My dear fellow nerds…
I’m  getting tired of people devaluing the learning of mathematics.  I may be a math professor by trade, but I’m a mom as a primary occupation.  I STILL value my educational background.  My education has altered the way that I think.  I may not have used the Wronskian method in years in a practical application, but I am thrilled that I have a degree that requied me to exercise that skill set.
Why is it weird that when I was swimming with my son and he asked me how much do you have to push down on a 20″ beach ball to keep it submerged, I told him that the same amout of force to lift (4/3)pi (10 inches)^3 of water in the air?  Why is it weird that I refer to the graph of f(x) = (2/3)^x when I discuss in a lactation class why one ought to nurse a baby instead of pumping to bottle feed?  Why is it weird that when I discuss how I can save more money by buying smaller volumes and using a stack of coupons instead of buying in bulk, I describe the intersection of two linear functions?  Why is it weird that when I sewed a purse with a geometrical print, I used the theorem that the diagonals of rhombi are perendicular?  Why are these weird?  I’m a mom.  I also happen to have an education.   This is how it is relevant to my occupation.
Pick an occupation.  Why do people wear an underdeveloped mathematical skill set as a badge of honor?  I have heard so many times, “Oh I’m not good at math.  That’s why I’m a ________________.”  This also identifies math as a talent instead of a skill set.  Why is math the mysterious academic subject with this distinction?  That’s another issue entirely.
Honestly, I have NEVER needed to diagram a sentence outside of an academic setting, but I often use parallel sentence structure.  I have only needed to spell C-Z-E-C-H-O-S-L-O-V-A-K-I-A once (I guess this makes twice) in my adult life, but I still value my sixth grade spelling class.  I have not balanced a chemical equation (fun!) since I was fifteen, but I can discuss why I don’t want to feed my children high fructose corn syrup.  I have not calculated mass and velocity, but I can describe to my children how to aim the bowling ball to recover a spare from a split (and describe why they are not allowed to cross the line in terms of the coefficient of friction).  I have not recited the Bill of Rights since the eighth grade, but reference them often when discussing current events.  I am a different person because of my education.
My point is that the who-really-uses-this-stuff-we-learn-in-school? arguement is lame.  Of course, you’re not going to have to disect a frog at work today.  This doesn’t mean that academic endeavors are useless.    It’s not the individual activities that make a person educated; it is the essence of education that alters a person.  To the people who say that they don’t use the education that took so many years to aquire, it’s a shame that you have wasted your time.  For someone to get an education to build a resume, then disregaurd the fine tuning of the mind and drive for accpmlishment that accomanies that education, the resume is a ruse.

My dear fellow academians…

I’m getting tired of people devaluing the learning of mathematics.  I may be a math professor by trade, but I’m a mom as a primary occupation.  I STILL value my academic background.  My education has altered the way that I think.  I may not have used the Wronskian method in years in a practical application, but I am thrilled that I have a degree that required me to exercise that skill set.

Why is it weird that when I was swimming with my son and he asked me how much one must push down on a 20″ beach ball to keep it submerged, I told him the same amount of force to lift (4/3)pi (10 inches)^3 of water in the air?  Why is it weird that I refer to the graph of f(x) = (2/3)^x when I discuss in a lactation class why one ought to nurse a baby instead of pumping to bottle feed?  Why is it weird that when I discuss how I can save more money by buying smaller volumes and using a stack of coupons instead of buying in bulk, I describe the intersection of two linear functions?  Why is it weird that when I sewed a purse with a geometrical print, I used the theorem that the diagonals of rhombi are perpendicular?  Why are these weird?  I’m a mom.  I also happen to have an education.   This is how it is relevant to my occupation.

Pick an occupation.  Why do people wear an underdeveloped mathematical skill set as a badge of honor?  I have heard so many times, “Oh I’m not good at math.  That’s why I’m a ________________.”  This also identifies math as a talent instead of a skill set.  Why is math the mysterious academic subject with this distinction?  That’s another issue entirely.

Honestly, I have NEVER needed to diagram a sentence outside of an academic setting, but I often use parallel sentence structure.  I have only needed to spell C-Z-E-C-H-O-S-L-O-V-A-K-I-A once (I guess this makes twice) in my adult life, but I still value my sixth grade spelling class.  I have not balanced a chemical equation (fun!) since I was fifteen, but I can discuss why I don’t want to feed my children high fructose corn syrup.  I have not calculated mass and velocity, but I can describe to my children how to aim the bowling ball to recover a spare from a split (and describe why they are not allowed to cross the line in terms of the coefficient of friction).  I have not recited the Bill of Rights since the eighth grade, but reference them often when discussing current events.  I am a different person because of my education.

My point is that the who-really-uses-this-stuff-we-learn-in-school? argument is lame.  Of course, you’re not going to have to dissect a frog at work today.  This doesn’t mean that academic endeavors are useless.    It’s not the individual activities that make a person educated; it is the essence of education that alters a person.  To the people who say that they don’t use the education that took so many years to acquire, it’s a shame that you have wasted your time.  An education assumes the fine tuning of the mind and drive for accomplishment. Otherwise, it’s a waste of ink on a résumé.