Math 308, Autumn 2009 and Spring 2010
Linear algebra is the key to mastering the beasts of systems of equations and matrices. For many masters of beasts in the College of Engineering, Math 308 is a small hill to conquer-- for me, it was one that has taken me three attempts. If faced with a less-than-delightful instructor a student should turn to their fellow classmates, teaching assistants, colleagues who've taken the class, or even YouTube tutorials, but hindsight is 20/20 and my first attempt in this subject was a hard test of my vision. Although I was a sophomore with a new job that required me to balance flexibility and assertiveness, I couldn't muster enough of either when it came to the clash between my professor's stern pedagogy and my learning comfort zone. I wasn't able to keep up, and with an already difficult course list and busy schedule I made the huge decision to drop the class and stamp my transcript with the shameful mark, W7.
Yet in order to attain an engineering degree, you must become a master-- hence, I jumped back on my trusty horse and went after Math 308 beasts once again in the following spring. The accompanying artifact is the most complete and organized set of notes I've ever produced. Though a bit ruffled, it is a huge testament to the motivation I had going into the second round of this battle. The notebook's neatness and consistency echoes my amplified focus on proving myself.
At the end of that quarter I walked away with an average grade, but a grade nonetheless. About three years later I am once again proving my mastery in Applied Mathematics 352, where linear algebra is intertwined with Matlab programming. Though the stigma of the W7 is ever-shrinking, it will remain as a reminder of the need to be creative with my learning approach and the power of motivation.