# Personal Statement

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved school. There was something exciting about learning new information about so many different topics each year. I enjoyed trying to speak Spanish, going back in time and examining history, learning about my physical surroundings from the smallest material particles to the edges of the universe through science, and the adventures and worlds I entered through literature. But even with all of this, there was one area of study that stood out to me the most. Whenever someone asked what my favorite subject was, I was quick with an answer. It was and always has been math.

One reason for my interest in math is its inherent order. I am an ordered person. From what I wear, to how I style my hair, to how I approach my schoolwork, to what I do in my free time, there is a specific order that I follow for each one. I do not choose what I feel like wearing or what I feel like doing. I choose what comes next in the cycle. All of this may seem a bit odd, but it is part of what drew me to math. There is structure and order. There are steps to follow when solving a problem, and there are steps of reasoning when writing a proof. There is always some sort of order, some sort of structure, when working with mathematical topics and ideas.

Another reason I enjoy math is that it is logical. I have always been a logical person. I enjoy thinking through ideas and letting my mind control me more than my emotions. There is logic in my ordering system. It saves time from having to make decisions about unimportant things and also keeps me focused on the present task. It enables me to work efficiently and be productive with my time. With math, the order is logical. There are reasons why we follow the steps we do. There is logic that flows through a well-written proof that demonstrates why one statement is true while another is false. Math is logical.

I also enjoy math because it is just plain fun. Solving a problem or writing a proof is like solving a little mystery, and there is something so satisfactory about struggling with a problem and figuring it out. The feeling of not understanding for hours, days, or even months and then suddenly understanding is one that can only be described as a mixture of joy, excitement, and relief. Math is unique. There is nothing quite like it.

So going back in time to when I was a 16-year old just trying to figure out what I wanted to study in college, a mathematics degree sounded perfect. But I soon realized how unprepared I was to pursue a math degree. My first semester I had Calculus I and a programming class. I had taken pre-calculus, but a college math course was much different from what I was used to. As for programming, I had no experience with programming in any language before taking this course. Needless to say, there were tears, fears, and frustrations, but I survived it. Entering my second semester, I decided that programming was not something I was interested in doing as a career. Because the math program required many more programming classes, I switched to actuarial science. It was during my third semester that I started working as a math tutor and realized how much I enjoyed helping other students succeed in their math courses and decided to switch to mathematics education.

However, due to many extenuating circumstances, I felt the best decision was to complete my degree online after having finished my fourth semester. So I transferred from Bob Jones University to Indiana University. At this point, I went back to pursuing my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematics. Finishing my degree online has been great. I enjoy having the flexible schedule that allows me to tutor for more hours or take a day off from school if needed. I also enjoy being able to participate in discussions, something I did not get to do much when in a classroom. I do miss my friends and my professors, but I am thankful for where I am.

After completing one more course in the fall, I will graduate in December of 2020. It has been a crazy three years, and I have learned so much. The math courses that I have taken during my degree program have opened me up to so many new worlds. I had no idea that courses such as Modern Algebra, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Analysis, and Operations Research even existed. Additionally, Calculus with the ideas of derivatives and integrals were completely new to me, and now they seem to be something I will never forget after seeing them in so many courses. Statistics was also an eye-opener. I had only a very general knowledge of statistics before taking the courses that I did. Overall, I have been introduced to a whole new understanding of what mathematics actually is. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to take the courses that I have.

I have not only grown in my knowledge of and appreciation for math, but I have grown as a person as well. Being a shy, introverted homeschooler, I struggled with making friends and interacting with adults. But being in college taught me to face my fears and ask professors for help when I needed it. I also became more confident, made a few close friends, and even met my husband. I have also grown in my ability to prioritize my time and receive constructive criticism. But, perhaps the biggest lesson I learned is to keep trying no matter what. No matter how scared, stressed, lonely, or exhausted I get, I have learned to push through and finish what I set out to do, even on days that I want to just forget it all and run away. Pursuing a math degree is difficult, as many people have been quick to point out to me, but the challenge makes it all the more rewarding. When I finally have that diploma, I will be all the more thankful for everything I have struggled through and will be better prepared for the challenges that I will face in the future.

I am excited to tell you everything I have learned. I have put a great amount of thought into everything I have written and have tried to present the ideas in the clearest way that I could. I hope you enjoy reading it and maybe even learn or remember a thing or two.