It’s Pi Day again… as such, I’m cheating a bit on my blog for the week and reprising a piece (yes, pun intended) I originally served up on March 14, 2014… also Pi Day. Enjoy!
How did I not know that today, March 14th (and actually, also on July 22nd) is Pi Day? A funny sign in the cafeteria at work alerted me to the holiday. This type of celebration is right up my alley. You see, I was a math major at Smith College. Sound nerdy? Yes! And, I loved every minute of it.
It’s funny, I left high school saying I would never take another math course – so scarred from a bad senior year calculus experience. And, so, I didn’t… that is until second semester sophomore year. It must have been the phase of the moon, because I signed up for Math 114 which was some version of calculus. What was I thinking?
It was a tough class… I remember our first exam was of the open book, take-home variety… I got it back to my house and discovered I didn’t know how to solve any of the six questions! After going to bed in a panic, I (literally) dreamt the answers… woke up, typed up my responses, turned it in and waited to see what would happen. What I received was more than a grade (I earned an A) – I was invited into a wonderful community of mathematicians!
My professor* was pleased with my performance. He encouraged me to become a math major. I did. I met other members of the faculty. They, too, made me feel like I was part of more than just a series of classes toward a degree. I started hanging around with other math majors… OK, I know that sounds odd, but it felt great to be part of a vibrant community. I was hired to do a project by my statistics professor for a local company; the chair of the Mathematics Department invited me to be her assistant. It felt so great to belong! And, to receive all kinds of other opportunities – some professional, some community oriented, some purely social.
Indeed, I am often heard saying that networking is all about Connections. Community. Belonging. Those were the things I was attracted to in the Smith Math Department. Those, and, of course, the t-shirts. My favorite was the one that read: “Mathematicians Against Drunk Deriving. Don’t Drink and Derive.” If you don’t get it, ask a math major.
Wishing you a Happy Pi Day today… and again on July 22nd. Hope you’ll dig in to a slice of apple, pumpkin, chocolate, cherry or, my favorite, custard, with a friend or two.
*This post is dedicated to the memory of my professor, academic advisor and dear friend, Michael O. Albertson. A wonderful person and an expert deriver who made me love math, to whom I am grateful for bringing me into the community of math majors at Smith and who I miss all the time. He’s probably running regressions from heaven and enjoying a gluten-free slice of something delicious on Pi Day.
One thought to “Slice of Pi (Reprised)”
It did not occur to me that it was Pi Day on July 22 and coincidentally I ate some pie that day!