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why do I have a math block? (& other musings) February 20, 2008

Posted by eyegillian in change, learn, life, science, women.
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It's pi plus C, of course.

I can’t help wondering what my life would look like right now if I had learned to love math. Way back in Elementary School, when I was figuring out how to navigate playground politics and meet teachers’ expectations, when one subject followed another without any connection or explanation… what if I had “gotten” numbers?

I think back to my first experience of geometry, those parallelograms and lop-sided triangles, and it didn’t seem that hard. When I discovered that I could get away with not doing my homework, Math class was the easiest to fake — since the teacher asked each student in turn for the answer in the long line of sums, I only had to count seats to figure out which question I would be asked, and I had plenty of time to work it out before it was my turn to answer.

Yet I learned to love words, not numbers, and as I grew older I found I didn’t have any confidence at anything that looked at all like math. I even developed a block around doing my income tax, and decided I’d rather pay than have to figure it all out myself. It’s not that I found it difficult, really, just… tedious!

So, if I had learned to love math, could I have — or would I have — become an engineer like my father and older brother, or a computer programmer like my younger brother? Or maybe I would have considered architecture or astronomy. Sometimes I think it would have been really helpful to have a grounding in economics, accounting or financial planning.

So, while my brothers went into the science/tech stream, what did I take at university? Arts. And music. And little or no preparation for a future career. And now — ack, should I admit that it’s nearly 30 years since I graduated from high school? — now I’m working in Communications, doing a bit of writing, editing, website updating, photography, etc. And I’ve turned out to be more of a computer geek (in some ways) than my programmer brother.

But I can’t help wondering what I missed along the way.

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Related Links:
Why girls don’t like science (Canadian Council on Learning study)
xkcd: A webcomic

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1. Financial Planning on The Finance World For News and Information Around The World On Finance » Blog Archive » why do I have a math block? (& other musings) - March 1, 2008

[…] why do I have a math block? (& other musings) Sometimes I think it would have been really helpful to have a grounding in economics, accounting or financial planning. […](pingback)


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