Calculus I, Spring 2015
Letters to students of Calculus

Dear future calculus 141 student,

Hi! I hope the start of the semester is going smoothly and you are taking all the classes you wanted. I am currently enrolled in Calculus 141 and it is almost the end of the semester. We had our last class today and now all that is left is the final exam which will take place in several days. I wish someone wrote me a letter when I was entering the course because there were some things as a freshman, I was uninformed about. Whether or not you are a freshman though, this advice can still be beneficial.

Firstly, I suggest you review pre-calculus before the semester so you are not rusty in your math skills. This class requires you to know all formulas learned in previous math courses such as volume and areas of shapes, so look over those as well. Secondly, it is crucial to know about the Math Lab, a room full of free math tutors in Kiely Hall 331. It is an amazing place where I spend multiple hours every week doing homework and brushing up on concepts I am not yet confident in. Also, I advise you to take homework seriously, practice really does make perfect and if you work with a buddy, even better.

I’m not going to lie to you, the start of the term was very hard for me and I didn't do so well on the first test. However, afterward my attitude changed. I started putting more effort into the class and I have noticed my own math skills improving greatly over the course of this fall semester. I hope you go in with the right mindset and motivation to succeed. Have fun in calculus, it is really cool and you will be very proud of yourself for what you are capable of accomplishing. I know you will be really great! “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”(Helen Keller)


Calculus student

Dear Calculus 141 students:

If you are anything like me, Calculus is the furthest you have gone in your math academic careers and you have most likely put it off, until now. In the beginning of the semester, I felt confident, having taken Pre-calculus, I was prepared for the course. I might have “overestimated” (remember this term when you reach linearalizations) my readiness. As expected, Calculus relies on all of your previous knowledge and sometimes, plain old common sense. Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and even drawing skills, come back to pay you a visit.

My advice to do well in the course is to first make sure you review all your trig functions, your area and volume formulas. This will save you time when trying to solve problems. Most importantly, while going through the semester, know your definitions inside and out. I have to admit that in past courses I would look at a formula, memorize it, and simply plug in my numbers. This method will not work here. Understand what they actually mean, it sounds redundant, but take it seriously. Know when they apply and all the special cases or exceptions to the rules. Take advantage of learning from your peers, sometimes, they’re able to explain things differently. Finally, practice, practice, practice, doing problems, especially, word problems. I can’t emphasize that enough. As I have learned, this is what Calculus ultimately boils down to; applying all of it to real life problems, minimizing costs or time, maximizing profit or distance, etc. Now, take a deep breath, and good luck!

Dear Future Calculus 141 Students,

I took Calculus 141 with Professor Hanusa during the fall 2014 semester as a freshman. I personally felt that Calculus in college is completely different from Calculus in high school. In high school I ended up getting very high grades with little to no studying at all. Calculus is taught VERY differently, at least in my experience. Professor Hanusa will teach you what Calculus is for. He will go further than just teaching you how to do it. What good is it if you don't understand what it's for? In high school I was primarily taught how to do it as opposed to explanations behind everything and actually having to know what concepts are for. Calculus itself isn't difficult, grasping concepts can take some time however. This class focus very heavily on the concept which is why instead of getting great grades like I did in high school Calculus I ended up averaging roughly B+ in this course.

Honestly, the best way to explain Calculus is it's the study of change. In 141 the main focus is derivatives. The derivative of a function is described to be the "Slope of the tangent line". For some reason I've never liked that definition. I prefer to think of a derivative as the rate at which a function changes. The easiest example to understand what I mean would have to be: You're given a function of position. When you take the derivative of position you get a function that gives you velocity. This is logical because the velocity is the change in position. If you take the derivative of velocity you get acceleration. This is again logical because acceleration is the change in velocity. I personally thought it was better to know the short way of taking the derivative before learning the definition of the derivative with limits. This is personally because with the short way that you'll eventually learn you can check your answer for when you solve with the limit definition. If you ever get stuck on a problem you could always ask the professor, he's very friendly and will certainly help - through email or in person. Anyways, my last words are study! Definitely study for this course, even if you've taken calculus before or know anything about it prior. Also know definitions because there will always be at least one on the exams. If you ever get lost in Calculus and don't want to ask the professor a question, I recommend the youtube channel patrickJMT - he is rather insightful and has a lot of math related videos. Best of luck in this class!

P.S some of the algebra in this class is REALLY difficult to understand, at least that was the case for me. I would definitely recommend brushing up on some algebra.

If you have a love for math and would enjoy a method of calculation, especially one of several highly systematic methods of treating problems by a special system of algebraic notations; then calculus, especially course number 141, is the class for you! After taking an Introduction to Calculus class in high school, and succeeding by obtaining high grades, I felt it would be awesome to take a similar calculus course upon my entry to Queens College. Thinking back to the beginning of the semester, it would have been nice to know that the amount of homework in this class would exceed my expectations. However, as I matured as a college freshman, I soon became accustomed to the high level of homework and actually found it to be quite beneficial. By completing homework, I felt it was great practice especially for tests. Speaking of tests, I would have also liked to have been notified of three tests plus a final in this course. Again, though, I came to realize that it is great to have a professor who is hands-on and has a genuine passion for math.

Be prepared to work hard and dedicate time to this class, especially if you’re the type of student who loves challenges.This means balancing your time well so that when the semester ends, as I came to find out, you can end the class with a high grade. So, be prepared to explore calculus like you would never have imagined before! From limits to derivatives, to differentials and unique mathematical theorems, you will experience the thorough definitions of each of those terms. Also, besides being a calculus class, Math 141 is also a social class. What I mean by this is, even if you are a typically quiet person you should take a class that allows you to “open up” by making new friends, working with others to solve math problems that, who knows, neither of you may be able to answer. This aspect of the class was especially an imperative one that Professor always wanted to convey to his students. I can proudly say that I am glad to have been a student of Professor Hanusa’s and to have had him as a Professor.

I think Calculus is the study of how the change of one thing impacts other things. Like in a function you input x and get the output y. In calculus you study more than just functions, including optimization, limits, related rates, and derivatives, which are all about how things change.

The professor was funny and approachable. In class, he answered questions, not only just to give you an answer, but he also lets the other students explain, so we can remember better. But his exams are difficult and he does not review for it, but he will go over the questions you don't know. So make sure to review by yourself and bring your questions to the class before the test. Just be sure to take your work seriously. Be very detailed when it comes to homeworks and exams. Work only seems long because the questions are tricky. Once you catch what is going on, this class is a breeze. All I can say is: DO YOUR HOMEWORK and BRING QUESTIONS TO THE CLASS.

Hello new Calc 141 Student,

I am a calc student who is going to take the Calc final tomorrow.

For those of you who are like me, Math is not easy. It is a big headache and it has many obstacles. However, if you are also like me, you find that if you actually put the time to it, you will surprisingly see results — and that is exactly how this class will be.

Professor Hanusa is a great teacher and he will provide you with all the materials that you will need to succeed. He tries to accommodate every single learning style with the use of the white board, colored markers (which are very pretty), handouts and group work. He also checks around the room after an important topic for a good few minutes to see if there are any confused fish out at sea. He will, like it or not, force you to use your brains and actually do calculus.

So, my advice to you all is: do it. Do all of it. He gives you all you need, you just need to do your part and give it your best. Just like a relationship, it takes two to tango. So tango with Calculus and you'll be great.

Good luck,

The concepts have to be understood completely in order be even remotely successful. In calculus, I think it is important to know not only how the different equations or theorems work but also why. The reason is if you can understand why a certain theorem works, for example, it is easier to identify other occasions in which it is applicable. In order to do this, you need to practice and so this is where the homework comes in. More often than not the topics I had most trouble understanding were the ones I avoided when doing the textbook homework. This made the next day’s classwork hard to grasp.

The most important thing would have to be not being afraid to ask for help. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. I would recommend that you take advantage of office hours and the tutoring center and ask for help as soon as possible. If you fall behind in one topic, it can be detrimental as most topics build upon previous work so it can make future work difficult.

Salutations Incoming Students,

Upon entering this course, I was heavily intimidated by the weight of the word, "calculus" let alone an entire course on it! I took a seat in this very classroom, our class being gladly received by Professor Hanusa, we got a chance to exchange conversation with each other that first day and from day two, the road began.

I'd like to impart some tips or advice that I would have appreciated knowing for myself. It's essential to read the chapters for the lecture due that day. Math textbooks use words very precisely; each word is written with purpose. Truthfully, I underestimated the power of English in this class. Do, do the work required of you before class coming to class with questions and also a certain zeal for learning. Professor is very kind so meet with him during his hours! There is also tutoring is also offered Monday through Friday in Kiely 331. Tutoring is also offered in Delaney Hall, it's aimed for SEEK students, however, they help anyone and it's usually empty in there. I stress tutoring so much because it for me, became essential to my keeping up with homework. It's a great place to study math because at any point you're stuck, you have help available for you.

Calculus, from what I've gathered is having mastery over concepts (their definitions) and practicing them. Encountering a variety of questions, familiarizing yourself with the format, and gaining knowledge on how to tackle each one as it comes, it's all time consuming but well worth the effort. It's all sounds so simple everything I'm sharing now, but it took me an entire semester to figure it out. I wasted a lot of my time going about studying one way when the correct route had been the path opposite mine.

I wish you all much academic success,

I think that before starting this class, it is important that you know all your trig functions and basic and complex methods of factoring and solving equations. You should also know how to work well with exponents because most of the time you will be dealing with them when taking the derivative of something. Calculus is a lot different from other math classes. I feel like Calculus is a math that is more applied to real life vs a class of algebra. For example, one of the final topics will be optimization. Optimization word problems will almost always give you real life situations and ask you to find out how or what will maximize or minimize something. The most important thing to know about this class is that Calculus can only be learned by constantly doing problems and keeping up with your homework. If you fail to complete homework you will not do as well in the exams. You should also designate at least a minimum of 2-3 hours of studying per class hour. So if your class was 2 hours, you should be studying at least 4-6 hours that night to perfect these complex problems.

Dear future students of Calculus 141,

Some advice I would give is to study and review your notes. Notes are important to copy down and review. The main thing to do well in calculus 141 is to practice with multiple questions of all sorts. Practicing with different questions allows the student to think and understand the different possibilities of wording a question and also it helps determine which formula to use. I think the main important thing is to practice and to understand. Study groups are also helpful because someone in the group may know something someone else didn’t know. It also helps because usually student to student group work allow them to fully understand in their own words rather than the teacher’s definition.