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math? wiz.

We have heard the adage: “Face your fear.” far too many times. They say that if you are afraid of heights, you should try staying on top of a really high building and look down, until you are able to get over your fear. If you are aquaphobic or hydrophobic, you should spend more time in water, swim often or live near the beach to overcome your fear.

Last May 10, 2009, along with around 75 other hopefuls, I took the qualifying examinations for the master’s scholarship program offered by the Civil Service Commission for those in the government service. The exam was one of the toughest I have ever taken – it seems more than 50% were Math questions and problems I have not encountered for the past…well, for a long, long time since I graduated from high school.

I was never good in Math. I am shameless to admit that. I do not know if it is a fear of numbers per se, or just the make of a brain that accommodates only textual and visuals, and completely shuts off when bombarded with numerics. I do not remember ever being good in Math. I had a home tutor for Algebra in second year high, which was not good because I belong to the upper 15% of my batch. Supposedly when you belong to that percentage you have free time all to yourself, not with some Math tutor. Anyway, as soon as my tutor left and I have assigned exercises it would take quite a while before I was able to get the formula correctly. I would get low grades in all Math subjects – Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics – extremely low grades in contrast to my grades in other subjects. Looking back I realized I may have passed Math subjects then because my teachers conferred about the grades and ranking, and given my good grades in the other subjects the Math teachers doubted themselves: there must have been something wrong in the way they taught me. Anyway, for whatever reason, I’m thankful to have passed my Math subjects in HS.

Then came college, where I majored in English, with my course curriculum required only 3 units of Math: Math I. I was so happy with my 2.0 after a sem of grappling with those units. Then I had to take Math 11 at BCF while I was enrolled in the College of Law, because you cannot take the Bar without at least 6 units of Math. (I have 20 units of Spanish, can’t we just convert the extra units to Math? No puede ser?) My seatmates would let me copy because I was all sweet, and senior. I was a law student and they were just too happy to be the law student’s seatmates. Ha ha ha.

Despite the many questions in Math in my CSC-LMP qualifying exams, and this I consider one of the puzzling facts of this decade – I passed. I had to check and re-check the website list of qualifiers with my name on it, thinking there must be something wrong, they must have uploaded the wrong list. But I was called in for my interview so there was nothing wrong with the website. I hope I aced the interview too – thankfully it required no prowess in Math; I am so glad we normally just converse in words.

And that means I may be enrolling in a Masters Program – either for an MM or an MBA, which means I have to brace myself for Math subjects once again. Looking at the course syllabus for each program, the course titles were enough to give me the jitters.

But I am prepping up for the challenge. I think. I may have already matured enough (a bit?) to face Math head on. Does Math ability come with age? I have yet to find out. I hope I pass, and not, uhm, pass out.

I never did very well in math –
I could never seem to persuade the teacher
that I hadn’t meant my answers literally.
– Calvin Trillin

sun*star.baguio.4feb2010.

3 Responses to “math? wiz.”

  1. russel ma-ao says:

    it’s ok sis. UP prepares you early on, you’ll have bridging courses in math and accounting. Then once you’re in, you’ll get all the more confused with financial accounting, 1st sem pa lang. Kaya di ko na tinuloy, ayoko pahirapaan sarili ko. hehehe, encouraging ba?

  2. Tita Au says:

    Yes, it does come with age. Because by then, you already know that the mathematicians like Pythagoras, et al, are already dead, and you cannot kill them because of the miseries they inflicted in your student life.

  3. Yna says:

    congrats for passing ate 🙂

    p.s — ill share some of my math thingies in exchange with your writing expertise? LOL.jkjk

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