The Importance of Mathematics in Our Lives

I have the theory. I strongly believe that people who understand math at a visceral level tend to be more rational, (and for me) enjoyable people. I know that I can establish better friendships between people who perform well in mathematics than those who do not.

I feel as though logic plays a role in this. Mathematics is a study of logic. You are taught vague ideas and you must apply them to various problems by order of logic. Physical science also relies on logic. Everything builds on itself and the concepts are more important than specific answers. I believe that people who are good at math are more logical as a whole. Their actions are more reasonable and their personalities are reliably consistent.

Of course, I also have friends who are not so great at math and they are wonderful people. However, these friends, I find, are harder to keep because they may act in ways that I do not understand. A. Brent Strong of Brigham Young University wrote an insightful paper on the differences between logical and creative people. In his paper, he makes an interesting point stating, “It [creative thinking] requires a leap from one set of data to another without any particular logical reason or connection between the two data sets”. I feel as though my other friends are like this and that they are leaping around for no comprehensible reason. Because of this, I cannot understand them as well as my mathematically inclined friends and because it is harder to maintain such a dynamic relationship.

(Perhaps the creative thinkers can solve this problem…)

You may hear it over and over again by math teachers: math will never go away. In other words, math is an important part of our lives and I strongly agree with this statement. Everything in this world can be defined mathematically. The people who understand math, to me, are easier to relate with than those who do not.

Update:

I just took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test (a personality test) which revealed that I have an INTJ personality. This probably explains why I feel this way about other people. It’s curious how well I fit the category of an INTJ personality.

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Should There Be No Homework?

We’ve probably all heard about it: The new French President François Hollande is proposing a ban on homework in France. Hollande believes that school work should remain in school because it levels the playing ground across the social classes. He claims that wealthier students can finish homework more easily than lower class students because they have a comfortable and encouraging environment while their counterparts are less well off. His argument is acceptable. It is true that some students must work or do chores after school while others are given leisure time. But could this lack of homework be detrimental?

Of course, as a student I wish there was no homework; I would love to be able to relax after school and do more extracurriculars, but I do acknowledge its importance to my education. I learn best by doing. This makes me a kinesthetic learner. When I sit down and do my math homework, I practice the theories I learned in class and through this process, I make the knowledge more concrete. Without math homework, I probably would not be as good at the class than I am now. Attending class stimulates my auditory and visual learning, but the practice is missing. Practice does make perfect. Writing essays, reading novels, working on problem sets, all of these actions are strengthened by practice and the only time I get sufficient practice in these is when I do my homework. There is no pressure to be absolutely correct with homework, the effort gets the good grade so the practice is not a test.

How would this system affect college-bound students? Would they be put at a disadvantage? College classes give out homework. It is vital to how the class moves along in such a short period. Lectures stimulate auditory and visual learning, labs and problem sets give practice to the theories. If I did not practice homework, I would have to learn the skill in college. Many careers require work outside of business hours. Doesn’t homework benefit this?
Colleges want to see well-rounded students who are able to manage their time well. Perhaps with homework banned, students would become better at time management, or maybe they will just waste their free time doing stupid things. I believe that homework is essential to learning.

College: An Opinion

Recently, I have embarked on the wonderfully expending journey of applying to college. With six days until Early Decision applications are due, I certainly feel the pressure of completing my Common App and submitting the required supplements and test scores. With all this on my plate, I have noticed one incessant feature of college that truly brings me down: costs.

With ACT scores to send, CSS Profiles to fill out (ironically, this is a financial aid application that costs $9 to fill out and $16 to send), and lofty application fees, applying to college has been the most expensive gamble of my life – not to mention the $40,000 + I will pay for my tuition, fees, room, and board.

According to CollegeData.com, I can expect to pay over $42,224 per year on college (for a private college). I hope for scholarships. Of course, I will most likely get some to off-set such a high cost.

OPINION:

Is college too expensive?  Should the government play a more active role in financial aid?

Now that you have expressed your opinions, I will dispense mine:

Yes, college is too expensive. I feel this way because there is a chance that I may not be able to attend an engineering institution, like I want to. Engineering schools are often the most expensive type of college and without enough financial aid, I may not be able to afford to go. Loans are inevitable. I have read that you shouldn’t take out more money than you plan to make when you graduate (as a prospective civil engineer, that’s a relatively high $60,000), but that only $15,000 per year, a mere 36% of the average cost. Plus, who knows if I will find a job (again, as an engineer, my chances of employment are relatively higher than that of others). College is too expensive, but the costs are there for a reason. This brings up the question: If I deserve a higher education, who will pay in place where I cannot?

In France, the average cost of attending a university is about €300 (~$389) per year. Yes, per year. The government covers most of the cost of going to school; however, les universités are much different from American colleges. In order attend university after high school (le lycée), a student needs to pass the BAC (the most important exam in high school). High marks are difficult to achieve so many student study intensively for years to pass the exams. Some universities also have pre-entrance exams that require two-year courses to pass. A French student must work hard to enter college, but they are rewarded with inexpensive education. I feel that the United States should employ a similar type of system. Students who work hard and earn good grades should be given free education. For less academic-geared students, alternate education, such as trade schools should be endorsed. Sadly, our current system of enrolment is capitalistic. Colleges need to make money, but the government does not supply enough aid. Students of high income are more likely to go to college, regardless of their academic performance.  I think that is wrong. College should be available to all people. If the American Dream has any truth in it, our system of financial aid is severely lacking. I don’t see this revolution happening any time soon, but hopefully, our country will work harder to help the rising generation in the years to come.

Opinion – An Overview

I’d like to officially start this blog by stating this: an opinion is not a fact. I myself am not an openly opinionated person because I acknowledge this truth. Likewise, I do not find it fair for someone to force their often limited views on to someone. For the following posts, I will simply present my opinions on a variety of subjects and use rhetoric to support my ideas. You do not need to agree with me; you do not need to generally oppose me either.

With all of this, I hope to show you, the reader how elastic an opinion is, and how it changes or remains in order to broaden your minds and to teach you to filter what you hear more carefully and form your own opinions based off of what you truly feel. We all need help forming our own opinions without other people nudging us with lies, exaggerations, and bigotry. In reading this, I hope you may learn such a valuable skill.

Expressing your opinions:

Generally, it’s better to have thought and reasoning beforehand

                                      

Rhetoric at its finest:

Definition & Etymology of Opinion

For all purposes of this blog, we can assume that the word opinion is defined as:

A belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.

The word that we use today comes directly from the Old French word opinion (spelled the same, pronounced differently) c.1300. In Old French, the word’s meaning was similar:

View or judgments founded upon probabilities.

Before Old French, the word can be traced back to the Latin opinionem,meaning:

Conjecture, fancy, belief, what one thinks; appreciation, esteem

(Old French, not old French people…thanks Google images)