By: Logan Pierce, Editor-in-Chief
Students are taking the steps necessary to overcome their fear of math, also known as arithmophobia. On March 27, Amber Mitchell, TriO Student Support Services director, gave a presentation on conquering math anxiety. Mitchell said that the hang-ups people have with math are emotional, not intellectual.
Mitigating the Math Mindset
Mitchell talked about the “Math Mindset,” a widely accepted belief that math is so difficult that few are capable of understanding it, therefore it is okay to avoid being successful at it.
To illustrate the point, she presented a scenario of individuals in their mid-twenties eating at a restaurant. When the check comes, they scratch their heads trying to figure out the correct tip. One says, “Isn’t it funny that we’re all in grad school, and none of us can do math?” This elicited smirks and chuckles from those in attendance.
Now, let’s do that scenario again, only this time when the menus are brought out, the group scratches their heads, unable to comprehend the words. One says, “Isn’t it funny that we’re all in grad school, and none of us can read?” Mitchell noticed that there were no smirks or chuckles after the scenario’s second version.
Mitchell said that there’s a social stigma associated with illiteracy, but that it’s socially acceptable to be a math illiterate.
Stress Soothing Study Strategy
Several methods were discussed in obtaining math mastery. Consistent study patterns are crucial to comprehension. “Don’t just cram before a test,” Mitchell said. Studies show that between a half hour to an hour is an ideal amount of time to spend on a subject. After that, take a break before returning to the material.
“Something that worked for me was eating a Snickers bar a half hour before I took a test,” Mitchell said, “I gained 20 pounds, but my grades improved. Maybe it was just a sugar rush, but to me, it helped.”
“The most important thing to remember is that everybody is capable of learning math,” Mitchell said.
The next Student Success workshop will cover how to protect important information from identity theft. It will take place 12:30 p.m., Wed. April 4, in the Engineering and Technology building, Rm. 208.