May 13, 2022 | OPINION | By Karly Hamilton | Illustration by Xixi Qin
I love math. While my friends might think I’m crazy, I find comfort in assignments filled with numbers and equations to solve. As I finish out my first year at Colorado College with a statistics course, I have taken great satisfaction in learning new concepts in the morning, doing homework problems to reinforce these ideas in the afternoon, and ending the night reading in my dorm.
When I decided to attend CC, one of my biggest concerns was how math classes would work on the Block Plan, and if the learning style would suit me well within the discipline. After taking a calculus class first semester, I was reassured that the Block Plan facilitated an effective and enjoyable learning environment for me in my field of interest.
One of my favorite things about the Block Plan is that it takes procrastination off the table. In high school, I would put off completing an assignment by working ahead in other classes. However, that is not an option here because the only work I have to do is for the class I’m taking that block.
When I’ve been in humanities classes, I have looked forward to days with lighter reading so I can get outside for a hike, walk, or spend more time doing something else I enjoy. The one thing I won’t do after class, though, is read for fun.
Growing up, I loved to read. Immersing myself in a book allowed me to see the world from a different perspective and connect with the characters in a way I couldn’t always with humans. During transitional phases of my life, I took comfort in the lives of fictional characters that served as constants in my life.
One of my favorite stories my parents tell about my childhood revolves around books. When I was five, they put me to bed one night and came to check on me a while later, but the door wouldn’t open. They soon discovered that I had climbed out of bed and sat down to read on the floor by the light from my nightlight, which happened to be right in front of the door. Child-me then got tired and fell asleep, hence why my parents were unable to open the door.
While I no longer fall asleep reading by the light of my princess nightlight, I still consider myself an avid reader. I enjoy books that force me to change my perspective and see things from a different angle, and I enjoy escaping into a world other than my own. When I finish a book, I feel recharged, refreshed, and more prepared to examine my own reality.
However, in reading-intensive blocks, the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is turn yet another page. Even though academic reading is often different from reading for pleasure, my eyes are tired, and I find myself struggling to follow the plot of my personal books at the end of the day.
This is not an issue during math classes. I leave class rejuvenated from solving equations, and I haven’t done much reading, so I am ready and willing to open a book at the end of the day.
We all are different people, and different things make us happy. I know this isn’t the case for everyone — I’ve certainly heard enough of my friends talk about how tired they are of solving integrals or derivatives. But for me, math is recharging, and it affords me the opportunity to focus on other hobbies I enjoy.
To me, balance is key in all aspects of life, and math classes help achieve that in my life. While it looks different for everyone, I encourage you all to go out and try something new each block — hopefully in a direction that provides a breath of fresh air and a change of pace.