It’s funny how some skills that you gain along the way become obsolete, and others become mission critical. I haven’t had to integrate by parts in a few years, I’m ashamed to say; but I’ve oft had to read sheet music, both for my daughter’s violin recitals as well as for the benefit of a couple hundred science educators. I have a vague memory of the WKB approximation in the second semester of quantum mechanics; but I’ve since made much more use out of the Acting I course I took at the same time.

So now that I get called on to do things, both those that I understand and those I don’t, I wonder how I’m going to manage as well as how I’m going to put these to use in the future. Learning to use the Van de Graaff generator to make a teacher’s hair stand on end has turned out to be immensely useful. So I wonder if learning to deal with personnel issues at a local school, criminal investigations into drug theft, or budget shortfalls will leave any remnant skills. Or will they just remind me that serving on a school board is a bad idea? For now, I’m just trying to apply old skills to new situations, but integration by parts only applies to so many problems.


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