Perhaps a Little Too Idealistic

Perhaps by views on what math should be are a little too idealistic–or else I bore easily. Not sure which.

As I take one of my last final exams in college–an applied math exam–I find myself comping at the bit to be done with it. Not because it would be good do be done but because I find it intensely boring to do. I’d have simply done enough to secure my good grade and blown off the rest, but for my ignorance of my situation as the professor has not returned grades on the computer work for the course yet.

What bore me was not doing math. On the contrary, mathematics is usually quite fun even it quite frustrating at times. Rather, it was a twofold problem. First, it was all math which merely required me to compute some things based on formulas out of the text. Second, this to me isn’t math anymore. It’s demonstrating I can compute something for the sake of demonstrating I can compute it. I don’t learn anything new, don’t prove anything, don’t even have to do any interesting coding to accomplish the task.

In short, my view of mathematics has become one in which building theory and solving problems (even applied ones) is the interesting part and the attendant computation is not.

Like I said, I could just be a bit idealistic.

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