If my brain leaves track A at 9pm going a million mph and my thoughts leave track B at 9:05pm going 47.5 mph, what will my fingers type?

May 13, 2013

i took AP Calculus in high school. i am not a fan of math stuff. When i think back at the decision to take that class it makes my head spin a little. Don’t get me wrong, i got through the class just fine, it wasn’t that i couldn’t do it. The thing that gets me is that the decision to take the class was based on, like so many high school decisions, if it would help me get into college. Four years of math looks better than the two required to graduate. Continuing with advanced math classes looks much better than coasting through a normal level math for your senior year. For some time now that decision has left a sort of bad taste in my mouth. i had a great teacher and a lot of fun studying with friends in the class but i do wish that i would have been pushed to challenge myself in ways that truly interested me. i wish i hadn’t had, or at least felt that i had, to be so focused on certain classes and activities just to get where i wanted to be in life.

A lot of us are raised thinking that the only way to be successful is to leave high school and then go right to college. For me that was the right thing to do but i know for a lot of people it isn’t. College is definitely a time that you can use to find yourself but it’s also a really expensive, time consuming, and exhausting way of doing it. i don’t think it is worth going to college directly out of high school if you don’t feel ready or you really have no clue what direction you want to go in life. There’s always a chance that you will find that direction at school but more often i see people just settling on a major and a career path so they can be done. Then some time down the road they don’t feel satisfied and have to deal with all the what ifs in their head.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we changed our view of academic success to more of a picture that includes a variety of people who are truly passionate about what they are doing and are completely committed to it? i don’t know why this isn’t more appealing than campuses filled with students who have been in school for years and years because they don’t really know what they want or graduating with regrets about the path they chose.

And wouldn’t it be even better if we could start that even sooner? If we could study things that we are truly passionate about and challenge ourselves in subjects that fascinate us in high school and middle school rather than to simply focus on a grade point average and the classes listed on our transcripts. i don’t mean that we should cut out other classes all together but it would have been great for me to take the math classes that would help me get through life and then move on to extra reading and writing classes.

i don’t know. i’m just thinking out loud because i realized that while i didn’t especially like my AP Calculus class or any of my math classes, when i went to College for Kids my first summer i chose to take a math type class. i was so excited when i read the description and i loved every moment of the class. Rather than being “normal” math stuff it was about patterns and problem solving involving those patterns. My brain works like that. It finds patterns and makes links and i feel better when things are put together the way they are supposed to be. i would have happily challenged myself in those ways for a high school math class but that was not only not an option but also wouldn’t have been looked at as a “real” math class. So instead of offering a class that would have challenged me and that i would have worked really hard at i felt that i HAD to take a class that i had absolutely no interest in and put the least amount of work possible into. That doesn’t seem like the way we should want our educations to be.

That was not at all what i expected to come out when i started typing but it did and i’m okay with that. It’s nice letting my brain just flow sometimes. i need to try to stop all the constant over-thinking and let it just do its thing more.


One comment

  1. So I read the title of this blog and starting panicking, trying to remember how to do those types of calculations. Then I felt immediate relief that I didn’t actually have to figure it out, and no one would know if I couldn’t or if I messed up. I think that’s the hardest thing about math for me (and other subjects) – I’m always afraid of looking like I don’t know what I’m doing. That fear can be very limiting if I use it as an excuse not to try new things. So, even though I hate looking like I don’t know what I’m doing, I force myself to try new stuff anyway. Sometimes I come away with something new that I incorporate into my life. And sometimes I walk away saying, “I’m glad I tried that – and I’m glad that I’m done. Check!”

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