To take a cue from one of my Barbies, math is hard. I barely passed my math classes in high school & until recently, placed an effective mental block on top of any concept more complex than simple arithmetic. I used to blame my difficulty with numbers on the fact that I was so strong in language skills. That’s not really a good argument though, when you consider someone like David Foster Wallace or Ada Lovelace. Their impressive talents in both writing & math proves that the two skill sets aren’t mutually exclusive.
So, as I study for my GRE, I’ve lifted the mental block & really tried to have a can-do attitude about the pages of equations in front of me. After all, I do have a job that relies partly on accounting, so I can’t be completely hopeless. Sometimes, trying to solve them feels like raking leaves or shoveling snow. It takes a lot of effort to gather the individual leaves, to clear the heavy accumulated layers, to navigate the various factors that affect the answer to an equation.
But then, there are moments were the hard work pays off. Among the problems I was working on the other night was one that asked for a couple different types of equations calculating profit. I paused. I know this, I thought, realization breaking through my brain fog, I KNOW this!!! Calculating profit is part of the loss control I do at my job daily. I wrote the equations down & was vindicated when I checked my correct answers against the book’s answers. Yes! I am not hopeless!
My little personal victory makes me wish that I could just haul a portfolio of my nine years of office work to the GRE testing center. I would present it to them as proof that, yes, I can do logically & coherently do math. I may not like it or always understand an equation outside of the context of everyday life, but yes, I can solve for x.