I didn’t like math when I was growing up. I wasn’t especially great at it, either. Not horrible, but not fantastic. After a semester of precalculus in college, in which I got a B through hours upon hours having the material re-explained to me in office hours, I threw math aside and never looked back.
Then, I moved to Austin, where I made friends with mathematicians, physicists, and programmers – all people who were doing cool things with math all day long. Over the past three-and-a-half years (I cannot believe I have lived here this long), I’ve come to see just how absolutely fun it is, and what it can do. Seeing the movie Moneyball on Thursday night only reinforced that feeling. I want to be able to assemble winning baseball teams using formulas!
It’s not that I had bad teachers when I was in school. But they were never quite able to make me generate enthusiasm for the subject. When I was solving equations and calculating compound interest, I couldn’t find the fun in it. Now, I wish I’d been able to see it back then. It still might not have been an easy subject, but I wouldn’ t have seen it as a chore to slog through, a requirement I had to put up with so I could focus on what actually interested me. I might have been inspired to really focus on the formulas and boring word problems in hope of getting to do something more fun.
So, since I’m not busy enough (ha, ha), I’m going to learn. Of course, I haven’t studied any sort of math at all since 2003. I don’t even remember most of the basics. But I’m going to re-learn, no matter how long it takes. And then I’ll get to learn the good stuff.
I’m excited. It’s been a while since I took up any sort of serious academic undertaking. This should be fun. Challenging, but fun.