A Poem About Mathematics


This poem was written for the Melbourne University Mathematics and Statistic Society’s magazine, Paradox. It is about an experience that I experienced as a first-year (freshman) at Melbourne University.

When I started maths and stats
I also did philosophy
in that we studied brains in vats
and Descartes’ dual-lology

My study habits weren’t the best
I did not always go
To lectures, tutes and even tests
My learning curve was slow

One day in June, I learned my lesson
its one that you must know
it happened in an exam-session
I was a daft mo-fo

On thursday was my maths exam
but phyics was on tuesday
on monday I had planned to cram
for only stuff the next day

So Tuesday came, so starts the fable
but something wasn’t proper
I sat and stared but on the table
there lay a quaint heart-stopper

The maths exam was sitting there
and quite to my surprise
I looked around and to be fair
could not believe my eyes

I couldn’t believe I’d muddled up
the dates of my exams
but I never, never, never give up
so I came up with a plan

I’d work from basics, from the ground
first principles they were known
Whitehead and Russell knew it was sound
as Principia Mathematica has shown

Alas my mind had not the will
nor ability that day
to finish all, to crush, to kill
the shock and the dismay

But greater shock there was to come
for when results came out
that subject’s final score would sum
to fifty percent

p.s. the moral of this story is 620-211 is an easy subject

p.p.s. at Melbourne University your grade is a number between 0 and 100. 50 is the pass mark.

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