z = (x-μ)/σ

For the first time in four years, I’m taking a math class. Math 143, Introduction to Statistics, at 8 am four days a week. Why I scheduled an 8 am math class in the spring of my senior year is something I won’t try to answer.

Despite the early hour, I’m really enjoying the class. I know there’s a million ways to make statistics tell lies, but there’s a straightforwardness to the problems that I like. Answers are either right or wrong, and solving the problems is satisfying in a simple, important way. I get that satisfaction from other things too—doing simple drills in climbing class this morning, learning basic sentences in my beginning Hungarian classes last semester—but I wish I taken more math in college, as a sort of recreational activity. Not so much that I’d fully understand how complicated math can be, but just enough to still have fun with what I imagine to be its objectivity.

It’s probably heresy for a liberal arts student to want simplicity and objectivity, but the sense of accomplishment that comes from solving a problem correctly is refreshing—and something a history major doesn’t get much of.

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