One Half Friend

One Half Friend - Traino 1 Four Years of Being a Math Major...

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Traino 1 Four Years of Being a Math Major = One Half-Friend I remember my first day of classes at Boston College. I’d imagine most people do. I also remember my second day of classes. I remember waking up early – way too early actually, much like the previous day. This of course led to more time to feel awkward sitting alone in the dining hall. I remember picking out my second best polo (I had worn the first the day before). It was still clean, crisp, yet to be shrunk, unstained, and hanging in my closet, just as my mom had left it. I gelled my hair, put in my contacts, got a full breakfast, and arrived to class plenty early, allowing myself ample time to pick out a good seat and strike up some conversations. However when I got to class, I found things to be very different from the previous day. I was by far the first person to arrive to the classroom. As people trickled in, they seemingly made a point of sitting as far away from me as possible. I had showered that morning, so I was very confused. The professor showed up, handed out the syllabus and immediately dove into the material. Since I had been caught off guard and it was entirely too early to pay attention to anything he had to say, I aimlessly looked at the people around me. Some students feverishly copied down notes, others looked as bored as I was. No one made eye contact. No one smiled. People seemed content to sit in their wrinkled clothes, unaware that they had any classmates. The class lasted the entire 50 minutes. I made no friends. The cold, antisocial environment was exactly opposite from the environment I had experienced the previous day. That was my introduction to math classes at Boston College. After spending just over three years experiencing math classes very similar to that of my second day I began to wonder how many friends a math major is likely to make in
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Traino 2 their math classes. I came up with this. Let x = the number of friends a non-math major will make in his/her major classes over the course of his/her Boston College career 1 Let y = the number of friends a math major will make in his/her major classes over the course of his/her Boston College career E( x ) >> E( y ) 2 This seemed very obvious just from my own experience. But in an effort to calculate E( y ), I developed a very scientific formula: Let m = the total number of math courses taken at BC k represents the th math class you will take at BC 3 E( y ) = m E( ) for any k Z + 4 such that 0 < < m   This of course leaves the very simple task of determining E( k ) for an arbitrary k within the parameters. The formula is as follows: Let n = the average number of students in a math class Let p = the probability of befriending a given student over the course of a semester E( k ) = p We will assume that n = 30. We now must determine what p equals. This is where a little ingenuity is needed.
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One Half Friend - Traino 1 Four Years of Being a Math Major...

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