When telling someone, friends, family, coworkers, or people on the street, what your major is, they always have something to say. No matter what it is, or what that person you’re talking to does or majored in, they will always comment on what you say. And, of course, it’s never just, “that’s wonderful. Good luck in your studies!” It’s usually a snarky comment or a question that you’ve probably already answered hundreds of times by now. That being said, here are 7 things that mathematics majors in particular are tired of hearing.
1. “Wow, you must really like math!”
This is probably at the top of the list of annoying things you can say to any major. Of course I like math! I’m majoring in it! I plan on using it for the rest of my life! Why would I want that if I didn’t like math? That would literally make no sense at all and I would probably have failed out of my major by now if I didn’t like math. Goodness.
2. “What do you mean ‘math major?’ What kind of math are you majoring in?”
MATH. Just math. Or mathematics if you want more detail. What do you want from me? You don’t major in algebra, or geometry, or calculus, or anything specific. You just major in math and take all those courses along the way! No, it’s not applied math or actuarial math. My. Major. Is. Just. Math. Thanks.
3. “Ew, I hate math.”
…Aside from being terribly rude to me, this comment is also ignorant. So you’re saying that just because you hate math or are bad at it that I shouldn’t enjoy it either? That no one should? You’re saying you hate what my skills and future profession contain all because of bad experiences you probably had in remedial algebra in high school. News flash: not everyone has to like the same things as you, and you just need to accept that.
4. “Why not engineering?”
This is another really frustrating one. I get that a lot of varieties of engineering contain and utilize a lot of math concepts. I know what engineering is, I just chose not to pursue it. What’s so wrong with that? Math and engineering are two completely different programs. Do they have a lot of similarities in content? Sure. But what if when you told me you were a physics major I said to you, “why don’t you just major in astronomy instead?” Again, two subjects that have connections but are completely different. It doesn’t even make sense to ask this. I’m majoring in what I want, not what anyone else wants.
5. “What do you even do with a math degree?”
Um, the same thing you do with every other college degree: use it to try to get a job! If you mean what types of jobs people with math degrees typically seek, then there are several. Math is used in accounting, banking, statistics, sports (!), research, engineering, meteorology… the list goes on and on! Personally, I am going the education route, and plan to teach secondary math (that’s middle and high school usually). Math is used everywhere!
6. “Can you help me with my math class?”
I mean, I guess so. I’m not going to take the class for you because that would be cheating, but since I’m a kind soul, (and I’m hopefully going to be a teacher some day anyway and need practice) I can talk you through some problems or give you some tips that helped me.
7. “Why would you pick that?”
Why does anyone pick what they picked for their major? For a variety of reasons: what you’re good at, what you like, what applies to a career you’d want in the future, something that’s fun, or even something that you think would make a lot of money. It doesn’t matter why you picked it, as long as you like it and it suits you and your future!
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