“I did it! And I got it and it really, ultimately, wasn’t even that hard!” I gloated after finishing my math class last semester.

“Now remember this feeling, ok?” he said to me, “Remember how conquering an obstacle is what makes you stronger. Think of this next time you come up against a challenge.”

Of course! I beamed, How could I ever forget this feeling?


I stare blankly at the screen.

Use the limit definition of the derivitave to determine the rate of change with respect to price in ‘a’.

My heart starts to speed up, my face gets hot. I don’t… I don’t even know what that means.

I am 17 again. I am small and weak. I am not confident. I am not smart enough for this. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I want to run, I want to quit, I just want this to go away.

“Read the text,” he encourages me, “Stay calm and think about it, you’ll be able to figure it out.” I smile, because I’m afraid that if I don’t, I’ll cry.

Why am I doing this? Why? What was going on in my head that made calculus seem like a good idea?

But I did it before, I tell myself. I thought I couldn’t then and I wanted to cry and quit and I didn’t and it was ok.

There must be an excuse for that, though. The prof was easier or the material was more simple or something, something, something.

My skin is crawling, my throat is tight, later tonight my stomach will be upset from this stress.

I’ll email the prof, or talk to her before next class, or end up at the tutorial Thursday night. Surely, I can do this, can’t I?


The only problem is, it’s quite scary here, outside my comfort zone.

One Comment on “Outside

  1. Calculus scares me to death.
    I took it in college, basically lived outside the Prof’s office during hours, and somehow survived it. Even did pretty well.
    Now, if you had a chainsaw to my throat, I could not do one iota of calculus.
    It’s Satan’s math.

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