Math Is More Than Add, Subtract, Multiply and Divide

When people find out I studied math, I would get statements such as:

  • “Wow, you are so smart!”
  • “Ugh, I don’t like math”
  • “Never liked calculus”
  • “My teacher was bad.”
  • “Math is stupid.”
  • “I hated that subject.”

And also this statement:

“Wow! You must add/multiply numbers fast in your head!”
Well yes and no.

For me, I can add and multiply most (whole) numbers fast but that is not all what I do.

Math is more than adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers.

My definition of mathematics consists of studying patterns, understanding relations of the physical world, modeling human nature and natural phenomenons, and quantifying/measuring amounts.

The more real mathematics that is taught and learned in universities is not always about numbers. As one takes more and more mathematics courses, he/she will realize that in higher level mathematics there are more symbols than numbers and that the math becomes more abstract.

For us math majors/graduates, it is hard (and most likely a waste of time) to change people’s perception of mathematics. We just have to deal with it.

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