(d/dx)(x^2) = Waterworks

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"Then felt I like some watcher of the skies / When a new planet swims into his ken" (9-10).
            John Keats, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer"

The reason this poem appealed to me the most is because it reflects a sentiment not restricted to literature.  For me personally, since I've never read the Odyssey or the Iliad,  I first thought about reading Chaucer.  It takes a while before you become familiar with the language, eventually giving you an "a-ha!" moment when it finally makes sense, just like an astronomer would feel when he realizes that mass in the sky is a planet.

However, the subject in which this feeling has been most prevalent for me was always math.  I love the study of math because it's kind of like a scientific art.  Despite that love, in high school, it always took me a couple problems and many tears before I could understand a new concept.  I would literally just sit in the classroom and cry while the teacher taught her lesson, and luckily I had the same teacher for 3 of my 4 years in high school so she was used to my occasional tears.  (Poor college algebra teacher... he never had the chance to get used to it and I'm sure it must have been rather awkward for him).  

Anyways, my favorite part about math class was the moment when it all made sense.  I remember in my senior calculus class, when we were learning how to graph the limit of a function, I cried while I did the entire worksheet packet.  I just could not understand what the point was at all.  However, the assignment finally made sense and in that exact moment, I felt like the entire world made sense.  Of course, I don't think the world could ever make total sense, but at the time, I was so enlightened that I felt like it could.  

I guess I'm getting a little ramble-y here, but this poem really reached out to me because it let me relive a bit of my past.


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