Asymptote. Logarithm. Derivative.
I have not seriously interacted with such words in over a decade.
And yet here I sit, in my brother’s undergraduate Calculus class, listening to a lecture filled with mathematical jargon. I watch as the professor — displaying an infinity necklace and a love of numbers — goes over the quiz, engages with questions, and teaches fundamental theorems of calculus. I sit alongside students fifteen years my junior and struggle to keep up.
And my heart is full. Full of integers, areas under the curve, eager minds, thorough teachers, chalk dust and learning. I am surrounded by scratching pencils, raised hands, and insight.
I love it.
I love the cautiously offered questions. I love simplifying the expression. I love complicated equations and the need for four full-sized white boards to answer one problem. I love hearing my kid brother problem solve and demonstrate his understanding. It was a joy to be invited into his world today. To sit in one of his classes, read a paper he wrote, and hear some of what consumes his brain power nowadays.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and many of us will have students coming home, who will likely be excited to eat a real meal, anxious about their upcoming finals, and eager to share. Enter into their world; you’ll be glad you did — even when it includes strange words like asymptote.