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Pi and Math Memories

Today (3/14) is considered “Pi Day” because pi is 3.14 (well, rounded, since pi really goes on forever). I’ve never liked math. Throughout school, I struggled with it. All the way through middle school, I had to have tutoring since I could never fully comprehend all those numbers. Fractions and decimals were a mystery to me. When I was in third grade, my dad relentlessly quizzed me on my multiplication tables. I can still hear his voice in my head saying over and over again, “Six times seven is forty-two. Eight times seven is fifty-six.”

Mental math always confused me. Some people (God bless them) can add, subtract, multiply, and divide in their head. Nope. I can’t do it. I can barely add two double-digit numbers in my head, let alone multiply them. I don’t know why, either. Every time I mentally line the numbers up, they wander out of order and I have to confine them on paper to get them to cooperate with me.

Adding and subtracting polynomials also took me a long time to learn. I took a quiz on them in eighth grade and didn’t get a single question right. Fortunately, my math teacher was very patient with me.

But, oddly enough, there was a time when I was in high school that I had the highest grade in my Algebra II class. To this day, I think there was some kind of mistake and my math teacher switched out my grades with another student’s. As I kept going through high school, I tried to pay a little more attention to math, and I found myself starting to like it at a few points. I made As in my college math classes, but I was still glad when I was through with those in freshman year!

In math, there are concrete answers. It’s not open-ended like an essay question, and everything makes logical sense. Even though I don’t particularly like math, I respect those who teach it, those who major in it, and those who use it every day in their jobs. Question for my readers… how do you feel about math? Were you good at it in school?