Remember The Cosine Function

Fellow moody students and friends, you are not alone! The cosine function rules over all of us. Simply put, a student’s mood is best modelled by a cosine function, where the highs symbolize the “Bright Future” (B.F.) phases and the troughs represent the “Impending Doom” (I.D.) phases. In B.F. phases, you feel invincible and proud. In I.D. phases, you just want to curl up under a blanket and never talk to anyone ever again. I say phases, plural, because the cycle always repeats without fail. As someone who has gone through most of the ups and downs, I must say I’ve developed a fondness for rollercoasters. They always leave people guessing and out of breath, but they sure make us feel alive.

The ride begins the first time you step into the college: the first B.F. phase. You have gone through high school, earned the grades you need, and are starting a new chapter in your life. You are proud, excited and ready for a fresh start. Nothing can stop you! For some people who had to attend night classes or started out in a program they do not like, experiences vary, in which case the cosine function is shifted. Once they get into their dream program, the function reaches a maximum.

Sadly, the initial joy fades out slowly as you approach your first unit test and responsibilities begin to set in. You feel overworked, constantly tired, and regretful. It gets worse and worse until you finish your midterms and midterm projects, but then you stand up from your chair and breathe. You are alright now. You have passed your first I.D. trough.

Depending on the circumstances, you reap what you sow and either elongate this phase or begin the second B.F. phase. In this phase, you regain your confidence, you realize that working hard pays off, your grades are good, and you are less stressed. You feel like you’ve cracked the code.

But then, suddenly, finals make their appearance on the stage, and your haphazard time management starts threatening your survival. You live in your teacher’s office or on your desk at home, your diet consists of quick snacks and sources of caffeine, and you binge watch Netflix because you are so overwhelmed that you cannot function. This is the most painful trough: the cosine function is at its lowest point and all your other functions are rapidly reaching after it.

Then comes the break! A neutral point where you are glad your semester is over but fearful of what is yet to come: your R-score.

This sequence repeats the following semesters until you meet the big bosses: the university applications and the professional job hunt. You realize this whole college experience was like a game demo. B.F. and I.D. feeling more mutually exclusive than ever, but you, dear student, are forgetting the cosine function. It sits on its throne and rules over us. You might be at a trough right now, but just know that, mathematically, a high will follow.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Sandrine Selim

Originally published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 08 on February 7, 2018