When am I ever going to use this?

It is good to be back writing again after my break. I have been meaning to write more than I have, but June was a busy month for me. I want to get back in the habit as I know how important that is, along with planning the exact times I will sit down to work.

Anyway, a few weeks before the end of the school year, one of my students said, “When am I ever going to use this?” At the time, I mentioned something about how thinking is really the application, in my opinion. Whether you use math in future is not the point, but rather exercising your brain is. Oddly, I have never heard of anyone asking when they will ever use the exercise they are doing. Exercising your mind is perhaps more important than exercising your body, though the benefits are not as easy to see.

The real reason students ask the question of when they will use something, is probably because they don’t enjoy the subject. Even more likely, they don’t understand it, so they make excuses for why it’s not necessary to learn. This saves them from having to put forth the effort to think, something most people would do anything to avoid.

I wonder if students question the application of subjects other than math, as it seems more accurate to do so. The feeling I often got in studying other subjects was that I was simply there to memorize a bunch of facts, only to forget them immediately after the Exam was written. So of course, my application of those subjects has been limited.

Math is a subject that has a huge variety of applications. The only way to apply it in future is to focus on understanding the basics when in school. Without understanding it, you will for sure not be able to apply it later. It seems that knowledge must come before application, and it is good for you to increase your knowledge whenever possible, so you are better prepared to apply it when necessary.

I noticed that when I started driving a car, I suddenly had a reason to pay attention to streets since I needed to be able to get to my destination. Before that time, as a passenger, I never paid attention to directions, since I had no purpose for this knowledge. In many ways as students, it is easy to be a passenger rather than a driver. If you sort out your purpose for learning, you pave the way to real understanding, while putting yourself in the driver’s seat.

Thanks for reading!

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