The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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In these memory, I portray L.J who is taking his first Calc exam. Back when he talked about his college days he started as a comp sci major. Math was a heavy requirement that he struggled on in his first semester. He looked real tense and really expressed his hatred for math, more precisely calculus. For fun I asked how his first exam went and he retold it as a long torturous hour where he knew about a few questions and the rest was a blank.

L.J sat in the auditorium anxious for his first calculus exam to begin as the packets were being handed out L. J’s pencil felt heavy as he wrote out his name on the test. He had studied and asked questions, but not as much as he should have. On the walk to the exam L.J thought about just jumping into oncoming traffic rather than taking the test, but concluded he’d have to take the test inevitably, so he’d rather take it in full health and not a body cast.

“You have 50 minutes for your exam. The back page has a reference to….” the professor spoke, but L. J’s heart had dropped to the sunken place. He could see the room’s center stage, but the professor was getting smaller as if he were drowning, going deeper into the dark abyss.

“… and the rest is free response. You may begin now,” the professor finished.

L.J flipped the pages of the exam.

 I know this! He thought. He flipped the page confidently.

Then again.

 And again, and again till he had reached the last page. The exam asked L.J to calculate slopes to tangent line at certain points, compute second hand derivatives, implicit differentiation, prove continuity, state fundamental calculus theorems, and graphs of functions. You gotta be kidding me, L.J thought as he realized that he only a few questions on the entire exam. He scanned the room to see if anyone was struggling as bad as him, but quickly looked back at his test to not be accused of cheating.

L.J began doing questions he was sure about then scribbled what he thought could be right on questions he drew a blank on. He thought maybe a D wouldn’t be so bad. L.J could hear others writing as frantically as him.

“You have 20 minutes remaining”

At this point L.J felt content enough and accepted that he lost this battle, but would eventually win the war of calculus. He handed his test to the professor, showed his University of Maryland Eastern Shore ID, gave him a halfheartedly smile and ran out of the auditorium. 

CALC

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2002
University of Maryland Eastern Shore

In these memory, I portray L.J who is taking his first Calc exam. Back when he talked about his college days he started as a comp sci major. Math was a heavy requirement that he struggled on in his first semester. He looked real tense and really expressed his hatred for math, more precisely calculus. For fun I asked how his first exam went and he retold it as a long torturous hour where he knew about a few questions and the rest was a blank.

Decade: 2000s
Rating:
Recorded by Henry Williams on December 6, 2017
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