Math and Its Applications

Sometimes when I meet new people and they asked me: “What is your major?” I answer: “I am a math major.” They always look amazed and compliment me like math is the toughest subject there is. Truth be told, I do not think that math is a hard subject but they probably had a very bad experience –professor with math-. Even myself –I am a math major- I still encounter bad professors. The key in teaching math is not making it look hard and complex but making it look easy and simple. After all, math is nothing but just simple game that anybody can play.

All the math knowledge we have till this point is based on two basic concepts: addition and numbers. Numbers are object that we use to count, measure or label. Addition is the combination of two quantities. These two basic concepts can define the rest of the mathematical definitions and theorems. For instance, subtraction is the addition of negative numbers. Of course it will take a big amount of time to rediscover the complex concepts such as calculus, which are just basic combinations of these two basic concepts. If math was a game this would be the basic rules.(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

However, math is not just a game but a tool with multiple applications. Mostly every science, even art, requires the use of math because mostly anything in our world is quantifiable. Physics uses math to make relations between phenomena. Renaissance artists used math to find the perfect proportions. All though these are general uses of math to me the most useful area is statistics.

I like to defined statistics as the most manipulative element of math. Mostly every marketing campaign has at least one data like “Nine out of ten dentists recommend this gum.” Although in the previous example is use as a rhetorical element there are more ways than statistics can be manipulative. Statistics are used by different, professionalism from economists to biologist, to make predictions. A prediction’s accuracy depends mostly on the rate of success – and of course you would have to define “success” in an appropriate context- but knowing just that it is incredibly helpful. If you know that you are not going to succeed think of ways that you can increase the success rate. For instance, if you want to increase the rate of success in passing an exam you should study for it.

Math has also offered me a great skill: identify patterns. In mathematics patterns are used in order to approach problems and then solved them. For instance, I barely know anything about computer science but this skill helped me to code my professional portfolio. However I intent to give this skills the purpose of deciphering codes. This skill is going to play an important role later in my career track since codes are written in specific patterns.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Math has infinite abilities to offer the application you give them is your choice. Although it might seem complex at first my advice for you is to think as math as a game and follow the rules. If you are able to see it this way then all those complex problems you had will become piece of cake.


The Writing Problem

Everybody knows how to write, not everybody knows how to write efficiently. I decided to become a writing minor because I wanted to communicate efficiently and later apply this skill in the workplace. However what many professionals understand as “good writing” is just basic writing: proper grammar and spelling; undervaluing other characteristics, like rhetorical devices. This is why many students also undervalue writing in college and so colleges have to face the “writing problem ”.

Although it has a self-explanatory name, the “writing problem” focuses on how to avoid “bad writing” -grammar and spelling mistakes – situations but also on the complexity of writing and later apply it in the workplace. The “current” solution is adding to the college curriculum a requirement called “writing in the disciplines”. I say “current” because when the problem first appeared, around 1870, it was decided that just an introductory course would be enough. In this “writing 101” course, many academics had tried to establish what “good writing” is.

However, instead of establishing “good writing”, academics should have focused more on the complexity of writing. Writing can never be established due to the fact that language evolves through time, and so writing evolves along. It goes without mention that jargon is learned through the courses of the field. Rather academics should have focused on the rhetoric effects of composition and vocabulary or contemporary speech patterns that they can latter apply in the workplace.

On the same line, applying writing in the workplace is not really hard. For instance, as the sponsorship of SHPE -Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers- I had to write grant proposals that help finance the organization’s event. In my writing, I try to use as many rhetorical devices as I can. For example, I try to write my ideas thinking about my audience: in an ambitious yet humble manner and always being professional. Although it is not the workplace I believe it is a good example.

Aside from the previously mentioned,  written communication plays, to some extent, an important role in almost every job. In the class “writing for your profession” that I took, every student had to analyze a written genre related to their field. Not to mention that written communication it is, in some aspects, more important than spoken communication. Anything that it is written, is recorded. Anything that is recorded, is important. Anything that is important has a significant purpose. In other words, the information that it is written in a document will later be useful -or not- to you.

Although the gap between academic writing and professional writing is really big, I feel that more and more students are trying to save it. From the writing courses I take, and as I write more, I feel that I learn how to express myself better. As a result, it helps me succeed in my goals faster and easily. Similarly, I believe that writing will give me the advantage in the job hunt because my cover letters are written more efficiently and so I can convince the recruiter easily. Writing, is indeed a hard subject to teach, and even harder to learn, it also has considerable benefits.