The Life of a Mathematics Major
When I tell people that my majors are math and economics, I usually get one of three responses:
- A cringe or an “eww, really?”
- “Wow, props to you; I wish I could do that.”
- “Can you tutor me?”
Occasionally, I will get a positive response, but that is quite rare. What I have learned is that most people do not enjoy math, or they believe they are not talented enough in the subject. Math does take a certain type of thinking, but I am a firm believer that anyone can succeed in the subject if they put in the time to understand every concept. Unfortunately, some have to put more time in than others, and, because they do not enjoy the time they spend on math, they disregard the subject. I would love to tutor all of them.
I am blessed to have an analytical mind and even more blessed to adore solving every type of problem. To me, there are few things that are more enjoyable than solving a problem that takes an entire sheet of paper (or more) to break down. This excitement leaves me in the minority, and I am alright with that. Students who love math hold a special bond that unites our small community. Our small KSU Math Club holds meetings every other week where we eat pizza and listen to math lectures. Many college students would dread sitting through a math lecture, but I have learned so many interesting real life applications.
My favorite question to ask someone as a college freshman is what they want to do with their degree after graduation because I find the many paths that people want to take extremely interesting. However, math majors are rarely asked “what would you like to do with your major?” Instead, the question we hear is “so, you want to be a teacher?” Many of us (at least in our small KSU math club) respond in a negative degree. Some want to be data analysts, some want to work in IT, and some only know that they love math and are good at it. The thing about majoring in math is that you can pursue virtually any career you dream. Because we are so few, we stand out, and employers appreciate our dedication to so many abstract theories. Thus, we can be engineers, detectives, accountants, economists, meteorologists, etc.
My original thought was that I wanted to be a lawyer. I did not care what my undergraduate degree was in or where it would come from. One of my cousins graduated with an undergraduate degree in math and explained to me this theory that virtually any job is available to math majors. Also, the analytical skills developed throughout my coursework would help tremendously on the LSAT.
Since making this decision and adding economics onto my degree, more and more people have began to understand my theory after they listen to my explanation. Some have even thought of following my path.
I thoroughly enjoy being in this minority and being able to make such close connections to others who share my love of problem solving. I am excited to see where we all go in our careers of mathematics.