Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Never underestimate yourself.

So, astronomy, I have learned, is not just about the stars and planets. It involves some serious math problems as well. Keep in mind, I managed to survive algebra in high school and passed, just barely, with a D. This was back in the year 1994....14 years ago. I have never used or seen anymore stuff like that til now.

As I have said in previous posts, I have been fascinated with our solar system since Jr high....that is as far back as I can remember, LOL!! I have always wanted to take an astronomy course. Now, thanks to the help of pell grants (at least Kevin is good for something, HA!), I am getting to do just that.

Thursday night past, we did some outside observing and also worked on those 'math' problems. Mr. Nowicki posted a few examples, gave us a minute to work them ourselves, then talked us through the process. It seemed simple enough with him explaining them. As class-time winded down, he passed out a practice sheet containing several problems. Now, this is not the simple x+7 = 12 problems. That I can do. This is problems like: 56.0 tons = ____Mg (Megagrams), with you having to convert and calculate the answer. If you dealt with trig and geometry in high school, you could probably do this crap faster than lightning. It takes me a minute for my mind to grasp the concept and start grinding the gears. One thing you must take in mind: there are exponents involved in this too. Ya know, like 1 x 10 (to the 3rd power)! Now am I not only learning about astronomy, I am learning how to use a scientific calculator! Eek!

So, I came home and I ended up spending all weekend freaking out. I don't know how many times Kevin has heard me say: "I think I am doing it all wrong....I'm not going to pass my test Thursday night!" I started to put off doing the practice problems but decided I would give them a try. I still felt as though I was doing them wrong, so I decided I would schedule some one-on-one time with Mr. N.

I phoned his office yesterday several times. No answer, so I left a message. At lunch-time today, I had not heard back so I drove over to the Natural Science building. He was in a lab at the time but he did not mind talking to me for a minute and directed me to a 'conference' sign-up sheet on his office door. I penciled my name in for 1:30 and left to grab some lunch on campus. After I finished eating, I drove back over to the NS building and went into his office. I explained what was going on and pulled the practice sheet out of my notebook. He looked at it, pulled out his calculator, and went over them with me. I got all but one right! Only spot I oopsied ( and what caused one to be wrong) was where I had reversed the fraction numbers....putting on top what was suppose to be on bottom. Other than that, I did everything right! You would not believe the sense of joy, astonishment, and accomplishment that overwhelmed me! Mr. N kept saying how proud he was of me and how great I was doing for someone that had never worked problems like these before/in a while! I felt so dumb but, at the same time, I felt proud that I had figured them out by myself.

Now, Thursday evening, I can go into that classroom knowing that what I am doing is right and that I can pass the daily test....and the big exam that is scheduled for February 5th!

Wow, I feel great! Over and out!

1 comment:

beagle said...

AWESOME! You should be proud of your self! Keep up the good work!