Misled by Mathematica

Dear Reid,

I need help with Mathematica. I have struggled through a quarter and a half of Calculus here at UMM, and just can’t seem to get a handle on even the fundamentals of using this computer program. I had Calc in high school, and never had a problem understanding the concepts. Now I spend most of my evenings in the computer lab of MRC trying to make that old Mac integrate even the simplest antiderivative.

On numerous occasions, I have gone across the hall in search of a math tutor, but have been greeted by nothing but hostility from those who I thought were there to help people like me. Tell me, Reid, what is wrong with me that I can’t grasp even the basics of Mathematica, and why won’t the tutors in MRC 1 help me out?

Sincerely,
Misled by Mathematica

I know how you feel. I myself was once cosidered a Calculus prodigy, and based on my inherent brilliance was allowed to skip out of the first two quarters when I arrived at Morris. But in Calc III, Mathematica threw even me for a loop. However, unlike you I was able to figure it out pretty easily within a couple of weeks. I’m afraid that you, my friend, are a hopeless idiot. First of all, everything you need to know is clearly explained in the brilliantly written textbook for the class, which, had you been among the rare few to actually read it, you would have been able to figure out.

However, in this day and age, no college student would ever expect that reading the text for their class would help them in any way. Besides, who has time for that? Secondly, I’m afraid that the room across the hall is not the Math Room. In fact, it has no connection with the math department whatsoever. The sign is, however, rather small and easily missed. I can understand your confusion. Had you looked carefully at the door, you would have realized that MRC Suite 1 is in fact the residence of The University Register, where not a single math tutor works. As I said, I’m afraid your case is hopeless. Oh, by the way, find another stapler.

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