Illustration by Isabel Ríos

Math Program Launches Challenging New Course, ‘How to Count to Six, Idiots’

I might have gotten an A in Multivariable Calculus, but this… this scares me.

Jan 31, 2021

Panic swept across Saadiyat last month as hoards of potentially plague-bearing pupils flooded onto campus. Clogging the halls of D2 worse than the mysterious detritus massing at the bottom of your sink and roaming the High Line in sprawling herds fit for a National Geographic documentary, the situation has quickly become critical. We do, however, have hope. One department stands alone against the onslaught. A few daring math professors have launched a new required course to save our campus from a certain viral outbreak: MATH-UH 7734 “How to Count to Six, Idiots.”
“I know it’s a radical position, but I believe universities should teach what students don’t know,” explained Taylor Ceres, a calculus professor, “and from what I see on campus this semester, they do not know what six means.”
Indeed, it appears that many students at NYU Abu Dhabi remain deficient in a concept mastered by babies still struggling with object permanence. Despite agreeing to maintain a safe distance and never gather in groups larger than the Arab Crossroads department, ubiquitous recent evidence boasts otherwise. Like a senior in denial about their capstone deadline next week, many in the student body fail to demonstrate any competency in the foundational skills of cognition or personal responsibility.
“It’s basic math and basic collaboration,” explained Professor Pevalyu Huntor. “Given what I see in my Intro to Stats class, I’m not surprised by their failure one bit.”
The new course, however, seeks to change all that. Headed by math and science faculty with select guest instruction by homeschooled kindergarteners, the class aims to equip each and every undergraduate with the skills they need to identify health code violations and sexy abdominal muscles alike.
“Not gonna lie,” shared Wulvram Alfuh, Class of 2022, “I might have gotten an A in Multivariable Calculus, but this… this scares me.”
Indeed, Alfuh is far from alone. Given the scale of the issue, as of an announcement from Vice Provost ThechancesIletyouoverloadarelookingpretty Grimm, “How to Count to Six, Idiots” will become required for all students, regardless of their mathematical pretensions.
Some haven’t exactly taken the news well.
“Screw the rules, these are supposed to be the best years of my life,” declared Imadip Xit, Class of 2021. “I already got it like four months ago. Why would anybody care what I do? It’s not like the safety, bodily freedom and mental health of everyone I see everyday is at stake.”
“I’m simply trying to make friends in my first real semester of school,” lamented Justovurex Iyted, Class of 2024. “It's really hard to do that when you can’t join groups and have to rely on reaching out to people one-on-one. Adjusting was already hard enough before the pandemic. Can’t I get a little slack?”
Maintaining a healthy community means taking care of one another. As we adhere to safety requirements, we must find ways to continue supporting those who need it. We must help and protect each other. The best way to do that is by passing the course catalog’s latest addition.
Many have looked for ways around the requirement, but no loopholes have yet appeared. “How to Count to Six, Idiots” cannot be substituted by any other course. Neither SINOPHARM-UH 1001 nor even SINOPHARM-UH 1002 exempts you.
No matter how much we wish things were different, there is precisely one way we all pass this Spring: by counting to six — and no higher.
Ian Hoyt is a Satire Columnist. Email him at
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