I went to new student orientation last month. It was fantastic, wonderful, I love my new college. I met people from all sorts of backgrounds from all sorts of high school with all sorts of majors. Yet all eight hours I was there, I only met one person with the same major I had, and he wasn’t even a new student. So, I wanna know, where are all the Math majors?
STEM is a huge thing right now. Science, Technology, and Engineering degrees have been pushed and promoted everywhere. However, the M—aka Mathematics—seems to be a little neglected. Heck, I thought I was going to be an engineer before I met a Math professor who pushed me into the beautiful realm of mathematics.
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Yeah, I mean that. Math is beautiful, because it makes those other three fields possible. How can you engineer a robot without figuring out proportions or code without the numbers. Formulas, equations, weird little Greek letters that hold some sort of mathematical meaning leak into each field. Math is important. So, if you’re hiding in the “not-important” shadow, step out and announce your major proudly!
Granted, when you do that, the conversation tends to go like this:
“What’s your major?”
“I’m a Math major!”
“Oh, I hate math.”
Like, seriously? Could you imagine that response for any other major?
“I hate engineering.”
“I hate art.”
“I hate underwater basket weaving.” (Turns out that’s a made-up major, sadly.)
However, people just seem to view math in a negative light. But you can change that. Math isn’t evil. Stressful, hard, and makes you question your life choices? Yes. But what major isn’t like that? You can influence how people see math, maybe even make it easier to understand for some people. You can declare a major in Math and change the world one person, one negative thought turned positive, at a time.
However, there’s a bigger reason why I think there’s a lack of Math majors. There’s another way this conversation can go:
“What’s your major?”
“I’m a math major!”
“Oh, I could never do that,” or “Wow, you must be super smart,” or some other variant.
Maybe you genuinely can’t do math. I can’t really do art (stickmen are my specialty), and I know I would have a hard time being a doctor or lawyer. But if being a Math major is within your limits, don’t be afraid to take it. I was there once, at the threshold, thinking that a degree in Math was crazy and unthinkable. It took a wonderful professor to guide me to the other side and make me realize that I could do this. Math is reachable. It’s flattering to be called super smart, but not when people are putting themselves down. Majoring in Math doesn’t make me better or smarter, it just means that I found a field that I love.
So, where are all my fellow Math majors? Math is important. Math isn’t evil. Math is reachable. Math may be the major you are looking for. You just have to give it a chance!