was a prereq for another class I did take (PDE), which was a requirement for my major at the time but when I changed to CS, it wasn't.

This is not the worst thing that could happen

The first time I took Calc III at WU, I got a D in it, I think because the teacher was feeling generous and/or guilty when it was time to report final grades. The funny part is that at this point, I was an undeclared math major. Not to date myself too overmuch, but let's just say that a certain sequel to a classic first-person shooter took up most of my time that semester. When I decided to switch to CS, the engineering school succinctly told me to pike it. I'm still not really sure why this worked, but it did - I retook Calc III that summer at Meramec of all places, had a MUCH better teacher for it, aced it, and was officially a CS major right after the start of the next semester. In short, they'll work with you if you just go talk to them and find out what you need to do. Talk to your teacher, see what he/she thinks about your chances to pass. Just showing an interest is often enough to turn an F into a D-. Talk to your advisor, see if you can find out how closely reality matches with what they threaten you with in the SEAS policy book.

And, speaking as a CS graduate, you're absolutely right - unless you specifically want to, you'll never use statistics (SSM 368 if I remember right?) again after you graduate. You *might* use SSM 317 if you're working with physics simulation, and you'll probably only need Calc III if you're going to be doing 3D graphics and animation. Come to think of it, I've never used anything other than basic algebra in my 7 year professional career. I use a lot of Calc for my 3D graphics stuff, and I'm sure there are other applications for it; I just can't think of anything more common.

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