Self Acceptance > Arithmophobia

Amie Daniel, Staff Editor

Summer 2019 has brought me so much joy. As I rounded out the semester and began to get serious about planning my final credits here at HCC, I was faced with something I had been desperately avoiding my entire 2 years spent working toward my associate degree – my personal kryptonite – math. Yes, I managed to avoid the subject all 56 credits of the way to the final home stretch of the program (something I HIGHLY do not recommend doing if you can avoid it). It’s not that I hadn’t made an effort to complete the requirement sooner, it dawned on me at the start of each new semester, and yet somehow always managed to slip through the cracks. I would vow to prepare myself for the placement test, to spend even 1 hour per week of study prep, at times I even considered walking straight in the test center and winging it, but no matter what I attempted, the math placement remained untouched by me up until my very final semester approached.


As I realized the approaching deadline, I made a desperate effort to contact the tutoring center on campus. For a solid week this summer, I spent my lunch breaks covering math content that I had since forgotten in the long lapse between now and my last math course taken in high school. I was paired with a phenomenal tutor and he patiently and diligently covered it all with me leading up to my big showdown with the math placement exam. We covered real numbers, we covered inequalities and equations, all the way up to functions and graphs. The items on the page brought me back to high school- along with that dreadful anxiety, so much so that I was revisited by a recurring dream that I arrived late to graduation and as a result had to repeat the 12th grade. Looming anxiety and all, to my surprise, I maneuvered my way through the exam with little panic, about 5 sheets of scrap paper, but no tears shed whatsoever! As I exited the test center with my score page in hand I sighed a sigh of relief. At least I had shown up, gave it my all, and whatever the results were, I would accept them.


As it turns out, I was 5 points away from placing in to college level math. With the help of the advising team and getting serious with the ALEKS prep website, I will have one last go at it this week and am keeping my fingers crossed for a score of 30 points. The experience was a lesson for me though. First of all, I have got to stop this procrastination, but more importantly, I have got to release some of the anxiety surrounding academic outcomes. You show up, you do your best, and you accept the grade you’re given. As long as you’re committed to the process of challenging yourself to learn, you will be successful no matter how squeamishly long the equation or project you may be up against.