General education: Math knowledge useful in everyday life

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With countless formulas, equations, numbers and symbols, math can often turn students’ heads inside-out and upside-down as they wonder when and where they will possibly need to know any of it.

However, math classes are unavoidable in any school setting, particularly college. As students plow through their general education classes, a dance on the math floor is inevitable, with students having to conquer at least 1040 or 1050 to receive degrees.

But while many students may grumble about the uselessness of the distance formula, other students see the value in the knowledge.

Charity Winsor, a sophomore English major from Pocatello, Idaho, said she had good experiences in her early Math 0920 and 0990 classes. She said the biggest factor in her experience was being able to ask questions.

“Math teachers get really annoyed when you ask why, and if I don’t know why, I don’t understand,” she said. “[Both teachers] were perfectly willing to answer why and knew the answer why.”

Winsor said that she sees math everywhere.

“Everything is math, from which product at the grocery store is cheaper than the other one to how many miles per gallon I’m getting in my car,” she said.

Math tutor Lindsay Snow, a senior math major from St. George, said math improves problem-solving skills.

“It makes you think about situations in different ways, and it’s useful to know numbers,” she said. “If you want to cook, you have to know how to work fractions.”

As for surviving math classes, Snow said class attendance is key. She also said dropping by the Tutoring Center always benefits strugglers.  

“Going to class can definitely help, especially if your teacher is willing to work with you and to teach you in anyway possible,” she said.

Math tutor Rees Madsen, a junior math major from Layton, said students skip one important study step: reading the book.

“Instead of just looking at the examples, read through the problems,” he said.

Snow said students should reinforce the knowledge learned in class as soon as possible.

“Go home and do it right then or whenever your next free time is,” she said. “Go do it right so you have it in your brain instead of letting it sit in your brain for two days.”

Math tutor Stanford Cline, a freshman math major from Sandy, said gaps in knowledge often cause frustration in students.   

“There’s a lot of little rules you need to know in order to do well in math,” he said. “Keep doing it. The more you do it, the better it’s ingrained in your mind.”