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Real-Life Lessons I Learned From My Math Classes

Friendly note: Don't put too much effort into hating the subject and learn how to value what it may teach you instead.
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I enjoy daydreaming, especially during Math classes. The thoughts in my head are far more interesting than all the number-crunching exercises.

Just to make it clear again, I found it hard to like math. It was a constant struggle for me to memorize formulas, analyze problems, and solve equations. During my grade school entrance exam, I had to retake my logic class. I was never a Quiz Bee contestant. And I also failed a math class in college. Maybe because I just simply didn’t enjoy math lessons. Funny how it seemed like I was destined to fail every math subject I'd encounter.

But math has taught me lessons I never thought I would ever apply in real life. 

1) Add, subtract, multiply, and divide

In first grade, the class was already required to memorize the first five sets of the multiplication table. And I couldn’t even move on from my subtraction exercises. It all seemed like an additional burden for me.  

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But it's easy for me now to apply these lessons in budgeting my savings and expenses. I don’t even need to count using my fingers. Here’s my #adulting math formula: income – savings = expenses. 

2) Problem-solving

I first encountered problem-solving equations in the second grade and the problems kept getting complicated as I reached high school. 

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Little did I know there are far more complicated things in life that I'd need to solve. While it did not teach me any mathematical skills, I learned how to strategically face all challenges one problem at a time. Or sometimes run away from it. 

3) Angles, geometrical shapes and forms

This was a piece of cake for me, actually. But I always found it tedious to get the area and perimeter of the entire basketball court or three-dimensional shapes drawn on the blackboard.

Now, I understand how angles have a funny way of teaching you how to see pictures in a better view. Turn it 180 degrees and it will always give you a new perspective on how to live your life accordingly. It pays so much to reflect during these times to avoid narrowing down our beliefs or getting stuck with our own ego.  I mean we’re not always 90°. Pun intended. 

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4) Fractions

Fractions were also my weakness. I never saw the point and the need to solve fractions. But it taught me the value of friendship. A wholesale pie cannot be shared by everyone and certainly will not be enjoyed by everyone. So all throughout my entire life, I have met and lost friends. But I made sure to share a piece of the pie to the ones I treasure the most. 

5) X and Ys

I gave up when numbers married the letters. It was too much unknown information to me. Then, it takes minutes for me to solve x and y equations and I had to review again and again until I got it right. 

Well, this is not about an ex. But I learned that we don’t really have to figure out the unknown, especially the things that we don’t have control over. We just have to hope that somehow we’ll be able to figure out a way out of the troublesome situation. And trust the process. 

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I may have failed my math subjects. But it never failed to teach me lessons. Funny, I thought I wouldn’t be able to apply a single lesson I learned in my classes. And these five are just among the many lessons I have familiarized myself with as I face every challenge through this #Adulting life. 

So, don’t put too much effort into hating the subject and learn how to value what it may teach you instead.

This article originally appeared on Edukasyon.ph.

Minor edits have been made by the candymag.com editors.

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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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