By
Allen Glines

As we speak, students are sitting in their various math classes tapping their fingers impatiently, daydreaming and complaining aloud "I'm not going to use this stuff ever again in life!" They might be correct when it comes to their specific responsibilities in the workplace, but not how they accomplish these responsibilities. Sure, they might never graph linear equations, determine slope and y-intercept or solve radical equations in a workday, but the cool math skills they acquired while completing these problems will last a lifetime.

Math shows you that you can reach a desirable result if you a follow a certain series of steps in a particular order, and complete each step without making an error. If you find an error in your process, you can start over, making sure to alter your methods at the moment you messed up the first time. Life doesn't allow you to redo anything most of the time, but when it comes to stuff you do over and over on a consistent basis, you're allowed to change things in between attempts.

For instance, consider what you do every morning to get ready for work or school. If your process consists of waking up, getting ready, having breakfast and going to work, you must complete each step successfully to develop a routine. If you miss one step, your entire process will be thrown out of sync, compromising your chances of satisfactorily getting everything else done. In the case of waking up, sleeping in would result in less time to get ready, easy breakfast, and go to work, which could lead to you being late. The same goes for math problems.

A math problem must be solved how your textbook tells you how to solve it. Every step must be followed to lower the risk of getting a wrong answer. Sometimes you can skip steps, but it’s ill advised and too much like forgetting to do the steps entirely. Make sure to learn how to do each step perfectly before setting out to do a particular kind of problem because doing a step incorrectly is the same as not doing it at all.

A successful mathematician is blessed with complex problem-solving skills they can use in any avenue of life. They are able to analyze life’s situations logically, and determine the proper solution based on the circumstances before them. These skills can be gained in other pursuits, but one of the methods to acquire them is through mathematics. A dedication to studying math off-and-on over time will help the student keep, maintain and enhance these skills.

Word problems are a good example of problem-solving skills manifesting themselves in math courses. They are also one of the most hated types of problems out there. The students who hate these problems must understand that they can be applied directly to their daily lives. But this revelation would ruin the illusion that you will never use what you learned in math again.

Solutions to even the most complex math problems should never be a mystery to the student. In the face of a difficult problem, perplexed students choose retreat because nobody is willing to explain the solution to them in a timely manner. Algebra software is convenient and not subject to impatience and frustration like their human counterparts.

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