Maths. Who cares, right?
Well I used to be good in maths. I actually enjoyed adding up numbers in pre-elementary school, I loved the logic behind it all. Then my family and me moved to Finland, where the education system was a bit behind the good old soviet system, and so I was forced to sit through the math classes revising everything I already knew, not that mentally challenging really. Of course it was great to know all the answers and feel smart, as I was only a child. But then again I was also the weirdo girl from somewhere far, who spoke a weird language and had amazing skill in maths. That’s also known as an easy target.
So being a bit “different” child I had to try to fit the normal mould. A had to act as a normal girl who plays with dolls and all that other stuff. While at the same time I was playing computer games, doing weird puzzles, resolving those extra credit assignments for math because I just found them entertaining, and playing around with ms-dos. In school I tried not to be too smart and not to answer all the questions as I was picked on enough as it was already.
However in the transmission to middle school, they, the teachers, somehow got me convinced to go to the math oriented group to provide myself better talents for the future. I do have to say I did enjoy challenging my mind with all those math problems, all until it just got boring. All the revising and revising, how much revising can one person go through. Instead of advancing to the next level and improving my logical thinking, I had to wait for everyone to keep up and for god’s sake if I tried to figure out how to solve something more complicated, I was only a pretty blond girl from that “far away” country.
That was also the time we all have suffered from, teenage. So then even more than before I had to be a girl: not smart, but pretty, make-upped bimbo who couldn’t have good grades in the boyish subjects as maths, physics and chemistry. This combined with all the unchallenging and discouraging education, started to slowly kill my interest in math. And so the nerd inside of me got lost, buried and forgotten. All the alcohol, partying, teen aging and time wasting definitely took care of that.
I remember some people telling me to keep on studying maths, because it’s good for my future; you’re good in it and all those other random statements that never really made much sense to me. No one really expected much of me either, as I was only a blond girl who couldn’t possibly have any logical thinking cells in her brain. Why is it good for me, why do I need to study more maths even if I am good in it? There were no certain goal to strive for, it was just all-round statement of better future, “Hmm.. “ I said.
And here I am with my mediocre math skills, well maybe slightly above average math skills.
Blaming others for my misery well isn’t that just classic, you may say. It’s all up to you and the choices you make in your life. Well of course it is, I’m not blaming anyone; I’m quite happy how things turned out in the end, I just sometimes wonder.
Imagine yourself as this blond girl, foreign girl, that freaky girl, who stands out from the crowd. Add all the pressure from your peers, teachers, parents, society to fit in all these different moulds: the girl, the weirdo, the nerd, the daughter, the normal, the list goes on. And then add all the discouraging support from all those same parties every time you tried to show what you could actually do and advance your skills. It doesn’t sound that bad now, but being just a kid and treated as the dumb blond girl does really eat you inside.
Now imagine, well I like to sometimes imagine, what if I got those challenging math problems to solve, got to improve my skills, got the encouraging feedback, would be informed the things one can do with all the math and logic. If someone would have told me that hey if you keep on studying maths one day you can create these awesome things online, the endless possibilities (and not adding if you were a boy at the end of it all). The motivation, the interest, the desire, it would all still be there.
I really do hope that more and more girls, both blondes and brunettes and maybe few red haired ones, will get more encouragement to strive in all the male-dominated industries.
In the growing digital industry/world there is a big need for women, women and women.
Let us girls be nerds too, even though we are pretty.