Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a restaurant. A waiter walks over to your table to take your order, “One double cheeseburger, a medium chips and a regular coke, please”, the waiter jots down the order and reads it back to you, you nod, satisfied and he walks off. As you sit there waiting for your food, the restaurant starts to fill up, a family of four take the table to your left. A young couple is guided to a table directly in front of you. There is a group of ladies; celebrating a bachelorette party, fourteen in total guided to a collection of tables lined up in the centre of the room.
More people come and a few leave as you sit there an hour later and still no food. You notice that the young couple, sitting opposite from you, is staring lovingly into each other’s eyes over two orders of delicious looking ribs and mashed potatoes. You look at the table with the bachelorette and her posse, where one of the ladies is making a toast as the others enjoy an array of starters.
You look to the family of four, study their frowns, their “plateless” table and think to yourself at least you are not alone; they too, are victims of this appalling service. At least that is until your waiter arrives at their table, their orders on a tray. Fuming now, you wait until they are served and then call your waiter over to your table. “What in the world is going on, where is my food?” you demand. The waiter looks at you as if you are crazy, absolutely bonkers, “What are you talking about sir, the chef is starting on your order as we speak?”
“Starting, he is only starting!” You shout, shocked by the complete disregard for you, the casual dismissiveness of your waiter’s answer and the outright injustice of it all. “I’ve been here for over an hour, most of the people you have served came after me, I was first and yet they get their food before me…” “So what?” your waiter says, cutting you off mid-sentence. Of course, you can’t believe what he just said; you are at a loss for words. Your waiter looks toward three of his colleagues approaching, trays overloaded with soft drinks, ten double cheeseburgers and eighteen medium packets of chips
Your waiter smiles, “Here comes your order sir,” he tells you. “This is not my order,” you say as the three waiters carrying the trays begin to offload on your table. “What do you mean sir?” Your waiter seems genuinely surprised, “Did you not order, double cheeseburgers, medium chips and cokes.” “I ordered one double cheeseburger, one medium chips and one regular coke, not this mess.” You are yelling now, beyond boiling point. “But sir, what difference does it make, whether we serve you first or last, two cheeseburgers or ten?” Your waiter asks sincerely, “Are you not the one who said, you do not need math?” You just sit there, unable to speak. “Oh yes, and this meal will cost you two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds. Now is that going to be cash or card?”
Ok, I admit that this is a bit extreme, or is it? Shakuntala Devi once wrote: “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.”
I want you to ask yourself, what do you want for your future? Do you hope to own a house someday, own a car? Well, those come with payments like taxes, mortgage, and insurance and you will need math to calculate those or risk paying too much, two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds for a cheeseburger as an example.
How about your career of choice? Math is needed for almost every single profession in the world. If you want to be a biologist, archaeologist, an attorney or work as a cashier at Tesco, it is without a doubt that numbers will be part and parcel of the job. Basically, you will never be able to live without math so accept it and try to make learning math fun.
A friend once told me, “I want to be a photographer, what do I need to know about calculus or trigonometry?” Well, that is quite simple actually, a photographer will need to calculate the depth of field, determine the correct film speed, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure, and so much more.
Do you like playing video games, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, and others? Do you have a few killer ideas that you just know will make great games? If so, guess what? Math is a necessity. Aspiring video game programmers will need to study trigonometry, physics, and calculus.
As a boy, I had dreams of becoming an astronaut, “to go where no man has gone before.” If that’s you, then consider this, astronauts use maths in order to make precise mathematical calculations, from how the spacecraft leaves Earth’s atmosphere to how the astronauts pilot the craft. So no math, no Captain Kirk.
Math is a necessity and when considering the uses and benefits thereof there are a number of reasons to learn math:
- Develop your “lifelong learning” skills: Asking others for help, looking stuff up, learning to deeply focus on tasks, being organized, etc.
- Develop your work ethic: Not making excuses, not blaming others, not being lazy, being on time, not giving up so easily, etc. This is more important for “success” than raw IQ. There is no shortcut.
- Get better at learning complicated things. You are less afraid of complex ideas and classes.
- Develop pride & confidence in your ability to understand complicated things. This is not fake self-esteem, but one that is earned.
- Certain careers in science, health, technology, and engineering require serious Math skills.
Studies suggest that intelligent & motivated people are generally more interesting and happier. Your frontal lobe is not done developing until the age of 25-27. The more things you can learn before reaching that age, the more things you can learn over your lifetime. A survey concluded that 20% to 40% of college freshmen take remedial courses. Do you want to retake high school courses in college, or do you want to take real college classes?
If you need assistance with Maths or English, sign up for GT Scholars flagship programme, GT Scholars Academic Programme. This programme not only has tutoring in Maths or English, but also provides skill-building, enrichment and mentoring. Keep a lookout for our enrichment days and our skill-building workshops by signing up to our newsletter.