As a math major, I find most of my time consumed by stressing out over problem sets and computer programming. However, when I do get a chance to relax I love to read, paint, and golf. None of these hobbies on the surface seem to have anything to remotely do with math but they all deal in some way with problem solving or detail work. A common complaint in math classes is that people never feel like they’re going to use some abstract formula in their daily lives. And while I might not use the Pythagorean Theorem every day, the problem solving skills and detail oriented mindset I gain help me in everyday activities and my hobbies; just as those skills I learn from hobbies also help me with learning math.
I love to read popular math books that talk about beautiful abstract math theories that I don’t get to cover in my numerical computing classes. This gives me a more holistic view of math and also helps me to think of numerical computing in a fuller view and not just let the computer do all the thinking for me. I also love to read fictional short stories which allows me look at situations from different angles and tap into my creative side. When I paint I get to look at the full picture of what I want and then try to break it into smaller, manageable chunks so I don’t get overwhelmed in the long process. In addition, I also have to be very patient when dealing with smaller details. When I golf I’m always looking for the best place to position my golf shots and details like wind speed, grass type, and temperature that could possibly change the outcome of the shot. By combining my love for reading, painting, golfing, and math I’m able to pay attention to detail and gain critical thinking skills which helps inspire me to always be creative and learn as much as possible.