# The negative wind speed beneath my wings

We had our first test this week. The last question was a word problem about the amount of pollution in the air based on the speed of the wind. Somehow, I ended up with a negative wind speed. Which I know is illogical and impossible (unless I completely misunderstood the LIGO announcement this week). But the math that I had worked out to arrive at the negative wind speed looked pretty much right to me. And so, knowing that my answer was absolutely wrong, I wrote it down anyway. Something is always better than nothing.

It is only this week dawning on me that I might actually fail this course, which has put me into a very fast five-stages-of-grief tailspin. At the peak of my frustration, I told a friend that I was doing everything I knew how to do, and it wasn’t enough. She said:

- “Did you visit your professor during office hours?” No.
- “Did you seek out tutoring?” No.
- “Did you find other books to explain the same problem differently?” No.

She pointed out that I was not, in fact, doing everything I knew how to do. Fellow math students have also suggested that I sit in the tutoring center while doing homework and that I ask around for links to YouTube videos of people working through the steps for given problems.

Honestly? I HATE THESE IDEAS. I believed learning math wouldn’t require as much collaboration as learning to write seems to require. And honestly, the idea of doing math in a vacuum appeals to me. I’m not sure why, when I know how powerful collaboration can be. For some reason, I want to be inside a black hole with math, where nothing IS something. Or something like that. Maybe my answer to this test question was me trying to tell myself as much. Except I don’t know enough math to have ever orchestrated the negative wind speed answer on purpose.

This week, I need to reassess my goals with this math business. If this project is going to last longer than a semester, I suppose I need a better plan. Working in a black hole, as much as I like the idea of it, isn’t going to get me very far.