For a long time, I have hated math and considered it my worst subject in school. I’m not certain when it began, but I suspect it was when I began taking algebra classes. At that moment, math went from being a matter of numbers to being a chaotic mixture of numbers, letters and formulas. For goodness’ sake, some of the letters featured in algebra aren’t even part of the Roman alphabet. Greek letters appeared every now and then with whatever definition the textbook felt like ambushing me with. I consider myself surprised to have not seen an Asian character pop up and confuse me further. 混乱 = 5628521561541.453j22lltb999, am I right? See, Euclid, I can make up math, too!
Sometimes, I do wonder if my mother is right in suspecting that my own hateful feelings about math sabotage my performance in it. “You have a mind for math,” she kept telling me. I don’t believe it, but I wonder if I would if I didn’t hate math so much. Sure, I’m optimistic enough when an algebra class starts, but further into the semester, the disdain would set in. I go into a math class with the mindset that its true bullshitty nature will kick in a few weeks into the semester. And sure enough, as soon as I saw an “ε” appear in a formula, I knew that my Math 71 class had already reached that exact point, validating my belief that math is out to get people. It almost seemed like an elaborate scheme to get students to waste more time than they need to in tutoring. And sure enough, I had no choice but to take that bait hook, line and sinker. And as a result, I finally passed my Math 71 Intermediate Algebra class.
I’m now in Elementary Statistics, so we’ll see how that turns out. Will it turn into the incomprehensible mess algebra is? Well, so far, it does seem to have much more of a consistent and manageable logic to it than algebra did. But that could change at any time, so I’m keeping on guard. Seeing a “Σ” appear in a formula was the initial red flag that warned me of the possibility of exactly that happening. Who knows? Maybe it’ll get better, maybe it’ll get worse. Just keep the letters out, regardless of what alphabet they belong to. Keep it at numbers. That’s all I ask.