frosh,  math,  stress

Pythagoras wouldn’t have panicked. He was kinda scary though.


I am a first year-student in Life Sciences about to embark on the journeys of MAT135 in the Fall and MAT136 in the Winter, and I feel very insecure about it. I got a 75 in grade 12 calculus, and the teacher was being generous. I feel like I don’t remember anything from last year? Should I review my notes? If I do, wouldn’t that hold me back? Does MAT135 touch upon some concepts from grade 12?

How much should I be worried about university math – on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being ‘really worried’? I know there are math aid centres – can I just drop into those? Should I also allow myself to be consumed with stress if I get a low mark? And if I do get a low mark (and I’m praying I’m not) will that affect my application to the program I want to get into (Human Biology)?

Thanks for your time.


You’re stressing a lot. Let me tell you something: there is no call for the kind of panicking you’re doing right now. Life is too short for that kind of silliness. Here’s something that you probably don’t realize: you’re not the only one who knows you’re a frosh. It’s not some kind of big secret. Everyone else can tell. I can tell, your peers can tell, and more importantly, your profs can tell.

This means that the professor knows your background, and he or she is going to structure the lecture appropriately towards it. The course starts off with a quick review of trigonometry, which, if you went to school in Ontario, is something that you started learning about in Grade 11 Math (if you went to school outside Ontario, you’re also more than likely to have learned this before).

Now, I’m not saying the course is going to be a piece of cake, but it won’t be impossible, either, regardless of what your marks were like in high school. If you consistently do the weekly problems and go to lecture, you’ll do well. If you do find yourself needing help, however, it is always available to you – absolutely feel free to drop in on it!

As for Human Biology, as long as you complete 4.0 credits, you’re eligible to enrol – so don’t panic.

Good luck, little soldier, and try to chin up!


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