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On Math, Heights and Overcoming Your Fears

by Staff
June 3, 2013

By Guest Blogger, Ruth E. Roberman
Program Director for Mathematics, South University

Many of you, my students, tell me that you are scared about your math class before it even begins. I understand that you are scared, but I want you to realize that your instructors are here to help you.

Willis (or Sears) tower

Recently, I stepped out on the ledge on the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago. I am terrified of heights, and there I was, with my stepdaughter, standing on the outside of floor 103 with just a piece of glass under my feet and along the sides and top. I knew intellectually that I wouldn't fall, but that didn’t make it any easier. It was all mental, and I finally did it.

Now, you can do this. You can step onto that ledge and realize that you won't really fall. Or fail. But you have to try, and sometimes you have to hold someone's hand.

So ask questions of me and the other instructors as well as the good folks in the tutoring center. Spend as many hours per day practicing as it takes to get so good at this that you are no longer afraid. Time is your biggest friend for your math classes. Don't just do the required assignments. Practice everything you can find. Your textbook’s practice problems are one resource. MyMathLab is another. Ask your instructor for more ideas!

Math wasn't always easy for me. I really struggled in Trigonometry in high school, and then I had a friend—who ended up being quite a good teacher—explain it to me and it all clicked. But I spent tons and tons of time practicing, reworking problems, erasing, starting over and not giving up.

My advice is to take this attitude: Don't give up. Spend the time it takes to do well. Ask questions like I did—it helped.

I'm cheering you on!

Related Post:  Get On Demand Tutoring in the Classroom

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