By Mari-An Santos


In school, Math was not my strongest subject. Somehow, I did very well at English, Filipino, and Social Studies–and good enough at Science, but I was terrible at Math! This is ironic for someone whose father is excellent at Math.

My father can mentally compute at lightning speed. And it must have been disappointing for him to have a daughter who was moved to tears by complex equations–if only there were more established tutorial services when I was in school. Instead, my father spent many late nights trying to explain to me why x’s and y’s could be relevant to real life.

I begged my Math whiz friends to help me understand the lessons every week. Every time we had a quiz, a long test, or an exam, however, my pulse would race. I would get light-headed and sweat profusely. I was literally terrified! I just barely passed—but never failed—Math every single quarter.

Though my choice of course in college depended largely on my passion, one other factor was the fact that I just needed to take three units of Math. Sold!

When I was thinking of pursuing a second degree, I considered another interest: engineering. But when I saw the list of prerequisite subjects—a lot of them, complex Maths–I backed down. I knew myself well enough to know my limits. And besides, I am no masochist.

In the real world, however, I encountered Math on a daily basis: computing the division of a meal with friends, making sure I got the exact change, and figuring out if I had enough money to commute home. Soon, I was no longer nervous when I mentally computed how much money I should hand over. I developed my own system so that I never missed a beat.

I get by. I don’t shy away from Math anymore–just don’t make me go through Calculus again.