An invitation to Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics
Why should you consider declaring mathematics as your major? There are many different reasons to consider this option, just as there are many ways in which mathematics can be used. The road to mathematics is by no means unique, and the motivations to choose one’s own path to mathematics are varied.
Mathematics has the reputation of being extremely hard and elitist. This has contributed to scaring people away from the start. As a mathematician and the Chair of the Mathematics Department, I can say in full honesty that learning mathematics requires work and dedication. The rewards are not immediate; until you have spent the time and effort to learn its rules and language, those rewards will keep escaping you. When students tell me that they do not enjoy learning the rules of integration and differentiation, I tell them that neither did I. The beauty of a language is rarely found in its grammar, but is usually expressed in its literature and poetry. The basic tools of mathematics, which for the most part comprise the mathematics courses that students study in high school or at the beginning of college, rarely get anybody excited. They should be viewed as the foundations from which to move to a higher level of understanding. Then, at that point, the usage of the discipline and the range of possibilities mathematics offers become more apparent.