I read a very powerful piece on math vs non-math people.
If you clicked on the link, said it was too long, and then went back to Tumblr/Facebook, here’s the gist: “math people” are pretty much the ones who had a really solid foundation in learning elementary math. That foundation gave them confidence in their abilities and made them look way smarter than they really were. I had a great math foundation and so when I talk about math to my friends and why I love it so much, they always say “oh that’s just because you’re a math person” …well hah, looks like y’all were wrong!
Anyway, the reason that I’m trying to debunk the “math vs non-math” idea is because I think that math is profoundly essential to every aspect of our lives. Be you a poet, doctor, or engineer, math and/or the skills of math come up and make a difference.
I want to be a doctor, so I’ll focus on how doctors need math. In their everyday lives, doctors do not need to take the integral of sin(x)dx. Nor do they need to find the velocity vector of a train going 600mph. However, in the spread of disease and the control of disease, physicians and medical professions heavily use the field of Statistics to see trends in factors that affect the health of humans. However, that’s just one reason.
The thing is, we use the critical thinking and problem solving skills that we learn in math every day! If you are someone who is at UCSD, I bet you are also the kind of person to enjoy puzzles. Especially solving them after looking for the answer for a really long time! That “ah-ha” moment in puzzles is exactly the kind of positive reinforcement that happens in math. We learn to see a problem, look at it from every which way, and then tackle it with full force of all our brainpower. This skill is useful in complex problems for any situation, be it a team project, trying to build a boat, or even the best way to eat cereal in the morning (cereal before milk, no negotiations.) What I’m trying to say is, even if you don’t use the explicit material you learn in math class, you will always use the methods and brain functions to get to the right answer.
The world is filled with problems, some of them are in a math textbook and some of them are found in the workplace. But really, the way we get to the answers of both are one and the same.