• danikahannon

Foundations


For most of my life, math and science have intimidated me and I've stayed away from those fields.


Now I'm walking into them.


To get started, I'm learning math with Khan Academy and I'm reading a textbook on quantum physics.


I'd love to say I'm striding forward with ease, but so far my efforts haven't lead to that. Some of the results have even been laughable.


What's Gone Wrong? 


For starters, I got an e-mail from Khan Academy letting me know they had a suggested course for me. That was innocent enough.


Then I opened it.


They recommended I take elementary math. As in, "what's two plus two" math.


All I could think was, "... Well. That's embarrassing."


And it was! But it was funny, too.


Ego Recovery


I, ah, didn't go back to Khan Academy for a few weeks after that.


Curiosity got the better of me, though, and last week I logged in to see if I could root out the problem. Here's what happened:

  1. I checked my courses dashboard. It was fine.



2. I flipped to the "Progress" section and found something odd.




My mission was set to "Early Math." I almost face-palmed when I saw that.

I bumped my level up, so I'm hoping that'll take care of things.


Time'll tell. For now, let's talk about my textbook.


Muddling On


I read part of its introduction, enjoyed it and felt ready to dig in, so I flipped to the first chapter.


Here's a snippet of what I read on the first page:


"In order to prevent complete annihilation of matter and antimatter, the early Universe must have had a very slight asymmetry between the matter density and antimatter density. Theories for the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry all involve charge-conservation-parity (CP) violation and violation of the law of conservation of baryon number." - The New Physics for the 21st Century, page 13.


By the time I got to the bottom of the page, I was lost. I understood most of the words on their own, but put together I couldn't get it.


That was unsettling; yet I've kept going and am on page 35 now.


I'm proud of that. Though I admit, I get a headache when I read it and most of it's still over my head.


That helped me realize that reading this book is like learning a new language. It's okay that I don't get all of it, because what matters is that I'm sticking with it.


Reaching A Happy Pause


When reading my textbook one night, I glanced at the quote on my bookmark, which said: "At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want." - Lao Tzu


(Funny enough, the last time I used the bookmark was when I was reading a book on quantum entanglement.)




Cheers to Us


My experiences with Khan Academy and the textbook taught me that I need to be persistent. Even if I pause, like I did with my math lessons, I need to be brave enough to keep trying.

If I build my foundation on that and stick with this, I'll go far.


So, dear reader, let's take a moment to celebrate all the times we tried new things and stayed with them, even when it was uncomfortable.


Then let's get back to it.