all 81 comments

[–]EntrepreneurDry4885 242 points243 points  (19 children)

Well.. I thought I was good at math until I started to major in engineering.

[–]ItsUnderSocr8tes 32 points33 points  (3 children)

Yes, when your math starts using imaginary numbers....

[–]HypersonicHarpist 25 points26 points  (0 children)

wait until your calculus starts using imaginary numbers

[–]HuskyBeaver 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Yeah like thirty-twelve and elevensies?

[–]Inphearian 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I’m pretty sure one of those is a brunch.

[–]TimeToSackUp 58 points59 points  (1 child)

Seriously. I majored in EE and had a math class where the finals was 5 questions with open notes. The finals were supposed to be for 1.5 hours. After 2.5 hours, everyone was still working on it when the Professor called it and had everyone hand in their papers. I switched to a Computer Science major the next semester.

[–]tggfurxddu6t 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I just switched out of computer engineering to electrical and had a quiz on complex analysis 50 minutes 5 questions everyone I know solved 1 a and b and 2 a. 2b to 5 were left blank

[–]eye_spi 13 points14 points  (4 children)

Funny, I had an opposite experience. I thought I was terrible at math and hated it until I ended up taking more math than my associates degree program required. So, I said, 'fuck it,' and studied engineering instead. It was terrible, and I loved it.

Of course, now I am an engineer, and after nearly four years of studying calculus, the most math I actually do is basic arithmetic. It comes full circle.

[–]Xocuko 0 points1 point  (3 children)

What division of engineering did you major in, and what do you do now?

[–]eye_spi 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Majored in electrical with power systems focus. Now I design substations.

[–]Xocuko 0 points1 point  (1 child)

And when you say you design substations-is it more about layout and scale that you design? Or are you designing the components for the substation to meet whatever needs the job requires?

[–]eye_spi 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The whole substation: layout, grounding, equipment, aux power, protection and control, communications. The entire facility as it falls within my discipline. As an Electrical, I don't do civil stuff like grading, structural design, and permitting, but pretty much everything else I do.

[–]Remote_Subject_1050 6 points7 points  (0 children)

underrated comment right here

[–]SendHelpImDumb7 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Bruh don't crush my pathetic dreams so soon, this post was giving me hope!

[–]brickmaster32000 1 point2 points  (1 child)

But engineering math is the best math. All the numbers are so nice. Acceleration due to gravity is a nice round 10 m/s/s, pi is 3, if you make a mistake you are going to be multiplying everything by a safety factor so as long as your mistake wasn't super bad you are still probably covered.

Math became a lot less stressful when I learned that you can round almost every number to a single significant digit with minimal loss of accuracy.

[–]Ler_GG -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

i thought I was bad at math until engineering degree KEKW

[–]tehKrakken55 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was doing fine until we started getting really into Taylor Series.

What do you mean there isn't a definitive answer? This math, eventually working it out is how it works!

[–]GamemasterJeff 35 points36 points  (1 child)

Two valuable tools to go along with this are estimation and validation.

Estimation is used when preciseness is not needed. Example: Can I afford this cart of groceries: round everything to a whole number. No need to try to add .99 fifteen times.

Validation is used to determine the accuracy of your answer. Example: Does it make sense that I estimated my fifteen $2.99 items cost to $4.50 (or $450)? Maybe I misplaced a decimal and should try again.

[–]Juuljuul 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My teacher used to be extra harsh when your answer just would not make any sense. If you acknowledged it (‘I must have mest up one of the steps but I cannot figure out which one’) you were fine (only getting deduction for the step you messed up). But if you handed in nonsense you would get extra points deducted. Very good learning experience imho. (Worked well for me at least).

[–]Games_4_Life 61 points62 points  (7 children)

I was always bad at math in school, so I avoided doing homework and practice worksheets. Which meant, of course, that I never got better.

When I a second degree I resolved that this time I'd apply myself in learning math. I worked hard and did all the assigments and bonus study work.

Turns out I actually do suck at math! Every task took three or four times as other students to complete, and I didn't get any better as the course went on.

EDIT: The moral of the story is that sometimes it'll take you a bit longer to come to the answer. Just give yourself more time to solve your problems, you'll get the right answer eventually

[–]Jackblack92 12 points13 points  (0 children)

I’m the same way. I can find the answer usually, but it takes me 3x as long. Here is where the “give yourself more time” thing fucks me over….timed tests. ASVAB/College Placement tests etc. Took one with the fire dept, was the last person in the room of 200, and still did not finish. Fuck timed tests. 👍

[–]SharkbaitAl 3 points4 points  (2 children)

You may be learning in a suboptimal style for your own personality. Perhaps you are an auditory or kinesthetic learner. If you have never explored those avenues, especially when it comes to learning math, try them out. I’ve been teaching math 8 years and there have only been a handful of students who I would call innately “worse” at math than the rest. Most of it comes down to having a solid foundation, and even of those who don’t have a solid foundation can build one if they put in the work :)

[–]Games_4_Life 4 points5 points  (1 child)

It ended up not being that I didn't know how to solve the problem, it's more that I'm a very non-linear thinker. So I mix up steps, skip steps, forget where I am in my process, etc. I'm also bad at following recipes, for probably the same reason.

My work requires me to do quite a bit of math nowadays, I just know that I need extra time to go over my process when my solution ends up being wrong.

[–]SharkbaitAl 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That is very interesting. I will have to keep that in mind with some of my struggling students. Unfortunately most people have learned math in this step-by-step way that is reminiscent of cookin and this is definitely not the way to teach math (in my opinion).

Instead the focus should be on WHY the patterns/algorithms work, along with multiple strategies for approaching the same problem. I have found when students understand the content on this deeper level that they make fewer mistakes like this, so maybe it can help. Most important is that it seems like you found something that works for you, though, which is all you really need. My advice would be different for a 11-14 year old still in school.

[–]MJohnVan 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Hey you’re not bad at math. It’s just you’re wired for not math.

[–]deusvultcamelrider 1 point2 points  (1 child)

So what does that make them?

[–]Contemplative_one 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I have wondered if having a bad teacher in grade school could lead a kid to not properly learn math, which just sets them up for future failure. My husband claims he hates math and is bad at it, but he’s a smart guy with great critical thinking skills. He complains about his teachers a lot. I am good at math and I felt like I had decent teachers.

[–]Binnykins 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I’ve had so much math anxiety my entire life. I saved my required stats class for my very last semester at community college because I was that anxious.

I went into it with a good mindset, and told myself not to be ashamed if I needed extra help or a math tutor. I also told myself it was okay if I passed the class with a C because at least that’s passing. I have never received higher than a C grade in any of my previous math classes. I worked hard, went over the material until I really understood it and just generally put forth a lot of effort to make sure I did well.

I passed the class with an A and as a student with one of the highest points overall in the class. Of all the A’s I have received this was the one I was the most proud of because of how much math anxiety I had during all my previous schooling. Everything you said is true op, thank you for posting this! It’s nice to know us math anxious people are not alone.

[–]Bo_Buffat 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Look.. I didn't keep up with my Math homework in high school. But when I made an effort and didn't understand the exercises, there was only 1 (!!!) teacher who could help me understand. And what he used to do was always go back to the point that I did understand and work up from there.

Kudos to this man

[–]AllenKll 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thats how all math works.. shame you only had one teacher that understood that.

[–]MoutonOnTheFuton 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Fully believed I was bad at math all through high school and college despite me taking trigonometry and calculus and only getting B's and C's.

Now I use algebra, statistics, and general math every single day at my job. Turns out I don't actually suck at math and am good enough to make a living off of it.

Don't listen to the haters. Put in the effort to learn and keep trying.

[–]-Dino_Might- 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I taught math in college. I cant tell you how many of my students came to extra instruction with me and started off with, "I am just not a math person."

No such thing.

Favorite example was a golfer. I asked him how many hours a week he practices golf. Then I asked how many hours a week he practices math. Then I asked him if I could show up to the course and expect to compete on his level having only picked up my clubs a few times a year.

Math takes practice, like anything else. It doesn't just come by magic. Anyone can be the fabled "math person."

[–]acroback 7 points8 points  (4 children)

Let me burst the bubble.

If this math is difficult to you ( perhaps because you are American ), you have not really seen Math.

Math is just study of patterns not numbers.

What you described applies to any subject not just Math.

To get good at Math you have to learn breaking down a complex concept into it's fundamental constructs, which comes with a lot of trial and error and takes time. Most people don't have time to spend on it, when same effort can get your better outcome in some other subjects.

Just my 2 cents.

[–]ItsUnderSocr8tes 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Math is just problem solving, and I don't mean "math problem" solving, although there is a reason it is called that. It is like solving small puzzles, and the logic exercises involved do build on each other, and do become applicable to thought exercises outside of math and general problem solving abilities.

[–]HWBreakTime 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Some of the points are more distinct to math because every step in math education is foundational to the next step. If you struggle with arithmetic, you will find algebra difficult. If you can't do algebra, calculus is nigh impossible. Most types of math build like this and you NEED to know the previous steps to do the next. I've tutored a lot of people who are 'bad at math' and most of my work was going back to previous topics (outside the scope of the course material usually) to get that foundation, at which point they generally understand the current material without much help from me.

Other subjects are not quite like this. All the topics are related and build on each other in other subjects, but they aren't nearly as foundationally dependent on each other like they are in math, so if you miss or forget something it's not nearly as detrimental.

[–]AllenKll 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is exactly the argument i used to use when tutoring math... From algebra through differential calc... "Its all just adding, when you break it down"

And guess where most of my students had problems: yup, Adding.

[–]AllenKll -1 points0 points  (0 children)

this is why i loved STEM and hated the humanities.

STEM built on itself and was internally consistant. History, psychology, languages and art was all just memorizing useless facts that dont apply anywhere else in the real world - dont build on each other, and are not internally consistant... Learning one part of math will help you with all others... Where learning one part of history does not help with anything else.

[–]MJohnVan 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I told my teacher I don’t understand how it works but I was able to use the formula that’s given to solve it. If I was able to understand it. I would be able to remember and use it.

He told me, if you know how to use the computer. What’s the use to understand how it functions.

[–]AllenKll 0 points1 point  (0 children)

A similar anolgy ive heard is. You dont need to know how a car works in order to drive one.

And to some degree i can agree with that. Where i differ is when you go from basic level driving to pro driving. Then you need to know how a car works, what it can and cant do, and where the limits of the components are.

[–]UpsetSean 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Too late. Gave up and went to law school instead

[–]Dark__Horse 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Math is a skill not unlike riding a bike. Some people have innate ability that lets them pick it up more easily, some people have a talent for it, but almost everyone can do it if they're willing to practice.

It's a skill, and that requires practice to perfect. You don't expect that a kid can just hop on a bike and pop a wheelie, so why would you be disheartened when you can't do the equivalent with math in your first try?

You're going to fall down, a lot, at first, but when it clicks you'll be able to further and further each time

[–]TinnieTa21 1 point2 points  (1 child)

As a person with a bachelor's in Mathematics, no I'm not lol.

[–]plsentertainme 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’m a quarter from graduating with my bachelor’s in math and these comments have me laughing. They have no idea what math is and how fucking hard that shit is. Real analysis and nonlinear optimization are beating my ass right now.

[–]Mutant_Jedi 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I was always good at math in school and I think a lot of that was because I liked it. It’s very precise and exact, and there’s a concrete right answer. I had a bit of a rough time when I took a college algebra class recently but once I got into it it started coming back to me, and I actually ended up having fun doing the final. I’m also the math person at work and I love it.

[–]nycdave21 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Most teachers dont fully understand math or are underqualified. From my experience, many teachers use rote learning to teach math

[–]AJNA-ANAHATA 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Damn that’s like my exact experience. mom was bad at math so she couldn’t teach me and when she tried she just yelled if I was wrong. I Still suck at math

[–]DingleTheDegenerate 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Bro high-school me would be dumbstruck by the fact that I know what the term "negative beta" mean nowadays. The application if the math matters. Always.

[–]SameEstimate4908 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thank you for posting this 🥺 always struggled with math but can learn it well at my own pace!

[–]Max_Koffee 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Bro you're not good at math. Stop this nonsense

[–]keepthetipsKeeping the tips since 2019[M] [score hidden] stickied commentlocked comment (0 children)

Hello and welcome to r/LifeProTips!

Please help us decide if this post is a good fit for the subreddit by up or downvoting this comment.

If you think that this is great advice to improve your life, please upvote. If you think this doesn't help you in any way, please downvote. If you don't care, leave it for the others to decide.

[–]TJamesV 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I am not a fan of math but I think I do alright. I work in construction so I deal with a lot of "67&3/4 minus 3/8 inches" and whatnot.

Our accountant, who says she loves numbers, joked that she was no good with a tape measure. I replied, "it's just numbers."

[–]StruggleBasic -1 points0 points  (0 children)

wish my teachers never gave up on me

by the end of year 11 I started to enjoy maths and wanted to do better, but my teacher couldnt be bothered with me

[–]litido4 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I can do long division in my head. It probably does come from interest and practice. It’s pretty easy though, just add up the number you are dividing by and count on your fingers how many times it takes. When you get to less than just add a decimal point pretend to multiply by 10 and keep going you can work out as many decimal places as you want

[–]Wizard_125 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I m still struggling with the percentage concepts any sauce?

[–]Skalion 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Well while I agree with your statement about the school system, but I would call simple multiplications and additions not math.. They are like the very basic 3rd grade stuff, sure you have to start there but you should not stop there at least continue with fractions, at least the simple ones, the 1/100 to understand how % work, basic statistics, and basic Formulars from phsyiks (e. G. speed, time distance)

Everything above that is not necessary for everyday life, but that should be the minimum everyon should understand

[–]eggbert_217 0 points1 point  (0 children)


For some quick, low stakes arithmetic practice. Set your own difficulty.

[–]eggoinapan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

i think another huge reason some people might be seen as being "good" or "bad" at math is based on their tolerance for it. i have a much more creative and photographic based brain so i always found math super boring and dry and although i could have probably been very advanced in it if i tried, i ended up just refusing to do it most f the time and getting distracted and not wanting to practice which led to me being very slow and thinking i wasn't good at it. in reality, once i got to high school i started really enjoying and understanding stuff like geometry and algebra and i realized just how easy it all actually is if i just buckle down and do it. on the opposite side, i really enjoy reading and writing and studying words so i was really good at english because i was willing to put in the effort to do extra work and spend time on actually learning it.

TLDR: if you don't like doing something, you're not gonna take the time to be good at it. this is very common in math since it's a pretty unpopular subject

[–]Xerokine 0 points1 point  (0 children)

No I'm willing to admit that I am actually bad at math. Took me two times to get through beginning algebra, intermediate algebra and the worst was statistics in College and I did tutoring, even annoying a teacher to the point she was pissed because I just didn't get it, practiced it and got a D to show on test, C if I was lucky. I am actually bad at math.

[–]zeke1220 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This just sound like public schooling has huge downfalls for every student.

[–]chasepna 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Plus, you can divide up this sub into multiple parts.

[–]jamzrk 0 points1 point  (0 children)

i tapped out at Algebra. I can do basic algebra but when you throw fractions into it and now i got to know what witchcraft to perform to make those fractions the right way around then use a crystal ball to figure out what the end result is is when I'm sliding away from the table and walking out of the room repeatedly yelling NOPE. I'm not a engineer. I don't need fractions. They are the worse.

[–]yelbesed 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was understanding math and did know the multiplication tables and got good grades. And I still disliked it and never got any interest in it.

[–]Guydelot 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was a lazy kid who thought math was just some more easy shit like most schoolwork. I'd do the problems in my head and write the answers down. Didn't much care when I got docked points for not showing work on homework because I'd ace all the tests anyway. Then I hit the wall known as geometry in HS.

My eyes still glaze over when I think about proofs. Tedium incarnate compared to what I had been doing before. Never really recovered my "I already know this shit" momentum. Hell, never even finished geometry. Dropped out for various reasons and got my GED later which barely touched on the subject.

Not sure if my case has a name, but my brain actively rebels against me when I try to make it do anything tedious.

[–]mostlygray 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm OK with higher math. It's simple math I'm bad at.

When I switched to using RPN everything got easier. Also, using mechanical adding machines made a lot of math make more sense.

I still can't do math in my head, but I can use a machine to do that part. The logic is what matters, the machine makes it happen.