I have shown interest in many things; in the academe I believe that I have loved very much of my lessons particularly in the field of biology and literature. However, for the most part it seems that I am compelled to declare my allegiance to the many that are still aghast up to this moment. I am going to say and would like to pardon myself to the lovers of numbers.

And I declare impossible for the fact that I have tried. It occurred to me one day whilst solving a particularly intricate equation that it seems the problems I used to solve are getting harder. I do love a good challenge, on the other hand these kinds of calculations call for precise numeracy skills and it is a trait I lacked. Although you know like most honor students I persisted still. Our professor would often tell us, “An equation expresses a relationship. It is the same thing as paragraph or an English sentence”. This is like asking, “What is the hardest English sentence?” As compared to “What are the hardest equations in algebra, geometry and trigonometry?” Oh! I can simplify a sentence but never a radical expression. To sum it up, it was feat of great difficulties; I ended up barely near the acceptable range of good math students.

For a number of reasons mathematics will never be my cup of tea. If one should dare autopsy my failed relationship with this subject you may find my consensus to so many others. First, theridiculously long string of letters that goes with numbers. For instance, For how many integers n with lnl <500 can be polynomial Pn(x)=X^6+n be written as a product of two non-constant polynomials with integer coefficients?(I must say I’d rather learn French). It is not the typical fun sort, it’s seriously complicated.

Second, some students don’t have the brain type wired for mathematical understanding and third, math is a cumulative subject.

For many students it is not something that comes intuitively or naturally-it takes quite a lot of time, devotion and plenty of effort. Is it brain power over patience? Maybe both? If the question comes down to left brain over right brain then certainly many student do not sway so much on the side of left-brain thinkers whom tend to comprehend in sequential morsels. Right-brain dominant students probably have it harder than the former. However, even without the implication of the dominant brain theory for those who are struggling left or right brain dominant, we often feel a lapse in the learning process and it’s often a downer when you are confused and behind your classmates. We may need to spend more time in relearning our lessons even if it takes double or triple than most. There is a possibility that it can be done. Then again, one can be diligent enough and still find it not any easier even for left-brain learners.

To top it all off, in a busy classroom of forty five students and at least 9 subjects, some make-up works can never be enough to not move on to the next whether one is ready or unprepared. I may only have just begun catching up with the ropes of the previous lesson and the next day another more complicated concept is already introduced!

Back in high school during our algebra class, my teacher narrated to us a story of his colleague and the discovery of how cumulative mathematics is. Apparently, his friend who was also a mathematician was so engrossed in solving a particularly intricate algebraic equation and he found that he could not get the answer right. Later on he learned that he had missed an important rule in the solution and what he did was that he took some time off to study from basic algebra back up to advanced. For us mere learners who take up such subject in the academe, Math is a subject that calls for much time in part for one to take in morsels the lessons to proceed. However as such is needed then it may not be the most viable of subjects for pure understanding. I am a simple person at most, much like many I tend to learn in increments and within a large span of the week.

Still I do not intend to impact other’s perception. It is a very complex subject with equally complex branches of learning. Albeit such intricacy brings upon itself a great deal of humanity’s’ success; the moon landing and the many professionals that make do with math to save peoples’ lives. I do not mean to undermine that. In the least I could say, it may unsurprisingly be the hardest subject we encounter but it certainly is essential.

My grandmother who is a math whiz, once told me whilst one of our sessions, that the world wouldn’t be better as I think I Math does not exist. She then proceeded to show me the breakthroughs of tesla and Einstein. Well I do agree, but I am not anywhere near those two and certainly further from a scientific breakthrough. We can stick with just the basics can we? Plain old plus, minus, multiplication, and division?

If an artist can look at his work despite others belief of it as a mess, an eye or certain articulation is seen the same with math and a mathematician, quite seldom with a typical learner who goes by subjects as prescribed. In the end, we all are entitled to our opinion and Mathematics is an infernal salad of numbers and letters. This is pretty much hard to digest, if there is after all an amalgam of brilliance and mind-numbing understanding then math for sure is the poster child of such ambivalent quantities. I have found it to be the hardest indeed and though so many others believe otherwise they, in the least, are those that feel the gratification of solving complexities. A feeling I’ll seldom experience.

I’ve been there skimming the slopes of geometry and algebra.

If once I believed that is as “FUN” as the nursery rhyme says it is “one plus one is two, two plus two is four and four plus four is eight”, I probably never knew the alphabet would be joining in. Then, in retrospect to my younger self I would probably have already been peeved. But hey! We cross bridges as they are presented. I’ve crossed mine and do not anywhere near want to cross it again.

By: HANNAH JOY B. UNDAR, WVSU-BSDC