IOWA CITY, IA — The fall semester has just started for Jason Leroux, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Iowa, but his first weeks of college have already presented him with a major challenge. The aspiring mechanical engineering major has been struggling in his introductory analytic geometry class, a branch of mathematics that focuses geometrical shapes and vectors in multiple dimensions.
Leroux states that while he was comfortable with advanced calculus in high school, the manipulation of planes and curves in three-dimensional Cartesian coordinates is unfamiliar and uncomfortable to him. “I just can’t visualize what dot products and cross products are supposed to represent. All these planes and lines and vectors — it’s blowing my mind,” Leroux tells Anime Maru.
“To imagine that there are also spherical and cylindrical coordinate systems too, and they have their own rules; it really intimidates me. I liked math a lot better when it was 2D.”
Leroux also added that two-dimensional graphs are easier to draw on paper, and that he is considering giving up on 3D math due to a lack of self-confidence.
“Maybe engineering isn’t for me. Maybe I’ll just move to Japan and teach English while doing algebra all day.”
At press time, Leroux was in the process of applying for business school.