Saturday, November 05, 2011

Challenge 4: X

I have challenged my students to write a college application essay of at least 300 words every day for 30 days, working off a long list of essay topics. Below is one of my attempts. (Note from the future: Out of about 50 students, 22 actually completed it. I tried but gave up after 18 days.)

#135: Find x. (U of Chicago)

This is a revision of something I scribbled in 2008 while proctoring a two-hour advanced mathematics final exam.

Mathematically Impossible
Even if you examine the remainder
in a question of division,
when multiplying rational roots,
some results remain irrational.

If you get to the end of the equation,
examining all possible angles,
following parallel points and lines,
certain answers refuse to equate.

And when constants amount to nothing,
all functions become dysfunctional;
when greater becomes less than,
all probabilities lose their possibilities.

Some multiple-choice problems
follow neither logic nor formula,
and there can be no correction
for this subtraction.

So even if you think you know the how and y,
having double-checked the evidence,
it remains forever indefinite
why she's your x
and not your infinite one.

OK, OK, just so you don't think I was being cheesy or sentimental that day, I also wrote this (as you can imagine, proctoring an exam can be quite boring):

Snot Good

The boy sniffling a lot,
Blowing into tissue a lot,
Looking and sounding like he's about to die
a lot,
Isn't wearing socks.

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