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Monday, June 7, 2010

My Algebra Rant

My Algebra Rant

I'm taking an Introductory Algebra class (MAT 70) during this summer semester so I can take a further advanced math class later, and I'm struggling as usual.  I am doing very well in my Expository Writing class (Eng 111), because I use English every day.  I speak it and I write it... each and every day.  I remember most of the "rules" of English because I constantly use it.

Math, however, outside of very basic arithmatic, I hardly ever use.  In fact, the last time I've had to divide and multiply fractions by variables was well over a decade ago, the last time I was taking a math class in college in the early to mid 90's.  As with other (useless and worthless) classes I must take, I keep getting reassured by instructors why I must take and pass these classes – to fill-up empty and meaningless void and space, I mean, to "make me a better-rounded student."  Whatever.  I can promise you that I'll never apply for a job that requires for me to spend more than a few seconds figuring out a simple math problem!  Nor do any jobs in my chosen career path require for me to do so.

Personally, I would think it would be for my benefit and the benefit of my future job employer to take more classes related to my chosen career path.  For example, I'm in Networking Technologies to become a computer network administrator.  Much like the medical field, I can simply take the minimal classes to get my 2-year associates degree and become a "general practicioner", or I can take other classes and become more of a "specialist".  But instead of getting credited for additional networking classes that would better serve me, I'm required to take other unrelated classes, instead.  If I wanted to take other related classes, I must go back and earn additional  certifications that's not required for my 2-year associates degree, adding yet another semester or two, or possibly more.  Since I'm working full-time to support my family, it's gonna take me 4 years already just to earn a 2-year associates degree.  But you have to do what you have to do, whether or not it makes sense.

I'm convinced that the only people who actually need to learn advanced mathematics are engineering and scientific fields, or just the people who are required to teach it to others.  If the majority of math students are to simply become teachers to teach it to other people, then what's the point?  It would be like saying that a majority of medical and technical students were simply to teach it to other people, but that's hardly the case.  The majority of us will use our applied learning towards an actual profession, and not just for teaching it to others.  Is it me, or does this seem somewhat ridiculous?  The only "math-related professions" I know of is to simply be a "math professor". 

And honestly, I'm not speaking negatively about math professors, because I understand that we need mathematics.  I was temporarily in Computer Engineering, and know how important math is.  Everyone uses some form of math in some way or another, but at least 95% of us will never use anything above basic arithmatic throughout our entire lives.  Using this as an example, it would be like requiring all college students to take an advanced computer programming class.  Why?  Because since a few of us may use it, then everyone must take it.  I have better things to do with my limited time.  Just teach me what I need to know, so I get started on with my career, is all.
Now I'm done wasting my breath, and time to do some algebra homework...

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