Blog Challenge... Week Three

Lovely - my life as a mathematician is this week's prompt. It also comes at the same time as I read Scott McLeod's post asking How Much Math Do You Really Need in Everyday Life.

Perhaps the best way to describe my relationship with the idea of math is to say "fraught." I'm reasonably good with a calculator, and I balance my departmental budget monthly using Quicken. Beyond that... it's not pretty. I think the Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics (aka "Dad") once said that I was good at arithmetic but not at math (I could have that backwards, or totally wrong). Actually, I blame my year in Switzerland for all my maths issues. That and a serious case of "I'm not my father's daughter" (and yes, I'm nearly 50. rebellion dies hard in some places. just ask Chechnya.)

You see, that year was one in which I learned New Math.

New Math's not bad (I can still do bases, thank you very much Ms. Webster!), but it wasn't what my classmates back in SmallTown were doing and so I technically lost a year math-wise.

The other problem is that no one - and I mean no one - that taught me math ever once said "and here's how you'll use this in real life". Seriously, if I've ever done anything with f(x) since taking calculus, would someone please tell me when and where and how. Because I don't think I have. So there. The exception, of course, was Accounting, which I use almost daily (I create GJAs for our Business Office, and could even do manual double entry bookkeeping if called upon).

Now, of course, there's a learned helplessness and reliance on others (Thing One, The Emeritus Professor..., the Head of our Math Department) for certain things. Maybe one of these days I'll overcome my math phobia and....

Nah. Won't happen.

1 comment:

Melanie Holtsman said...

Your post made me smile. Thanks for being so honest. I can TOTALLY relate!