Students watching Math 104 YouTube videos are extremely knowledgeable about Fetterman’s campaign

Freshman experience at Penn is not on the Quad. It’s not about going home, parties, or even making friends. It’s about watching countless hours of Robert Ghrist explaining Math 104. It’s about that cheeky, mischievous smile he throws when he presents a trick to make a problem easier. It’s about wondering how the hell the graphics are so good in every video. Where does he find this funding? Does it make them on iMovie? Is he eligible for an Emmy?

This year, things are a little different. As you may have (maybe) heard, 2022 is an election year. Pennsylvania is home to two of the biggest races in the country, as governor and a Senate seat are up for grabs. As American citizens of integrity, it is therefore of the utmost importance that we learn about these candidates and what they represent. Fortunately, Math 104 seems to do the job for us.

It’s nearly impossible to access Ghrist’s wealth of knowledge without first being yelled at by a deep, off-screen voice as black-and-white images of Mehmet Oz or Josh Shapiro flash across the screen. At this point in the semester, any student in the class knows John Fetterman’s campaign better than any DC strategist National polls released last week show the most informed voter demographic is anyone what a University of Pennslyvania student still confused about what a Taylor series is.

The repercussions of this barrage of messages are far-reaching. The TAs report that more than half of the responses to last Friday’s quiz mentioned that Doug Mastriano was “too extreme for Pennsylvania” when the question was actually about finding local maxima. Students can correctly answer how long Oz lived in New Jersey, but have no idea what the chain rule is. Scores are plummeting and many discouraged freshmen are ending their STEM careers for PPE majors. Again, that’s usually how it goes. Goodbye Calc Green. At least we can scroll through TikTok without those ads, right?


Shirley K. Rosa