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SOCIAL DOGMA OF MATHEMATICS - Common App Essay on Math (Prompt #3)

NafeeJ 1 / -  
Nov 1, 2018   #1
Hi! I'm looking for some last minute edits on my essay. Thanks!

Prompt: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?


People really don't like math all that much. Ever since I was a kid, I've always known that people didn't like math and wondered why. Whether I liked the convenient solutions, I didn't like all my other classes relatively, or because I felt I had to like math due to family pressure, I always told myself that I liked math. However, the way that I viewed mathematics was fundamentally flawed. I thought that math was purely systematic, that there was only one way or a set, that was taught to me, to solve problems. For the majority of my life, I never understood what math truly was and just viewed it very statically, as just some numbers you do stuff to in specific ways to get a desired result. I remember always hating word problems in math, and looking back on it it was a true testament to how badly my view of math was.

Math is a language. I feel like if I were to tell this to anyone they would just think I'm being pretentious. Despite this, I carry on with this mantra as my new view on mathematics. The first mathematicians were not even really thinking about math; they were just some people who wanted to know how the world worked. From its first conception, math has been a method by which we further our understanding of the world around us. Math is the base of our understanding of the world. From math to physics to chemistry to biology and every other school of academia in between. All of this built upon the language that people from the past centuries and millennia have used to explain the world, mathematics. With this, it hurts to see people view mathematics how I did.

The fixed way of thinking about mathematics was my view until roughly 11th grade. I'm not going to be pretentious and say that I had some huge epiphany during 11th grade about math; I had just started watching a lot of videos about math on YouTube and slowly started to understand it much better than I did before. Since this new thought of thinking about math, I had not just started understanding how math worked in my classes, but I had started to genuinely enjoy it. For example, simultaneously learning about the unit circle in precalculus and then learning about oscillatory motion and waves in physics made me appreciate how perfectly math connected with the how the world worked. I would consider that as the crux of my appreciation of mathematics and ever since, I have wanted for people to see that math isn't the bland subject that next to all teachers make it to be. The teaching methodology is at the core of the problem; they force equations to be memorized rather than explaining their derivation, don't show the applications of math, etc. As a result of a combination of these things, most people just hate math and find it to be useless. Currently, I am in calculus and I can genuinely say that I am enjoying its content greater than any of my other classes. It is just really nice to see because calculus deals with ideas that build upon each other that manage to collectively solve only a couple core problems that have a beautiful solution. Then, seeing this application to my current physics class (which is algebra based but is combined with another calculus-based physics class) starting with the position, velocity, and acceleration vs time graphs and going to solving the pressure on areas of an irregularly shaped object submerged in a fluid. Seeing math in this new way has turned a subject that I did not care about studying to one that I actively look forward to.

Word Count: 632
Holt [Contributor] - / 7,660 1998  
Nov 1, 2018   #2
Nafee, you have chosen a very boring topic to discuss in this essay, Math. Which you know most people do not like and when presented with this one sided discussion, it comes across as extremely disinteresting to the reader. It also feels like it is running too long. Any chance you can whittle this down to 500 words or less? Now, let's discuss the prompt that you have chosen to use with this discussion. I do not believe that you have chosen the right topic for this discussion. I believe that you are relating the discussion to your chosen major right? Which means you are discussing an academic centered topic in the essay.

The prompt is actually asking you to discuss a personality or belief centered topic for the prompt. That is why you are asked about a belief you challenged or an idea. The reviewer wants to get to know what sort of social beliefs and values you stand for. He wants to know what kind of person you are if you are not thinking about academics. What values or beliefs will you take with you to the university should you be accepted into the student community? What values will you share with the population? How will your admission to the university help to improve the student community? What do you represent in terms of a beliefs? How did this help you mature as a person? How was your thinking changed?

The reviewer wants to know how you have matured as a person as represented by your adult mindset social beliefs or values. He needs to be convinced that you are ready to enter college and you have the maturity in both logic and reasoning to handle the challenges that will be coming your way.

The essay that you wrote does not show the kind of maturity that the prompt is requesting you to provide. Consider changing the topic you are presenting. Should you wish to pursue using this topic, then use it for the open topic prompt discussion instead so that you can allow the essay to continue to reflect your academic realization as the essay represents at the moment.

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