This is a common question that I get a lot, especially amongst juniors in high school that are in PreCalculus and feel burnt out from years and years of math classes. They are approaching their senior year and they are tempted to just take some easy(or easier) classes and just slide through their last year. The name "Calculus" alone makes some students shutter at the thought. After all, they think, "I can take more math classes in college." Unless, students are clearly going onto be a mathematician, engineer, or physicist for example they reason that they have little need for more math. Here is where I give them my, usually unpopular, opinion on the matter. First of all, I tell them that the name of the class(Calculus) is more intimidating than the class actually is. Also, it is just the next step along the path they have already been traveling. In addition, many universities require that students complete up through Calculus 1 even for seemingly unrelated degree programs. Furthermore, you may decide to change your course of study. Completing a math program up through even the first Calculus course gives you a solid math background whichever direction your studies take you. Also, while you are still in high school you stand the best chance to really learn, digest, and absorb Calculus. At college your class meets twice a week, you usually have little to no interaction with the professor, and are left to figure out a lot of the math on your own. Conversely, in high school you attend class on a daily basis and can take the information in bite size manageable pieces that you can more readily understand and retain. Think of it this way: If you were running a marathon and had completed an amazing 25 miles, would you walk the last mile? Similiarly, you are about to round out a comprehensive and cumulative math sequence. Don't stop now, the finish line is in sight and even if you don't ever use Calculus again you can always tell people you took Calculus...and yes it will sound impressive.
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August 2017
