A Biology Major… Minus The Bio

9 09 2010

At the onset, I should note that this particular tirade is going to be rather childish and exclusively designed to serve my unquenchable desire to rant in the aftermath of some recent academic events. Nevertheless, it should at the very least explain my inability to post anything of late (though lest anyone start to worry, this week’s “spotlight” entry is still proceeding on schedule).

I was recently forced to renovate the academic makeup of my entire first semester here at Stony Brook on account of a subject which has continuously served as the undisputed bane of my existence: mathematics. In order to complete my Bachelor’s degree in biology, I’ll need to swallow two semesters of physics, which I can’t complete without first passing a pair of calculus classes for which I’m ineligible in lieu of having already passed a pre-calc course whose introductory concepts have swiftly eluded every effort I’ve made to comprehend them despite my exhaustive employment of an absolute plethora of external resources, forcing me to set the entire damnable process even further back by enrolling into an algebra proficiency “elective”.

This regrettable chain of events has produced yet another delightful side-effect: I’ve been coerced into postponing ALL of my biology classes until this spring (and replacing them with a motley crew of required humanities sessions for the time being) due to their co-requisite status with the aforementioned pre-calculus course for which I am simply no intellectual match. Consequently, I may not be able to obtain this degree within an affordable amount of time.

Sheesh, it’s at times like these that I wish I was an English major…


Okay, I feel better now and apologize for having unleashed this verbose block of self-pity into the blogosphere. Rest assured, fellow paleo nerds, scientifically relevant material will be discussed shortly.




3 responses

10 09 2010

i feel your pain. I too lament the fact that i suck at math: http://accpaleo.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/paleontology-and-depression/

The endless math requirements make no sense. But in one instance, they never even existed. When i was applying for high school, i wanted to take biology because i’m interested in it and i’d do well in it. But they told me i needed geometry to take bio ( was struggling with algebra). So the next year i try again. I get the same response. I try yet again and get the same response. So i took life science (which was just watered down biology) instead. The teacher said i was very misplaced in that class and said he would see to it that i got into biology without that stupid math requirement. And he succeeded. I was so happy to get into the class i always wanted to take after three years of fruitless attempts. Later i found out there wasn’t a geometry requirement. They just said that to discourage freshman from taking it because previous students would tell them it was easy and hence everyone was trying to take it.

And don’t worry. It’s ok to let it out. It’s the healthy thing to do.

18 11 2010
James Boyle

Just discovered this blog about a week ago doing random searches on paelo things and it looks great. Anyway, I’m a geology major and have come across the exact same problem with math being required to take up to engineering calculus II and then two additional semesters of upper-level math and 3 physics classes. I am in my last year as an undergraduate and am finally as of this fall semester finishing my math (in calc IV) and physics requirements two years behind the normal sequence but I’m still able to graduate on time.

Best advice I can give is to just keep at it and do so many problems that your brain goes into something like auto-pilot and gets into a mathematical mindset. As much as I depsise math I’m finally at the level where it is applicable to real-world systems and one of the first application was population models for a predator-prey system. So unfortunately it just has to be accepted that math is applicable to literally every field of science, it just takes a lot to get to the point of being able to use it.

Best of luck in your studies!

22 01 2011

You’ve stumbled in a landmine called “milk the student.” The maze of classes you have to take before you can take those you actually need is how universities every where extract the last cent from your wallet. As a Speech Pathology major I found myself taking Greek Mythology that I could have taught better than the so-called professor. When I was broke they finally let me take my core classes.

Rant on, there are a lot of us who share your pain.

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