Let’s face it, Maths tends to get a bad rap! But talking with three of our Senior School students, Bronya, Jessie, and Madi, sheds a new perspective on the subject – the rewards it brings, its usefulness for everyday life, and why students should think twice before leaving it behind.
Bronya, Madi, and Jessie take Specialist Maths in Year 12. Sure, they each have designs on STEM-related professions - so it makes sense. However, not all of them enjoyed or did well in Maths in the early years. It comes easier for some of them than others – but they all see an inherent value in Maths, that extends past their academic pursuits.
Both Bronya and Maddie love the reliability and clarity of Maths.
“Once it clicks, it’s such an exhilarating feeling to be able to confidently work through problems. There’s a nice assurance that there’s always some sort of pattern or reliable method to it” – Bronya
“There’s also a degree of comfort and routine in the subject that makes it enjoyable.” - Madi
Many would assume that students who take on Specialist Maths in Year 12 are those for whom Maths has always been easy. However, all three students, have experienced times when Maths has been challenging for them.
“My relationship with Maths is varied. Sometimes I struggle, but other times I can make a connection between topics and understand them.” - Jessie
“In primary school and early secondary, I was an English kid - Maths didn’t come naturally to me. But over time I began to like the routine of the classes and the assessments that made us think more creatively.” – Madi
No doubt, the word ‘creative’ doesn’t usually spring to mind when many people think of Maths and yet, Jessie also refers to the creative elements of the subject.
“Maths can be creative and visual too. Numbers are not the only focus. I studied Visual Communication Design, which has helped me in maths with visualising 3D objects and linked to other aspects as well.” - Jessie
All three students feel strongly that the problem-solving elements of Maths promote the ability to think outside the box and can be applied to many aspects of everyday life.
“It’s almost as if you’re a detective. You begin to learn techniques that help you to discern and find the underlying question within the question. From there, you utilise the techniques you have in your ‘toolbox’ to work through the problem.” - Madi
“The constant need to check and think logically through problems is a positive habit to develop in life.” – Jessie
The other benefit of maintaining a Maths subject is that it leaves doors open for students as they begin to consider tertiary studies, with many tertiary courses including a VCE Maths subject as a requirement for entry.
“You never know, you may discover once leaving the structure of the high school system that while you may not like mathematics as experienced in the classroom, there’s something you’re passionate about that would be enhanced with the knowledge and skills that maths provides.” - Bronya
“The problem-solving skills learnt in Maths can help you to deal with changes quickly and effectively. Maths is the foundation of STEM, which has and will continue to impact society in many positive ways and includes so many interesting career options.” – Jessie.
While Bronya aspires to work in Biomedical Engineering and Madi to study Medicine, Jessie is still deciding what she’d like to do in the future – though it will undoubtedly be STEM-related. No doubt all will continue to use and benefit from the skills they have learnt in Maths.