Are you (or is your daughter or son) majoring in studio art in college? Maybe you (or your child) will face this in graduate school. This is a homework problem from a course in structures being taken by students in a prestigious architecture program. All of the students in this class took physics in college. And if they are in a high-powered architecture school like the one where this problem was given, they probably did well in their college physics classes. And if they did well in their college physics classes, they probably took physics in high school.
So if you are in high school (or your child is in high school) and considering a college major in studio art, make sure you take a physics course. It may seem like eating your vegetables now, but later on you might be really glad you did it.
Another hint: Psssst. Calculus is required for admission to graduate school in architecture. Pass it on.