When did you realize that you wanted to study math? Some of my friends knew when they were little kids. One of my professors knew in grade school. I didn’t know until my first year of undergrad. Although I wasn’t bad at it, I didn’t enjoy math in high school—I even chose to do two periods of science in twelfth grade so that I wouldn’t have to take a math class. When I got to college and was told I needed a “quantitative literacy” class to graduate, I signed up for the easiest class in the course catalog (Math Appreciation) even though my advisor wanted me to take Calc I. I just wanted to get it over with and be done with math forever.

It didn’t really work out that way (obviously). We got to see simplified versions of some really cool higher math topics in Math Appreciation, including Cantor’s diagonal argument and formal logic. Over the course of the trimester, I begrudgingly came to admit that, okay, yes, math was cool after all. After that, I signed up for calculus, and then went on to complete a minor in math (I didn’t have time to finish a major in it), to do an independent study in the department, and eventually to apply to master’s programs. Math was something I never expected to like, but it ended up being a really big part of my college career and my life, so I’m really glad I took that class. It might sound cheesy, but it really lived up to its name.

## About Maya Sharma

Maya Sharma is studying for her MS in mathematics at Loyola University Chicago.