YOUNG VOICES: Math helped me solve for more than X

2012-12-24T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Math helped me solve for more than XBy Alex Miskus nwitimes.com
December 24, 2012 12:00 am  • 

I do not have a desire to find what “X” equals or to use the quadratic equation to find the sum of how many watermelons a person purchased. When I look at a math equation, all the letters are just letters and nothing makes the littlest bit of sense. I would rather write a 20-page essay on a random topic versus solve a math problem.

Through my years of struggling with proofs, solving for “X,” and anything math related, I have learned the idea of asking for help.

Before I grew accustomed to this idea of help, I was reluctant to ask the teacher to repeat the steps of solving a problem or to even attend after-school tutoring. I am growing up in a generation where succeeding in education is one of the most important tasks until one graduates high school. I also have the most intelligent peers in my grade, intimidating me more to raise my hand with the fear of being frowned upon.

As the high school years slowly went on, I forced myself to ask for help. I made myself go get the help I needed while trying to diminish the fear of accepting that if I am wrong, then I am wrong. I soon learned that being wrong is not so much as a sign of stupidity but a sign of where improvement is needed.

Asking for assistance does not make one weak but instead prepares oneself with the idea that not all things will be understood the first time and with help the unknown can be the known.

Even entering middle school, it was hard to grasp the thought that I was actually weak in a subject; I wanted to be one of those kids who understand the material the first time and who seemed like they can solve a problem with their eyes closed.

Struggling in math gave me the courage to reach out for help instead of asking for no help at all. In any situation, people will help and guide you if you simply just ask.

I might never fully appreciate math for giving me the knowledge of finding the circumference of a circle or giving me the tools to determine the width of a random shape, but I do appreciate math for making me ask for guidance when I need it. My academic struggle has made me more versatile and more accepting that I do not have the “math sense” like some.

In the end, I still envy those who can write a perfect essay while breezing through math simultaneously. But if anything, my “math sense” has given me the courage the find help, not only in math, when I need it.

Alex Miskus of Dyer is a senior at Lake Central High School. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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