From Our ReadersHow I Feel About AlgebraFrom Our Readers

2(3x – 7) 4 (3 x 2) = 6 (5 x 9 ) 3

Solve for x.

Poor x. Alone in this world, with no identity. Shunned by the other numbers, because he does not know who he is. X cannot fit in the fives, or the eights. He isn’t even really a number. X is misunderstood. A mystery, who must be solved.

Fear not X! I am your savior. I will find out your worth x! I will assign you a value! Soon you will stand among your numbered comrades, no longer nameless, but with a numerical worth. You may fear that you will fall on the end of the scale, as a fraction, or worse, a negative. Do not worry little x. That’s what they made absolute values for.

Time to start our journey together X. I fear it will not be an easy one, as it seems you have surrounded yourself with a bad crowd. You are locked in a parenthesis prison with a 3 and a -7, and a 2 outside of you, guarding the gate. It looks like you are pretty tangled up x. You are busy on both sides of the equation. That hanging 3 looks suspicious. “Add me at the end!” it seems to shout. No, 3, you will not fool me. I will subtract you.

Actually I don’t know where to subtract you from 3, so you can stay there. This is really hard. Things are not looking good for you x. You’ve really got yourself in a situation.

You know what, x. It is not my fault that you fell into this bad crowd. Surrounding yourself with all those other numbers, confusing people. I wanted to help you x. And maybe I could’ve if you didn’t get stuck in those parenthesis. I don’t know how to get you out of those, x.

X, I have failed you. I will never be able to help you figure out who you are now. You will remain nameless, undefined, the variable. I hope that you will find others like you X, maybe an a-squared or a p. Maybe if I had found you at an early stage things would’ve been different ,like when you were just X-3 = 6. Your life has become too complicated for me to help you with now x. It looks like you’ll have to solve yourself. Good luck, x.

You can read more from Madison Springer on her blog.

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  1. i’m in algebra & this is exactly how i feel! loved it :)

  2. Hahhah, I’m totally using this thought process to keep myself happy when I’m stuck doing Algebra! It will definitely make me feel less terrible about my non-existent math skills. I just don’t understand it!

  3. wahahaha…you shoot that horse on the face!! I hate MATH!! I hate ALGEBRA!! thanks for the laugh!! you brighten up my night :)

  4. This makes me so sad. I am going to school to be a middle school or high school math teacher and I want so bad for people to give math a chance. All it is is rule. You have rules about how to write a good essay, rules about how to apply your make-up, rules about how to do you hair. Why can’t you remember the rules for solving for x? It’s really not difficult. And trust me, I know. I grew up hating math. I never did well. I was always confused. Math was not for me. Then I took college Algebra and got an A. Then I took college Trig and got an A. I realized, math isn’t as hard as I thought it was. It just involves a little effort, like an essay, make-up, and hair. Please don’t push algebra or math aside because you don’t think it is important. It is important!

    • I double-majored in math and computer science in college…I wish my job gave me opportunities to do algebra, I miss it!

    • I agree! I’m going to school to be a middle school math teacher as well. At first I was really excited by the looks of this article, but then realized it was actually kind of dumping on algebra and I was disappointed. We need more women in the field of math as an inspiration to other girls. Math is fun! Solving for x is like solving a mystery and I liked the way you made it sound like a rescue mission, that was awesome! I wish I could share just the first half of the article. :(

  5. I think x is 7.9583

  6. Brilliant! Exactly how I would feel trying to solve an equation now! Thanks for the laugh :D