The Answer is 42 – Math is underrated. Change my mind.

Just hear me out.

I get it. We’re in high school and as high schoolers, it’s practically an expectation at this point to dislike just about every single mandatory class ever. Including math. Especially math. 

I hear people in the hallways complaining about how they “failed” their math test (spoiler – they got an 87%) and how their math homework is a waste of time. I’ve been guilty of this too, but I can see now that I underestimated math greatly. 

I can hear the age old question: When will the ability to graph Sine and Cosine functions ever be useful in life?

The answer is probably never. You will probably never need to use the quadratic formula in your day to day life, and you will probably never find yourself in need of knowing what the sum of all interior angles of an octagon are. 

But there are a lot of components of math that are incredibly useful in your day to day life. And you probably use math more than you think. Here are some examples:

When you sit in your 6th hour, and it’s 1:17, you may use what I call “complicated basic math” to figure out how much time is left until the bell rings. Class ends at 1:59, 17 is 3 away from 20 which is 30 away from 50 which is 9 away from 59, 9 + 3 = 12 +30 = 42, and if you give a margin of error of about 2 minutes, you can safely say that you have to sit through 40-44 minutes of notes. Boom math. 

When you are baking a cake, and you find yourself in need of parchment paper to line the bottom of the cake pan, you can save yourself a very frustrating 3 minutes of trying to cut out a perfect circle, then giving up and tracing a circle with a pencil, then worrying if it’s safe to put a pencil-riddled parchment paper in with your cake, then giving up again. Instead you can take a square piece of paper, fold it in half 2 times, fold that into a triangle, cut a cone shape the same length as the radius of the cake pan, and you have a perfect circle. Boom math. 

When you need to figure out how to split the bill, you calculate it by multiplying the total bill by the tax in decimal form, and then divide the bill between you and your 12 other friends – now instead of paying like $1.34 extra because you didn’t do the math, you would only have to pay $0.97. You saved $0.37 (which you figured out by adding 3 cents to 97 to get 100, then adding 3 and 34 to get 37 – don’t even lie, I know you did it). Boom math.

Maybe I’m over exaggerating a little. 

You learned all those things in math class. The class you won’t stop complaining about, or cursing till the day you die. And obviously there are more important situations where you would need math’s help. An unexpected hospital trip that leaves you with a hefty bill, or a talk with an insurance company. Maybe you need to budget your money when juggling multiple jobs. Filing for unemployment, calculating student loans, even considering the cost of starting a family or of simply growing up. Those all require math. 

This world would be nothing without math. 

Especially during this pandemic, when math is being used to determine who should be first in line to get the vaccine, or how much the government can give someone on the next stimulus check. Math is the leading factor.

So step back and take a second to appreciate just how useful math is. And then you can calculate how long that assignment you’ve been putting off will take you, down to the very minute.