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Opinion

Opinion: Learning math can improve your life

Many students complain and question math learning in school because they feel it isn’t necessary for their future lives. However, many students don’t realize that math is used and applied everywhere. The concept of math isn’t just a school subject that you learn because you are obliged to; it is, in fact, a valuable topic…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/wilhuang0915/" target="_self">William Huang</a>

William Huang

July 23, 2021

Many students complain and question math learning in school because they feel it isn’t necessary for their future lives. However, many students don’t realize that math is used and applied everywhere.

The concept of math isn’t just a school subject that you learn because you are obliged to; it is, in fact, a valuable topic of study for many jobs and careers, it makes you more intelligent, and not learning it could actually hurt your brain. 

Many jobs and careers worldwide require more math than people think. More technology means more mathematical use and applications.

Countries and companies are competing for better technology development, so pursuing a career in and getting a major in the medical field, science, and computing could effectively help you efficiently find a job.

Mathematics is frequently required in these Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs. Basically, more math means more jobs.

According to Vanderbilt University’s Department of Mathematics, “One common misconception is that a major in math is of no use unless you plan to teach math. But the truth is that there are a multitude of interesting and rewarding jobs for people with degrees in math.

People who initially think that math is useless for a career are dead wrong about their beliefs because they don’t realize how many jobs are awaiting them in this technological world.

Many professions that benefit from mathematical knowledge besides engineering and the medical fields include computer programmers, statisticians, actuaries, economic consultants, and even business managers, and these are just a few in a long list. Math is inescapable in more jobs than people know. 

For example, being a civil engineer, if you are designing an airport for small planes, you need to find if the runway is long enough for the plane to take off if it has to reach a certain speed before doing so.

To calculate this, you need to use math, so the physics formula (v^2=v0^2+2a(x-x0)) for constant acceleration is required. Using this mathematical formula, you can find the velocity of the plane needed to take off, and thus be able to calculate the minimum length of the runway. 

This is just one example of a job that requires math knowledge. The more math you know, the more jobs you can qualify for and choose from.

There’s even evidence that math is good for your brain. As reported by The Guardian, Japanese neuroscientist Ryuta Kawashima of Tohoku University found in his research that doing math grows human brains better than playing video games, listening to music, or listening to text being read out loud.

Stanford professor Keith Devlin told The Guardian, “The brain evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to cope with problems in the physical and social worlds. But maths is a recent activity —  numbers are at most 10,000 years old — so the brain did not evolve to think that way. That’s why math does not come as easily as speaking a language.” 

Math, finally, is essential because if you don’t learn it, it could hurt your brain. Some consequences of not learning mathematics are having “reduced brain inhibition levels in a key brain area involved in reasoning and cognitive learning,” as stated by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). Basically, PNAS has found that not studying math during critical times in adolescence can result in a lack of brain development.

In the PNAS research article’s review of the literature, they also report on how math is linked to progress in education, employment, mental and physical health, socioeconomic status, and financial stability, further showing how important studying math is for a person’s overall quality of life.

Overall, we can see that math is essential in at least three important ways. First, it is helpful for many jobs and careers; second, it makes individuals smarter; and third, there are even negative effects of not learning mathematics. It is helpful for many jobs and careers because there are a multitude of high-paying jobs out there that need people with mathematical skills.

People get smarter from math because it’s been proven to support brain growth. Not doing math even makes your brain have lower cognitive functions, including reasoning, problem-solving, memory, and learning. Ultimately, math is essential to living a good life. 

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