“I was doing integrals during breaks this summer,” says my daughter, a rising junior at Santa Clara University. This was an amazing statement considering that she only made it through Algebra 2 in high school and showed no desire to do anything in STEM once she reached college. As an aside, she is very artistic and a creative. She is also an avid learner that loves learning everything. She had not picked a major when she entered college, but she continued to take math in college “just to get good at it.” Her counselors actually did not encourage her to do so, since she was likely to declare as a humanities major and they questioned her choice of loading up on too many credits and taking a “hard class” like calculus. She asked me what I thought (thankfully), and I asked her if she loved math, and she said, “yes, math is fun!” I told her to ignore the “advice” and continue to follow her dream of completing calculus in college. She has since declared as a Communications Major with a Minor in Math and a Minor in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. Wow, what a combo! I’m not only super impressed with her ability to do all of this, but also to pursue her arts as hobbies, volunteer in the community, exercise, and smile through it all. I guess the lesson here for every student and for every parent, and something I have watched and learned from all of my kids are:
- Don’t assume anything
- Don’t give up even when its hard
- Follow your passions and love what you do
- Be a life long learner
- Question the status quo especially when you know what you want to do
I now (secretly) hope that she takes the computer science route in her math minor. No matter what, though, I will be proud of whatever she does and whatever path she follows since she will be following her heart and dreams.