Poem for Math Camp: A Ballad
By The Policy Verse
Founded in the 1800s as a means of fomenting British support at Columbia University, The Policy Verse has grown into one of SIPA's most secret, prestigious, poetry collectives. Their current work centers on struggles with core classes, dealing with subletters, and in this case, not being super good at math. All poetry members swear by blood oath (but, like, not a REAL blood oath) to keep each other's identities secret. Membership inquiries are only considered when Mercury is in retrograde.
Gather Class of 2020! Stop and listen here
I’d like to assuage your Math Camp fears.
It’s a hellish experience – the worst week of the year –
But take a deep breath, join your Seeples Group for a beer.
Fresh-faced masters students! So eager and so green
I admit that there’s absolutely nothing from math camp I gleaned
For I didn’t even understand algebra as a teen
And on the (open-book, open note) diagnostic test I scored a seventeen.
Really, I’ll emphasize, that’s pretty bad
So dreadful in fact, I wasn’t even assigned to a lab.
Instead I was sent to a lovely math tutor,
And we met deep in Lehman on tables of plastic pewter.
During our maiden session, our very first interaction,
He said, “Dear god, we’d best start with the fraction.”
Take heart panicked Arithmophobes, don’t let fear drive you to distraction
For SIPA has a quiet (yet sizable) mathematically inept faction.
I won’t lie dear first years – it’s really going to be a slog
But I passed Macro, Quant, and Micro,
And still have no clue what is a Log.
So if you’re sitting in orientation, heart all a-thunder
Fearing that coming to SIPA was a great blunder
I promise the econ requirements won’t tear your policy dreams asunder
(But actually … if you’re nervous … keep it 63 hund-r.)
I tell you now, what I dearly wish I’d known
Stress and self-doubt into the first weeks of grad school are sown
For we Type A policy wonks are rather panic prone
(Especially considering the size of our loans.)
Take a deep breath, be kind, don’t compete with each other.
This time is precious, you won’t have another.
You’ve picked your path
You’re in the world’s best town
Even if you suck at math
In two years you’ll wear that powdery blue graduation gown.